Redox regulation of NADP-malate dehydrogenase is vital for land plants under fluctuating light environment

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 9;118(6):e2016903118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2016903118.


Many enzymes involved in photosynthesis possess highly conserved cysteine residues that serve as redox switches in chloroplasts. These redox switches function to activate or deactivate enzymes during light-dark transitions and have the function of fine-tuning their activities according to the intensity of light. Accordingly, many studies on chloroplast redox regulation have been conducted under the hypothesis that "fine regulation of the activities of these enzymes is crucial for efficient photosynthesis." However, the impact of the regulatory system on plant metabolism is still unclear. To test this hypothesis, we here studied the impact of the ablation of a redox switch in chloroplast NADP-malate dehydrogenase (MDH). By genome editing, we generated a mutant plant whose MDH lacks one of its redox switches and is active even in dark conditions. Although NADPH consumption by MDH in the dark is expected to be harmful to plant growth, the mutant line did not show any phenotypic differences under standard long-day conditions. In contrast, the mutant line showed severe growth retardation under short-day or fluctuating light conditions. These results indicate that thiol-switch redox regulation of MDH activity is crucial for maintaining NADPH homeostasis in chloroplasts under these conditions.

Keywords: NADP-malate dehydrogenase; chloroplast; genome editing; redox regulation; thioredoxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / genetics*
  • Cysteine / genetics
  • Embryophyta / genetics
  • Embryophyta / growth & development
  • Light
  • Malate Dehydrogenase (NADP+) / genetics*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Photosynthesis / genetics*
  • Thioredoxins / genetics*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Thioredoxins
  • Malate Dehydrogenase (NADP+)
  • Cysteine