[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG), which is conserved in almost all photosynthetic organisms, is the most abundant natural polar lipid on Earth. In plants, MGDG is highly accumulated in the chloroplast membranes and is an important bulk constituent of thylakoid membranes. However, precise functions of MGDG in photosynthesis have not been well understood. Here, we report a novel MGDG synthase from the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobaculum tepidum. This enzyme, MgdA, catalyzes MGDG synthesis using UDP-Gal as a substrate. The gene encoding MgdA was essential for this bacterium; only heterozygous mgdA mutants could be isolated. An mgdA knockdown mutation affected in vivo assembly of bacteriochlorophyll c aggregates, suggesting the involvement of MGDG in the construction of the light-harvesting complex called chlorosome. These results indicate that MGDG biosynthesis has been independently established in each photosynthetic organism to perform photosynthesis under different environmental conditions. We complemented an Arabidopsis thaliana MGDG synthase mutant by heterologous expression of MgdA. The complemented plants showed almost normal levels of MGDG, although they also had abnormal morphological phenotypes, including reduced chlorophyll content, no apical dominance in shoot growth, atypical flower development, and infertility. These observations provide new insights regarding the importance of regulated MGDG synthesis in the physiology of higher plants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants synthesize a sulfur-containing lipid, sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol, which is one of three nonphosphorus glycerolipids that provide the bulk of the structural lipids in photosynthetic membranes. Here, the identification of a novel gene, UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase3 (UGP3), required for sulfolipid biosynthesis is described. Transcriptome coexpression analysis demonstrated highly correlated expression of UGP3 with known genes for sulfolipid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of leaf lipids in two Arabidopsis ugp3 mutants revealed that no sulfolipid was accumulated in these mutants, indicating the participation of UGP3 in sulfolipid biosynthesis. From the deduced amino acid sequence, UGP3 was presumed to be a UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGPase) involved in the generation of UDP-glucose, serving as the precursor of the polar head of sulfolipid. Recombinant UGP3 was able to catalyze the formation of UDP-glucose from glucose-1-phosphate and UTP. A transient assay using fluorescence fusion proteins and UGPase activity in isolated chloroplasts indicated chloroplastic localization of UGP3. The transcription level of UGP3 was increased by phosphate starvation. A comparative genomics study on UGP3 homologs across different plant species suggested the structural and functional conservation of the proteins and, thus, a committing role for UGP3 in sulfolipid synthesis.