Journal Article

High Level Expression of C<sub>4</sub>-Specific NADP-Malic Enzyme in Leaves and Impairment of Photoautotrophic Growth in a C<sub>3</sub> 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 and Mitsue Miyao

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 42, issue 2, pages 138-145
Published in print February 2001 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online February 2001 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
High Level Expression of C4-Specific NADP-Malic Enzyme in Leaves and Impairment of Photoautotrophic Growth in a C3 Plant, Rice

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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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.

Keywords: Key words: C4 photosynthesis — Maize — NADP-malic enzyme (EC — Photoinhibition — Rice — Transformation.; Abbreviations: CAM, Crassulacean acid metabolism; DTT, dithiothreitol; NADP-MDH, NADP-malate dehydrogenase; NADP-ME, NADP-malic enzyme; OAA, oxaloacetate; PEPC, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase; PPDK, pyruvate, orthophosphate dikinase; PPFD, photosynthetically active photon flux density.

Journal Article.  6522 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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