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Photosynthetic efficiency depends on equal light energy conversion by two spectrally distinct, serially-connected photosystems. The redox state of the plastoquinone pool, located between the two photosystems, is a key regulatory signal that initiates acclimatory changes in the relative abundance of photosystems. The Chloroplast Sensor Kinase (CSK) links the plastoquinone redox signal with photosystem gene expression but the mechanism by which it monitors the plastoquinone redox state is unclear. Here we show that the purified Arabidopsis and Phaeodactylum CSK and the cyanobacterial CSK homologue, Histidine kinase 2 (Hik2), are iron-sulfur proteins. The Fe-S cluster of CSK is further revealed to be a high potential redox-responsive [3Fe-4S] center. CSK responds to redox agents with reduced plastoquinone suppressing its autokinase activity. Redox changes within the CSK iron-sulfur cluster translate into conformational changes in the protein fold. These results provide key insights into redox signal perception and propagation by the CSK-based chloroplast two-component system.


Iskander M Ibrahim, Huan Wu, Roman Ezhov, Gilbert E Kayanja, Stanislav D Zakharov, Yanyan Du, Weiguo Andy Tao, Yulia Pushkar, William A Cramer, Sujith Puthiyaveetil. An evolutionarily conserved iron-sulfur cluster underlies redox sensory function of the Chloroplast Sensor Kinase. Communications biology. 2020 Jan 08;3(1):13

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PMID: 31925322

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