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Front Plant Sci. 2012 Dec 27;3:292. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00292. eCollection 2012.

ROS-talk - how the apoplast, the chloroplast, and the nucleus get the message through.

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  • 1Division of Plant Biology, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland.


The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in different plant subcellular compartments is the hallmark of the response to many stress stimuli and developmental cues. The past two decades have seen a transition from regarding ROS as exclusively cytotoxic agents to being considered as reactive compounds which participate in elaborate signaling networks connecting various aspects of plant life. We have now arrived at a stage where it has become increasingly difficult to disregard the communication between different types and pools of ROS. Production of ROS in the extracellular space, the apoplast, can influence their generation in the chloroplast and both can regulate nuclear gene expression. In spite of existing information on these signaling events, we can still barely grasp the mechanisms of ROS signaling and communication between the organelles. In this review, we summarize evidence that supports the mutual influence of extracellular and chloroplastic ROS production on nuclear gene regulation and how this interaction might occur. We also reflect on how, and via which routes signals might reach the nucleus where they are ultimately integrated for transcriptional reprogramming. New ideas and approaches will be needed in the future to address the pressing questions of how ROS as signaling molecules can participate in the coordination of stress adaptation and development and how they are involved in the chatter of the organelles.


Arabidopsis thaliana; ROS signaling; apoplast; chloroplasts; retrograde signaling

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