Photosynthesis in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-type C4 plants: activity and role of mitochondria in bundle sheath cells

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1988 Mar;261(2):357-67. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(88)90351-7.


Mitochondria from bundle sheath cells of the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-type C4 species Urochloa panicoides were shown to have metabolic properties consistent with a role in C4 photosynthesis predicted from earlier studies. The rate of O2 uptake in response to added malate plus ADP was at least five times the activity observed with NADH, glycine, or succinate. With malate plus ADP the O2 uptake rate averaged about 150 nmol O2 min-1 mg-1 protein, equivalent to about 0.6 mumol min-1 mg-1 of extracted chlorophyll. About half of this activity was apparently phosphorylation-linked with ADP/O2 ratios of about 4. Studies with electron transport inhibitors suggested that about 65% of this malate oxidation is cytochrome oxidase-terminated with a minor component mediated via the alternative oxidase. These mitochondria supported rapid rates of pyruvate production from malate and this activity was also stimulated by ADP but blocked by inhibitors of electron transport. Adding oxaloacetate increased pyruvate production but inhibited O2 uptake. The results were consistent with the notion that in this subgroup of C4 species mitochondrial-located NAD malic enzyme contributes substantially to total C4 acid decarboxylation. This enzyme is apparently also the primary source of NADH necessary to generate the ATP required for phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-mediated oxaloacetate decarboxylation.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Decarboxylation
  • Electron Transport
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • NAD / metabolism
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (GTP) / metabolism*
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Plants / enzymology*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Pyruvates / metabolism


  • Malates
  • Pyruvates
  • NAD
  • NADP
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Carbon
  • malic acid
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (GTP)