Photosynthesis Research

, 66:199 | Cite as

A mathematical model of C4 photosynthesis: The mechanism of concentrating CO2 in NADP-malic enzyme type species

  • Agu Laisk
  • Gerald E. Edwards


A computer model comprising light reactions in PS II and PS I, electron-proton transport reactions in mesophyll and bundle sheath chloroplasts, all enzymatic reactions and most of the known regulatory functions of NADP-ME type C4 photosynthesis has been developed as a system of differential budget equations for intermediate compounds. Rate-equations were designed on principles of multisubstrate-multiproduct enzyme kinetics. Some of the 275 constants needed (ΔG0′ and K m values) were available from literature and others (V m) were estimated from reported rates and pool sizes. The model provided good simulations for rates of photosynthesis and pool sizes of intermediates under varying light, CO2 and O2. A basic novelty of the model is coupling of NADPH production via NADP-ME with ATP production and regulation of the C3 cycle in bundle sheath chloroplasts. The functional range of the ATP/NADPH ratio in bundle sheath chloroplasts extends from 1.5 to 2.1, being energetically most efficient around 2. In the presence of such stoichiometry, the CO2 concentrating function can be explained on the basis of two processes: (a) extra ATP consumption for starch and protein synthesis in bundle sheath leads to a faster NADPH and CO2 import compared with CO2 fixation in bundle sheath, and (b) the residual photorespiratory activity consumes RuBP by oxygenation, NADPH and ATP and causes the imported CO2 to accumulate in bundle sheath cells. As a wider application, the model may be used for predicting results of genetic engineering of plants.

C4 photosynthesis modeling 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tartu Ülikooli Molekulaar- ja Rakubioloogia InstituutTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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