Chloroplast biogenesis is most significant during the changes in cellular organization associated with leaf development in higher plants. To examine the physiological relationship between developing chloroplasts and host leaf cells during early leaf development, we investigated changes in the carbon and nitrogen contents in leaves at the P4 developmental stage of rice, during which leaf blade structure is established and early events of chloroplast differentiation occur. During the P4 stage, carbon content on a dry mass basis remained constant, whereas the nitrogen content decreased by 30%. Among carbohydrates, sucrose and starch accumulated to high levels early in the P4 stage, and glucose, fructose and cellulose degradation increased during the mid-to-late P4 stage. In the chloroplast-deficient leaves of the virescent-1 mutant of rice, however, the carbon and nitrogen contents, as well as the C/N ratio during the P4 stage, were largely unaffected. These observations suggest that developing rice leaves function as sink organs at the P4 stage, and that chloroplast biogenesis and carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the leaf cell is regulated independently at this stage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science