High level expression of C4-specific NADP-malic enzyme in leaves and impairment of photoautotrophic growth in a C3 plant, rice

Hiroko Tsuchida, Tesshu Tamai, Hiroshi Fukayama, Sakae Agarie, Mika Nomura, Haruko Onodera, Kazuko Ono, Yaeko Nishizawa, Byung Hyun Lee, Sakiko Hirose, Seiichi Toki, Maurice S.B. Ku, Makoto Matsuoka, Mitsue Miyao

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The chloroplastic NADP-malic enzyme (NADP-ME) is a key enzyme of the C4 photosynthesis pathway in NADP-ME type C4 plants such as maize. To express the chloroplastic NADP-ME in leaves of a C3 plant, rice, full-length cDNAs encoding the rice C3-specific isoform and the maize C4-specific isoform of the enzyme were expressed under the control of the rice Cab promoter. Transformants carrying the rice cDNA showed the NADP-ME activities in the leaves less than several-fold that of non-transformants, while those carrying the maize cDNA showed activities up to 30-fold that of non-transformants or about 60% of the NADP-ME activity of maize leaves. These results indicate that expression of the rice C3-specific NADP-ME is suppressed at co- and/or post-transcriptional levels by some regulation mechanisms intrinsic to rice, while that of the foreign C4-specific isoform can escape from such suppression. The accumulation of the maize C4-specific NADP-ME led to bleaching of leaf color and growth hindrance in rice plants under natural light. These deteriorative effects resulted from enhanced photoinhibition of photosynthesis due to an increase in the level of NADPH inside the chloroplast by the action of the maize enzyme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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