Antisense Expression of Mitochondrial ATP Synthase Subunits OSCP (ATP5) and (ATP3) Alters Leaf Morphology, Metabolism and Gene Expression in Arabidopsis
Determination of the role of mitochondrial (mt) ATP synthesis in plant metabolism is complicated by chloroplastic ATP synthesis. To differentiate ATP synthesis from these two organelles, we created transgenic Arabidopsis plants in which two different subunits of the mt ATP synthase, the oligomycin sensitivity-conferring protein (OSCP) (=delta) (ATP5) and the gamma (ATP3) subunit, were expressed individually in antisense orientation under the control of a dexamethasone-inducible promoter. The phenotypic effects of antisense expression were identical for both atp5 and atp3. Seedling lethality resulted from induction during germination in the light, demonstrating the essentiality of both gene products. Reduced expression of either gene resulted in stunting of dark-grown (etiolated) seedlings, downward curling or wavy-edged leaf margins of light-grown plants and ball-shaped unexpanded flowers. Antisense induction reduced total ATP levels in dark-grown (etiolated) seedlings germinated on media lacking sucrose, but increased total ATP levels in induced light-grown plants and in induced dark-grown seedlings germinated on media containing sucrose. Induction reduced transcript levels for two transcription factors (TCP3 and TCP4) whose decreased expression is associated with a similar wavy-edged leaf phenotype in Arabidopsis, and increased transcript levels for dynamin-related proteins whose increased expression is associated with increased mt division. Reduced expression of these subunits of the mt ATP synthase is proposed to disturb cellular redox states, which ultimately manifest downstream as diverse and seemingly unrelated phenotypes.
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