Journal Article

Phospho<i>enol</i>pyruvate Carboxylase Plays a Crucial Role in Limiting Nitrogen Fixation in <i>Lotus japonicus</i> Nodules

Mika Nomura, Ha Thu Mai, Miho Fujii, Shingo Hata, Katsura Izui and Shigeyuki Tajima

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 47, issue 5, pages 613-621
Published in print May 2006 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online May 2006 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase Plays a Crucial Role in Limiting Nitrogen Fixation in Lotus japonicus Nodules

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC, EC is believed to play a significant role in supporting nitrogen fixation via anaplerotic CO2 fixation for recycling carbon in nodules. Using the antisense technique, we decreased the expression levels of the nodule-enhanced PEPC gene (Ljpepc1) in a determinate legume plant (Lotus japonicus) in order to look at the influence of the symbiotic phenotype and biochemical parameters. Three independent transgenic L. japonicus plants (designated as Asppc1, Asppc2 and Asppc3) were prepared using a Ljpepc1 DNA fragment which is under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. Extensive suppression of the Ljpepc1 transcript in nodules of Asppc plants (T3 homologous plants) was confirmed by RNA gel blot, Western blot and enzyme activity assays. In nodules of Asppc plants, PEPC activity was reduced to about 10% of that of non-transformants and the plants showed typical nitrogen-deficient symptoms without a supply of nitrogen nutrient, and returned to normal growth when nitrate was supplied at 2.5 mM. The acetylene reduction activity per fresh weight of nodules of these Asppc plants decreased by 29% at 35 dai (days after infection). Various enzyme activities and metabolite levels were surveyed using Asppc plants at 35 dai. Significant reduction of sucrose synthase and asparagine aminotransferase activities was observed in Asppc nodules. In addition, sucrose, succinate, asparagine, aspartate and glutamate contents also decreased in Asppc nodules. The data are discussed in terms of a role for PEPC in the carbon/nitrogen metabolic flux in nodules.

Keywords: Carbon; Lotus japonicus; Nitrogen; Nodule; Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase; AAT, aspartate aminotransferase; ARA, acetylene reduction activity; AS, asparagine synthase; dai, days after infection; GOGAT, glutamate synthase; GS, glutamine synthase; MDH, malate dehydrogenase; 2-OG, 2-oxoglutarate; OAA, oxaloacetate; TCA, tricarboxylic acid; PEPC, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase; PEPCK, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase kinase; SS, sucrose synthase

Journal Article.  5290 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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