Formate dehydrogenase (FDH, EC 184.108.40.206.) is a soluble mitochondrial enzyme capable of oxidizing formate into CO2 in the presence of NAD+. It is abundant in non-green tissues and scarce in photosynthetic tissues. Under stress, FDH transcripts (and protein) accumulate in leaves, and leaf mitochondria acquire the ability to use formate as a respiratory substrate. In this paper, we describe the analysis of transgenic potato plants under-expressing FDH, obtained in order to understand the physiological function of FDH. Plants expressing low FDH activities were selected and the study was focused on a line (AS23) showing no detectable FDH activity. AS23 plants were morphologically indistinguishable from control plants, and grew normally under standard conditions. However, mitochondria isolated from AS23 tubers could not use formate as a respiratory substrate. Steady-state levels of formate were higher in AS23 leaves and tubers than in control plants. Tubers of untransformed plants oxidized 14C formate into 14CO2 but AS23 tubers accumulated it. In order to reveal a possible phenotype under stress conditions, control and AS23 plants were submitted to drought and cold. These treatments dramatically induced FDH transcripts in control plants but, whatever the growth conditions, no 1.4 kb FDH transcripts were detected in leaves of AS23 plants. Amongst various biochemical and molecular differences between stressed AS23 and control plants, the most striking was a dramatically faster accumulation of proline in the leaves of drought-stressed plants under-expressing FDH.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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