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Characterization of the pheophorbide a oxygenase/phyllobilin pathway of chlorophyll breakdown in grasses


Das, Aditi; Christ, Bastien; Hörtensteiner, Stefan (2018). Characterization of the pheophorbide a oxygenase/phyllobilin pathway of chlorophyll breakdown in grasses. Planta, 248(4):875-892.

Abstract

MAIN CONCLUSION
Although the PAO/phyllobilin pathway of chlorophyll breakdown is active in grass leaf senescence, the abundance of phyllobilins is far below the amount of degraded chlorophyll. The yellowing of fully developed leaves is the most prominent visual symptom of plant senescence. Thereby, chlorophyll is degraded via the so-called pheophorbide a oxygenase (PAO)/phyllobilin pathway to a species-specific set of phyllobilins, linear tetrapyrrolic products of chlorophyll breakdown. Here, we investigated the diversity and abundance of phyllobilins in cereal and forage crops, i.e. barley, rice, ryegrass, sorghum and wheat, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A total of thirteen phyllobilins were identified, among them four novel, not yet described ones, pointing to a rather high diversity of phyllobilin-modifying activities present in the Gramineae. Along with these phyllobilins, barley orthologs of known Arabidopsis thaliana chlorophyll catabolic enzymes were demonstrated to localize in the chloroplast, and two of them, i.e. PAO and pheophytin pheophorbide hydrolase, complemented respective Arabidopsis mutants. These data confirm functionality of the PAO/phyllobilin pathway in grasses. Interestingly, when comparing phyllobilin abundance with amounts of degraded chlorophyll in senescent leaves, in most analyzed grass species only minor fractions of chlorophyll were recovered as phyllobilins, opposite to A. thaliana where phyllobilin quantities match degraded chlorophyll rather well. These data show that, despite the presence and activity of the PAO/phyllobilin pathway in barley (and other cereals), phyllobilins do not accumulate stoichiometrically, implying possible degradation of chlorophyll beyond the phyllobilin level.

Abstract

MAIN CONCLUSION
Although the PAO/phyllobilin pathway of chlorophyll breakdown is active in grass leaf senescence, the abundance of phyllobilins is far below the amount of degraded chlorophyll. The yellowing of fully developed leaves is the most prominent visual symptom of plant senescence. Thereby, chlorophyll is degraded via the so-called pheophorbide a oxygenase (PAO)/phyllobilin pathway to a species-specific set of phyllobilins, linear tetrapyrrolic products of chlorophyll breakdown. Here, we investigated the diversity and abundance of phyllobilins in cereal and forage crops, i.e. barley, rice, ryegrass, sorghum and wheat, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A total of thirteen phyllobilins were identified, among them four novel, not yet described ones, pointing to a rather high diversity of phyllobilin-modifying activities present in the Gramineae. Along with these phyllobilins, barley orthologs of known Arabidopsis thaliana chlorophyll catabolic enzymes were demonstrated to localize in the chloroplast, and two of them, i.e. PAO and pheophytin pheophorbide hydrolase, complemented respective Arabidopsis mutants. These data confirm functionality of the PAO/phyllobilin pathway in grasses. Interestingly, when comparing phyllobilin abundance with amounts of degraded chlorophyll in senescent leaves, in most analyzed grass species only minor fractions of chlorophyll were recovered as phyllobilins, opposite to A. thaliana where phyllobilin quantities match degraded chlorophyll rather well. These data show that, despite the presence and activity of the PAO/phyllobilin pathway in barley (and other cereals), phyllobilins do not accumulate stoichiometrically, implying possible degradation of chlorophyll beyond the phyllobilin level.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
07 Faculty of Science > Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:October 2018
Deposited On:07 Mar 2019 10:26
Last Modified:01 Nov 2019 01:01
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0032-0935
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-018-2946-2
PubMed ID:29951845

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