Characterization of Rubisco activase genes in maize: an α-isoform gene functions alongside a β-isoform gene

Plant Physiology
Zhitong YinChenwu Xu


Rubisco activase (RCA) catalyzes the activation of Rubisco in vivo and plays a crucial role in regulating plant growth. In maize (Zea mays), only β-form RCA genes have been cloned and characterized. In this study, a genome-wide survey revealed the presence of an α-form RCA gene and a β-form RCA gene in the maize genome, herein referred to as ZmRCAα and ZmRCAβ, respectively. An analysis of genomic DNA and complementary DNA sequences suggested that alternative splicing of the ZmRCAβ precursor mRNA (premRNA) at its 3' untranslated region could produce two distinctive ZmRCAβ transcripts. Analyses by electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry showed that ZmRCAα and ZmRCAβ encode larger and smaller polypeptides of approximately 46 and 43 kD, respectively. Transcriptional analyses demonstrated that the expression levels of both ZmRCAα and ZmRCAβ were higher in leaves and during grain filling and that expression followed a specific cyclic day/night pattern. In 123 maize inbred lines with extensive genetic diversity, the transcript abundance and protein expression levels of these two RCA genes were positively correlated with grain yield. Additionally, both genes demonstrated a...Continue Reading


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