Oxidative pentose phosphate pathway and pyridine nucleotides in relation to heartwood formation in Robinia pseudoacacia L.Phytochemistry. 2001 Aug; 57(7):1061-8.P
Most tree species show in the inner parts of their woody axes often a dark colored zone, the heartwood. Its formation is a genetically determined, programmed cell death which is characterized by the activation of metabolic pathways which lead to the formation of phenolic heartwood extractives. In the present paper we report on the key position of the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (OPP) for this process. The OPP plays a crucial role in anabolic processes and is involved in the interconversion and rearrangements of sugar-phosphates with the net production of NADPH. In tissues of Robinia pseudoacacia L. which are transferred to heartwood, enhanced activities of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGDH) are present. A consequence of these increased enzyme activities is a shift in the pyridine nucleotide pool towards NADP+NADPH at the expense of NAD+NADH. These alterations in the metabolism and the redox status probably provide precursors and reduction equivalents being required for the synthesis of heartwood phenolics. The non heartwood forming species Acer pseudoplatanus L. shows neither a radial gradient nor seasonal changes in the amounts of pyridine nucleotides across the trunkwood. The results are discussed in connection with programmed cell death, mitochondrial activity, and heartwood formation.