On the metabolic interactions of (photo)respiration

J Exp Bot. 2016 May;67(10):3003-14. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erw128. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


Given that photorespiration is inextricably linked to the process of photosynthesis by virtue of sharing the common first enzyme Rubisco, the photorespiratory pathway has been less subject to study in isolation than many other metabolic pathways. That said, despite often being described to be linked to reactions of ammonia assimilation, C1 metabolism and respiratory metabolism, the precise molecular mechanisms governing these linkages in land plants remain partially obscure. The application of broad metabolite profiling on mutants with altered levels of metabolic enzymes has facilitated the identification of common and distinct metabolic responses among them. Here we provide an update of the recent findings from such studies, focusing particularly on the interplay between photorespiration and the metabolic reactions of mitochondrial respiration. In order to do so we evaluated (i) changes in organic acids following environmental perturbation of metabolism, (ii) changes in organic acid levels in a wide range of photorespiratory mutants, (iii) changes in levels of photorespiratory metabolites in transgenic tomato lines deficient in the expression of enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. In addition, we estimated the rates of photorespiration in a complete set of tricarboxylic acid cycle transgenic tomato lines. Finally, we discuss insight concerning the interaction between photorespiration and other pathways that has been attained following the development of (13)CO2-based flux profiling methods.

Keywords: GABA shunt; metabolic regulation; mitochondrial metabolism; photorespiration; respiration; tricarboxylic acid cycle..

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Citric Acid Cycle / physiology
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / physiology
  • Metabolome / physiology
  • Photosynthesis* / physiology
  • Plants / metabolism*