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Photosynthetic Enhancement, Lifespan Extension, and Leaf Area Enlargement in Flag Leaves Increased the Yield of Transgenic Rice Plants Overproducing Rubisco Under Sufficient N Fertilization

  • Tanaka, Marin1
  • Keira, Mamoru1
  • Yoon, Dong-Kyung1
  • Mae, Tadahiko1
  • Ishida, Hiroyuki1
  • Makino, Amane1
  • Ishiyama, Keiki1
  • 1 Tohoku University, 468-1 Aramaki-Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8572, Japan , Sendai (Japan)
Published Article
Springer US
Publication Date
Feb 09, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s12284-022-00557-5
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundImprovement in photosynthesis is one of the most promising approaches to increase grain yields. Transgenic rice plants overproducing Rubisco by 30% (RBCS-sense rice plants) showed up to 28% increase in grain yields under sufficient nitrogen (N) fertilization using an isolated experimental paddy field (Yoon et al. in Nat Food 1:134–139, 2020). The plant N contents above-ground sections and Rubisco contents of the flag leaves were higher in the RBCS-sense plants than in the wild-type rice plants during the ripening period, which may be reasons for the increased yields. However, some imprecise points were left in the previous research, such as contributions of photosynthesis of leaves below the flag leaves to the yield, and maintenance duration of high photosynthesis of RBCS-sense rice plants during ripening periods.ResultIn this research, the photosynthetic capacity and canopy architecture were analyzed to explore factors for the increased yields of RBCS-sense rice plants. It was found that N had already been preferentially distributed into the flag leaves at the early ripening stage, contributing to maintaining higher Rubisco content levels in the enlarged flag leaves and extending the lifespan of the flag leaves of RBCS-sense rice plants throughout ripening periods under sufficient N fertilization. The higher amounts of Rubisco also improved the photosynthetic activity in the flag leaves throughout the ripening period. Although the enlarged flag leaves of the RBCS-sense rice plants occupied large spatial areas of the uppermost layer in the canopy, no significant prevention of light penetration to leaves below the flag leaves was observed. Additionally, since the CO2 assimilation rates of lower leaves between wild-type and RBCS-sense rice plants were the same at the early ripening stage, the lower leaves did not contribute to an increase in yields of the RBCS-sense rice plants.ConclusionWe concluded that improvements in the photosynthetic capacity by higher leaf N and Rubisco contents, enlarged leaf area and extended lifespan of flag leaves led to an increase in grain yields of RBCS-sense rice plants grown under sufficient N fertilization.

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