13C nuclear magnetic resonance studies of malate and citrate synthesis and compartmentation in higher plant cells

Gout, E.; Bligny, R.; Pascal, N.; Douce, R.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 268(6): 3986-3992


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258
PMID: 8440690
Accession: 002280862

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The synthesis of malate and citrate by sycamore cells (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) perfused with KH(13)CO3 was analyzed using 13C NMR. To perform in vivo experiments, cells were compressed in a 25-mm tube and perfused with an arrangement enabling tight control of the circulating nutrient medium. An original method using paramagnetic Mn2+ that induced a complete loss of the vacuolar malate and citrate signals was developed to discriminate between cytoplasmic and vacuolar pools of malate and citrate. Our results indicated the following. (a) The accumulation of appreciable amounts of malate in sycamore cells required rather high (1 mM) concentrations of bicarbonate at all the pH values tested. (b) Malate was equally labeled at C-1 and C-4, suggesting that malate labeled at C-1 was produced by randomization of C-1 and C-4 by mitochondrial fumarase. Indeed, the separation of the intact organelles from the lysed protoplasts indicated that fumarase activity was essentially limited to the mitochondria. Similarly, citrate was equally enriched at C-1 and C-5 + C-6 carboxyls. (c) Malate appeared first in the cytoplasmic compartment; and when a threshold of cytoplasmic malate concentration was attained, malate molecules were expelled into the vacuole, where they accumulated. On the other hand, citrate accumulated steadily in the vacuole. Pulse-chase experiments demonstrated the central role played by the tonoplast in governing the vacuolar influx of citrate and the permanent exchange of malate between the cytoplasm and the vacuole.