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Influence of mitochondrial beta-oxidation on early pea seedling development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christine Masterson, Dr Cliff Wood


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This work investigates the role of mitochondrial beta-oxidation in early pea (Pisum sativum) seedling development using the epoxy fatty acid etomoxir. Etomoxir was used to effect selective chemical intervention in this biological system. The effect of this intervention on chloroplast structure and membrane composition was determined by transmission electron microscopy and lipidomic analysis by electrospray ionization (ESI) tandem mass spectrometry. beta-oxidation was assayed radiochemically using C-14-palmitic acid. Chlorophyll and starch were assayed spectrophotometrically and lipid content determined by soxhlet extraction. Following emergence of the plumule, there was a switch from utilization of starch to lipid by the cotyledons. Etomoxir had a potent inhibitory effect on mitochondrial but not on peroxisomal beta-oxidation. Seedlings grown hydroponically in 50 mu m etomoxir in the light were phenotypically very different from water-grown controls. Chloroplast structure and fatty acid compositions were altered, etomoxir-treated plants containing more saturated fatty acids in their chloroplast lipids than controls. Etomoxir had no observable phenotypic effect on dark grown seedlings. When etiolated seedlings were exposed to light for 48 h, carnitine (on which mitochondrial beta-oxidation depends) stimulated chlorophyll synthesis whilst etomoxir reduced chlorophyll synthesis. The development of newly emergent embryos into independent autotrophic seedlings is dependent upon mitochondrial beta-oxidation in the cotyledons. New Phytologist (2009) 181: 832-842doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02717.x.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Masterson C, Wood C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Phytologist

Year: 2009

Volume: 181

Issue: 4

Pages: 832-842

Print publication date: 01/01/2009

ISSN (print): 0028-646X

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8137

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02717.x


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Funder referenceFunder name
Kansas State University
Royal Society
State of Kansas through the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation
EPS-0236913National Science Foundation