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Leaf carbohydrates influence transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of nocturnal carboxylation and starch degradation in the facultative CAM plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tahar Taybi, Emerita Professor Anne Borland



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Nocturnal degradation of transitory starch is a limiting factor for the optimal function of crassulacean acid metabolism and must be coordinated with phosphoenolypyruvate carboxylase (PEPC)-mediated CO2 uptake to optimise carbon gain over the diel cycle. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that nocturnal carboxylation is coordinated with starch degradation in CAM via a mechanism whereby the products of these pathways regulate diel transcript abundance and enzyme activities for both processes. To test this hypothesis, a starch and CAM-deficient mutant of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum was compared with wild type plants under well-watered and saline (CAM-inducing) conditions. Exposure to salinity increased the transcript abundance of genes required for nocturnal carboxylation, starch and sucrose degradation in both wild type and mutant, but the transcript abundance of several of these genes was not sustained over the dark period in the low-carbohydrate, CAM-deficient mutant. The diel pattern of transcript abundance for PEPC mirrored that of PEPC protein, as did the transcripts, protein, and activity of chloroplastic starch phosphorylase in both wild type and mutant, suggesting robust diel coordination of these metabolic processes. Activities of several amylase isoforms were low or lacking in the mutant, whilst the activity of a cytosolic isoform of starch phosphorylase was significantly elevated, indicating contrasting modes of metabolic regulation for the hydrolytic and phosphorylytic routes of starch degradation. Externally supplied sucrose resulted in an increase in nocturnal transcript abundance of genes required for nocturnal carboxylation and starch degradation. These results demonstrate that carbohydrates impact on transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of nocturnal carboxylation and starch degradation in CAM.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Taybi T, Cushman JC, Borland AM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Plant Physiology

Year: 2017

Volume: 218

Pages: 144-154

Print publication date: 01/11/2017

Online publication date: 05/08/2017

Acceptance date: 28/07/2017

Date deposited: 02/10/2017

ISSN (print): 0176-1617

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2017.07.021


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