Plant nitrate reductase (NR) produces nitric oxide (NO) when nitrite is provided as the substrate in the presence of NADH [H. Yamasaki and Y. Sakihama (2000) FEBS Lett. 468, 89-92]. Using a NR-dependent NO producing system, we investigated the effects of NO on the energy transduction system in plant mitochondria isolated from mung bean (Vigna radiata). Plant mitochondria are known to possess two respiratory electron transport pathways-the cytochrome and alternative pathways. When the alternative pathway was inhibited by n-propyl gallate, the addition of NR strongly suppressed respiratory O(2) consumption driven by the cytochrome pathway. In contrast, the alternative pathway measured in the presence of antimycin A was not affected by NO. The extent of the steady-state membrane potential (Deltapsi) generated by respiratory electron transport rapidly declined in response to NO production. The addition of bovine hemoglobin, a quencher of NO, resulted in the recovery of Deltapsi to the uninhibited level. Consistent with its inhibition of Deltapsi, NO produced by NR strongly suppressed ATP synthesis in the mitochondria. These results provide substantial evidence to confirm that the plant alternative pathway is resistant to NO and support the idea that the alternative pathway may lower respiration-dependent production of active oxygens under conditions where NO is overproduced.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.