Researchers from Zhejiang University and Zhejiang Academy elucidated the role of OsCpn60╬?1 in chloroplast development in rice. Their findings are published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.┬á
Chaperonin 60 (Cpn60) protein has been known to control the folding of several chloroplast protein polypeptides. In chloroplasts, Cpn60 has two subunit typesÔ??Cpn60╬? and Cpn60╬? and the rice genome encodes three ╬? and three ╬? plastid chaperonin subunits. However, the functions of Cpn60 family members remains unclear. To understand the molecular mechanism of OsCpn60╬?1, the researchers disrupted the gene using CRISPR-Cas9.
Results showed that the OsCpn60╬?1 knockout rice plants manifested albino leaves and were seedling lethal. When the leaves were observed under an electron microscope, it was found that the chloroplasts were severely disrupted. OsCpn60╬?1 was found in the chloroplast and OsCpn60╬?1 is constitutively expressed in different tissues especially in the green tissues. Further analysis showed that photosynthesis-related pathways and ribosomal pathways were significantly inhibited in OsCpn60╬?1 mutants.
Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that OsCpn60╬?1 is essential for chloroplast development in rice.