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Biochem J. 1982 Feb 15;202(2):373-80.

Mutants of the cruciferous plant Arabidopsis thaliana lacking glycine decarboxylase activity.


A mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heyn. (a small plant in the crucifer family) that lacks glycine decarboxylase activity owing to a recessive nuclear mutation has been isolated on the basis of a growth requirement for high concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Mitochondria isolated from leaves of the mutant did not exhibit glycine-dependent O2 consumption, did not release 14CO2 from [14C]glycine, and did not catalyse the glycine-bicarbonate exchange reaction that is considered to be the first partial reaction associated with glycine cleavage. Photosynthesis in the mutant was decreased after illumination under atmospheric conditions that promote partitioning of carbon into intermediates of the photorespiratory pathway, but was not impaired under non-photorespiratory conditions. Thus glycine decarboxylase activity is not required for any essential function unrelated to photorespiration. The photosynthetic response of the mutant in photorespiratory conditions is probably caused by an increased rate of glyoxylate oxidation, which results from the sequestering of all readily transferable amino groups in a metabolically inactive glycine pool, and by a depletion of intermediates from the photosynthesis cycle. The rate of release of 14CO2 from exogenously applied [14C]glycollate was 14-fold lower in the mutant than in the wild type, suggesting that glycine decarboxylation is the only significant source of photorespiratory CO2.

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