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Role and Regulation of Starch Phosphorylase and Starch Synthase IV in Starch Biosynthesis in Maize Endosperm Amyloplasts

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Title: Role and Regulation of Starch Phosphorylase and Starch Synthase IV in Starch Biosynthesis in Maize Endosperm Amyloplasts
Author: Subasinghe, Renuka
Department: Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Program: Molecular and Cellular Biology
Advisor: Tetlow, Ian
Abstract: Storage starch is synthesized in sub-cellular organelles called amyloplasts in higher plants. The synthesis of the starch granule is a result of the coordinated activity of several groups of starch biosynthetic enzymes. There are four major groups of these enzymes, ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase), starch synthases (SS), starch branching enzymes (SBE), and starch debranching enzymes (SDE). Starch phosphorylase (SP) exists as both dimeric and tetrameric forms in plastids in developing cereal endosperm and catalyses the reversible transfer of glucosyl units from glucose-1-phosphate to the non-reducing end of α-1-4 linked glucan chains, although the precise role in the pathway remains unclear. The present study was conducted to investigate the role and regulation of SP and SSIV in starch biosynthesis in developing maize endosperm. The results of this study showed that the tetrameric form of SP accounts for the majority of measurable catalytic activity, with the dimeric form being barely active and the monomer catalytically inactive. A catalytically active recombinant maize SP was heterologously expressed and used as an affinity ligand with amyloplast lysates to test protein-protein interactions in vitro. Results showed that the different multimeric status of SP influenced interactions with other enzymes of starch synthesis. Tetrameric SP interacted with SBEI and SSIIa, whilst the dimeric form of the enzyme interacted with SBEI, SBEIIb. All of these interactions were enhanced when amyloplasts were pre-treated with ATP, and broken following treatment with alkaline phosphatase (APase), indicating these interactions are regulated by protein phosphorylation. In addition, the catalytic activity of SSIV was reduced following treatment with APase, indicating a role for protein phosphorylation in the regulation of SSIV activity. Protein-protein interaction experiments also suggested a weak interaction between SSIV and SP. Multimeric forms of SP regulated by protein-protein interactions and protein phosphorylation suggested a role for SP in starch biosynthesis in maize endosperm.
Date: 2013-01

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