Mitochondrial Functions in the Light and Significance to Carbon-Nitrogen Interactions

  • Per Gardeström
  • Abir U. Igamberdiev
  • A. S. Raghavendra
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 12)


Nitrogen assimilation involves the cooperation of several subcellular compartments. The mitochondria play key roles in both primary nitrogen assimilation and photorespiratory ammonia recycling. Mitochondrial functions in the light depend on the export of substrates from the chloroplast. One of these substrates is glycolate, which is converted to glycine in the peroxisomes. Oxidation of glycine, which produces ammonia and generates NADH, is the main activity of leaf mitochondria of C3 plants in the light. The products of photorespiratory glycine oxidation will have a pronounced influence on other mitochondrial activities. Chloroplasts also export triose phosphates, which in the cytosol are mainly utilized for sucrose synthesis. However, a portion of the triose phosphate is converted via glycolysis to substrates such as pyruvate, malate and oxaloacetate. It is argued that oxaloacetate may be the most important end product of glycolysis in the light. Regardless of the substrate entering mitochondria, citrate will be the first product in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Recent evidence indicates that the oxidation of substrates in the TCA cycle is not complete in the light. Limitations in isocitrate oxidation by increased mitochondrial NAD(P)H/NAD(P) ratios favor citrate export, and therefore deliver carbon skeletons to the rest of the cell for amino acid synthesis. Mitochondrial glycine oxidation can contribute to ATP formation for the cytosol, but other non-coupled pathways of electron transport also operate and may be more important in the light than in darkness. Photorespiratory and respiratory carbon fluxes in the light form a highly flexible system to balance the demands of energy (ATP) and reducing equivalents (NADH, NADPH) in different compartments. Thus, the function of leaf mitochondria in the light is not only to carry out oxidative phosphorylation, but also to redistribute metabolites, and to regulate the pH, redox and energy balances of the photosynthetic cell.


2-OG — 2-oxoglutarate AOS — active oxygen species AOX — alternative oxidase Asp — aspartate CoA — coenzyme A CS — citrate synthase F2,6BP — fructose-2,6-bisphosphate F6P — fructose-6-phosphate FBP — fructose-1,6-bisphosphate FBPase — fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase Fd — ferredoxin G3P — glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate G3PDH — glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase GDC — glycine decarboxylase GDH — glutamate dehydrogenase Glu — glutamate Gly — glycine GOGAT — glutamate synthase GS — glutamine synthetase ICDH — isocitrate dehydrogenase LEDR — light-enhanced dark respiration MDH — malate dehydrogenase ME — malic enzyme OAA — oxaloacetate PDC — pyruvate dehydrogenase complex PEP — phosphoenolpyruvate PEPc — phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase PEPCK — phospho-enolpyruvate carboxykinase PGA — 3-phosphoglyceric acid Pi — phosphate PK — pyruvate kinase RPP — reductive pentose phosphate (RPP pathway=Calvin cycle) Rubisco — ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase RuBP — ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate Ser — serine SHAM — salicylhydroxamic acid SHMT — serine hydroxymethyl transferase SOD — superoxide dismutase TCA — tricarboxylic acid Td — thioredoxin TP — triose phosphate 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Per Gardeström
    • 1
  • Abir U. Igamberdiev
    • 1
  • A. S. Raghavendra
    • 2
  1. 1.Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant PhysiologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia

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