Mitochondrial alternative NADH dehydrogenases NDA1 and NDA2 promote survival of reoxygenation stress in Arabidopsis by safeguarding photosynthesis and limiting ROS generation
Plant submergence stress is a growing problem for global agriculture. During desubmergence, rising O2 concentrations meet a highly reduced mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC) in the cells. This combination favors the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the mitochondria, which at excess can cause damage. The cellular mechanisms underpinning the management of reoxygenation stress are not fully understood. We investigated the role of alternative NADH dehydrogenases (NDs), as components of the alternative mETC in Arabidopsis, in anoxia-reoxygenation stress management. Simultaneous loss of the matrix-facing NDs, NDA1 and NDA2, decreased seedling survival after reoxygenation, while overexpression increased survival. The absence of NDAs led to reduced maximum potential quantum efficiency of photosystem II linking the alternative mETC to photosynthetic function in the chloroplast. NDA1 and NDA2 were induced upon reoxygenation, and transcriptional activation of NDA1 was controlled by the transcription factors ANAC016 and ANAC017 that bind to the mitochondrial dysfunction motif (MDM) in the NDA1 promoter. The absence of NDA1 and NDA2 did not alter recovery of cytosolic ATP levels and NADH : NAD+ ratio at reoxygenation. Rather, the absence of NDAs led to elevated ROS production, while their overexpression limited ROS. Our observations indicate that the control of ROS formation by the alternative mETC is important for photosynthetic recovery and for seedling survival of anoxia-reoxygenation stress.