The Arabidopsis E1 subunit of the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex modulates plant growth and seed production

  • Jorge A. Condori-Apfata
  • Willian Batista-Silva
  • David Barbosa Medeiros
  • Jonas Rafael Vargas
  • Luiz Mário Lopes Valente
  • Elmien Heyneke
  • Jorge Luis Pérez-Diaz
  • Alisdair R. Fernie
  • Wagner L. Araújo
  • Adriano Nunes-NesiEmail author

Key message

Isoforms of 2-OGDH E1 subunit are not functionally redundant in plant growth and development of A. thaliana.


The tricarboxylic acid cycle enzyme 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (2-OGDH) converts 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG) to succinyl-CoA concomitant with the reduction of NAD+. 2-OGDH has an essential role in plant metabolism, being both a limiting step during mitochondrial respiration as well as a key player in carbon–nitrogen interactions. In Arabidopsis thaliana two genes encode for E1 subunit of 2-OGDH but the physiological roles of each isoform remain unknown. Thus, in the present study we isolated Arabidopsis T-DNA insertion knockout mutant lines for each of the genes encoding the E1 subunit of 2-OGDH enzyme. All mutant plants exhibited substantial reduction in both respiration and CO2 assimilation rates. Furthermore, mutant lines exhibited reduced levels of chlorophylls and nitrate, increased levels of sucrose, malate and fumarate and minor changes in total protein and starch levels in leaves. Despite the similar metabolic phenotypes for the two E1 isoforms the reduction in the expression of each gene culminated in different responses in terms of plant growth and seed production indicating distinct roles for each isoform. Collectively, our results demonstrated the importance of the E1 subunit of 2-OGDH in both autotrophic and heterotrophic tissues and suggest that the two E1 isoforms are not functionally redundant in terms of plant growth in A. thaliana.


2-oxoglutarate Carbon metabolism Nitrogen metabolism Respiration Seedlings TCA cycle 



This work was supported by funding from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) [Grant 306818/2016-7 to ANN; Grant 402511/2016-6 to WLA], the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) [Grant– CEX - APQ-02985-14] and the Max Planck Society to ANN and WLA. Research fellowships granted by CNPq to ANN and WLA and scholarship provided by FAPEMIG to DBM are also gratefully acknowledged. J.C.A. wish to thank also the research fellowship granted by Programa de Estudantes-Convênio de Pós-Graduação (CNPq, PEC-PG).

Author contributions

JACA screened and genotyped the mutant lines and performed the cloning and plant transformation under supervision of AN-N; JACA also performed all experiments; WBS, DBM, JRV, LMLV and JLPD performed complementary experiments and analysis; JACA and ANN designed the experiments and analyzed the data; ANN and WLA conceived the project; JACA, WBS and ANN wrote the article with contributions of all the authors; ARF, EH and WLA complemented the writing.

Supplementary material

11103_2019_900_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (610 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 609 kb)
11103_2019_900_MOESM2_ESM.docx (45 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge A. Condori-Apfata
    • 1
  • Willian Batista-Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Barbosa Medeiros
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonas Rafael Vargas
    • 1
  • Luiz Mário Lopes Valente
    • 1
  • Elmien Heyneke
    • 3
  • Jorge Luis Pérez-Diaz
    • 1
  • Alisdair R. Fernie
    • 3
  • Wagner L. Araújo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adriano Nunes-Nesi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.Max-Planck Partner Group at the Departamento de Biologia VegetalUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant PhysiologyPotsdam GolmGermany

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