Malate oxidation in plant mitochondria proceeds through the activities of two enzymes: a malate dehydrogenase and a NAD + -dependent malic enzyme. In cauliflower, mitochondria malate oxidation via malate dehydrogenase is rotenone- and cyanide-sensitive. Addition of exogenous NAD + stimulates the oxidation of malate via malic enzyme and generates an electron flux that is both rotenone- and cyanide-insensitive. The same effects of exogenous NAD + are also observed with highly cyanide-sensitive mitochondria from white potato tubers or with mitochondria from spinach leaves. Both enzymes are located in the matrix, but some experimental data also suggest that part of malate dehydrogenase activity is also present outside the matrix compartment (adsorbed cytosolic malate dehydrogenase?). It is concluded that malic enzyme and a specific pool of NAD + /NADH are connected to the cyanide-insensitive alternative pathway by a specific rotenone-insensitive NADH dehydrogenase located on the inner face of the inner membrane. Similarly, malate dehydrogenase and another specific pool of NAD + /NADH are connected to the cyanide- (and antimycin-) sensitive pathway by a rotenone-sensitive NADH dehydrogenase located on the inner face of the inner membrane. A general scheme of electron transport in plant mitochondria for the oxidation of malate and NADH can be given, assuming that different pools of ubiquinone act as a branch point between various dehydrogenases, the cyanide-sensitive cytochrome pathway and the cyanide-insensitive alternative pathway.
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