Identification of the plant ribokinase and discovery of a role for Arabidopsis ribokinase in nucleoside metabolism [Plant Biology]

September 6th, 2016 by Riggs, J. W., Rockwell, N. C., Cavales, P. C., Callis, J.

Ribose can be used for energy or as a component of several important biomolecules but in order for it to be used in either capacity it must first be phosphorylated by ribokinase (RBSK). RBSK proteins are part of the phosphofructokinase-B (pfkB) family of carbohydrate kinases. Sequence comparisons of pfkB proteins from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana with the human and E. coli RBSK identified a single candidate RBSK, At1g17160 (AtRBSK). AtRBSK is more similar to predicted RBSKs from other plant species and to known mammalian and prokaryotic RBSK than to all other PfkB proteins in Arabidopsis. AtRBSK contains a predicted chloroplast transit peptide, and we confirmed plastid localization using AtRBSK fused to YFP. Structure prediction software verified that the AtRBSK sequence mapped onto a known RBSK structure. Kinetic parameters of purified recombinant AtRBSK were determined to be Kmribose = 153 μM +/- 17 μM, KmATP = 45.9 μM +/- 5.6 μM, kcat = 2.0 s-1. Substrate inhibition was observed for AtRBSK (KiATP = 2.44 mM +/- 0.36 mM), as has been demonstrated for other RBSK proteins. Ribose accumulated in Arabidopsis plants lacking AtRBSK. Such plants grew normally unless media was supplemented with ribose, which led to chlorosis and growth inhibition. Ribose accumulated in plants lacking AtRBSK. Both chlorosis and ribose accumulation were abolished upon the introduction of a transgene expressing AtRBSK-MYC, demonstrating that the loss of protein is responsible for the ribose hypersensitivity. Ribose accumulation in plants lacking AtRBSK was reduced in plants also deficient in the nucleoside ribohydrolase NSH1, linking AtRBSK activity to nucleoside metabolism.