Journal Article

Rubisco gene expression in C<sub>4</sub> plants

Minesh Patel and James O. Berry

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 59, issue 7, pages 1625-1634
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Rubisco gene expression in C4 plants

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In leaves of most C4 plants, ribulose 1,5 bisphosphate carboxylase (Rubisco) accumulates only in bundle sheath (bs) cells that surround the vascular centres, and not in mesophyll (mp) cells. It has been shown previously that in the C4 dicots amaranth and Flaveria bidentis, post-transcriptional control of mRNA translation and stability mediate the C4 expression patterns of genes encoding the large and small Rubisco subunits (chloroplast rbcL and nuclear RbcS, respectively). Translational control appears to regulate bs cell-specific Rubisco gene expression during early dicot leaf development, while control of mRNA stability appears to mediate bs-specific accumulation of RbcS and rbcL transcripts in mature leaves. Post-transcriptional control is also involved in the regulation of Rubisco gene expression by light, and in response to photosynthetic activity. Transgenic and transient expression studies in F. bidentis provide direct evidence for post-transcriptional control of bs cell-specific RbcS expression, which is mediated by the 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs) of the mRNA. Comparisons of Rubisco gene expression in these dicots and in the monocot maize indicates possible commonalities in the regulation of RbcS and rbcL genes in these divergent C4 species. Now that the role of post-transcriptional regulation in C4 gene expression has been established, it is likely that future studies of mRNA–protein interactions will address long-standing questions about the establishment and maintenance of cell type-specificity in these plants. Some of these regulatory mechanisms may have ancestral origins in C3 species, through modification of pre-existing factors, or by the acquisition of novel C4 processes.

Keywords: C4 dicots; leaf development; light; photosynthesis; post-transcriptional control; RbcS and rbcL genes; RNA stability; Rubisco large and small subunits; translational control

Journal Article.  6492 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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