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Plant Physiol. 1984 Feb;74(2):424-9.

Guard Cell Starch Biosynthesis Regulated by Effectors of ADP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase.

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  • 1Biology Unit 1, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306.


ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase catalyzes the regulated step of starch bioynthesis in mesophyll chloroplasts. This enzyme is activated by a high ratio of the concentrations of 3-P-glycerate to inorganic phosphate (Pi) in light. In contrast, starch in guard cell chloroplasts is degraded when stomata open, which usually occurs in light. We have investigated the biochemical causes for this contrasting phenomenon.Vicia faba L. leaflets were sampled in darkness and after various periods of illumination. The samples were quick-frozen and freeze-dried. Guard cells and other cells were dissected out, weighed, and assayed for ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase activity, 3-P-glycerate, and Pi. In the pyrophosphorolytic direction, ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase specific activity in guard cells was 2.7 moles per kilogram protein per hour, which was comparable to the values obtained for palisade and spongy cells. The specific activity in epidermal cells was 4-fold lower. Under our assay conditions, the guard cell enzyme activity was 5-fold higher in the presence of 3-P-glycerate and 5-fold lower with Pi (i.e. similar to the results obtained with extracts of fresh leaflet). During three minutes of illumination, 3-P-glycerate concentration in palisade cells increased 2.5-fold to 10 millimoles per kilogram dry mass. The concentration of 3-P-glycerate in guard cells was 20-fold lower and unaffected by illumination. The concentration of Pi was approximately 17 millimoles per kilogram dry mass in palisade cells, but was 10-fold higher in guard cells. These overall cellular Pi concentrations were unaffected by illumination. We conclude that starch biosynthesis in guard cells is not activated by light because of the low and constant 3-P-glycerate concentration there. We interpret this last to be a consequence of the absence of the photosynthetic carbon reduction pathway in chloroplasts of these cells.

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