As ribulose 1·5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity limits light-saturated photosynthesis under present atmospheric condition, the effects of an overexpression of RBCSon Rubisco content and photosynthesis were examined in the leaves at different positions in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Rubisco content in the transformant was significantly greater in the uppermost, fully expanded leaves but decreased to levels similar to those in wild-type plants in the lower leaves. The mRNA levels of total RBCS and rbcL in these leaves were much less than those in the expanding leaves, where Rubisco synthesis is active, suggesting commensurately low level of synthesis. Although the activation state of Rubisco was lower in the uppermost, fully expanded leaves of the transformant, it recovered to its full level in the lower leaves. As a result, the photosynthetic rate did not differ in leaves at the same position between the transformant and the wild type. Similarly, whole plant biomass did not differ between these genotypes. Thus, we conclude that although the overexpression of RBCS led to an enhancement of Rubisco protein content in the uppermost, fully expanded leaves, it does not result in increased photosynthetic rates or plant biomass, because of an apparent down-regulation in its activation state.
- Leaf senescence
- RBCS overexpression