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Overexpression of the rubisco activase gene improves growth and low temperature and weak light tolerance in Cucumis sativus

Bi, Huangai, Liu, Peipei, Jiang, Zhensheng, Ai, Xizhen
Physiologia plantarum 2017 v.161 no.2 pp. 224-234
Cucumis sativus, carbon, carbon dioxide, carboxylation, cucumbers, fluorescence, gene overexpression, genes, greenhouses, leaf area, leaves, malondialdehyde, photochemistry, photosystem II, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase activase, seedlings, stomatal conductance, temperature, transgenic plants
Rubisco activase (RCA) is an important enzyme that can catalyze the carboxylation and oxygenation activities of ribulose‐1,5‐bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), which is involved in the photosynthetic carbon reduction cycle. Here, we studied the effects of changes in RCA activity on photosynthesis, growth and development, as well as the low temperature and weak light tolerance of RCA overexpressing transgenic cucumber (Cucumis sativus) plants. CsRCA overexpression increased the plant height, leaf area and dry matter, and decreased the root/top ratio in transgenic cucumber plants compared with the wild‐type (WT) plants. Low temperature and low light stress led to decreases in the CsRCA expression and protein levels, the photosynthetic rate (Pn) and the stomatal conductance (Gs), but an increase in the intercellular CO₂ (Ci) concentration in cucumber leaves. The actual photochemical efficiency and maximal photochemical efficiency of photosystem II in cucumber seedlings also declined, but the initial fluorescence increased during low temperature and weak light stress. Transgenic plants showed a lower decrease in the CsRCA expression level and actual and maximal photochemical efficiencies, as well as increases in the Ci and initial fluorescence relative to the WT plants. Low temperature and low light stress resulted in a significant increase in the malondialdehyde (MDA) content; however, this increase was reduced in transgenic plants compared with that in WT plants. Thus, the overexpression of CsRCA may promote the growth and low temperature and low light tolerance of cucumber plants in solar greenhouses.