Physiological functions of malate shuttles in plants and algae

Ousmane Dao, Franziska Kuhnert, Andreas P.M. Weber, Gilles Peltier, Yonghua Li-Beisson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Subcellular compartmentalization confers evolutionary advantage to eukaryotic cells but entails the need for efficient interorganelle communication. Malate functions as redox carrier and metabolic intermediate. It can be shuttled across membranes through translocators. The interconversion of malate and oxaloacetate mediated by malate dehydrogenases requires oxidation/reduction of NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+; therefore, malate trafficking serves to transport reducing equivalents and this is termed the ‘malate shuttle’. Although the term 'malate shuttle' was coined more than 50 years ago, novel functions are still emerging. This review highlights recent findings on the functions of malate shuttles in photorespiration, fatty acid β-oxidation, interorganelle signaling and its putative role in CO2-concentrating mechanisms. We compare and contrast knowledge in plants and algae, thereby providing an evolutionary perspective on redox trafficking in photosynthetic eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-501
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

Cite this