Characterization of a plant-like protochlorophyllide a divinyl reductase in green sulfur bacteria

Aline Gomez Maqueo Chew, Donald A. Bryant

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55 Scopus citations


The green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium tepidum synthesizes three types of (bacterio)chlorophyll ((B)Chl): BChl aP, Chl aPD, and BChl cF. During the synthesis of all three molecules, a C-8 vinyl substituent is reduced to an ethyl group, and in the case of BChl cF, the C-82 carbon of this ethyl group is subsequently methylated once or twice by the radical S-adenosylmethionine enzyme BchQ. The C. tepidum genome contains homologs of two genes, bchJ (CT2014) and CT1063, that are highly homologous to genes, bchJ and AT5G18660, and that have been reported to encode C-8 vinyl reductases in Rhodobacter capsulatus and Arabidopsis thaliana, respectively. To determine which gene product actually encodes a C-8 vinyl reductase activity, the bchJ and CT1063 genes were insertionally inactivated in C. tepidum. All three Chls synthesized by the CT1063 mutant of C. tepidum have a C-8 vinyl group. Using NADPH but not NADH as reductant, recombinant BciA reduces the C-8 vinyl group of 3,8-divinyl-protochlorophyllide in vitro. These data demonstrate that CT1063, renamed bciA, encodes a C-8 divinyl reductase in C. tepidum. The bchJ mutant produces detectable amounts of Chl aPD, BChl aP, and BChl cF, all of which have reduced C-8 substituents, but the mutant cells secrete large amounts of 3,8-divinyl- protochlorophyllide a into the growth medium and have a greatly reduced BChl cF content. The results suggest that BchJ may play an important role in substrate channeling and/or regulation of Chl biosynthesis but show that it is not a vinyl reductase. Because only some Chl-synthesizing organisms possess homologs of bciA, at least two types of C-8 vinyl reductases must occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2967-2975
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 2 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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