Biosyntheses of chlorophyll and heme in oxygenic phototrophs share a common trunk pathway that diverges with insertion of magnesium or iron into the last common intermediate, protoporphyrin IX. Since both tetrapyrroles are pro-oxidants, it is essential that their metabolism is tightly regulated. Here, we establish that heme-derived linear tetrapyrroles (bilins) function to stimulate the enzymatic activity of magnesium chelatase (MgCh) via their interaction with GENOMES UNCOUPLED 4 (GUN4) in the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. A key tetrapyrrole-binding component of MgCh found in all oxygenic photosynthetic species, CrGUN4, also stabilizes the bilin-dependent accumulation of protoporphyrin IX-binding CrCHLH1 subunit of MgCh in light-grown C. reinhardtii cells by preventing its photooxidative inactivation. Exogenous application of biliverdin IXα reverses the loss of CrCHLH1 in the bilin-deficient heme oxygenase (hmox1) mutant, but not in the gun4 mutant. We propose that these dual regulatory roles of GUN4: bilin complexes are responsible for the retention of bilin biosynthesis in all photosynthetic eukaryotes, which sustains chlorophyll biosynthesis in an illuminated oxic environment.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 18 May 2021|
- Bilin reductase
- Heme oxygenase
- Reactive oxygen species