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Plant Physiol. 1973 Nov;52(5):448-52.

Carbon dioxide metabolism in leaf epidermal tissue.

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Southern Piedmont Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Watkinsville, Georgia 30677.


A number of plant species were surveyed to obtain pure leaf epidermal tissue in quantity. Commelina communis L. and Tulipa gesnariana L. (tulip) were chosen for further work. Chlorophyll a/b ratios of epidermal tissues were 2.41 and 2.45 for C. communis and tulip, respectively. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase, ribulose-1,5-diphosphate carboxylase, malic enzyme, and NAD(+) and NADP(+) malate dehydrogenases were assayed with epidermal tissue and leaf tissue minus epidermal tissue. In both species, there was less ribulose 1,5-diphosphate than phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase activity in epidermal tissue whether expressed on a protein or chlorophyll basis whereas the reverse was true for leaf tissue minus epidermal tissue. In both species, malic enzyme activities were higher in epidermal tissue than in the remaining leaf tissue when expressed on a protein or chlorophyll basis. In both species, NAD(+) and NADP(+) malate dehydrogenase activities were higher in the epidermal tissue when expressed on a chlorophyll basis; however, on a protein basis, the converse was true. Microautoradiography of C. communis epidermis and histochemical tests for keto acids suggested that CO(2) fixation occurred predominantly in the guard cells. The significance and possible location of the enzymes are discussed in relation to guard cell metabolism.

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