Mitochondria contribute to increased photosynthetic capacity of leaves of winter rye (Secale cereale L.) following cold-hardening


*Correspondence and present address: Vaughan Hurry, Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Box 475, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Cold-hardening of winter rye (Secale cereale L. cv. Musketeer) increased dark respiration from −2.2 to −3.9 μmol O2 m−2s−1 and doubled light-and CO2-saturated photosynthesis at 20°C from 18.1 to 37.0μmol O2 m−2 s−1 We added oligomycin at a concentration that specifically inhibits oxidative phosphorylation to see whether the observed increase in dark respiration reflected an increase in respiration in the light, and whether this contributed to the enhanced photosynthesis of cold-hardened leaves. Oligomycin inhibited light- and CO2-saturated rates of photosynthesis in non-hardened and cold-hardened leaves by 14 and 25%, respectively, and decreased photochemical quenching of chlorophyll a fluorescence to a greater degree in cold-hardened than in non-hardened leaves. These data indicate an increase both in the rate of respiration in the light, and in the importance of respiration to photosynthesis following cold-hardening. Analysis of metabolite pools indicated that oligomycin inhibited photosynthesis by limiting regeneration of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate. This limitation was particularly severe in cold-hardened leaves, and the resulting low 3-phospho-glycerate pools led to a feed-forward inhibition of sucrose-phosphate synthase activity. Thus, it does not appear that oxidative phosphorylation supports the increase in photo-synthetic O2 evolution following cold-hardening by increasing the availability of cytosolic ATP. The data instead support the hypothesis that the mitochondria function in the light by using the reducing equivalents generated by non-cyclic photosynthetic electron transport.