Removal of redox-sensitive Rubisco Activase does not alter Rubisco regulation in soybean
Christopher M. Harvey, Amanda P. Cavanagh, Sang Yeol Kim, David A. Wright, Ron G. Edquilang, Kayla S. Shreeves, Juan Alejandro Perdomo, Martin H. Spalding, Donald R. Ort, Carl J. Bernacchi & Steven C. Huber
Rubisco activase (Rca) facilitates the catalytic repair of Rubisco, the CO2-fixing enzyme of photosynthesis, following periods of darkness, low to high light transitions or stress. Removal of the redox-regulated isoform of Rubisco activase, Rca-α, enhances photosynthetic induction in Arabidopsis and has been suggested as a strategy for the improvement of crops, which may experience frequent light transitions in the field; however, this has never been tested in a crop species. Therefore, we used RNAi to reduce the Rca-α content of soybean (Glycine max cv. Williams 82) below detectable levels and then characterized the growth, photosynthesis, and Rubisco activity of the resulting transgenics, in both growth chamber and field conditions. Under a 16 h sine wave photoperiod, the reduction of Rca-α contents had no impact on morphological characteristics, leaf expansion rate, or total biomass. Photosynthetic induction rates were unaltered in both chamber-grown and field-grown plants. Plants with reduced Rca-α content maintained the ability to regulate Rubisco activity in low light just as in control plants. This result suggests that in soybean, Rca-α is not as centrally involved in the regulation of Rca oligomer activity as it is in Arabidopsis. The isoform stoichiometry supports this conclusion, as Rca-α comprises only ~ 10% of the Rubisco activase content of soybean, compared to ~ 50% in Arabidopsis. This is likely to hold true in other species that contain a low ratio of Rca-α to Rca-ß isoforms.