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Plant Physiol. 2019 Aug 13. pii: pp.00877.2019. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00877. [Epub ahead of print]

AtNDB2 is the main external NADH dehydrogenase in mitochondria and is important for tolerance to environmental stress.

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Flinders University CITY: Adelaide STATE: south australia Australia [AU].
Flinders University CITY: Adelaide STATE: SA Australia [AU].
La Trobe University CITY: Bundoora STATE: VIC POSTAL_CODE: 3086 Australia [AU].
Flinders University CITY: Adelaide STATE: SA POSTAL_CODE: 5061 Australia [AU]
Flinders University CITY: Adelaide STATE: SA POSTAL_CODE: 5035 Australia [AU].


In addition to the classical electron transport pathway coupled to ATP synthesis, plant mitochondria have an alternative pathway that involves type II NAD(P)H dehydrogenases (ND) and alternative oxidase (AOX). This alternative pathway participates in thermogenesis in select organs of some species and is thought to help prevent cellular damage during exposure to environmental stress. Here, we investigated the function and role of one alternative path component, AtNDB2, using a transgenic approach in Arabidopsis thaliana. Disruption of AtNDB2 expression via T-DNA insertion led to a 90% decrease of external NADH oxidation in isolated mitochondria. Over-expression of AtNDB2 led to increased AtNDB2 protein abundance in mitochondria, but did not enhance external NADH oxidation significantly unless AtAOX1A was concomitantly over-expressed and activated, demonstrating a functional link between these enzymes. Plants lacking either AtAOX1A or AtNDB2 were more sensitive to combined drought and elevated light treatments, whereas plants overexpressing these components showed increased tolerance and capacity for post-stress recovery. We conclude that AtNDB2 is the predominant external NADH dehydrogenase in mitochondria and together with AtAOX1A forms a complete, functional, non-phosphorylating pathway of electron transport, whose operation enhances tolerance to environmental stress. This study demonstrates that at least one of the alternative NAD(P)H dehydrogenases, as well as AOX, are important for the stress response.

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