Journal of experimental botany

A tomato chloroplast-targeted DnaJ protein protects Rubisco activity under heat stress.

PMID 25801077


Photosynthesis is one of the biological processes most sensitive to heat stress in plants. Carbon assimilation, which depends on ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), is one of the major sites sensitive to heat stress in photosynthesis. In this study, the roles of a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) chloroplast-targeted DnaJ protein (SlCDJ2) in resisting heat using sense and antisense transgenic tomatoes were examined. SlCDJ2 was found to be uniformly distributed in the thylakoids and stroma of the chloroplasts. Under heat stress, sense plants exhibited higher chlorophyll contents and fresh weights, and lower accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and membrane damage. Moreover, Rubisco activity, Rubisco large subunit (RbcL) content, and CO2 assimilation capacity were all higher in sense plants and lower in antisense plants compared with wild-type plants. Thus, SlCDJ2 contributes to maintenance of CO2 assimilation capacity mainly by protecting Rubisco activity under heat stress. SlCDJ2 probably achieves this by keeping the levels of proteolytic enzymes low, which prevents accelerated degradation of Rubisco under heat stress. Furthermore, a chloroplast heat-shock protein 70 was identified as a binding partner of SlCDJ2 in yeast two-hybrid assays. Taken together, these findings establish a role for SlCDJ2 in maintaining Rubisco activity in plants under heat stress.