Chlorophyll b is synthesized from chlorophyll a by chlorophyll a oxygenase. We have identified two genes (OsCAO1 and OsCAO2) from the rice genome that are highly homologous to previously studied chlorophyll a oxygenase (CAO) genes. They are positioned in tandem, probably resulting from recent gene duplications. The proteins they encode contain two conserved functional motifs – the Rieske Fe–sulfur coordinating center and a non-heme mononuclear Fe-binding site. OsCAO1 is induced by light and is preferentially expressed in photosynthetic tissues. Its mRNA level decreases when plants are grown in the dark. In contrast, OsCAO2 mRNA levels are higher under dark conditions, and its expression is down-regulated by exposure to light. To elucidate the physiological function of the CAO genes, we have isolated knockout mutant lines tagged by T-DNA or Tos17. Mutant plants containing a T-DNA insertion in the first intron of the OsCAO1 gene have pale green leaves, indicating chlorophyll b deficiency. We have also isolated a pale green mutant with a Tos17 insertion in that OsCAO1 gene. In contrast, OsCAO2 knockout mutant leaves do not differ significantly from the wild type. These results suggest that OsCAO1 plays a major role in chlorophyll b biosynthesis, and that OsCAO2 may function in the dark.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 11, 2005
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