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Trends Plant Sci. 2000 Jun;5(6):263-7.

Transport and action of ascorbate at the plant plasma membrane.

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Dept of Biology, University of Antwerp (RUCA), Antwerp, Belgium.


The plasmalemma is both a bridge and a barrier between the cytoplasm and the outside world. It is a dynamic interface that perceives and transmits information concerning changes in the environment to the nucleus to modify gene expression. In plants, ascorbate is an essential part of this dialogue. The concentration and ratio of reduced to oxidized ascorbate in the apoplast, for example, possibly modulates cell division and growth. The leaf apoplast contains millimolar amounts of ascorbate that protect the plasmalemma against oxidative damage. The apoplastic ascorbate-dehydroascorbate redox couple is linked to the cytoplasmic ascorbate-dehydroascorbate redox couple by specific transporters for either or both metabolites. Although evidence about the mechanisms driving ascorbate or dehydroascorbate transport remains inconclusive, these carrier proteins potentially regulate the level and redox status of ascorbate in the apoplast. The redox coupling between compartments facilitated by these transport systems allows coordinated control of key physiological responses to environmental cues.

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