PloS one

Phytochrome B Mediates the Regulation of Chlorophyll Biosynthesis through Transcriptional Regulation of ChlH and GUN4 in Rice Seedlings.

PMID 26270815


Accurate regulation of chlorophyll synthesis is crucial for chloroplast formation during the greening process in angiosperms. In this study, we examined the role of phytochrome B (phyB) in the regulation of chlorophyll synthesis in rice seedlings (Oryza sativa L.) through the characterization of a pale-green phenotype observed in the phyB mutant grown under continuous red light (Rc) irradiation. Our results show that the Rc-induced chlorophyll accumulation can be divided into two components--a phyB-dependent and a phyB-independent component, and that the pale-green phenotype is caused by the absence of the phyB-dependent component. To elucidate the role of the missing component we established an Rc-induced greening experiment, the results of which revealed that several genes encoding proteins on the chlorophyll branch were repressed in the phyB mutant. Notable among them were ChlH and GUN4 genes, which encode subunit H and an activating factor of magnesium chelatase (Mg-chelatase), respectively, that were largely repressed in the mutant. Moreover, the kinetic profiles of chlorophyll precursors suggested that Mg-chelatase activity simultaneously decreased with the reduction in the transcript levels of ChlH and GUN4. These results suggest that phyB mediates the regulation of chlorophyll synthesis through transcriptional regulation of these two genes, whose products exert their action at the branching point of the chlorophyll biosynthesis pathway. Reduction of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) synthesis could be detected in the mutant, but the kinetic profiles of chlorophyll precursors indicated that it was an event posterior to the reduction of the Mg-chelatase activity. It means that the repression of 5-ALA synthesis should not be a triggering event for the appearance of the pale-green phenotype. Instead, the repression of 5-ALA synthesis might be important for the subsequent stabilization of the pale-green phenotype for preventing excessive accumulation of hazardous chlorophyll precursors, which is an inevitable consequence of the reduction of Mg-chelatase activity.