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Keywords:

  • isocitrate dehydrogenase;
  • labelling;
  • lysine;
  • metabolism;
  • metabolomics;
  • respiration

Summary

  • The cornerstone of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) metabolic interactions – respiration – is presently not well understood in plant cells: the source of the key intermediate 2-oxoglutarate (2OG), to which reduced N is combined to yield glutamate and glutamine, remains somewhat unclear.
  • We took advantage of combined mutations of NAD- and NADP-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase activity and investigated the associated metabolic effects in Arabidopsis leaves (the major site of N assimilation in this genus), using metabolomics and 13C-labelling techniques.
  • We show that a substantial reduction in leaf isocitrate dehydrogenase activity did not lead to changes in the respiration efflux rate but respiratory metabolism was reorchestrated: 2OG production was supplemented by a metabolic bypass involving both lysine synthesis and degradation.
  • Although the recycling of lysine has long been considered important in sustaining respiration, we show here that lysine neosynthesis itself participates in an alternative respiratory pathway. Lys metabolism thus contributes to explaining the metabolic flexibility of plant leaves and the effect (or the lack thereof) of respiratory mutations.