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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Delaying chloroplast turnover increases water-deficit stress tolerance through the enhancement of nitrogen assimilation in rice.


Abiotic stress-induced senescence in crops is a process particularly affecting the photosynthetic apparatus, decreasing photosynthetic activity and inducing chloroplast degradation. A pathway for stress-induced chloroplast degradation that involves the CHLOROPLAST VESICULATION (CV) gene was characterized in rice (Oryza sativa) plants. OsCV expression was up-regulated with the age of the plants and when plants were exposed to water-deficit conditions. The down-regulation of OsCV expression contributed to the maintenance of the chloroplast integrity under stress. OsCV-silenced plants displayed enhanced source fitness (i.e. carbon and nitrogen assimilation) and photorespiration, leading to water-deficit stress tolerance. Co-immunoprecipitation, intracellular co-localization, and bimolecular fluorescence demonstrated the in vivo interaction between OsCV and chloroplastic glutamine synthetase (OsGS2), affecting source-sink relationships of the plants under stress. Our results would indicate that the OsCV-mediated chloroplast degradation pathway is involved in the regulation of nitrogen assimilation during stress-induced plant senescence.

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