Although photosynthesis is the most important source for biomass and grain yield, a lack of correlation between photosynthesis and plant yield among different genotypes of various crop species has been frequently observed. Such observations contribute to the ongoing debate whether enhancing leaf photosynthesis can improve yield potential. Here, transgenic rice plants that contain variable amounts of the Rieske FeS protein in the cytochrome (cyt) b6/f complex between 10 and 100% of wild-type levels have been used to investigate the effect of reductions of these proteins on photosynthesis, plant growth and yield. Reductions of the cyt b6/f complex did not affect the electron transport rates through photosystem I but decreased electron transport rates through photosystem II, leading to concomitant decreases in CO2 assimilation rates. There was a strong control of plant growth and grain yield by the rate of leaf photosynthesis, leading to the conclusion that enhancing photosynthesis at the single-leaf level would be a useful target for improving crop productivity and yield both via conventional breeding and biotechnology. The data here also suggest that changing photosynthetic electron transport rates via manipulation of the cyt b6/f complex could be a potential target for enhancing photosynthetic capacity in higher plants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science