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Plant Physiol. 2005 Jul;138(3):1596-606. Epub 2005 Jun 24.

In vivo respiratory metabolism of illuminated leaves.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie Végétale, Unité Mixte de Recherche 8079, Bât. 362, Centre scientifique d'Orsay, Université Paris XI, 91405 Orsay cedex, France. guillaume.tcherkez@ese.u-psud.fr.


Day respiration of illuminated C(3) leaves is not well understood and particularly, the metabolic origin of the day respiratory CO(2) production is poorly known. This issue was addressed in leaves of French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) using (12)C/(13)C stable isotope techniques on illuminated leaves fed with (13)C-enriched glucose or pyruvate. The (13)CO(2) production in light was measured using the deviation of the photosynthetic carbon isotope discrimination induced by the decarboxylation of the (13)C-enriched compounds. Using different positional (13)C-enrichments, it is shown that the Krebs cycle is reduced by 95% in the light and that the pyruvate dehydrogenase reaction is much less reduced, by 27% or less. Glucose molecules are scarcely metabolized to liberate CO(2) in the light, simply suggesting that they can rarely enter glycolysis. Nuclear magnetic resonance analysis confirmed this view; when leaves are fed with (13)C-glucose, leaf sucrose and glucose represent nearly 90% of the leaf (13)C content, demonstrating that glucose is mainly directed to sucrose synthesis. Taken together, these data indicate that several metabolic down-regulations (glycolysis, Krebs cycle) accompany the light/dark transition and emphasize the decrease of the Krebs cycle decarboxylations as a metabolic basis of the light-dependent inhibition of mitochondrial respiration.

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