The influence of genetic manipulation of cytosolic aldolase (ALDc) on respiration in sugarcane

Scheepers, Ilana (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2005-03)

Thesis (MSc (Plant Biotechnology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


Previous studies indicated that cytosolic aldolase (ALDc) could be a rate limiting step in glycolysis and thus play a role in the regulation of carbon partitioning in sink tissues. In this study the role of ALDc in sugarcane was studied. Expression patterns of both ALDc transcript and protein were examined. In contrast to the leaves where ALDc expression is very low, the enzyme (transcript and protein) levels were high in all internodal tissues at all stages of maturity. In the leaves the plastidic isoform was prevalent as found previously in other C4 plants. The similar pattern of expression in transcript and protein abundance illustrate that there are no activators or inhibitors of ALDc activity present in sugarcane. The control on ALDc activity in sugarcane is therefore regulation of gene expression. To investigate the possibility that ALDc could be regulating carbon partitioning in sugarcane a series of transgenic sugarcane plants in the varieties NCo310 and N19 were produced. The presence and expression of the transgene and resultant effect on ALDc levels were determined for all the transgenic lines. The degree of ALDc reduction varied, with the biggest suppression of aldolase being 90% of that of the control plants. Alteration of ALDc activity caused no obvious phenotype. In both the varieties large decreases in ALDc tended to to lead to higher sucrose levels than that of the the control plants. 14C radiolabelling studies were conducted to investigate the effect of reduced ALDc levels on respiration and carbon partitioning. No differences in carbon metabolism could be found between the transgenic and control plants. Even in the line exhibiting a more than 90% decrease, the residual ALDc was sufficient for plants to grow normally under favourable glasshouse conditions. This would suggest that ALDc does not play a role in the regulation of flux through glycolysis, carbon partitioning and sucrose accumulation.

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