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Photosynth Res. 2007 Nov-Dec;94(2-3):359-74. Epub 2007 Jul 28.

Chloroplast translation regulation.

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Department of Cell Biology and The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Chloroplast gene expression is primarily controlled during the translation of plastid mRNAs. Translation is regulated in response to a variety of biotic and abiotic factors, and requires a coordinate expression with the nuclear genome. The translational apparatus of chloroplasts is related to that of bacteria, but has adopted novel mechanisms in order to execute the specific roles that this organelle performs within a eukaryotic cell. Accordingly, plastid ribosomes contain a number of chloroplast-unique proteins and domains that may function in translational regulation. Chloroplast translation regulation involves cis-acting RNA elements (located in the mRNA 5' UTR) as well as a set of corresponding trans-acting protein factors. While regulation of chloroplast translation is primarily controlled at the initiation steps through these RNA-protein interactions, elongation steps are also targets for modulating chloroplast gene expression. Translation of chloroplast mRNAs is regulated in response to light, and the molecular mechanisms underlying this response involve changes in the redox state of key elements related to the photosynthetic electron chain, fluctuations of the ADP/ATP ratio and the generation of a proton gradient. Photosynthetic complexes also experience assembly-related autoinhibition of translation to coordinate the expression of different subunits of the same complex. Finally, the localization of all these molecular events among the different chloroplast subcompartments appear to be a crucial component of the regulatory mechanisms of chloroplast gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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