Structure and identification of a pterin dehydratase-like protein as a ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) assembly factor in the α-carboxysome.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Biol Chem, Volume 289, Issue 11, p.7973-81 (2014)


Burkholderiaceae, Catalytic Domain, Crystallography, X-Ray, Genetic Complementation Test, Hydro-Lyases, Models, Molecular, Molecular Chaperones, Operon, Protein Binding, Protein Structure, Secondary, Pterins, Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase


<p>Carboxysomes are proteinaceous bacterial microcompartments that increase the efficiency of the rate-limiting step in carbon fixation by sequestering reaction substrates. Typically, α-carboxysomes are genetically encoded as a single operon expressing the structural proteins and the encapsulated enzymes of the microcompartment. In addition, depending on phylogeny, as many as 13 other genes are found to co-occur near or within α-carboxysome operons. One of these genes codes for a protein with distant homology to pterin-4α-carbinolamine dehydratase (PCD) enzymes. It is present in all α-carboxysome containing bacteria and has homologs in algae and higher plants. Canonical PCDs play an important role in amino acid hydroxylation, a reaction not associated with carbon fixation. We determined the crystal structure of an α-carboxysome PCD-like protein from the chemoautotrophic bacterium Thiomonas intermedia K12, at 1.3-Å resolution. The protein retains a three-dimensional fold similar to canonical PCDs, although the prominent active site cleft present in PCD enzymes is disrupted in the α-carboxysome PCD-like protein. Using a cell-based complementation assay, we tested the PCD-like proteins from T. intermedia and two additional bacteria, and found no evidence for PCD enzymatic activity. However, we discovered that heterologous co-expression of the PCD-like protein from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus with RuBisCO and GroELS in Escherichia coli increased the amount of soluble, assembled RuBisCO recovered from cell lysates compared with co-expression of RuBisCO with GroELS alone. We conclude that this conserved PCD-like protein, renamed here α-carboxysome RuBisCO assembly factor (or acRAF), is a novel RuBisCO chaperone integral to α-carboxysome function.</p>