Plant Mitochondria - Past, present and future.

The Plant Journal : for Cell and Molecular Biology
Ian Max MøllerOlivier Van Aken

Abstract

The study of plant mitochondria started in earnest around 1950 with the first isolations of mitochondria from animal and plant tissues. The first 35 years were spent establishing the basic properties of plant mitochondria and plant respiration using biochemical and physiological approaches. A number of unique properties (compared to mammalian mitochondria) were observed: (i) The ability to oxidize malate, glycine and cytosolic NAD(P)H at high rates. (ii) The partial insensitivity to rotenone, which turned out to be due to the presence of a second NADH dehydrogenase on the inner surface of the inner mitochondrial membrane in addition to the classical complex I NADH dehydrogenase. (iii) The partial insensitivity to cyanide, which turned out to be due to an alternative oxidase, which is also located on the inner surface of the inner mitochondrial membrane, in addition to the classical complex IV, cytochrome oxidase. With the appearance of molecular biology methods around 1985, followed by genomics, further unique properties were discovered: (iv) Plant mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is 10-600 times larger than the mammalian mtDNA, yet it only contains ca 50% more genes. (v) Plant mtDNA has kept the standard genetic code, and it has a lo...Continue Reading

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