The rice nuclear gene, VIRESCENT 2, is essential for chloroplast development and encodes a novel type of guanylate kinase targeted to plastids and mitochondria


(fax +81 92 642 2621; e-mail


Guanylate kinase (GK) is a critical enzyme in guanine nucleotide metabolism pathways, catalyzing the phosphorylation of (d)GMP to (d)GDP. Here we show that a novel gene, VIRESCENT 2 (V2), encodes a new type of GK (designated pt/mtGK) that is localized in plastids and mitochondria. We initially identified the V2 gene by positional cloning of the rice v2 mutant. The v2 mutant is temperature-sensitive and develops chlorotic leaves at restrictive temperatures. The v2 mutation causes inhibition of chloroplast differentiation; in particular, it disrupts the chloroplast translation machinery during early leaf development [Sugimoto et al. (2004)Plant Cell Physiol. 45, 985]. In the bacterial and animal species studied to date, GK is localized in the cytoplasm and participates in maintenance of the guanine nucleotide pools required for many fundamental cellular processes. Phenotypic analysis of rice seedlings with RNAi knockdown of cytosolic GK (designated cGK) showed that cGK is indispensable for the growth and development of plants, but not for chloroplast development. Thus, rice has two types of GK, as does Arabidopsis, suggesting that higher plants have two types of GK. Our results suggest that, of the two types of GK, only pt/mtGK is essential for chloroplast differentiation.