Zeaxanthin epoxidation - an in vitro approach
Zeaxanthin epoxidase (ZE) is an enzyme operating in the violaxanthin cycle, which is involved in photoprotective mechanisms. In this work model systems to study zeaxanthin (Zx) epoxidation were developed. Two assay systems are presented in which epoxidation of Zx was observed. In these assays two mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana which have active only one of the two xanthophyll cycle enzymes were used. The npq1 mutant possesses an active ZE and is thus able to convert Zx to violaxanthin (Vx) but the violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE) is inactive, so that Vx cannot be converted to Zx. The other mutant, npq2, possesses an active VDE and can convert exogenous Vx to Zx under strong light conditions but reverse reaction is not possible. The first assay containing thylakoids from npq1 and npq2 mutants of A. thaliana gave positive results and high efficiency of epoxidation reaction was observed. The amount of Zx was reduced by 25%. To optimize high efficiency of epoxidation reaction additional factors facilitating both fusion of the two types of thylakoids and incorporation of Zx to their membranes were also studied. The second kind of assay contained npq1 mutant thylakoids of A. thaliana supplemented with exogenous Zx and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG). Experiments with different proportions of Zx and MGDG showed that their optimal ratio is 1:60. In such system, due to epoxidation, the amount of Zx was reduced by 38% of its initial level. The in vitro systems of Zx epoxidation described in this paper enable analysis some properties of the ZE without necessity of its isolation.
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