Regulation of the thermogenesis in flowering Araceae: the role of the alternative oxidase.

A.M. Wagner, K. Krab, M.J. Wagner, A.L. Moore

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The inflorescences of several members of the Arum lily family warm up during flowering and are able to maintain their temperature at a constant level, relatively independent of the ambient temperature. The heat is generated via a mitochondrial respiratory pathway that is distinct from the cytochrome chain and involves a cyanide-resistant alternative oxidase (AOX). In this paper we have used flux control analysis to investigate the influence of temperature on the rate of respiration through both cytochrome and alternative oxidases in mitochondria isolated from the appendices of intact thermogenic Arum maculatum inflorescences. Results are presented which indicate that at low temperatures, the dehydrogenases are almost in full control of respiration but as the temperature increases flux control shifts to the AOX. On the basis of these results a simple model of thermoregulation is presented that is applicable to all species of thermogenic plants. The model takes into account the temperature characteristics of the separate components of the plant mitochondrial respiratory chain and the control of each process. We propose that 1) in all aroid flowers AOX assumes almost complete control over respiration, 2) the temperature profile of AOX explains the reversed relationship between ambient temperature and respiration in thermoregulating Arum flowers, 3) the thermoregulation process is the same in all species and 4) variations in inflorescence temperatures can easily be explained by variations in AOX protein concentrations. Crown Copyright © 2008.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1000
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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