Symbiotic leghemoglobins are crucial for nitrogen fixation in legume root nodules but not for general plant growth and development.
; ; et al
in Current Biology (2005), 15(6), 531-5
Hemoglobins are ubiquitous in nature and among the best-characterized proteins. Genetics has revealed crucial roles for human hemoglobins, but similar data are lacking for plants. Plants contain symbiotic ... [more ▼]
Hemoglobins are ubiquitous in nature and among the best-characterized proteins. Genetics has revealed crucial roles for human hemoglobins, but similar data are lacking for plants. Plants contain symbiotic and nonsymbiotic hemoglobins; the former are thought to be important for symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF). In legumes, SNF occurs in specialized organs, called nodules, which contain millions of nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, called bacteroids. The induction of nodule-specific plant genes, including those encoding symbiotic leghemoglobins (Lb), accompanies nodule development. Leghemoglobins accumulate to millimolar concentrations in the cytoplasm of infected plant cells prior to nitrogen fixation and are thought to buffer free oxygen in the nanomolar range, avoiding inactivation of oxygen-labile nitrogenase while maintaining high oxygen flux for respiration. Although widely accepted, this hypothesis has never been tested in planta. Using RNAi, we abolished symbiotic leghemoglobin synthesis in nodules of the model legume Lotus japonicus. This caused an increase in nodule free oxygen, a decrease in the ATP/ADP ratio, loss of bacterial nitrogenase protein, and absence of SNF. However, LbRNAi plants grew normally when fertilized with mineral nitrogen. These data indicate roles for leghemoglobins in oxygen transport and buffering and prove for the first time that plant hemoglobins are crucial for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 20 (0 ULg)
Phloem import and storage metabolism are highly coordinated by the low oxygen concentrations within developing wheat seeds.
; ; et al
in Plant Physiology (2004), 135(3), 1809-21
We studied the influence of the internal oxygen concentration in seeds of wheat (Triticum aestivum) on storage metabolism and its relation to phloem import of nutrients. Wheat seeds that were developing ... [more ▼]
We studied the influence of the internal oxygen concentration in seeds of wheat (Triticum aestivum) on storage metabolism and its relation to phloem import of nutrients. Wheat seeds that were developing at ambient oxygen (21%) were found to be hypoxic (2.1%). Altering the oxygen supply by decreasing or increasing the external oxygen concentration induced parallel changes in the internal oxygen tension. However, the decrease in internal concentration was proportionally less than the reduction in external oxygen. This indicates that decreasing the oxygen supply induces short-term adaptive responses to reduce oxygen consumption of the seeds. When external oxygen was decreased to 8%, internal oxygen decreased to approximately 0.5% leading to a decrease in energy production via respiration. Conversely, increasing the external oxygen concentration above ambient levels increased the oxygen content as well as the energy status of the seeds, indicating that under normal conditions the oxygen supply is strongly limiting for energy metabolism in developing wheat seeds. The intermediate metabolites of seed storage metabolism were not substantially affected when oxygen was either increased or decreased. However, at subambient external oxygen concentrations (8%) the metabolic flux of carbon into starch and protein, measured by injecting (14)C-Suc into the seeds, was reduced by 17% and 32%, respectively, whereas no significant effect was observed at superambient (40%) oxygen. The observed decrease in biosynthetic fluxes to storage compounds is suggested to be part of an adaptive response to reduce energy consumption preventing excessive oxygen consumption when oxygen supply is limited. Phloem transport toward ears exposed to low (8%) oxygen was significantly reduced within 1 h, whereas exposing ears to elevated oxygen (40%) had no significant effect. This contrasts with the situation where the distribution of assimilates has been modified by removing the lower source leaves from the plant, resulting in less assimilates transported to the ear in favor of transport to the lower parts of the plant. Under these conditions, with two strongly competing sinks, elevated oxygen (40%) did lead to a strong increase in phloem transport to the ear. The results show that sink metabolism is affected by the prevailing low oxygen concentrations in developing wheat seeds, determining the import rate of assimilates via the phloem. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 19 (0 ULg)
Lipid storage metabolism is limited by the prevailing low oxygen concentrations within developing seeds of oilseed rape.
Vigeolas, Hélène ; ; et al
in Plant Physiology (2003), 133(4), 2048-60
The aim of this study was to investigate whether endogenous restrictions in oxygen supply are limiting for storage metabolism in developing oilseed rape (Brassica napus) seeds. Siliques were studied 30 d ... [more ▼]
The aim of this study was to investigate whether endogenous restrictions in oxygen supply are limiting for storage metabolism in developing oilseed rape (Brassica napus) seeds. Siliques were studied 30 d after flowering, when rapid lipid accumulation is occurring in the seeds. (a). By using microsensors, oxygen concentrations were measured within seeds and in the silique space between seeds. At ambient external oxygen (21% [v/v]) in the light, oxygen fell to 17% (v/v) between and 0.8% (v/v) within seeds. A step-wise reduction of the external oxygen concentration led within 2 h to a further decrease of internal oxygen concentrations, and a step-wise increase of the external oxygen concentration up to 60% (v/v) resulted in an increase in internal oxygen that rose to 30% (v/v) between and 8% (v/v) within seeds. (b). The increase in oxygen levels in the seeds was accompanied by a progressive increase in the levels of ATP, UTP, and the ATP to ADP and UTP to UDP ratios over the entire range from 0% to 60% (v/v) external oxygen. (c). To investigate metabolic fluxes in planta, 14C-sucrose was injected into seeds, which remained otherwise intact within their siliques. The increase in oxygen in the seeds was accompanied by a progressive increase in the rate of lipid (including triacylglycerol), protein and cell wall synthesis, and an increase in glycolytic flux over a range from sub- to superambient oxygen concentrations. In contrast to lipid synthesis, starch synthesis was not significantly increased at superambient oxygen levels. The levels of fermentation products such as lactate and glycerol-3P increased only at very low (0%-4% [v/v]) external oxygen concentrations. (d). When 14C-acetate or 14C-acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) was injected into seeds, label incorporation into triacylglycerol progressively increased over the whole range of external oxygen concentrations from 0% to 60% (v/v). (e). Stimulation of lipid synthesis was accompanied by an increase in sugar levels and a decrease in the levels of hexose-phosphates and acetyl-CoA, indicating sucrose unloading and the use of acetyl-CoA as possible regulatory sites. (f). Increased lipid synthesis was also accompanied by an increase in the maximal activities of invertase and diacylglycerol acyltransferase. (g). The developmental shift from starch to lipid storage between 15 and 45 d after flowering was accompanied by an increase in the seed energy state. (h). The results show that at ambient oxygen levels, the oxygen supply is strongly limiting for energy metabolism and biosynthetic fluxes in growing rape seeds, affecting lipid synthesis more strongly than starch synthesis. The underlying mechanisms and implications for strategies to increase yield and storage product composition in oilseed crops are discussed. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 19 (0 ULg)