Eukaryotic dehydrodolichyl diphosphate synthases (DHDDSs), cis-prenyltransferases (cis-PTs) synthesizing precursors of dolichols to mediate glycoprotein biosynthesis require partners, e.g. Nus1 in yeast and NgBR in animals, which are cis-PTs homologues without activity but to boost the DHDDSs activity. Unlike animals, plants have multiple cis-PT homologues to pair or stand alone to produce various chain-length products with less known physiological roles. We chose Cinnamomum kanehirae, a tree that contains two DHDDS-like and three NgBR-like proteins from genome analysis, and found that one DHDDS-like protein acted as a homodimeric cis-PT to make a medium-chain C55 product, while the other formed heterodimeric complexes with either one of two NgBR homologues to produce longer-chain products. Both complexes were functional to complement the growth defect of the yeast rer2 deficient strain at a higher temperature. From the roles for the polyprenol and dolichol biosynthesis and sequence motifs, their homologues in various species were compared to reveal their possible evolutionary paths.
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