The activity of the enzymes catalyzing the first two steps of sulfate assimilation, ATP sulfurylase and adenosine 5?- phosphosulfate reductase (APR), are confined to bundle sheath cells in several C4 monocot species. With the aim to analyze the molecular basis of this distribution and to determine whether it was a prerequisite or a consequence of the C4 photosynthetic mechanism, we compared the intercellular distribution of the activity and the mRNA of APR in C3 ,C3 -C4 , C4-like, and C4 species of the dicot genus Flaveria. Measurements of APR activity, mRNA level, and protein accumulation in six Flaveria species revealed that APR activity, cysteine, and glutathione levels were significantly higher in C4 -like and C4 species than in C3 and C3 -C4 species. ATP sulfurylase and APR mRNA were present at comparable levels in both mesophyll and bundle sheath cells of C4 species Flaveria trinervia. Immunogold electron microscopy demonstrated the presence of APR protein in chloroplasts of both cell types. These findings, taken together with results from the literature, show that the localization of assimilatory sulfate reduction in the bundle sheath cells is not ubiquitous among C4 plants and therefore is neither a prerequisite nor a consequence of C4 photosynthesis.
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