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A CAM- and starch-deficient mutant of the facultative CAM species Mesembryanthemum crystallinum reconciles sink demands by repartitioning carbon during acclimation to salinity

Lookup NU author(s): Muhammad Haider, Emeritus Professor Jerry Barnes, Emerita Professor Anne Borland



In the halophytic species Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, the induction of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) by salinity requires a substantial investment of resources in storage carbohydrates to provide substrate for nocturnal CO2 uptake. Acclimation to salinity also requires the synthesis and accumulation of cyclitols as compatible solutes, maintenance of root respiration, and nitrate assimilation. This study assessed the hierarchy and coordination of sinks for carbohydrate in leaves and roots during acclimation to salinity in M. crystallinum. By comparing wild type and a CAM-/starch-deficient mutant of this species, it was sought to determine if other metabolic sinks could compensate for a curtailment in CAM and enable acclimation to salinity. Under salinity, CAM deficiency reduced 24 h photosynthetic carbon gain by >50%. Cyclitols were accumulated to comparable levels in leaves and roots of both the wild type and mutant, but represented only 5% of 24 h carbon balance. Dark respiration of leaves and roots was a stronger sink for carbohydrate in the mutant compared with the wild type and implied higher maintenance costs for the metabolic processes underpinning acclimation to salinity when CAM was curtailed. CAM required the nocturnal mobilization of >70% of primary carbohydrate in the wild type and >85% of carbohydrate in the mutant. The substantial allocation of carbohydrate to CAM limited the export of sugars to roots, and the root:shoot ratio declined under salinity. The data suggest a key role for the vacuole in regulating the supply and demand for carbohydrate over the day/night cycle in the starch-/CAM-deficient mutant

Publication metadata

Author(s): Haider MS, Barnes JD, Cushman JC, Borland AM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Experimental Botany

Year: 2012

Volume: 63

Issue: 5

Pages: 1985-1996

Print publication date: 04/01/2012

Date deposited: 27/03/2013

ISSN (print): 0022-0957

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2431

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/jxb/err412


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Funder referenceFunder name
Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station
Newcastle University
Nevada Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics Centers
IBN-0196070National Science Foundation
IBN-9722285National Science Foundation
NER/A/S/2001/01163Natural Environment Research Council UK
P20 RR-016464National Center for Research Resources