DegP proteases have been shown to possess both chaperone and protease activities. The proteolytic activities of chloroplast DegP-like proteases have been well documented. However, whether chloroplast Deg proteases also have chaperone activities has remained unknown. Here we show that chloroplast Deg1 also has chaperone activities, like its Escherichia coli ortholog DegP. Transgenic plants with reduced levels of Deg1 accumulated normal levels of different subunits of the major photosynthetic protein complexes, but their levels of photosystem-II (PSII) dimers and supercomplexes were reduced. In vivo pulse-chase protein labeling experiments showed that the assembly of newly synthesized proteins into PSII dimers and supercomplexes was impaired, although the synthesis rate of chloroplast proteins was unaffected in the transgenic lines. Protein overlay assays provided direct evidence that Deg1 interacts with the PSII reaction center protein D2. These results suggest that Deg1 assists the assembly of the PSII complex, probably through interaction with the PSII reaction center D2 protein.
- Photosystem II