Functional analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana isoforms of the Mg-chelatase CHLI subunit

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2008 Oct;7(10):1188-95. doi: 10.1039/b802604c. Epub 2008 Jun 9.


The first step of chlorophyll biosynthesis is catalyzed by a Mg-chelatase composed of the subunits CHLI, CHLD and CHLH. Mg-chelatase requires ATP hydrolysis that can be attributed to CHLI. Arabidopsis has two CHLI isoforms, CHLI1 and CHLI2, that have similar expression profiles, but it has been suggested that CHLI2 has limited function in the Mg-chelatase complex. Recently, we showed that Arabidopsis CHLI1 is an ATPase and a target of chloroplast thioredoxin. Here, we demonstrate that CHLI2 also has ATPase activity but with a lower Vmax and higher Km ATP than CHLI1. We confirmed the thioredoxin-dependent reduction of a disulfide bond in CHLI2 and thiol-modulation of its ATPase activity. We then examined the physiological contribution of CHLI2 using a chli2 T-DNA knockout line. Although visible phenotype of homozygous chli2 mutants was almost comparable to wild type, the mutant accumulated significantly less chlorophyll. Furthermore, cs/cs; chli2/chli2 double mutants were almost albino. There were three phenotypes among progenies segregated from the cs/cs; CHLI2/chli2 parent: cs-like pale green, yellow, and almost albino were obtained in the approximate ratio of 1:2:0.7. PCR analysis confirmed that the chli2 mutation is semidominant on a homozygous cs background. These results reveal that although CHLI2 plays a limited role in chlorophyll biosynthesis, this subunit certainly contributes to the assembly of the Mg-chelatase complex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Catalysis
  • Chlorophyll / biosynthesis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / chemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Lyases / chemistry
  • Lyases / genetics
  • Lyases / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Isoenzymes
  • Protein Subunits
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Chlorophyll
  • Lyases
  • magnesium chelatase