Light-dependent cleavage of the gamma subunit of coupling factor 1 by trypsin causes activation of Mg2+-ATPase activity and uncoupling of photophosphorylation in spinach chloroplasts.
Trypsin treatment of spinach chloroplast thylakoids in the light but not in the dark, results in a highly active Mg2+-ATPase and an uncoupling of photophosphorylation. These light-dependent effects are due to a modification of coupling factor 1 (CF1). CF1 purified from thylakoids treated with trypsin in the light contained a clipped beta subunit and a partially clipped gamma subunit, whereas that from thylakoids treated in the dark with trypsin contained only the clipped beta subunit. CF1 containing this modified gamma subunit also retained a high level of Ca2+-ATPase activity in solution. These results suggest that the gamma subunit becomes highly sensitive to trypsin only when the CF1 is in an active conformation. A similar hypersensitivity to proteases of the gamma subunit in highly purified CF1 is seen only after the enzyme is activated (Moroney, J. V., and McCarty, R. E. (1982) J. Biol. Chem. 257, 5910-5914). The conversion of the enzyme to its active form, both on the membrane and in solution, therefore, seems to involve conformational changes that expose the gamma subunit to proteolysis.