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Mitochondrial and peroxisomal β-oxidation capacities of organs from a non-oilseed plant

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


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Until recently, β-oxidation was believed to be exclusively located in the peroxisomes of all higher plants. Whilst this is true for germinating oilseeds undergoing gluconeogenesis, evidence demonstrating mitochondrial β-oxidation in other plant systems has refuted this central dogma of plant lipid metabolism. This report describes a comparative study of the dual mitochondrial and peroxisomal β-oxidation capacities of plant organs. Oxidation of [1-14C]palmitate was measured in the cotyledons, plumules and radicles of Pisum sativum L., which is a starchy seed, over a 14 day period from the commencement of imbibition. Respiratory chain inhibitors were used for differentiating between mitochondrial and peroxisomal β-oxidation. Peroxisomal β-oxidation gave a steady, baseline rate and, in the early stages of seedling development, accounted for 70-100% of the β-oxidation observed. Mitochondrial β-oxidation gave peaks of activity at days 7 and 10-11, accounting for up to 82% of the total β-oxidation activity at these times. These peaks coincide with key stages of seedling development and were not observed when normal development was disrupted by growth in the dark. Peroxisomal β-oxidation was unaffected by etiolation. Since mitochondrial β-oxidation was overt only during times of intense biosynthetic activity it might be switched on or off during seedling development. In contrast, peroxisomes maintained a continuous, low β-oxidation activity that could be essential in removing harmful free fatty acids, e.g. those produced by protein and lipid turnover.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Masterson C; Wood C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Year: 2001

Volume: 268

Issue: 1479

Pages: 1949-1953

Print publication date: 22/09/2001

ISSN (print): 0962-8452

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2954

Publisher: Royal Society of Edinburgh


DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2001.1783

PubMed id: 11564353


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