Overexpression of the Rieske FeS protein of the Cytochrome b 6 f complex increases C4 photosynthesis in Setaria viridis

Maria Ermakova, Patricia E. Lopez-Calcagno, Christine A. Raines, Robert T. Furbank, Susanne von Caemmerer

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C4 photosynthesis is characterised by a CO2 concentrating mechanism that operates between mesophyll and bundle sheath cells increasing CO2 partial pressure at the site of Rubisco and photosynthetic efficiency. Electron transport chains in both cell types supply ATP and NADPH for C4 photosynthesis. Cytochrome b6f is a key control point of electron transport in C3 plants. To study whether C4 photosynthesis is limited by electron transport we constitutively overexpressed the Rieske FeS subunit in Setaria viridis. This resulted in a higher Cytochrome b6f content in mesophyll and bundle sheath cells without marked changes in the abundances of other photosynthetic proteins. Rieske overexpression plants showed better light conversion efficiency in both Photosystems and could generate higher proton-motive force across the thylakoid membrane underpinning an increase in CO2 assimilation rate at ambient and saturating CO2 and high light. Our results demonstrate that removing electron transport limitations can increase C4 photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number314
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

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