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The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is a crucial component of respiratory metabolism in both photosynthetic and heterotrophic plant organs. All of the major genes of the tomato TCA cycle have been cloned recently, allowing the generation of a suite of transgenic plants in which the majority of the enzymes in the pathway are progressively decreased. Investigations of these plants have provided an almost complete view of the distribution of control in this important pathway. Our studies suggest that citrate synthase, aconitase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, succinyl CoA ligase, succinate dehydrogenase, fumarase and malate dehydrogenase have control coefficients flux for respiration of -0.4, 0.964, -0.123, 0.0008, 0.289, 0.601 and 1.76, respectively; while 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase is estimated to have a control coefficient of 0.786 in potato tubers. These results thus indicate that the control of this pathway is distributed among malate dehydrogenase, aconitase, fumarase, succinate dehydrogenase and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase. The unusual distribution of control estimated here is consistent with specific non-cyclic flux mode and cytosolic bypasses that operate in illuminated leaves. These observations are discussed in the context of known regulatory properties of the enzymes and some illustrative examples of how the pathway responds to environmental change are given. Here we assess the metabolic control resident in the tricarboxylic acid cycle as determined from respiration measurement following antisense or pharmacological inhibition of each of the eight enzymes constituting the cycle. Findings are discussed in terms of our knowledge of the function and operation of the individual enzymes and their kinetic properties as well as with respect to the operation and regulation of flux through the cycle in response to cellular circumstance. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant, Cell and Environment

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