Molecular plant

Map-based cloning of zb7 encoding an IPP and DMAPP synthase in the MEP pathway of maize.

PMID 22498772


IspH is a key enzyme in the last step of the methyl-D-erythritol-4-phosphate (MEP) pathway. Loss of function of IspH can often result in complete yellow or albino phenotype in many plants. Here, we report the characterization of a recessive mutant of maize, zebra7 (zb7), showing transverse green/yellow striped leaves in young plants. The yellow bands of the mutant have decreased levels of chlorophylls and carotenoids with delayed chloroplast development. Low temperature suppressed mutant phenotype, while alternate light/dark cycle or high temperature enlarged the yellow section. Map-based cloning demonstrated that zb7 encodes the IspH protein with a mis-sense mutation in a conserved region. Transgenic silencing of Zb7 in maize resulted in complete albino plantlets that are aborted in a few weeks, confirming that Zb7 is important in the early stages of maize chloroplast development. Zb7 is constitutively expressed and its expression subject to a 16-h light/8-h dark cycle regulation. Our results suggest that the less effective or unstable IspH in zb7 mutant, together with its diurnal expression, are mechanistically accounted for the zebra phenotype. The increased IspH mRNA in the leaves of zb7 at the late development stage may explain the restoration of mutant phenotype in mature stages.