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Modulation of the activity of phosphoenolypyruvate carboxylase during potassium-induced swelling of guard-cell protoplasts of Vicia faba L. after light and dark treatments


Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase; EC activity was found to be modulated by light and darkness when measured in the presence of K+, which had been added to induce swelling of guard-cell protoplasts (GCPs) from Vicia faba L., whereas no modulation was detected in the absence of K+ (PEPcase activity remained constant at 1.5±0.15 pmol PEP metabolized · GCP−1 ·h−1; subsequently, pmol GCP−1 ·h−1 will be used). The activity of PEPCase increased by 100% (from 1.5 to 3 pmol·protoplast−1·h−1) in darkness and by 200% (from 1.7 to 5 pmol·protoplast−1· h−1) in light and oscillations in activity of these magnitudes were repeated at intervals of 2 min (dark) and 2.5 min (light) for a period of 10 min during K+-induced increase in the volume of GCPs. The oscillations were reflected in changes in malate-pool sizes determined in plastids, mitochondria and the supernatant fraction (consisting of the cytosol and the vacuole). Malate probably functioned as a mitochondrial substrate, thus supplying ATP for K+ uptake and the swelling of the protoplasts. On the basis of the present paper and previous results (H. Schnabl and B. Michalke 1988, Life Sci. Adv. Plant Physiol. 7, 203–207) involving adenine nucleotidepool sizes in fractionated GCPs, a model is proposed to explain the cause-effect relationship between K+, PEPCase, the cytosolic and mitochondrial malate levels and ATP levels during the K+-induced increase of GCP volume.

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dtguard-cell protoplast




PEP carboxylase


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Correspondence to Heide Schnabl.

Additional information

The authors thank Professor Hermann Schnabl, University of Stuttgart (FRG), for his assistance in applying the graph theory analysis. This work was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to H.S.

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Michalke, B., Schnabl, H. Modulation of the activity of phosphoenolypyruvate carboxylase during potassium-induced swelling of guard-cell protoplasts of Vicia faba L. after light and dark treatments. Planta 180, 188–193 (1990).

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Key words

  • Guard cell protoplast
  • Malate Phospho
  • enolpyruvate caboxylase (guard cell)
  • Vicia (guard cell protoplast)