Bacterial alarmone, guanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (ppGpp), predominantly binds the beta' subunit of plastid-encoded plastid RNA polymerase in chloroplasts

Chembiochem. 2009 May 4;10(7):1227-33. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200800737.

Abstract

It's alarming: Bacterial alarmone guanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (ppGpp), which is a key regulatory molecule that controls the stringent response, also exists in chloroplasts of plant cells. Cross-linking experiments with 6-thioguanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (6-thioppGpp) and chloroplast RNA polymerase indicate that ppGpp binds the beta' subunit of plastid-encoded plastid RNA polymerase that corresponds to the Escherichia coli beta' subunit. Chloroplasts, which are thought to have originated from cyanobacteria, have their own genetic system that is similar to that of the bacteria from which they were derived. Recently, bacterial alarmone guanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (ppGpp, 1), a key regulatory molecule that controls the stringent response, was identified in the chloroplasts of plant cells. Similar to its function in bacteria, ppGpp inhibits chloroplast RNA polymerase; this suggests that ppGpp mediates gene expression through the stringent response in chloroplasts. However, a detailed mechanism of ppGpp action in chloroplasts remains elusive. We synthesized 6-thioguanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (6-thioppGpp) as a photoaffinity probe of ppGpp; this probe thus enabled the investigation of ppGpp binding to chloroplast RNA polymerase. We found that 6-thioppGpp, as well as ppGpp, inhibits chloroplast RNA synthesis in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. Cross-linking experiments with 6-thioppGpp and chloroplast RNA polymerase indicated that ppGpp binds the beta' subunit (corresponding to the Escherichia coli beta' subunit) of plastid-encoded plastid RNA polymerase composed of alpha, beta, beta', beta'', and sigma subunits. Furthermore, ppGpp did not inhibit transcription in plastid nucleoids prepared from tobacco BY-2 cells; this suggests that ppGpp does not inhibit nuclear-encoded plastid RNA polymerase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Chloroplasts / enzymology*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Guanosine Tetraphosphate / chemical synthesis
  • Guanosine Tetraphosphate / chemistry
  • Guanosine Tetraphosphate / pharmacology*
  • Plastids / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid

Substances

  • Guanosine Tetraphosphate
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases