Overexpression of rice aquaporin OsPIP1;2 improves yield by enhancing mesophyll CO2 conductance and phloem sucrose transport

Feiyun Xu, Ke Wang, Wei Yuan, Weifeng Xu*, Shuang Liu, Herbert J Kronzucker, Guanglei Chen, Rui Miao, Maoxing Zhang, Ming Ding, Liang Xiao, Lei Kai, Jianhua Zhang*, Yiyong Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Aquaporins are involved in CO2 transport from the leaf intercellular air space to the chloroplast, which contributes to CO2 assimilation. However, the mechanism of CO2 transport by rice (Oryza sativa L.) aquaporins is unknown. Here, we investigated the function of the aquaporin OsPIP1;2 in CO2 diffusion-associated photosynthesis and phloem sucrose transport. Moreover, the grain yield of rice lines overexpressing OsPIP1;2 was determined. OsPIP1;2 was localized to the plasma membrane and the relative expression of OsPIP1;2 was approximately 5-fold higher in leaves in the presence of an elevated CO2 concentration. Overexpression of OsPIP1;2 increased mesophyll conductance by approximately 150% compared with wild-type (WT) rice. The OsPIP1;2-overexpressing lines had higher biomass than the WT, possibly due to increased phloem sucrose transport. In addition, the grain yield of OsPIP1;2-overexpressing lines was approximately 25% higher than that of the WT in three-season field experiments, due to the increased numbers of effective tillers and spikelets per panicle. Our results suggest that OsPIP1;2 modulates rice growth and grain yield by facilitating leaf CO2 diffusion, which increases both the net CO2 assimilation rate and sucrose transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-681
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number2
Early online date11 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aquaporin
  • Elevated CO2
  • Grain yield
  • Mesophyll conductance
  • Rice
  • Sucrose


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