Loss of chlorophyll (Chl) is a hallmark of leaf senescence, which may be regulated by Chl catabolic genes, including NON-YELLOW COLORING 1 (NYC1)-like (NOL). The objective of this study was to determine molecular factors and metabolic pathways underlying NOL regulation of leaf senescence in perennial grass species. LpNOL was cloned from perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and found to be highly expressed in senescent leaves. Transient overexpression of LpNOL accelerated leaf senescence and Chl b degradation in Nicotiana benthamiana. LpNOL RNA interference (NOLi) in perennial ryegrass not only significantly blocked Chl degradation in senescent leaves, but also delayed initiation and progression of leaf senescence. This study found that NOL, in addition to functioning as a Chl b reductase, could enact the functional stay-green phenotype in perennial grass species, as manifested by increased photosynthetic activities in NOLi plants. Comparative transcriptomic analysis revealed that NOL-mediated functional stay-green in perennial ryegrass was mainly achieved through the modulation of Chl catabolism, light harvesting for photosynthesis, photorespiration, cytochrome respiration, carbohydrate catabolism, oxidative detoxification, and abscisic acid biosynthesis and signaling pathways.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology
- NYC1-LIKE (NOL)