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Plant Physiol. 2000 Aug;123(4):1337-50.

Targeted inactivation of the plastid ndhB gene in tobacco results in an enhanced sensitivity of photosynthesis to moderate stomatal closure.

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  • 1Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 521, H-6701 Szeged, Hungary.


The ndh genes encoding for the subunits of NAD(P)H dehydrogenase complex represent the largest family of plastid genes without a clearly defined function. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plastid transformants were produced in which the ndhB gene was inactivated by replacing it with a mutant version possessing translational stops in the coding region. Western-blot analysis indicated that no functional NAD(P)H dehydrogenase complex can be assembled in the plastid transformants. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements showed that dark reduction of the plastoquinone pool by stromal reductants was impaired in ndhB-inactivated plants. Both the phenotype and photosynthetic performance of the plastid transformants was completely normal under favorable conditions. However, an enhanced growth retardation of ndhB-inactivated plants was revealed under humidity stress conditions causing a moderate decline in photosynthesis via stomatal closure. This distinctive phenotype was mimicked under normal humidity by spraying plants with abscisic acid. Measurements of CO(2) fixation demonstrated an enhanced decline in photosynthesis in the mutant plants under humidity stress, which could be restored to wild-type levels by elevating the external CO(2) concentration. These results suggest that the plastid NAD(P)H:plastoquinone oxidoreductase in tobacco performs a significant physiological role by facilitating photosynthesis at moderate CO(2) limitation.

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