Electron Partitioning between the Cytochrome and Alternative Pathways in Plant Mitochondria.
The contribution of the cyanide-resistant, alternative pathway to plant mitochondrial electron transport has been studied using a modified aqueous phase on-line mass spectrometry-gas chromatography system. This technique permits direct measurement of the partitioning of electrons between the cytochrome and alternative pathways in the absence of added inhibitors. We demonstrate that in mitochondria isolated from soybean (Glycine max L. cv Ransom) cotyledons, the alternative pathway contributes significantly to oxygen uptake under state 4 conditions, when succinate is used as a substrate. However, when NADH is the substrate, addition of pyruvate, an allosteric activator of the alternative pathway, is required to achieve the same level of alternative pathway activity. Under state 3 conditions, when the reduction state of the ubiquinone pool is low, the addition of pyruvate allows the alternative pathway to compete with the cytochrome pathway for electrons from the ubiquinone pool when the cytochrome pathway is not saturated. These results provide direct experimental verification of the kinetics consequences of pyruvate addition on the partitioning of electron flow between the two respiratory pathways. This distribution of electrons between the two unsaturated pathways could not be measured using conventional oxygen electrode methods and illustrates a clear advantage of the mass spectrometry technique. These results have significant ramifications for studies of plant respiration using the oxygen electrode, particularly those studies involving intact tissues.
Ribas-Carbo, M; Berry, JA; Yakir, D; Giles, L; Robinson, SA; Lennon, AM; Siedow, JN
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