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Distribution of enzymes in mesophyll and parenchyma-sheath chloroplasts of maize leaves in relation to the C4-dicarboxylic acid pathway of photosynthesis

  • C. R. Slack
  • M. D. Hatch
  • D. J. Goodchild
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1969
  • Biology


1. Mesophyll and parenchyma-sheath chloroplasts of maize leaves were separated by density fractionation in non-aqueous media. 2. An investigation of the distribution of photosynthetic enzymes indicated that the mesophyll chloroplasts probably contain the entire leaf complement of pyruvate,Pi dikinase, NADP-specific malate dehydrogenase, glycerate kinase and nitrite reductase and most of the adenylate kinase and pyrophosphatase. The fractionation pattern of phosphopyruvate carboxylase suggested that this enzyme may be associated with the bounding membrane of mesophyll chloroplasts. 3. Ribulose diphosphate carboxylase, ribose phosphate isomerase, phosphoribulokinase, fructose diphosphate aldolase, alkaline fructose diphosphatase and NADP-specific `malic' enzyme appear to be wholly localized in the parenchyma-sheath chloroplasts. Phosphoglycerate kinase and NADP-specific glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase, on the other hand, are distributed approximately equally between the two types of chloroplast. 4. After exposure of illuminated leaves to 14CO2 for 25sec., labelled malate, aspartate and 3-phosphoglycerate had similar fractionation patterns, and a large proportion of each was isolated with mesophyll chloroplasts. Labelled fructose phosphates and ribulose phosphates were mainly isolated in fractions containing parenchyma-sheath chloroplasts, and dihydroxyacetone phosphate had a fractionation pattern intermediate between those of C4 dicarboxylic acids and sugar phosphates. 6. These results indicate that the mesophyll and parenchyma-sheath chloroplasts have a co-operative function in the operation of the C4-dicarboxylic acid pathway. Possible routes for the transfer of carbon from C4 dicarboxylic acids to sugars are discussed.

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