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Plant Physiol. 1995 Jul;108(3):1059-1066.

Stimulation by Light of Rapid pH Regulation in the Chloroplast Stroma in Vivo as Indicated by CO2 Solubilization in Leaves.

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Julius-von-Sachs-Institute for Biosciences, University of Wurzburg, D-97082 Wurzburg, Germany (M.H., U.H.).


Leaves of Brassica oleracea, Helianthus annuus, and Nicotiana rustica were exposed for 20 s to high concentrations of CO2. CO2 uptake by the leaf, which was very fast, was measured as a transient increase in the concentration of oxygen. Rapid solubilization of CO2 in excess of that which is physically dissolved in aqueous phases is proposed to be caused by bicarbonate formation in the stroma of chloroplasts, which contain carbonic anhydrase. On this basis, pH values and bicarbonate accumulation in the chloroplast stroma were calculated. Buffer capacities were far higher than expected on the basis of known concentrations in the chloroplast stroma. Moreover, apparent buffer capacities increased with the time of exposure to high CO2, and they were higher when the measurements were performed in the light than in the dark. During prolonged exposure of leaves to 16% CO2, calculated bicarbonate concentrations in the chloroplast stroma exceeded 90 mM in the dark and 120 mM in the light. The observations are interpreted as indicating that under acid stress protons are rapidly exported from the chloroplasts in exchange for cations, which are imported. The data are discussed in terms of effective metabolic pH control by ion transport, first across the chloroplast envelope and, then, across the tonoplast of leaf mesophyll cells. The direct involvement of the vacuole in the regulation of the chloroplast pH in leaf cells is suggested.

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