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Transgenic Expression of Rubisco Factors Increases Photosynthesis and Chilling Tolerance in Maize
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 13, 2024 05:34PM

Maize is a widely grown crop worldwide and is essential to global food
security. However, like other plants, its growth and productivity are
limited by the slow activity of Rubisco, the enzyme responsible for carbon
assimilation during photosynthesis. Scientists from the Boyce Thompson
Institute (BTI) have demonstrated a promising approach to enhancing Rubisco
production to improve photosynthesis and overall plant growth.

The BTI study involved the transgenic expression of three key proteins,
Rubisco Accumulation Factor 2 (Raf2) and the large and small Rubisco
subunits. The researchers overexpressed these proteins, which increased
Rubisco content, accelerated carbon assimilation, and boosted plant height
in maize. The BTI team found that while acting at different steps of the
Rubisco assembly, Raf1 and Raf2 could independently enhance Rubisco
abundance and plant performance. This opens possibilities for further
improvements by stacking the traits together, potentially leading to even
greater photosynthetic capacity.

The transgenic plants that the BTI team developed also showed improved
resilience to chilling stress, a common environmental challenge that
severely impacts crop yields. The researchers observed that these plants
maintained higher photosynthetic rates during cold exposure and recovered
more rapidly after the stress subsided. These findings hold exciting
possibilities for other crops such as staple foods with similar
photosynthetic pathways to maize, including sorghum, millet, and sugarcane.


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