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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2005 May-Jun;7(5-6):607-18.

Redox regulation and modification of proteins controlling chloroplast gene expression.

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Department for General Botany and Plant Physiology, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany.


Chloroplasts are typical organelles of plant cells and represent the site of photosynthesis. As one very remarkable feature, they possess their own genome and a complete machinery to express the genetic information in it. The plastid gene expression machinery is a unique assembly of prokaryotic-, eukaryotic-, and phage-like components because chloroplasts acquired a great number of regulatory proteins during evolution. Such proteins can be found at all levels of gene expression. They significantly expand the functional and especially the regulatory properties of the "old" gene expression system that chloroplasts inherited from their prokaryotic ancestors. Recent results show that photosynthesis has a strong regulatory effect on plastid gene expression. The redox states of electron transport components, redox-active molecules coupled to photosynthesis, and pools of reactive oxygen species act as redox signals. They provide a functional feedback control, which couples the expression of chloroplast genes to the actual function of photosynthesis and, by this means, helps to acclimate the photosynthetic process to environmental cues. The redox signals are mediated by various specific signaling pathways that involve many of the "new" regulatory proteins. Chloroplasts therefore are an ideal model to study redox-regulated mechanisms in gene expression control. Because of the multiple origins of the expression machinery, these observations are of great relevance for many other biological systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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