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Mol Syst Biol. 2009;5:314. doi: 10.1038/msb.2009.68. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Ribosome and transcript copy numbers, polysome occupancy and enzyme dynamics in Arabidopsis.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Muehlenberg 1, Potsdam-Golm, Germany.


Plants are exposed to continual changes in the environment. The daily alternation between light and darkness results in massive recurring changes in the carbon budget, and leads to widespread changes in transcript levels. These diurnal changes are superimposed on slower changes in the environment. Quantitative molecular information about the numbers of ribosomes, of transcripts for 35 enzymes in central metabolism and their loading into polysomes is used to estimate translation rates in Arabidopsis rosettes, and explore the consequences for important sub-processes in plant growth. Translation rates for individual enzyme are compared with their abundance in the rosette to predict which enzymes are subject to rapid turnover every day, and which are synthesized at rates that would allow only slow adjustments to sustained changes of the environment, or resemble those needed to support the observed rate of growth. Global translation rates are used to estimate the energy costs of protein synthesis and relate them to the plant carbon budget, in particular the rates of starch degradation and respiration at night.

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