Decreased and increased expression of the subunit CHL I diminishes Mg chelatase activity and reduces chlorophyll synthesis in transgenic tobacco plants

authored by
Jutta Papenbrock, Erhard Pfündel, Hans Peter Mock, Bernhard Grimm

The chelation of Fe2+ and Mg2+ ions forms protoheme IX and Mg-protoporphyrin IX, respectively, and the latter is an intermediate in chlorophyll synthesis. Active magnesium protoporphyrin IX chelatase (Mg-chelatase) is an enzyme complex consisting of three different subunits. To investigate the function of the CHL I subunit of Mg-chelatase and the effects of modified Mg-chelatase activity on the tetrapyrrole biosynthetic pathway, we characterized N. tabacum transformants carrying gene constructs with the Chl I cDNA sequence in antisense and sense orientation under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter. Both elevated and diminished levels of Chl I mRNA and Chl I protein led to reduced Mg-chelatase activities, reflecting a perturbation of the assembly of the enzyme complex. The transformed plants did not accumulate the substrate of Mg-chelatase, protoporphyrin IX, but the leaves contained less chlorophyll and possessed increased chlorophyll(a/b) ratios, as well as a deficiency of light-harvesting chlorophyll binding proteins of photosystems I and II. The expression and activity of several tetrapyrrolic enzymes were reduced in parallel to lower the Mg-chelatase activity. Consistent with the lower chlorophyll contents, the rate-limiting synthesis of 5-aminolevulinate was also decreased in the transgenic lines analyzed. The consequence of reduced Mg-chelatase on early and late steps of chlorophyll synthesis, and on the organization of light harvesting complexes is discussed.

Institute of Botany
Institute of Plant Genetics
External Organisation(s)
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)
Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg
Plant Journal
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Genetics, Plant Science, Cell Biology
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