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J Exp Bot. 2004 May;55(400):1255-65. Epub 2004 Apr 8.

Synchronization of metabolic processes in plants with Crassulacean acid metabolism.

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Environmental and Molecular Plant Physiology, School of Biology, King George VI Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.


In plants with Crassulacean acid metabolism, a diel separation of carboxylation processes mediated by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) and Rubisco optimizes photosynthetic performance and carbon gain in potentially limiting environments. This review considers the mechanisms that synchronize the supply and demand for carbon whilst maintaining photosynthetic plasticity over the 24 h CAM cycle. The circadian clock plays a central role in controlling many of the metabolic, transport and physiological components of CAM. The level of control exerted by the clock can range from transcriptional through to post-translational regulation, depending on the genes, proteins, and even plant species under consideration. A further layer of control is provided by metabolites, including organic acids and carbohydrates, which show substantial reciprocal fluctuations in content over the diel cycle. Mechanisms responsible for the sensing of metabolite contents are discussed, together with signalling requirements for the co-ordination of carbon fluxes. Evolutionary implications are considered in terms of how circadian and metabolic control of the CAM cycle may have been derived from C3 plants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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