, Volume 247, Issue 2, pp 339–354 | Cite as

Over-expression of the Arabidopsis formate dehydrogenase in chloroplasts enhances formaldehyde uptake and metabolism in transgenic tobacco leaves

  • Ru Wang
  • Zhidong Zeng
  • Hongxia Guo
  • Hao Tan
  • Ang Liu
  • Yan Zhao
  • Limei ChenEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

Over-expression of AtFDH controlled by the promoter of Rubisco small subunit in chloroplasts increases formaldehyde uptake and metabolism in tobacco leaves.

Our previous study showed that formaldehyde (HCHO) uptake and resistance in tobacco are weaker than in Arabidopsis. Formate dehydrogenase in Arabidopsis (AtFDH) is a key enzyme in HCHO metabolism by oxidation of HCOOH to CO2, which enters the Calvin cycle to be assimilated into glucose. HCHO metabolic mechanism in tobacco differs from that in Arabidopsis. In this study, AtFDH was over-expressed in the chloroplasts of transgenic tobacco using a light inducible promoter. 13C-NMR analysis showed that the carbon flux from H13CHO metabolism was not introduced into the Calvin cycle to produce glucose in transgenic tobacco leaves. However, the over-expression of AtFDH significantly enhanced the HCHO metabolism in transgenic leaves. Consequently, the productions of [4-13C]Asn, [3-13C]Gln, [U-13C]oxalate, and H13COOH were notably greater in transgenic leaves than in non-transformed leaves after treatment with H13CHO. The increased stomatal conductance and aperture in transgenic leaves might be ascribed to the increased yield of oxalate in the guard cells with over-expressed AtFDH in chloroplasts. Accordingly, the transgenic plants exhibited a stronger capacity to absorb gaseous HCHO. Furthermore, the higher proline content in transgenic leaves compared with non-transformed leaves under HCHO stress might be attributable to the excess formate accumulation and Gln production. Consequently, the HCHO-induced oxidative stress was reduced in transgenic leaves.


Formate dehydrogenase FDH expression in chloroplasts HCHO uptake HCHO metabolism Transgenic tobacco 



This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant # 31560071 to L. M. C.) and by the Foundation of Yunnan Province and Kunming University of Science and Technology for Training Adult and Young Leaders of Science and Technology (Grant # 2004PY01-5 to L. M. C.).

Supplementary material

425_2017_2790_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (920 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPT 920 kb) Supplementary Figure S1 Complete 13C-NMR spectra of WT and fdh7 leaves treated in 2-mM and 6-mM H13CHO solution for a period of 24 h. HCHO treatment time is shown on the left side of the spectra. Ref (130.66 ppm), [2-13C]maleic acid. CK (control), no-treatment sample. Supplementary Figure S2 Schematic diagram of pK-35S-PrbcS-*T-Atfdh plasmid. Supplementary Figure S3 Changes in the morphology (a) and Chl content of WT and fdh7 leaves treated with 2-mM (b) and 6-mM (c) HCHO for 24 an 48 h
425_2017_2790_MOESM2_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ru Wang
    • 1
  • Zhidong Zeng
    • 1
  • Hongxia Guo
    • 1
  • Hao Tan
    • 1
  • Ang Liu
    • 1
  • Yan Zhao
    • 1
  • Limei Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Life Science and BiotechnologyKunming University of Science and TechnologyKunmingChina

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