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Plant Physiol. 1992 Sep;100(1):115-9.

Lower growth temperature increases alternative pathway capacity and alternative oxidase protein in tobacco.

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Michigan State University Department of Energy, East Lansing, Michigan 48824.


Suspension cells of NT1 tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv bright yellow) have been used to study the effect of growth temperature on the CN-resistant, salicylhydroxamic acid-sensitive alternative pathway of respiration. Mitochondria isolated from cells maintained at 30 degrees C had a low capacity to oxidize succinate via the alternative pathway, whereas mitochondria isolated from cells 24 h after transfer to 18 degrees C displayed, on average, a 5-fold increase in this capacity (from 7 to 32 nanoatoms oxygen per milligram protein per minute). This represented an increase in alternative pathway capacity from 18 to 45% of the total capacity of electron transport. This increased capacity was lost upon transfer of cells back to 30 degrees C. A monoclonal antibody to the terminal oxidase of the alternative pathway (the alternative oxidase) from Sauromatum guttatum (T.E. Elthon, R.L. Nickels, L. McIntosh [1989] Plant Physiology 89: 1311-1317) recognized a 35-kilodalton mitochondrial protein in tobacco. There was an excellent correlation between the capacity of the alternative path in isolated tobacco mitochondria and the levels of this 35-kilodalton alternative oxidase protein. Cycloheximide could inhibit both the increased level of the 35-kilodalton alternative oxidase protein and the increased alternative pathway capacity normally seen upon transfer to 18 degrees C. We conclude that transfer of tobacco cells to the lower temperature increases the capacity of the alternative pathway due, at least in part, to de novo synthesis of the 35-kilodalton alternative oxidase protein.

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