Carboxy-terminal deletion analysis of oat phytochrome A reveals the presence of separate domains required for structure and biological activity

Joel R. Cherry, David Hondred, Joseph M. Walker, Janis M. Keller, Howard P. Hershey, Richard D. Vierstra

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A series of seven carboxy-terminal deletion mutants of oat phytochrome A were stably expressed in transgenic tobacco to localize phytochrome domains involved in chromophore attachment, spectral integrity, photoreversibility between the red light (Pr)- and far-red light (Pfr)-absorbing forms, dimerization, and biological activity. Amino acids necessary for chromophore attachment in vivo were localized to the amino-terminal 398 residues because mutant proteins this small had covalently bound chromophore. Deletion mutants from the carboxy terminus to residue 653 were spectrally indistinguishable from the full-length chromoprotein. In contrast, further truncation to residue 399 resulted in a chromoprotein with a bleached Pfr absorbance spectrum, Pr and Pfr absorbance maxima shifted toward shorter wavelengths, and reduced Pfr to Pr phototransformation efficiency. Thus, residues between 399 and 652 are required for spectral integrity but are not essential for chromophore attachment. The sequence(s) between residues 919 and 1093 appears to be necessary for dimerization. Carboxy-terminal mutants containing this region behaved as dimers under nondenaturing conditions in vitro, whereas truncations without this region behaved as monomers. None of the plants expressing high levels of deletion mutants lacking the 35 carboxy-terminal amino acids displayed the light-exaggerated phenotype characteristic of plants expressing biologically active phytochrome A, even when the truncated phytochromes were expressed at levels 6- to 15-fold greater than that effective for the full-length chromoprotein. Collectively, these data show that the phytochrome protein contains several separable carboxy-terminal domains required for structure/function and identify a domain within 35 residues of the carboxy terminus that is critical for the biological activity of the photoreceptor in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-575
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993


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