Stomatal conductance does not correlate with photosynthetic capacity in transgenic tobacco with reduced amounts of Rubisco

J Exp Bot. 2004 May;55(400):1157-66. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erh128. Epub 2004 Apr 23.


High-resolution imaging of chlorophyll a fluorescence from intact tobacco leaves was used to compare the quantum yield of PSII electron transport in the chloroplasts of guard cells with that in the underlying mesophyll cells. Transgenic tobacco plants with reduced amounts of Rubisco (anti-Rubisco plants) were compared with wild-type tobacco plants. The quantum yield of PSII in both guard cells and underlying mesophyll cells was less in anti-Rubisco plants than in wild-type plants, but closely matched between the two cell types regardless of genotype. CO2 assimilation rates of anti-Rubisco plants were 4.4 micromol m(-2) s(-1) compared with 17.3 micromol m(-2) s(-1) for the wild type, when measured at a photon irradiance of 1000 micromol m(-2) s(-1) and ambient CO2 of 380 micromol mol(-1). Despite the large difference in photosynthetic capacity between the anti-Rubisco and wild-type plants, there was no discernible difference in the rate of stomatal opening, steady-state stomatal conductance or response of stomatal conductance to ambient CO2 concentration. These data demonstrate clearly that the commonly observed correlation between photosynthetic capacity and stomatal conductance can be disrupted in the long term by manipulation of photosynthetic capacity via antisense RNA technology. It was concluded that stomatal conductance is not directly determined by the photosynthetic capacity of guard cells or the leaf mesophyll.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / radiation effects
  • Electron Transport
  • Nicotiana / enzymology
  • Nicotiana / genetics*
  • Photosynthesis / genetics*
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / cytology*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / radiation effects
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism*


  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Chlorophyll
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase