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Malate is widespread as a charge-balancing anion in plant vacuoles and plays a central role in nocturnal CO2 assimilation in crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). To characterize the malate transport system at the vacuolar membrane of CAM plants, tonoplast vesicles were prepared from leaf mesophyll cells of the crassulacean plant Kalanchoë daigremontiana. Dicarboxylate uptake, assayed by a membrane-filtration method using [14C]malate or [14C]succinate, displayed saturation kinetics with apparent Km values of 4.0 mM (malate) and 1.8 mM (succinate); competition experiments indicated that both anions were transported by the same system. Dicarboxylate uptake was stimulated severalfold by activation of the tonoplast H(+)-ATPase or H(+)-PPiase, an effect inhibitable by ionophore. Passive (non-energized) dicarboxylate uptake was sensitive to the sulphydryl reagents N-ethylmaleimide and p-chloromercuribenzene sulphonate, as well as to a range of protein modifiers. In particular, inhibition by pyridoxal phosphate was completely substrate-protectable, and that by phenylglyoxal partially so, thus implicating at least one lysine residue and perhaps also an arginine residue in the substrate-recognition site of the transport protein. The involvement of one or more critical lysine residue was supported by analysis of the initial phase of inhibition by pyridoxal phosphate: this showed pseudo-first-order kinetics with a reaction order of 1.03 +/- 0.13 and a Kd for substrate protection close to the apparent Km for dicarboxylate uptake.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





270 - 279


Affinity Labels, Biological Transport, Carbon Radioisotopes, Carboxylic Acids, Dicarboxylic Acids, Kinetics, Malates, Plants, Medicinal, Pyridoxal Phosphate, Succinates, Succinic Acid, Sulfhydryl Reagents