The influence of alternative pathways of respiration that utilize branched-chain amino acids following water shortage in Arabidopsis
Journal article, 2016

During dark-induced senescence isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IVDH) and D-2-hydroxyglutarate dehydrogenase (D-2HGDH) act as alternate electron donors to the ubiquinol pool via the electron-transfer flavoprotein/electron-transfer flavoprotein:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (ETF/ETFQO) pathway. However, the role of this pathway in response to other stresses still remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated that this alternative pathway is associated with tolerance to drought in Arabidopsis. In comparison with wild type (WT) and lines overexpressing D-2GHDH, loss-of-function etfqo-1, d2hgdh-2 and ivdh-1 mutants displayed compromised respiration rates and were more sensitive to drought. Our results demonstrated that an operational ETF/ETFQO pathway is associated with plants' ability to withstand drought and to recover growth once water becomes replete. Drought-induced metabolic reprogramming resulted in an increase in tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates and total amino acid levels, as well as decreases in protein, starch and nitrate contents. The enhanced levels of the branched-chain amino acids in loss-of-function mutants appear to be related to their increased utilization as substrates for the TCA cycle under water stress. Our results thus show that mitochondrial metabolism is highly active during drought stress responses and provide support for a role of alternative respiratory pathways within this response.

Branched-chain amino acids

Tricarboxylic acid cycle

ETF/ETFQO pathway





Marcel V. Pires

Federal University of Viçosa

Max Planck Institute

Adilson A. Pereira Júnior

Max Planck Institute

David B. Medeiros

Federal University of Viçosa

Danilo M. Daloso

Max Planck Institute

Federal University of Viçosa

Phuong Anh Pham

Max Planck Institute

Kallyne A. Barros

Federal University of Viçosa

Martin Engqvist

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

A. Florian

Max Planck Institute

Ina Krahnert

Max Planck Institute

V. G. Maurino

Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Wagner L. Araújo

Federal University of Viçosa

A. R. Fernie

Max Planck Institute

Plant, Cell and Environment

0140-7791 (ISSN) 1365-3040 (eISSN)

Vol. 39 6 1304-1319

Subject Categories

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology



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