The first committed step in the biosynthesis of (bacterio-)chlorophyll is the insertion of Mg2+ into protoporphyrin IX by Mg-chelatase. In all known (B)Chl-synthesizing organisms, Mg-chelatase is encoded by three genes that are homologous to bchH, bchD, and bchI of Rhodobacter spp. The genomes of all sequenced strains of green sulfur bacteria (Chlorobi) encode multiple bchH paralogs, and in the genome of Chlorobaculum tepidum, there are three bchH paralogs, denoted CT1295 (bchT), CT1955 (bchS), and CT1957 (bchH). Cba. tepidum mutants lacking one or two of these paralogs were constructed and characterized. All of the mutants lacking only one of these BchH homologs, as well as bchS bchT and bchH bchT double mutants, which can only produce BchH or BchS, respectively, were viable. However, attempts to construct a bchH bchS double mutant, in which only BchT was functional, were consistently unsuccessful. This result suggested that BchT alone is unable to support the minimal (B)Chl synthesis requirements of cells required for viability. The pigment compositions of the various mutant strains varied significantly. The BChl c content of the bchS mutant was only approximately 10% of that of the wild type, and this mutant excreted large amounts of protoporphyrin IX into the growth medium. The observed differences in BChl c production of the mutant strains were consistent with the hypothesis that the three BchH homologs function in end product regulation and/or substrate channeling of intermediates in the BChl c biosynthetic pathway.
Photosynthesis Research, 2009, Vol 101, Issue 1, p. 21-34