Methods for the identification of modulators of magnesium chelatase expression or activity in plants
The present inventors have discovered that Mg-chelatase is essential for the growth of Arabidopsis. Specifically, the inhibition of Mg-chelatase CHL H gene expression in Arabidopsis seedlings results in varying levels of chlorosis (yellowing), significantly reduced growth and developmental abnormalities. Thus, Arabidopsis Mg-chelatase can be used as a target for the identification of herbicides. Accordingly, the present invention provides methods for the identification of compounds that modulate Arabidopsis Mg-chelatase expression or activity, comprising: contacting a compound with a Arabidopsis Mg-chelatase, or a subunit thereof, and detecting the presence and/or absence of binding between said compound and said Mg-chelatase, or detecting a change in Mg-chelatase expression or activity. The methods of the invention are useful for the identification of herbicides and other compounds that can modulate plant growth and development. In addition, the methods of the invention are useful for the identification of compounds that stimulate the expression or function of Mg-chelatase expression or function. Such compounds can be used to promote or manipulate plant growth and development.