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ATP synthases (ATPases) are enzymes that produce ATP and control the pH in the cell or cellular compartments. While highly conserved over different species, ATPases are structurally well-characterised but the existence and functional significance of many post-translational modifications (PTMs) is not well understood. We combined a range of mass spectrometric techniques to unravel the location and extent of PTMs in the chloroplast ATP synthase (cATPase) purified from spinach leaves. We identified multiple phosphorylation and acetylation sites and found that both modifications stabilise binding of ε and δ subunits. Comparing cross-linking of naturally modified cATPase with the in vitro deacetylated enzyme revealed a major conformational change in the ε subunit in accord with extended and folded forms of the subunit. Locating modified residues within the catalytic head we found that phosphorylated and acetylated residues are primarily on α/β and β/α interfaces respectively. By aligning along different interfaces the higher abundance acetylated residues are proximal to the regulatory sites while the lower abundance phosphorylation sites are more densely populated at the catalytic sites. We propose that modifications in the catalytic head, together with the conformational change in subunit ε, work in synergy to fine-tune the enzyme during adverse conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

Publication Date





44068 - 44068