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Carbon and Nitrogen Provisions Alter the Metabolic Flux in Developing Soybean Embryos

Allen, Doug K., Young, Jamey D.
Plant physiology 2013 v.161 no.3 pp. 1458
Glycine max, acetyl coenzyme A, asparagine, biomass production, biosynthesis, carbon, carbon nitrogen ratio, dry matter accumulation, embryogenesis, enzyme activity, fatty acids, filling period, glucose, glutamine, malic enzyme, nitrogen, nitrogen balance, protein content, protein subunits, protein synthesis, pyruvate kinase, seeds, soybeans, storage proteins, sucrose
Soybean (Glycine max) seeds store significant amounts of their biomass as protein, levels of which reflect the carbon and nitrogen received by the developing embryo. The relationship between carbon and nitrogen supply during filling and seed composition was examined through a series of embryo-culturing experiments. Three distinct ratios of carbon to nitrogen supply were further explored through metabolic flux analysis. Labeling experiments utilizing [U- ¹³C ₅]glutamine, [U- ¹³C ₄]asparagine, and [1,2- ¹³C ₂]glucose were performed to assess embryo metabolism under altered feeding conditions and to create corresponding flux maps. Additionally, [U- ¹⁴C ₁₂]sucrose, [U- ¹⁴C ₆]glucose, [U- ¹⁴C ₅]glutamine, and [U- ¹⁴C ₄]asparagine were used to monitor differences in carbon allocation. The analyses revealed that: (1) protein concentration as a percentage of total soybean embryo biomass coincided with the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio; (2) altered nitrogen supply did not dramatically impact relative amino acid or storage protein subunit profiles; and (3) glutamine supply contributed 10% to 23% of the carbon for biomass production, including 9% to 19% of carbon to fatty acid biosynthesis and 32% to 46% of carbon to amino acids. Seed metabolism accommodated different levels of protein biosynthesis while maintaining a consistent rate of dry weight accumulation. Flux through ATP-citrate lyase, combined with malic enzyme activity, contributed significantly to acetyl-coenzyme A production. These fluxes changed with plastidic pyruvate kinase to maintain a supply of pyruvate for amino and fatty acids. The flux maps were independently validated by nitrogen balancing and highlight the robustness of primary metabolism.