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Mg-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester (MgPME) cyclase catalyses the formation of the isocyclic ring, producing protochlorophyllide a and contributing substantially to the absorption properties of chlorophylls and bacteriochlorophylls. The O2-dependent cyclase is found in both oxygenic phototrophs and some purple bacteria. We overproduced the simplest form of the cyclase, AcsF, from Rubrivivax gelatinosus, in Escherichia coli. In biochemical assays the di-iron cluster within AcsF is reduced by ferredoxin furnished by NADPH and ferredoxin:NADP+ reductase, or by direct coupling to Photosystem I photochemistry, linking cyclase to the photosynthetic electron transport chain. Kinetic analyses yielded a turnover number of 0.9 min-1, a Michaelis-Menten constant of 7.0 µM for MgPME and a dissociation constant for MgPME of 0.16 µM. Mass spectrometry identified 131-hydroxy-MgPME and 131-keto-MgPME as cyclase reaction intermediates, revealing the steps that form the isocyclic ring and completing the work originated by Sam Granick in 1950.


Guangyu E Chen, Nathan B P Adams, Philip J Jackson, Mark J Dickman, C Neil Hunter. How the O2-dependent Mg-protoporphyrin monomethyl ester cyclase forms the fifth ring of chlorophylls. Nature plants. 2021 Mar;7(3):365-375

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PMID: 33731920

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