, Volume 202, Issue 2, pp 171-178

First online:

Control of photosynthesis in barley plants with reduced activities of glycine decarboxylase

  • Astrid WinglerAffiliated withRobert Hill Institute and Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
  • , Peter J. LeaAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Lancaster, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK
  • , Richard C. LeegoodAffiliated withRobert Hill Institute and Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK

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A mutant (LaPr 87/30) of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) deficient in glycine decarboxylase (GDC; EC was crossed with wild-type plants to generate heterozygous plants with reduced GDC activities. Plants of the F2 generation were grown in air and analysed for reductions in GDC proteins and GDC activity. The leaves of heterozygous plants contained reduced amounts of H-protein, and when the content of H-protein was lower than 60% of the wild-type, the P-protein was also reduced. The contents of the other two proteins of the GDC complex, T-protein and L-protein were not affected. Glycine decarboxylase activities, measured as the decarboxylation of [1-14C]glycine by intact mitochondria released from protoplasts, were between 47% and 63% of the wild-type activity in heterozygous plants and between 86% and 100% in plants with normal contents of H-protein. The enzyme activity was linearly correlated with the relative content of H-protein. Plants with reduced GDC activities developed normally and did not show major pleiotropic effects. In air, the reduction in GDC activity had no effect on the leaf metabolite content or photosynthesis, but under conditions of enhanced photorespiration (low CO2 and high light), glycine accumulated and the rates of photosynthesis decreased compared to the wild-type. The accumulation of glycine did not lead to a depletion of amino donors or to the accumulation of glyoxylate. The lower rates of photosynthesis were probably caused by an impaired recycling of carbon in the photorespiratory pathway. It is concluded that GDC has no control over CO2 assimilation under normal growth conditions, but appreciable control by GDC becomes apparent under conditions leading to higher rates of photorespiration.

Key words: Hordeum (mutants) Glycine decarboxylase Glyoxylate Mutant (barley) Photosynthesis Photorespiration