Author(s): Pastore D, Trono D, Laus MN, Di Fonzo N, Flagella Z
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Abstract Although plant cell bioenergetics is strongly affected by abiotic stresses, mitochondrial metabolism under stress is still largely unknown. Interestingly, plant mitochondria may control reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by means of energy-dissipating systems. Therefore, mitochondria may play a central role in cell adaptation to abiotic stresses, which are known to induce oxidative stress at cellular level. With this in mind, in recent years, studies have been focused on mitochondria from durum wheat, a species well adapted to drought stress. Durum wheat mitochondria possess three energy-dissipating systems: the ATP-sensitive plant mitochondrial potassium channel (PmitoK(ATP)); the plant uncoupling protein (PUCP); and the alternative oxidase (AOX). It has been shown that these systems are able to dampen mitochondrial ROS production; surprisingly, PmitoK(ATP) and PUCP (but not AOX) are activated by ROS. This was found to occur in mitochondria from both control and hyperosmotic-stressed seedlings. Therefore, the hypothesis of a 'feed-back' mechanism operating under hyperosmotic/oxidative stress conditions was validated: stress conditions induce an increase in mitochondrial ROS production; ROS activate PmitoK(ATP) and PUCP that, in turn, dissipate the mitochondrial membrane potential, thus inhibiting further large-scale ROS production. Another important aspect is the chloroplast/cytosol/mitochondrion co-operation in green tissues under stress conditions aimed at modulating cell redox homeostasis. Durum wheat mitochondria may act against chloroplast/cytosol over-reduction: the malate/oxaloacetate antiporter and the rotenone-insensitive external NAD(P)H dehydrogenases allow cytosolic NAD(P)H oxidation; under stress this may occur without high ROS production due to co-operation with AOX, which is activated by intermediates of the photorespiratory cycle.
This article was published in J Exp Bot
and referenced in Bioenergetics: Open Access