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Studies of chloroplast development in four maize mutants defective in chlorophyll biosynthesis


Four mutants of maize (Zea mays L.) defective in chlorophyll biosynthesis have been analyzed with regard to the sites of their lesions and their effects on chloroplast development. Two yellow mutants, which accumulate no detectable porphyrin precursors when grown in darkness, are defective in the conversion of protoporphyrin IX to magnesium protoporphyrin. Etioplasts of these mutants may develop elaborate lamellar membrane systems, but prolamellar bodies are never observed. Two mutants, which are necrotic when grown under illumination, develop normal (non-necrotic) leaf tissue in the dark and accumulate a small amount of magnesium protoporphyrin monomethyl ester, corresponding approximately to the amount of protochlorophyllide accumulated by normal plants. The etioplasts of these mutants contain noncrystalline bodies. The implications of these observations with respect to chloroplast development are discussed.

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Journal Paper No. J-9136 of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, Ames, Iowa Project No. 2035

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Mascia, P.N., Robertson, D.S. Studies of chloroplast development in four maize mutants defective in chlorophyll biosynthesis. Planta 143, 207–211 (1978).

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Key words

  • Chlorophyll mutants
  • Chloroplasts (development)
  • Etioplasts
  • Prolamellar body
  • Zea