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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26532. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026532. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

Overexpression of protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase C regulates oxidative stress in Arabidopsis.

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School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delphi, India.


Light absorbed by colored intermediates of chlorophyll biosynthesis is not utilized in photosynthesis; instead, it is transferred to molecular oxygen, generating singlet oxygen ((1)O(2)). As there is no enzymatic detoxification mechanism available in plants to destroy (1)O(2), its generation should be minimized. We manipulated the concentration of a major chlorophyll biosynthetic intermediate i.e., protochlorophyllide in Arabidopsis by overexpressing the light-inducible protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase C (PORC) that effectively phototransforms endogenous protochlorophyllide to chlorophyllide leading to minimal accumulation of the photosensitizer protochlorophyllide in light-grown plants. In PORC overexpressing (PORCx) plants exposed to high-light, the (1)O(2) generation and consequent malonedialdehyde production was minimal and the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II remained unaffected demonstrating that their photosynthetic apparatus and cellular organization were intact. Further, PORCx plants treated with 5-aminolevulinicacid when exposed to light, photo-converted over-accumulated protochlorophyllide to chlorophyllide, reduced the generation of (1)O(2) and malonedialdehyde production and reduced plasma membrane damage. So PORCx plants survived and bolted whereas, the 5-aminolevulinicacid-treated wild-type plants perished. Thus, overexpression of PORC could be biotechnologically exploited in crop plants for tolerance to (1)O(2)-induced oxidative stress, paving the use of 5-aminolevulinicacid as a selective commercial light-activated biodegradable herbicide. Reduced protochlorophyllide content in PORCx plants released the protochlorophyllide-mediated feed-back inhibition of 5-aminolevulinicacid biosynthesis that resulted in higher 5-aminolevulinicacid production. Increase of 5-aminolevulinicacid synthesis upregulated the gene and protein expression of several downstream chlorophyll biosynthetic enzymes elucidating a regulatory net work of expression of genes involved in 5-aminolevulinicacid and tetrapyrrole biosynthesis.

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