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Title: A procedure to introduce point mutations into the Rubisco large subunit gene in wild‐type plants

Photosynthetic inefficiencies limit the productivity and sustainability of crop production and the resilience of agriculture to future societal and environmental challenges. Rubisco is a key target for improvement as it plays a central role in carbon fixation during photosynthesis and is remarkably inefficient. Introduction of mutations to the chloroplast‐encoded Rubisco large subunitrbcL is of particular interest for improving the catalytic activity and efficiency of the enzyme. However, manipulation ofrbcL is hampered by its location in the plastome, with many species recalcitrant to plastome transformation, and by the plastid's efficient repair system, which can prevent effective maintenance of mutations introduced with homologous recombination. Here we present a system where the introduction of a number of silent mutations intorbcL within the model plantNicotiana tabacumfacilitates simplified screening via additional restriction enzyme sites. This system was used to successfully generate a range of transplastomic lines from wild‐typeN. tabacumwith stable point mutations withinrbcL in 40% of the transformants, allowing assessment of the effect of these mutations on Rubisco assembly and activity. With further optimization the approach offers a viable way forward for mutagenic testing of Rubisco functionin plantawithin tobacco and modification ofrbcL in other crops where chloroplast transformation is feasible. The transformation strategy could also be applied to introduce point mutations in other chloroplast‐encoded genes.

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Journal Name:
The Plant Journal
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 876-887
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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