Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Plant Physiol. (1989) 90, 330-337


Copyright American Society of Plant Biologists. Used by permission.


Whole leaf and mesophyll cell concentrations of pyruvate, phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), ATP, and ADP were determined in Zea mays during the reversible light activation of pyruvate, orthophosphate dikinase in vivo. Mesophyll cell levels of the four metabolites were estimated by extrapolation from values in freeze-quenched leaf samples that were fractionated by differential filtration through nylon mesh nets (adapted from M Stitt, HW Heldt [1985] Planta 164: 179-188). During the 3 minutes required for complete light activation of dikinase, pyruvate levels in the mesophyll cell decreased (from 166 ± 15 to 64 ± 10 nanomoles per milligram of chlorophyll [nmol/mg Chi]) while PEP levels increased (from 31 ± 4 to 68 ± 4 nmol/mg Chi, with a transient burst of 133 ± 16 nmol/mg Chi at 1 minute). Mesophyll cell levels of ATP increased (from 22 ± 4 to 48 ± 3 nmol/mg Chi) and ADP levels decreased (from 16 ± 4 to 7 ± 6 nmol/mg Chl) during the first minute of illumination. Upon darkening of the leaf and inactivation of dikinase, pyruvate levels initially increased in the mesophyll (from 160 ± 30 to a maximum of 625 ± 40 nmol/ mg Chi), and then slowly decreased to about the initial value in the light over an hour. PEP levels dropped (from 176 ± 5 to 47 ± 3 nmol/mg Chi) in the first 3 minutes and remained low for the remainder of the dark period. Mesophyll levels of ATP and ADP rapidly decreased and increased, respectively, about twofold upon darkening. The trends observed for these metabolite levels in the mesophyll cell during the light/dark regulation of pyruvate, orthophosphate dikinase activity suggest that pyruvate and PEP do not play a major role in vivo in regulating the extent of light activation (dephosphorylation) or dark inactivation (ADP-dependent threonyl phosphorylation) of dikinase by its bifunctional regulatory protein. While the changes in ADP levels appear qualitatively consistent with a regulatory role for this metabolite in the light activation and dark inactivation of dikinase, they are not of a sufficient magnitude to account completely for the tenfold change in enzyme activity observed in vivo.