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Plant J. 2001 May;26(4):365-73.

Overexpression of chlorophyllide a oxygenase (CAO) enlarges the antenna size of photosystem II in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 0600819, Japan.


The light-harvesting efficiency of a photosystem is thought to be largely dependent on its photosynthetic antenna size. It has been suggested that antenna size is controlled by the biosynthesis of chlorophyll b. To verify this hypothesis, we overexpressed the enzyme for chlorophyll b biosynthesis, chlorophyllide a oxygenase (CAO), in Arabidopsis thaliana by transforming the plant with cDNA for CAO under the control of the 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promoter. In the early de-etiolation phase, when the intrinsic CAO expression is very low, the chlorophyll a: b ratio was drastically decreased from 28 to 7.3, indicating that enhancement of chlorophyll b biosynthesis had been successfully achieved. We made the following observations in full-green rosette leaves of transgenic plants. (1) The chlorophyll a : b ratio was reduced from 2.85 to 2.65. (2) The ratio of the peripheral light-harvesting complexes (LHCII) to the core antenna complex (CPa) resolved with the green-gel system increased by 20%. (3) The ratio of the light-harvesting complex II apoproteins (LHCP) to 47-kDa chlorophyll a protein (CP47), which was estimated by the results of immunoblotting, increased by 40%. These results indicated that the antenna size increased by at least 10-20% in transgenic plants, suggesting that chlorophyll b biosynthesis controls antenna size. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on enlargement of the antenna size by genetic manipulations.

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