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Physiological and transcriptomic analyses of a yellow-green mutant with high photosynthetic efficiency in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

Wang, Yu, Zheng, Wei, Zheng, Weijun, Zhu, Jianchu, Liu, Zhenshan, Qin, Jinxia, Li, Hongxia
Functional & integrative genomics 2018 v.18 no.2 pp. 175-194
Triticum aestivum, biosynthesis, carbon dioxide, chlorophyll, chloroplasts, chromosomes, energy conversion, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genetic analysis, histology, magnesium chelatase, mutants, phenotype, photochemistry, photosystem I, photosystem II, recessive genes, signal transduction, solar energy, transcription (genetics), transcriptomics, wheat
Optimizing the antenna size by reducing the chlorophyll (Chl) content is an effective strategy to improve solar energy conversion efficiencies in dense crop monocultures. To elucidate the physiological and molecular mechanisms that regulate Chl biosynthesis and understand the effects of lower Chl content on the photosynthetic process, a light-intensity-dependent yellow-green wheat mutant (Jimai5265yg) was characterized to determine its morphological, histological, physiological, and transcriptional differences with wild type. In addition to lower Chl content with a higher Chl a/b ratio, Jimai5265yg has spherical chloroplasts with few plastoglobule. It is counterintuitive that the photochemical quantum yield of both photosystem I and photosystem II and the following CO₂ assimilation rate significantly increased, but the value of nonphotochemical quenching decreased, indicating a reduction of the photoprotective capacity of this yellow-green mutant. Analysis of intermediate pools and the expression of genes in the Chl synthesis pathway indicated that Mg-protoporphyrin IX (Mg-Proto IX) synthesis was partially blocked due to the imbalanced expression of Mg-chelatase subunits. Interestingly, the expression of photosynthesis-associated nuclear genes (PhANGs) was upregulated, resembling gun mutants which have defects in the Mg-Proto IX-mediated plastid-to-nucleus signaling pathway. A genetic analysis indicated that the yellow-green phenotype was controlled by two nuclear recessive genes located on chromosomes 4AL and 4BL. Jimai5265yg is a novel chlorina mutant which could be used for understanding photosynthesis improvement mechanisms.