High-level expression of maize phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase in transgenic rice plants

Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Jan;17(1):76-80. doi: 10.1038/5256.


Using an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation system, we have introduced the intact gene of maize phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC), which catalyzes the initial fixation of atmospheric CO2 in C4 plants into the C3 crop rice. Most transgenic rice plants showed high-level expression of the maize gene; the activities of PEPC in leaves of some transgenic plants were two- to threefold higher than those in maize, and the enzyme accounted for up to 12% of the total leaf soluble protein. RNA gel blot and Southern blot analyses showed that the level of expression of the maize PEPC in transgenic rice plants correlated with the amount of transcript and the copy number of the inserted maize gene. Physiologically, the transgenic plants exhibited reduced O2 inhibition of photosynthesis and photosynthetic rates comparable to those of untransformed plants. The results demonstrate a successful strategy for installing the key biochemical component of the C4 pathway of photosynthesis in C3 plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Dosage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Oryza / enzymology*
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / growth & development
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase / genetics*
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Transgenes
  • Zea mays / enzymology
  • Zea mays / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase
  • Oxygen