Rubisco gene expression was examined in detail in rice (Oryza sativa L.) leaves at different positions, i.e. expanding, mature, and senescent leaves. Rubisco small subunit (RBCS) synthesis and RBCS mRNA levels were maximal in expanding leaves and gradually became lower in mature and senescent leaves, with declines in those of the large subunit (RBCL) being relatively slower. The amount of synthesized RBCL per unit level of RBCL mRNA and polysome loading of RBCL mRNA declined in senescent leaves, whereas such phenomena were not observed for RBCS. These results suggested that gene expression of RBCL is downregulated at the level of its translation when a balance between RBCL and RBCS expression is disturbed by leaf senescence. It has been suggested that RBCS protein is a positive regulator for RBCL mRNA level in expanding rice leaves, as judged from their stoichiometric relationship in RBCS transgenic rice plants. However, the ratio of the RBCL mRNA level to the amount of synthesized RBCS in senescent leaves was significantly higher than that in expanding leaves. Therefore, it is suggested that the decline in RBCL mRNA level in senescent leaves is not fully accounted for by that in the amount of synthesized RBCS. Effects of other factors such as the stability of RBCL mRNA may come into play.
- gene expression
- leaf senescence