Barley Viridis-k links an evolutionarily conserved C-type ferredoxin to chlorophyll biosynthesis

David Stuart, Malin Sandström, Helmy M. Youssef, Shakhira Zakhrabekova, Poul Erik Jensen, David Bollivar, Mats Hansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ferredoxins are single-electron carrier proteins involved in various cellular reactions. In chloroplasts, the most abundant ferredoxin accepts electrons from photosystem I and shuttles electrons via ferredoxin NADPþ oxidoreductase to generate NADPH or directly to ferredoxin dependent enzymes. In addition, plants contain other isoforms of ferredoxins. Two of these, named FdC1 and FdC2 in Arabidopsis thaliana, have C-terminal extensions and functions that are poorly understood. Here we identified disruption of the orthologous FdC2 gene in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) mutants at the Viridis-k locus; these mutants are deficient in the aerobic cyclase reaction of chlorophyll biosynthesis. The magnesium-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester cyclase is one of the least characterized enzymes of the chlorophyll biosynthetic pathway and its electron donor has long been sought. Agroinfiltrations showed that the viridis-k phenotype could be complemented in vivo by Viridis-k but not by canonical ferredoxin. VirK could drive the cyclase reaction in vitro and analysis of cyclase mutants showed that in vivo accumulation of VirK is dependent on cyclase enzyme levels. The chlorophyll deficient phenotype of viridis-k mutants suggests that VirK plays an essential role in chlorophyll biosynthesis that cannot be replaced by other ferredoxins, thus assigning a specific function to this isoform of C-type ferredoxins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2834-2849
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


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