Genetic analysis of chlorophyll synthesis and degradation regulated by BALANCE of CHLOROPHYLL METABOLISM

Hiroshi Yamatani, Takeshi Ito, Kenji Nishimura, Tetsuya Yamada, Wataru Sakamoto, Makoto Kusaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Chlorophyll (Chl) serves a number of essential functions, capturing and converting light energy as a component of photosystem supercomplexes. Chl degradation during leaf senescence is also required for adequate degeneration of chloroplasts and salvaging of nutrients from senescent leaves. In this study, we performed genetic analysis to determine the functions of BALANCE of CHLOROPHYLL METABOLISM1 (BCM1) and BCM2, which control Chl levels by regulating synthesis and degradation, and STAY-GREEN (SGR)1 (also known as NON-YELLOWING1 [NYE1]) and SGR2, which encode Mg-dechelatase and catalyze Chl a degradation in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Analysis of bcm1 bcm2 revealed that both BCM1 and BCM2 are involved in the regulation of Chl levels in presenescent leaves and Chl degradation in senescing leaves. Analysis of bcm1 bcm2 nye1 nye2 suggested that BCMs repress Chl-degrading activity in both presenescent and senescing leaves by regulating SGR activity. Furthermore, transactivation analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay revealed that GOLDEN2-LIKE1 (GLK1), a central transcription factor regulating the expression of genes encoding photosystem-related proteins, such as light-harvesting Chl a/b-binding proteins (LHCPs), directly regulates the transcription of BCM1. LHCPs are stabilized by Chl binding, suggesting that GLKs control the amount of LHCP through transcriptional and post-translational regulation via BCM-mediated Chl-level regulation. Meanwhile, we generated a mutant of the BCM ortholog in lettuce (Lactuca sativa) by genome editing and found that it showed an early yellowing phenotype, but only a slight reduction in Chl in presenescent leaves. Thus, this study revealed a conserved but slightly diversified regulation of Chl and LHCP levels via the GLK-BCM pathway in eudicots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-432
Number of pages14
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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