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Front Plant Sci. 2016 Apr 28;7:533. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00533. eCollection 2016.

Protection of Chloroplast Membranes by VIPP1 Rescues Aberrant Seedling Development in Arabidopsis nyc1 Mutant.

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Institute of Plant Science and Resources, Okayama University Okayama, Japan.
Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University Hiroshima, Japan.
Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University Hokkaido, Japan.


Chlorophylls (Chl) in photosynthetic apparatuses, along with other macromolecules in chloroplasts, are known to undergo degradation during leaf senescence. Several enzymes involved in Chl degradation, by which detoxification of Chl is safely implemented, have been identified. Chl degradation also occurs during embryogenesis and seedling development. Some genes encoding Chl degradation enzymes such as Chl b reductase (CBR) function during these developmental stages. Arabidopsis mutants lacking CBR (NYC1 and NOL) have been reported to exhibit reduced seed storability, compromised germination, and cotyledon development. In this study, we examined aberrant cotyledon development and found that NYC1 is solely responsible for this phenotype. We inferred that oxidative damage of chloroplast membranes caused the aberrant cotyledon. To test the inference, we attempted to trans-complement nyc1 mutant with overexpressing VIPP1 protein that is unrelated to Chl degradation but which supports chloroplast membrane integrity. VIPP1 expression actually complemented the aberrant cotyledon of nyc1, whereas stay-green phenotype during leaf senescence remained. The swollen chloroplasts observed in unfixed cotyledons of nyc1, which are characteristics of chloroplasts receiving envelope membrane damage, were recovered by overexpressing VIPP1. These results suggest that chloroplast membranes are a target for oxidative damage caused by the impairment in Chl degradation. Trans-complementation of nyc1 with VIPP1 also suggests that VIPP1 is useful for protecting chloroplasts against oxidative stress.


NYC1; VIPP1; chlorophyll degradation; chloroplast membrane integrity; cotyledon development; oxidative damage

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