The future of C4 research--maize, Flaveria or Cleome?

Trends Plant Sci. 2005 May;10(5):215-21. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2005.03.003.


C4 photosynthesis has evolved multiple times among the angiosperms: the spatial rearrangement of the photosynthetic apparatus, combined with alterations to the leaf structure, allows CO2 to be concentrated around Rubisco. Higher CO2 concentrations at Rubisco decrease the rate of oxygenation and therefore reduce the amount of energy lost through photorespiration. C4 plants are particularly prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions because they can sustain higher rates of net photosynthesis; they also represent some of our most productive crops. To date, most progress in identifying genes crucial for C4 photosynthesis has been made using maize and Flaveria. We propose that Cleome, the most closely related genus containing C4 species to the C3 model Arabidopsis, be used together with Arabidopsis resources to accelerate our progress in elucidating the genetic basis of C4 photosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cleome / classification*
  • Cleome / genetics
  • Flaveria / classification*
  • Flaveria / genetics
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Models, Biological
  • Photosynthesis / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / genetics
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Zea mays / classification
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase