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The Pyruvate Decarboxylase1 Gene Of Arabidopsis Is Required During Anoxia But Not Other Environmental Stresses[w]

O. Kürsteiner, I. Dupuis, C. Kuhlemeier
Published 2003 · Biology, Medicine

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Ethanolic fermentation is classically associated with flooding tolerance when plant cells switch from respiration to anaerobic fermentation. However, recent studies have suggested that fermentation also has important functions in the presence of oxygen, mainly in germinating pollen and during abiotic stress. Pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC), which catalyzes the first step in this pathway, is thought to be the main regulatory enzyme. Here, we characterize the PDC gene family in Arabidopsis. PDC is encoded by four closely related genes. By using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we determined the expression levels of each individual gene in different tissues, under normal growth conditions, and when the plants were subjected to anoxia or other environmental stress conditions. We show that PDC1 is the only gene induced under oxygen limitation among the PDC1 gene family and that a pdc1 null mutant is comprised in anoxia tolerance but not other environmental stresses. We also characterize the expression of the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) gene family. None of the three genes is induced by anoxia but ALDH2B7 reacts strongly to ABA application and dehydration, suggesting that ALDH may play a role in aerobic detoxification of acetaldehyde. We discuss the possible role of ethanolic fermentation as a robust back-up energy production pathway under adverse conditions when mitochondrial function is disturbed.
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