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Plant Physiol. 1991 Mar;95(3):839-45.

Alanine synthesis by bundle sheath cells of maize.

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  • 1Institut für Biochemie der Pflanze der Universität Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 3400 Göttingen, Federal Republic of Germany.

Abstract

Because in the phloem sap of maize (Zea mays L.) leaves a quarter of the total amino nitrogen can be found as alanine, the capacity of a de novo synthesis of alanine from 3-phosphoglycerate (3-PGA) was studied with isolated bundle sheath (BS) strands of maize. Inasmuch as these cells have retained their plasmodesmatic openings, it was possible to study the formation of alanine from 3-PGA when glutamate and ADP were being added. Alanine synthesis required the existence of the intact cell structure. From the formation of the intermediates, partially released to the medium, the activities of the enzymes of the reaction chain from 3-PGA to alanine could be measured in the intact cells. The results show that in the BS cells the rate of alanine production from pyruvate (0.5 micromole/minute per milligram BS chlorophyll) is more than sufficient to produce one-fourth of the assimilated nitrogen as alanine. As the activity of pyruvate kinase in intact bundle sheath cells in the light was found to be only 0.2 micromole/minute per milligram BS chlorophyll, it is concluded that in the light part of the conversion of 3-PGA to pyruvate may not occur via pyruvate kinase reaction, but via phosphoeno/pyruvate carboxylase, NADP-malate dehydrogenase, and NADP-malic enzyme in the mesophyll and BS cells.

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