Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 173–181

External HCO3 dehydration maintained by acid zones in the plasma membrane is an important component of the photosynthetic carbon uptake in Ruppia cirrhosa


DOI: 10.1023/A:1025809415048

Cite this article as:
Hellblom, F. & Axelsson, L. Photosynthesis Research (2003) 77: 173. doi:10.1023/A:1025809415048


Ruppia cirrhosa, a temperate seagrass growing in brackish water, featured a high capacity for HCO3 utilisation, which could operate over a wide pH range (from 7.5 up to 9.5) with maintained efficiency. Tris buffer inhibited this means of HCO3 utilisation in a competitive manner, while addition of acetazolamide, an inhibitor of extracellular carbonic anhydrase activity, caused a 40–50% inhibition. A mechanism involving periplasmic carbonic anhydrase-catalysed HCO3 dehydration in acid zones, followed by a (probably diffusive) transport of the formed CO2 across the plasma membrane was thus, at least partly, responsible for the HCO3 utilisation. This mechanism, which comprises a CO2-concentrating mechanism (CCM) associated with the plasma membrane, is thus shown for the first time in an aquatic angiosperm. Additional mechanisms involved in the Tris-sensitive HCO3 utilisation could be direct HCO3 uptake (e.g., in an H+/HCO3symport) or (more likely) non-catalysed HCO3 dehydration in the acid zones. Based on these results, and on earlier investigations on Zostera marina, a general model for analysis of HCO3 utilisation mechanisms of seagrasses is suggested. In this model, three `systems' for HCO3 utilisation are defined which are characterised (and can to some extent be quantified) by their capability to operate at high pH in combination with their response to acetazolamide and Tris. Some consequences of the fact that HCO3 utilisation and osmoregulation probably depend on the same energy source (ATP via H+-ATPase in the plasma membrane) are discussed.

acid zonesAZbuffercarbonic anhydraseCCMRuppia cirrhosaseagrass

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural SciencesSodertorn University CollegeHuddingeSweden
  2. 2.Kristineberg Marine Research StationFiskebäckskilSweden