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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Evolution of Photorespiratory Glycolate Oxidase among Archaeplastida

Plant Physiology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, D-18051 Rostock, Germany
Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Cluster of Excellence on Plant Science (CEPLAS), Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Department Life, Light & Matter, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: University of Rostock, Institute of Biological Sciences, Applied Ecology & Phycology, Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, D-18059 Rostock, Germany.
Plants 2020, 9(1), 106;
Received: 29 November 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 11 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation of Central Carbon and Amino Acid Metabolism in Plants)
Photorespiration has been shown to be essential for all oxygenic phototrophs in the present-day oxygen-containing atmosphere. The strong similarity of the photorespiratory cycle in cyanobacteria and plants led to the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis and photorespiration co-evolved in cyanobacteria, and then entered the eukaryotic algal lineages up to land plants via endosymbiosis. However, the evolutionary origin of the photorespiratory enzyme glycolate oxidase (GOX) is controversial, which challenges the common origin hypothesis. Here, we tested this hypothesis using phylogenetic and biochemical approaches with broad taxon sampling. Phylogenetic analysis supported the view that a cyanobacterial GOX-like protein of the 2-hydroxy-acid oxidase family most likely served as an ancestor for GOX in all eukaryotes. Furthermore, our results strongly indicate that GOX was recruited to the photorespiratory metabolism at the origin of Archaeplastida, because we verified that Glaucophyta, Rhodophyta, and Streptophyta all express GOX enzymes with preference for the substrate glycolate. Moreover, an “ancestral” protein synthetically derived from the node separating all prokaryotic from eukaryotic GOX-like proteins also preferred glycolate over l-lactate. These results support the notion that a cyanobacterial ancestral protein laid the foundation for the evolution of photorespiratory GOX enzymes in modern eukaryotic phototrophs. View Full-Text
Keywords: Glycolate oxidase; photorespiration; evolution; Archaeplastida; Cyanobacteria Glycolate oxidase; photorespiration; evolution; Archaeplastida; Cyanobacteria
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Kern, R.; Facchinelli, F.; Delwiche, C.; Weber, A.P.M.; Bauwe, H.; Hagemann, M. Evolution of Photorespiratory Glycolate Oxidase among Archaeplastida. Plants 2020, 9, 106.

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