The alternative oxidase gene family in arabidopsis: insights from a transcriptomic study

Rachel Clifton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Mitochondria play an essential role in diverse metabolic pathways in plants. Their primary roles are the oxidation of organic acids via the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the synthesis of ATP coupled to the transfer of electrons from reduced NAD+ to oxygen via the electron transport chain. Plant mitochondria also contain nonphosphorylating bypasses of the respiratory chain, catalysed by the alternative oxidase (AOX), type II NAD(P)H dehydrogenases (NDHs) and uncoupling proteins (UCPs). Each of these components bypasses energy conservation by either circumventing the formation or utilization of the electrochemical proton gradient, and each is encoded by a small gene family in Arabidopsis. It is proposed that the alterative pathways are likely to be involved in balancing cellular redox and energy status and in minimizing the production of ROS generated by over-reduction of basal respiratory chain components. Furthermore the alternative respiratory pathways are thought to play a role in plant responses to stress. In this study a transcriptomic approach was taken to investigate the role of the alternative respiratory pathways in Arabidopsis, with a focus on elucidating the role and regulation of the AOX gene family. Analysis of the expression of the five AOX genes in Arabidopsis over development and in a range of tissues revealed a unique spatiotemporal expression pattern for each gene. Expression profiling using quantitative RT-PCR, MPSS and microarrays detected an abundance of the AOX1a transcript throughout the plant and over development. The expression patterns of other AOX genes provide insight into their putative roles, AOX1b was expressed predominantly in the flower, AOX1d was particularly abundant in senescing leaves and AOX2 expression was only observed in the seed.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2005


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