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The synthesis of DNA, RNA, and de novo proteins is fundamental for early development of the seedling after germination, but such processes release pyrophosphate (PPi) as a byproduct of ATP hydrolysis. The over-accumulation of the inhibitory metabolite PPi in the cytosol hinders these biosynthetic reactions. All living organisms possess ubiquitous enzymes collectively called inorganic pyrophosphatases (PPases), which catalyze the hydrolysis of PPi into two orthophosphate (Pi) molecules. Defects in PPase activity cause severe developmental defects and/or growth arrest in several organisms. In higher plants, a proton-translocating vacuolar PPase (H+-PPase) uses the energy of PPi hydrolysis to acidify the vacuole. However, the biological implications of PPi hydrolysis are vague due to the widespread belief that the major role of H+-PPase in plants is vacuolar acidification. We have shown that the Arabidopsis fugu5 mutant phenotype, caused by a defect in H+-PPase activity, is rescued by complementation with the yeast cytosolic PPase IPP1. In addition, our analyses have revealed that increased cytosolic PPi levels impair postgerminative development in fugu5 by inhibiting gluconeogenesis. This led us to the conclusion that the role of H+-PPase as a proton-pump is negligible. Here, we present further evidence of the growth-boosting effects of removing PPi in later stages of plant vegetative development, and briefly discuss the biological role of PPases and their potential applications in different disciplines and in various organisms.


Ali Ferjani, Shoji Segami, Gorou Horiguchi, Azusa Sakata, Masayoshi Maeshima, Hirokazu Tsukaya. Regulation of pyrophosphate levels by H+-PPase is central for proper resumption of early plant development. Plant signaling & behavior. 2012 Jan;7(1):38-42

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PMID: 22301965

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