Photosynthetic activity during olive (Olea europaea) leaf development correlates with plastid biogenesis and Rubisco levels

Inbar Maayan, Felix Shaya, Kira Ratner, Yair Mani, Shimon Lavee, Benjamin Avidan, Yosepha Shahak, Oren Ostersetzer-Biran*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Olive leaves are known to mature slowly, reaching their maximum photosynthetic activity only after full leaf expansion. Poor assimilation rates, typical to young olive leaves, were previously associated with low stomata conductance. Yet, very little is known about chloroplast biogenesis throughout olive leaf development. Here, the photosynthetic activity and plastids development throughout leaf maturation is characterized by biochemical and ultrastructural analyses. Although demonstrated only low photosynthetic activity, the plastids found in young leaves accumulated both photosynthetic pigments and proteins required for photophosphorylation and carbon fixation. However, Rubisco (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase), which catalyzes the first major step of carbon fixation and one of the most abundant proteins in plants, could not be detected in the young leaves and only slowly accumulated throughout development. In fact, Rubisco levels seemed tightly correlated with the observed photosynthetic activities. Unlike Rubisco, numerous proteins accumulated in the young olive leaves. These included the early light induced proteins, which may be required to reduce the risk of photodamage, because of light absorption by photosynthetic pigments. Also, high levels of ribosomal L11 subunit, transcription factor elF-5A, Histones H2B and H4 were observed in the apical leaves, and in particular a plastidic-like aldolase, which accounted for approximately 30% of the total proteins. These proteins may upregulate in their levels to accommodate the high demand for metabolic energy in the young developing plant tissue, further demonstrating the complex sink-to-source relationship between young and photosynthetically active mature leaves.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)547-558
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


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