, Volume 191, Issue 4, pp 507–514

Immunocytochemical localization of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and photosynthetic gas-exchange characteristics in ears of Triticum durum Desf.

  • José L. Araus
  • Jordi Bort
  • R. Harold Brown
  • Carole L. Bassett
  • Nuria Cortadellas

DOI: 10.1007/BF00195752

Cite this article as:
Araus, J.L., Bort, J., Brown, R.H. et al. Planta (1993) 191: 507. doi:10.1007/BF00195752


The presence and distribution of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase) in the glumes and immature grains of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) were studied by electron-microscopical immunolabeling of PEPCase with polyclonal antibodies followed by protein A-gold. Plants were grown under mediterranean field conditions and samples were obtained two weeks after anthesis. In the kernels, high gold label was associated with the unstained areas of the protein bodies of aleurone cells, whereas labeling in the cytoplasm and chloroplasts of the pericarp was slight, although significantly above the background. In the glumes, high gold label was only located in cytoplasmic granules (vesicles) of the mesophyll cells, although labeling in the cytoplasm and chloroplasts was also significantly above the background. These observations in immature kernels and glumes are in accordance with the anaplerotic role of this enzyme, as evidenced in C3 plants. Measurements of apparent photosynthesis and its O2 dependence and CO2 compensation concentration were made on ears and flag leaves of durum wheat. In addition, an analog of phosphoenolpyruvate, 3,3-dichloro-2-dihydroxy-phosphinoylmethyl-2-propenoate, was used to inhibit PEPCase and, thereby, to assess the contribution of the PEPCase to photosynthesis in detached ears. There was no effect of the inhibitor on the apparent photosynthesis of ears. Whereas inhibition of apparent photosynthesis by 210 mL · L−1 O2 in flag leaves was typical of C3 species, inhibition in ears was even greater. The CO2 compensation concentrations in different ear parts were similar to or higher than in flag leaves and the O2 dependence was also comparable (about 70%). Therefore, gas-exchange data give further support to the assumption that a C4 cycle is absent or limited to very low rates in ears of durum wheat.

Key words

Ear bract Kernel Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (immunolocalization) Photosynthesis Triticum (photosynthesis) 

Abbreviations and Symbol


apparent photosynthesis


bovine serum albumin




phosphate-buffered saline




PEP carboxylase


CO2 compensation concentration

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • José L. Araus
    • 1
  • Jordi Bort
    • 1
  • R. Harold Brown
    • 2
  • Carole L. Bassett
    • 3
  • Nuria Cortadellas
    • 4
  1. 1.Unitat de Fisiologia Vegetal, Facultat de BiologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARSRichard Russell Research CenterAthensUSA
  4. 4.Servei de Microscopia Electronica de la Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain