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Plant Physiol. Nov 1986; 82(3): 658–663.
PMCID: PMC1056184

Induction of Lactate Dehydrogenase Isozymes by Oxygen Deficit in Barley Root Tissue 1


Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in attached roots of barley and other cereals increased up to 20-fold during several days of severe hypoxia, reaching a maximum of about 2 micromoles per minute per gram fresh weight. In barley, induction of LDH activity was significant at 2.6% O2 and greatest at 0.06%, the lowest O2 concentration tested. Upon return to aerobic conditions, induced LDH activity declined with an apparent half-life of 2 days. The isozyme profile of barley LDH comprised 5 bands, consistent with a tetrameric enzyme with subunits encoded by two different Ldh genes. Changes in staining intensity of the isozymes as a function of O2 level suggested that one Ldh gene was preferentially expressed in severe hypoxia. When tracer [U-14C]glucose was supplied to induced roots under hypoxic conditions, lactate acquired label, but much less than either ethanol or alanine. Most of the [14C] lactate was secreted into the medium, whereas most other labeled anionic products were retained in the root. Neither hypoxic induction of LDH, nor lactate secretion by induced roots, is predicted from the Davies-Roberts hypothesis, which holds that lactate glycolysis ceases soon after the onset of hypoxia due to acidosis brought about by lactate accumulation in the cytoplasm. These results imply a functional significance for LDH beyond that assigned it in this hypothesis.

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Selected References

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