In the C4 plant Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) is phosphorylated in darkened leaves and dephosphorylated in illuminated leaves. To determine whether the properties of phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated PEPCK were different, PEPCK was purified to homogeneity from both illuminated and darkened leaves. The final step of the purification procedure, gel filtration chromatography, further separated phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms. In the presence of a high ratio of ATP to ADP, the non-phosphorylated enzyme had a higher affinity for its substrates, oxaloacetate and phosphoenolpyruvate. The activity of the non-phosphorylated form was up to 6-fold higher when measured at low substrate concentrations. Comparison of proteoloytically cleaved PEPCK from Guinea grass, which lacked its N-terminal extension, from yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), which does not possess an N-terminal extension, and from the C4 plant Urochloa panicoides, which possesses an N-terminal extension but is not subject to phosphorylation, revealed similar properties to the non-phosphorylated full-length form from Guinea grass. Assay of PEPCK activity in crude extracts of Guinea grass leaves, showed a large difference between illuminated and darkened leaves when measured in a selective assay (a low concentration of phosphoenolpyruvate and a high ratio of ATP to ADP), but there was no difference under assay conditions used to estimate maximum activity. Immunoblots of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels showed no difference in the abundance of PEPCK protein in illuminated and darkened leaves. There were no light/dark differences in activity detected in maize (Zea mays) leaves, in which PEPCK is not subject to phosphorylation.\u
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