Alternative Mitochondrial Electron Transport Proteins in Higher Plants

  • Patrick M. Finnegan
  • Kathleen L. Soole
  • Ann L. Umbach
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 17)


The so-called “alternative” electron transport protems, the rotenone-insensitive NAD(P)H dehydrogenases and the alternative oxidase, distinguish the inner membrane of plant mitochondria from its animal counterpart. These proteins provide plant tissues possessing them with the potential to modulate the efficiency with which energy is conserved by respiratory electron transport. The activities associated with these enzymes have intrigued scientists from at least 1778, when Lamarck commented on the thermogenesis displayed by some highly specialized flowers, a process in which alternative electron transport proteins are now known to have an important role. In more recent times, many studies have been undertaken to determine the nature of the alternative electron transport proteins and to understand their role in plant physiology. We discuss, within a historical perspective, our current understanding of the biochemistry and molecular biology of the enzymes, including their biochemical regulation. We also discuss the possible roles of the enzymes in the normal and stress physiology of plants, and the physiological interactions of the enzymes with each other and the classical respiratory pathway.


Alternative Oxidase Plant Mitochondrion Cytochrome Pathway Alternative Pathway Activity Alternative Oxidase Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



alternative oxidase


crassulacean acid metabolism


cytochrome c oxidase


di-iron carboxylate quinol oxidase




electron paramagnetic resonance


expressed sequence tag


electron Transport chain


carbonyl Cyanide p-trifluroomethoxy-phenylhydrazone


methane monooxygenase




NAD(P)H dehydrogenase—external


NAD(P)H dehydrogenase—internal




programmed cell death


CMB: p-chloromercuribenzoate


inorganic phosphate


plastid terminal oxidase


plant uncoupling mitochondrial protein


R2 subunit, ribonucleotide reductase


reactive oxygen species


salicylic acid


salicylhydroxamic acid


submitochondrial particles


tobacco mosaic virus


uncoupling protein






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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick M. Finnegan
    • 1
  • Kathleen L. Soole
    • 2
  • Ann L. Umbach
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Plant BiologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.DCMB Group, Biology DepartmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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