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Plant Physiol. 2013 Jul;162(3):1246-65. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.212258. Epub 2013 May 14.

Diurnal changes of polysome loading track sucrose content in the rosette of wild-type arabidopsis and the starchless pgm mutant.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany.


Growth is driven by newly fixed carbon in the light, but at night it depends on reserves, like starch, that are laid down in the light. Unless plants coordinate their growth with diurnal changes in the carbon supply, they will experience acute carbon starvation during the night. Protein synthesis represents a major component of cellular growth. Polysome loading was investigated during the diurnal cycle, an extended night, and low CO2 in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Columbia (Col-0) and in the starchless phosphoglucomutase (pgm) mutant. In Col-0, polysome loading was 60% to 70% in the light, 40% to 45% for much of the night, and less than 20% in an extended night, while in pgm, it fell to less than 25% early in the night. Quantification of ribosomal RNA species using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that polysome loading remained high for much of the night in the cytosol, was strongly light dependent in the plastid, and was always high in mitochondria. The rosette sucrose content correlated with overall and with cytosolic polysome loading. Ribosome abundance did not show significant diurnal changes. However, compared with Col-0, pgm had decreased and increased abundance of plastidic and mitochondrial ribosomes, respectively. Incorporation of label from (13)CO2 into protein confirmed that protein synthesis continues at a diminished rate in the dark. Modeling revealed that a decrease in polysome loading at night is required to balance protein synthesis with the availability of carbon from starch breakdown. Costs are also reduced by using amino acids that accumulated in the previous light period. These results uncover a tight coordination of protein synthesis with the momentary supply of carbon.

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