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In vivo 15N NMR spectroscopy was used to monitor the assimilation of ammonium by cell-suspension cultures of carrot (Daucus carota L. cv Chantenay). The cell suspensions were supplied with oxygen in the form of either pure oxygen ("oxygenated cells") or air ("aerated cells"). In contrast to oxygenated cells, in which ammonium assimilation had no effect on cytoplasmic pH, ammonium assimilation by aerated cells caused a decrease in cytoplasmic pH of almost 0.2 pH unit. This led to a change in nitrogen metabolism resulting in the accumulation of [gamma]-aminobutyric acid. The metabolic effect of the reduced oxygen supply under aerated conditions could be mimicked by artificially decreasing the cytoplasmic pH of oxygenated cells and was abolished by increasing the cytoplasmic pH of aerated cells. The activity of glutamate decarboxylase increased as the cytoplasmic pH declined and decreased as the pH recovered. These findings are consistent with a role for the decarboxylation of glutamate, a proton-consuming reaction, in the short-term regulation of cytoplasmic pH, and they demonstrate that cytoplasmic pH influences the pathways of intermediary nitrogen metabolism.


Journal article


Plant Physiol

Publication Date





513 - 520