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Plant Physiol. 1980 May;65(5):902-5.

Distribution of Metabolites between Chloroplast and Cytoplasm during the Induction Phase of Photosynthesis in Leaf Protoplasts.

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  • 1ARC Research Group on Photosynthesis; Department of Botany, The University, Sheffield, S10 2TN, England.


A method for rapid separation of the chloroplast and cytoplasmic fractions from isolated leaf protoplasts of wheat and spinach has been used to determine the distribution of (14)C-labeled products during photosynthesis. In the dark, CO(2) fixation was only 1 to 2% of that in the light and the products were mainly in the cytoplasmic fraction suggesting fixation by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase. Label appeared rapidly in the chloroplast fraction following illumination but the amount leveled off after 4 to 5 minutes reflecting the buildup of intermediates to steady state levels. There was only a slight lag before label appeared in the cytoplasmic fraction and it continued to increase at a constant rate reflecting synthesis of neutral products. In the light, the percentage of label in the chloroplast fraction decreased rapidly in the first minute of illumination and was only 10 to 20% in the steady-state. It is suggested that the chloroplast phosphate transporter promotes a rapid transfer of sugar phosphates from the chloroplast to the cytoplasm, even during the induction phase of photosynthesis.

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