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EMBO J. 1993 Oct;12(10):3711-9.

Olive: a key gene required for chlorophyll biosynthesis in Antirrhinum majus.

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Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Olive (oli) is a recessive nuclear mutation of Antirrhinum majus which reduces the level of chlorophyll pigmentation and affects the ultrastructure of chloroplasts. The oli-605 allele carries a Tam3 transposon insertion which has allowed the locus to be isolated. The oli gene encodes a large putative protein of 153 kDa which shows homology to the products of two bacterial genes necessary for tetrapyrrole-metal chelation during the synthesis of bacteriochlorophyll or cobyrinic acid. We therefore propose that the product of the oli gene is necessary for a key step of chlorophyll synthesis: the chelation of magnesium by protoporphyrin IX. Somatic reversion of the oli-605 allele produces chimeric plants which indicate that the oli gene functions cell-autonomously. Expression of oli is restricted to photosynthetic cells and repressed by light, suggesting that it may be involved in regulating the rate of chlorophyll synthesis in green tissues.

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