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Carbon flux around leaf-cytosolic glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase introduces a 13C signal in plant glucose

, Roland Anton Werner, Jürgen Schleucher

Abstract: Within the plant and earth sciences, stable isotope analysis is a versatile tool conveying information (inter alia) about plant physiological and paleoclimate variability across scales. Here, we identify a 13C signal (i.e., systematic 13C/ 12C variation) at tree-ring glucose C-4 and report an experimentally testable theory on its origin. We propose the signal is introduced by glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenases in the cytosol of leaves. It conveys two kinds of (potentially convoluted) information: (i) commitment of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate to 3-phosphoglycerate vs. fructose 1,6-bisphosphate metabolism, and (ii) the contribution of non-phosphorylating vs. phosphorylating glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase to catalysing the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate to 3-phosphoglycerate forward reaction of glycolysis. Theory is supported by 13C fractionation modelling. Modelling results provide first evidence in support of the cytosolic oxidation-reduction (COR) cycle, a carbon-neutral mechanism supplying NADPH at the expense of ATP and NADH which may help to maintain leaf-cytosolic redox balances. In line with expectations related to COR cycling, we found a positive correlation between air vapour pressure deficit and 13C discrimination at glucose C-4. Overall, 13C-4 signal analysis may enable an improved understanding of leaf carbon and energy metabolism.
Keywords: carbon allocation / carbon flux / carbon stable isotopes / COR cycle / cytosolic oxidation-reduction cycle / energy metabolism / glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase / intramolecular isotope analysis / isotope fractionation model / primary carbon metabolism

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