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, 17 (3), 599-607

Mutation of the Rice ASL2 Gene Encoding Plastid Ribosomal Protein L21 Causes Chloroplast Developmental Defects and Seedling Death

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Mutation of the Rice ASL2 Gene Encoding Plastid Ribosomal Protein L21 Causes Chloroplast Developmental Defects and Seedling Death

D Lin et al. Plant Biol (Stuttg).

Abstract

The plastid ribosome proteins (PRPs) play important roles in plastid protein biosynthesis, chloroplast differentiation and early chloroplast development. However, the specialised functions of individual protein components of the chloroplast ribosome in rice (Oryza sativa) remain unresolved. In this paper, we identified a novel rice PRP mutant named asl2 (Albino seedling lethality 2) exhibiting an albino, seedling death phenotype. In asl2 mutants, the alteration of leaf colour was associated with chlorophyll (Chl) content and abnormal chloroplast development. Through map-based cloning and complementation, the mutated ASL2 gene was isolated and found to encode the chloroplast 50S ribosome protein L21 (RPL21c), a component of the chloroplast ribosome large subunit, which was localised in chloroplasts. ASL2 was expressed at a higher level in the plumule and leaves, implying its tissue-specific expression. Additionally, the expression of ASL2 was regulated by light. The transcript levels of the majority of genes for Chl biosynthesis, photosynthesis and chloroplast development were strongly affected in asl2 mutants. Collectively, the absence of functional ASL2 caused chloroplast developmental defects and seedling death. This report establishes the important role of RPL21c in chloroplast development in rice.

Keywords: Chloroplast development; chloroplast ribosomal protein; gene mutation; map-based cloning; rice (Oryza sativa L.).

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