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Inter- and intracellular distribution of amino acids and other metabolites in maize (Zea mays L.) leaves


In illuminated maize (Zea mays L.) leaves, the distribution of triose phosphates, 3-phosphoglycerate, malate and various amino acids between the chloroplastic and the extrachloroplastic compartments of mesophyll and bundle-sheath cells, and the total vacuolar fraction of the leaves, was determined by a combination of previously published methods, for separating mesophyll from bundle-sheath material, and for nonaqueous subcellular fractionation. The results show that the triose phosphate/3-phosphoglycerate ratio in the extrachloroplastic fraction of the mesophyll cells is about 20-fold higher than in the bundle-sheath cells, which is in accordance with a triose phosphate/phosphoglycerate shuttle postulated previously. Whereas the vacuolar compartment was shown to contain most of the cellular malate, amino acids were found to be almost absent from this compartment. The amino-acid pattern in the extrachloroplastic fraction of the bundle-sheath cells largely resembled the pattern in whole leaves. These results show that for future studies the analysis of amino-acid contents in whole maize leaves can be used as a measure for the amino-acid levels in the cytosol of bundle-sheath cells.

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bundle sheath






malic enzyme


malate dehydrogenase




phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase




triose phosphate


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This work was supported by the Bundesminister für Forschung und Technologie.

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Weiner, H., Heldt, H.W. Inter- and intracellular distribution of amino acids and other metabolites in maize (Zea mays L.) leaves. Planta 187, 242–246 (1992).

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Key words

  • Amino acid (inter-, intracellular distribution)
  • Leaf (metabolite distribution)
  • Photosynthesis (metabolites)
  • Zea (metabolite distribution)