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J Exp Bot. 2001 Dec;52(365):2275-82.

Age-dependent variation in membrane lipid synthesis in leaves of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.).

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  • 1Department of Plant Physiology, Botanical Institute, Göteborg University, PO Box 461, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden. lars.hellgren@biocentrum.dtu.dk


To study membrane lipid synthesis during the life-span of a dicotyledon leaf, the second oldest leaf of 10-40-d-old plants of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) was labelled with [1-(14)C]acetate and the distribution of radioactivity between the major membrane lipids was followed for 3 d. In the expanding second oldest leaf of 10-d-old plants, acetate was primarily allocated into phosphatidylcholine (PC) during the first 4 h of labelling. During the following 3 d, labelling of PC decreased and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) became the most radioactive lipid. In the fully expanded second oldest leaf of older plants, acetate was predominantly allocated into phosphatidylglycerol (PG), which remained the major radiolabelled lipid during the 3 d studied. The proportion of radioactivity recovered in MGDG decreased with increasing plant age up to 20 d, suggesting that, in expanded leaves, MGDG is more stable and requires renewal to a lower extent than PG. When the second oldest leaf approached senescence, labelling of MGDG again increased, indicating an increased need for thylakoid repair. The proportion of acetate allocated into phosphatidylethanolamine and free sterols was largest in leaves of 18-26-d-old plants and in the youngest leaves, respectively. Thus, these results demonstrate that the distribution of newly synthesized fatty acids between acyl lipid synthesis in the chloroplast and extraplastidial membranes strongly varies with leaf age, as do the proportion utilized for sterol synthesis. The findings emphasize the importance of defining the developmental stage of the leaf material used when performing studies on leaf lipid metabolism.

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