A role for glutamine synthetase in the remobilization of leaf nitrogen during natural senescence in rice leaves

Kazunari Kamachi, Tomoyuki Yamaya, Tadahiko Mae, Kunihiko Ojima

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221 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in the levels of cytosolic glutamine synthetase (GS1) and chloroplastic glutamine synthetase (GS2) polypeptides and of corresponding mRNAs were determined in leaves of hydroponically grown rice (Oryza sativa) plants during natural senescence. The plants were grown in the greenhouse for 105 days at which time the thirteenth leaf was fully expanded. This was counted as zero time for senescence of the twelfth leaf. The twelfth leaf blade on the main stem was analyzed over a time period of -7 days (98 days after germination) to +42 days (147 days after germination). Total GS activity declined to less than a quarter of its initial level during the senescence for 35 days and this decline was mainly caused by a decrease in the amount of GS2 polypeptide. Immunoblotting analyses showed that contents of other chloroplastic enzymes, such as ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and Fd-glutamate synthase, declined in parallel with GS2. In contrast, the GS1 polypeptide remained constant throughout the senescence period. Translatable mRNA for GS1 increased about fourfold during the senescence for 35 days. During senescence, there was a marked decrease in content of glutamate (to about one-sixth of the zero time value); glutamate is the major form of free amino acid in rice leaves. Glutamine, the major transported amino acid, increased about threefold compared to the early phase of the harvest in the senescing rice leaf blades. These observations suggest that GS1 in senescing leaf blades is responsible for the synthesis of glutamine, which is then transferred to the growing tissues in rice plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-417
Number of pages7
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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