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Ammonium Assimilation Requires Mitochondrial Respiration in the Light 1: A Study with the Green Alga Selenastrum minutum

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  • Metabolism And Enzymology


Mass spectrometric analysis of O2 and CO2 exchange in the green alga Selenastrum minutum (Naeg. Collins) provides evidence for the occurrence of mitochondrial respiration in light. Stimulation of amino acid synthesis by the addition of NH4Cl resulted in nearly a 250% increase in the rate of TCA cycle CO2 efflux in both light and dark. Ammonium addition caused a similar increase in cyanide sensitive O2 consumption in both light and dark. Anaerobiosis inhibited the CO2 release caused by NH4Cl. These results indicated that the cytochrome pathway of the mitochondrial electron transport chain was operative and responsible for the oxidation of a large portion of the NADH generated during the ammonium induced increase in TCA cycle activity. In the presence of DCMU, ammonium addition also stimulated net O2 consumption in the light. This implied that the Mehler reaction did not play a significant role in O2 consumption under our conditions. These results show that both the TCA cycle and the mitochondrial electron transport chain are capable of operation in the light and that an important role of mitochondrial respiration in photosynthesizing cells is the provision of carbon skeletons for biosynthetic reactions.

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