Distinct roles for light-dependent NADPH:protochlorophyllide oxidoreductases (POR) A and B during greening in higher plants

Plant J. 1996 Apr;9(4):513-23. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1996.09040513.x.


Light-dependent NADPH:protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase (POR), a nuclear-encoded plastid-localized enzyme, catalyzes the photoreduction of protochlorophyllide (Pchlide) to chlorophyllide in higher plants, algae and cyanobacteria. Angiosperms require light for chlorophyll (Chl) biosynthesis and have recently been shown to contain two POR-encoding genes, PorA and PorB, that are differentially regulated by light and developmental state. PorA expression rapidly becomes undetectable after illumination of etiolated seedlings, whereas PorB expression persists throughout greening and in adult plants. In order to study the in vivo functions of Arabidopsis POR A and POR B we have abolished the expression of PorA through the use of the phytochrome A-mediated far-red high irradiance response. Wild-type seedlings grown in continuous far-red light (cFR) display the morphology of white light (WL)-grown seedlings, but contain only traces of Chl and do not green upon transfer to WL. This cFR-induced greening defect correlates with the absence of PorA mRNA, the putative POR A protein, phototransformable Pchlide-F655, and with strongly reduced POR enzymatic activity in plant extracts. In contrast, a cFR-grown phyA mutant expresses the PorA gene, accumulates Chl and visibly greens in WL. Furthermore, constitutive overexpression of POR A in cFR-grown transgenic Arabidopsis wild-type seedlings restores Chl accumulation and WL-induced greening. These data demonstrate that POR A is required for greening and that the availability of POR A limits Chl accumulation during growth in cFR. POR B apparently provides a means to sustain light-dependent Chl biosynthesis in fully greened, mature plants in the absence of phototransformable Pchlide-F655.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chlorophyll / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Light
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors*
  • Phytochrome / genetics
  • Phytochrome A
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / radiation effects
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Isoenzymes
  • PHYA protein, Arabidopsis
  • Phytochrome A
  • Phytochrome
  • Chlorophyll
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors
  • protochlorophyllide reductase