The fibrillins are a large family of chloroplast proteins that have been linked with stress tolerance and disease resistance. FIBRILLIN4 (FIB4) is found associated with the photosystem II light-harvesting complex, thylakoids, and plastoglobules, which are chloroplast compartments rich in lipophilic antioxidants. For this study, FIB4 expression was knocked down in apple (Malus × domestica) using RNA interference. Plastoglobule osmiophilicity was decreased in fib4 knockdown (fib4 KD) tree chloroplasts compared with the wild type, while total plastoglobule number was unchanged. Compared with the wild type, net photosynthetic CO2 fixation in fib4 KD trees was decreased at high light intensity but was increased at low light intensity. Furthermore, fib4 KD trees produced more anthocyanins than the wild type when transferred from low to high light intensity, indicating greater sensitivity to high light stress. Relative to the wild type, fib4 KD apples were more sensitive to methyl viologen and had higher superoxide levels during methyl viologen treatment. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) fib4 mutants and fib4 KD apples were more susceptible than their wild-type counterparts to the bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas syringae pathovar tomato and Erwinia amylovora, respectively, and were more sensitive to ozone-induced tissue damage. Following ozone stress, plastoglobule osmiophilicity decreased in wild-type apple and remained low in fib4 KD trees; total plastoglobule number increased in fib4 KD apples but not in the wild type. These results indicate that FIB4 is required for plastoglobule development and resistance to multiple stresses. This study suggests that FIB4 is involved in regulating plastoglobule content and that defective regulation of plastoglobule content leads to broad stress sensitivity and altered photosynthetic activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science