Protoporphyrinogen IX (Protogen IX) oxidase (PPO) catalyzes the oxidation of Protogen IX to Proto IX. PPO is also the target site for diphenyl ether-type herbicides. In plants, there are two PPO encoding genes, PPO1 and PPO2. To date, no PPO gene or mutant has been characterized in monocotyledonous plants. In this study, we isolated a spotted and rolled leaf (sprl1) mutant in rice (Oryza sativa). The spotted leaf phenotype was sensitive to high light intensity and low temperature, but the rolled leaf phenotype was insensitive. We confirmed that the sprl1 phenotypes were caused by a single nucleotide substitution in the OsPPO1 (LOC_Os01g18320) gene. This gene is constitutively expressed, and its encoded product is localized to the chloroplast. The sprl1 mutant accumulated excess Proto(gen) IX and reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in necrotic lesions. The expressions of 26 genes associated with tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, photosynthesis, ROS accumulation, and rolled leaf were significantly altered in sprl1, demonstrating that these expression changes were coincident with the mutant phenotypes. Importantly, OsPPO1-overexpression transgenic plants were resistant to the herbicides oxyfluorfen and acifluorfen under field conditions, while having no distinct influence on plant growth and grain yield. These finding indicate that the OsPPO1 gene has the potential to engineer herbicide resistance in rice.
Keywords: diethyl ether herbicide; herbicide resistance; protoporphyrin IX; protoporphyrinogen IX; protoporphyrinogen IX oxidase; rice (Oryza sativa); rolled leaf; spotted leaf.