Synthesis of glutamate by mitochondria – An anaplerotic function for glutamate dehydrogenase

Tomoyuki Yamaya, Ann Oaks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The photorespiratory nitrogen cycle was initially thought to be a closed cyclic process. If this were true the loss of glutamate, glutamine, serine or glycine to other processes, such as protein synthesis or export from the leaves, would not be possible in a stoichiometric sense. However, recent studies with [15N]‐labeled amino acids show that there are alternative sources of nitrogen for photorespiration, indicating that the nitrogen cycle is not a closed cyclic system. In addition recent work with 15NH4Cl and [15N]‐glycine and a metabolically competent mitochondria system has shown that glutamate is synthesized in the mitochondria. Hence the glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH, EC in mitochondria could also be active in the reassimilation of NH4. We would like to propose that one function of mitochondrial GDH is to synthesize glutamate from some of the NH4 released by photorespiration and that this glutamate represents a reserve for use in biosynthetic reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-756
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1987 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Nitrogen metabolism
  • photorespiratory nitrogen cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthesis of glutamate by mitochondria – An anaplerotic function for glutamate dehydrogenase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this