Availability of Rubisco small subunit up-regulates the transcript levels of large subunit for stoichiometric assembly of its holoenzyme in rice

Plant Physiol. 2012 Sep;160(1):533-40. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.201459. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Rubisco is composed of eight small subunits coded for by the nuclear RBCS multigene family and eight large subunits coded for by the rbcL gene in the plastome. For synthesis of the Rubisco holoenzyme, both genes need to be expressed coordinately. To investigate this molecular mechanism, the protein synthesis of two subunits of Rubisco was characterized in transgenic rice (Oryza sativa) plants with overexpression or antisense suppression of the RBCS gene. Total RBCS and rbcL messenger RNA (mRNA) levels and RBCS and RbcL synthesis simultaneously increased in RBCS-sense plants, although the increase in total RBCS mRNA level was greater. In RBCS-antisense plants, the levels of these mRNAs and the synthesis of the corresponding proteins declined to a similar extent. The amount of RBCS synthesized was tightly correlated with rbcL mRNA level among genotypes but not associated with changes in mRNA levels of other major chloroplast-encoded photosynthetic genes. The level of rbcL mRNA, in turn, was tightly correlated with the amount of RbcL synthesized, the molar ratio of RBCS synthesis to RbcL synthesis being identical irrespective of genotype. Polysome loading of rbcL mRNA was not changed. These results demonstrate that the availability of RBCS protein up-regulates the gene expression of rbcL primarily at the transcript level in a quantitative manner for stoichiometric assembly of Rubisco holoenzyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Chloroplasts / enzymology
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Holoenzymes / genetics
  • Holoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Oryza / enzymology*
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / enzymology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Polyribosomes / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / analysis
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / genetics
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Up-Regulation*


  • Holoenzymes
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • RbcL protein, plastid
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase