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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 Jan 15;337(2):345-50.

In vivo phosphorylation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase in guard cells of Vicia faba L. is enhanced by fusicoccin and suppressed by abscisic acid.

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  • 1Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306-3050, USA.


Plants regulate water loss and CO2 gain by modulating the aperture sizes of stomata that penetrate the epidermis. Aperture size itself is increased by osmolyte accumulation and consequent turgor increase in the pair of guard cells that flank each stoma. Guard cell phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC, EC, which catalyzes the regulated step leading to malate synthesis, is crucial for charge and pH maintenance during osmolyte accumulation. Regulation of this cytosolic enzyme by effectors is well documented, but additional regulation by posttranslational modification is predicted by the alteration of PEPC kinetics during stomatal opening (FEBS Lett. 352, 45-48). In this study, we have investigated whether this alteration is associated with the phosphorylation status of this enzyme. Using sonicated epidermal peels ("isolated" guard cells) preloaded with 32PO4, we induced stomatal opening and guard cell malate accumulation by incubation with 5 microM fusicoccin (FC). In corroboratory experiments, guard cells were incubated with the FC antagonist, 10 microM abscisic acid (ABA). The phosphorylation status of PEPC was assessed by immunoprecipitation, electrophoresis, immunoblotting, and autoradiography. PEPC was phosphorylated when stomata were stimulated to open, and phosphorylation was lessened by incubation with ABA. Thus, we conclude that regulation of guard cell PEPC in vivo is multifaceted; the effects of regulatory metabolites and the activation status of the enzyme are integrated to control malate synthesis. These results, together with the coincident alteration in the kinetics of the enzyme (FEBS Lett. 352, 45-48), constitute the first unequivocal demonstration of regulatory posttranslational modification of a guard cell protein that is specifically implicated in stomatal movements.

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