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Regulation of nitrate reduction by light, ATP and mitochondrial respiration in wheat leaves

Naturevolume 272pages647648 (1978) | Download Citation



ASSIMILATION of nitrate in leaves is closely linked with photosynthesis1,2 because ammonia, the end product of the former process, is incorporated into amino acids by means of carbon skeletons derived from the assimilation of CO2. Canvin and Atkins3,4 have shown that the reduction of nitrate to nitrite in leaves of barley is dependent on light and ceases when the light is extinguished. On the other hand, in the in vivo5 method for assay of nitrate reductase, nitrate is reduced to nitrite by leaf disks even in the dark. As Canvin and Atkins3,4 pointed out, the in vivo method is not a true reflection of what happens in plants in physiological conditions. A regulatory mechanism must exist in leaves, which shuts off nitrate reduction immediately when light is extinguished, so that the accumulation of toxic amounts of nitrite, which can only be reduced by photosynthetic reactions6, is avoided. We now propose that this regulation functions through mitochondrial respiration, which operates in the dark, but is inhibited in light, because of the increased cytoplasmic adenylate charge due to photosynthesis.

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    Canvin, D. T. & Atkins, C. A. Planta (Berl.) 116, 207–224 (1974).

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    Atkins, C. A. & Canvin, D. T. Planta (Berl.) 123, 41–51 (1975).

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    Klepper, L., Flesher, D. & Hageman, R. H. Pl. Physiol. 48, 580–590 (1971).

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    Hewitt, E. J. & Nicholas, D. J. D. in Modern Methods of Plant Analysis, VII(eds Linskens, H. F., Sanwal, B. D. & Tracey, M. V.) 67–172 (Springer, Berlin 1964).

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  1. Department of Agricultural Biochemistry, Waite Agricultural Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, 5064, South Australia

    • S. K. SAWHNEY
    • , M. S. NAIK
    •  & D. J. D. NICHOLAS


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