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Plant J. 2009 Sep;59(5):685-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2009.03907.x. Epub 2009 Jun 5.

The lack of mitochondrial AtFtsH4 protease alters Arabidopsis leaf morphology at the late stage of rosette development under short-day photoperiod.

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Department of Biotechnology, Wroclaw University, Przybyszewskiego, Wroclaw, Poland.


AtFtsH4 is one of four inner membrane-bound mitochondrial ATP-dependent metalloproteases in Arabidopsis thaliana, called AAA proteases, whose catalytic site is exposed to the intermembrane space. In the present study, we used a reverse-genetic approach to investigate the physiological role of the AtFtsH4 protease. We found that loss of AtFtsH4 did not significantly affect Arabidopsis growth under optimal conditions (long days); however, severe morphological and developmental abnormalities in late rosette development occurred under short-day conditions. The asymmetric shape and irregular serration of expanding leaf blades were the most striking features of the ftsh4 mutant phenotype. The severe abnormal morphology of the leaf blades was accompanied by ultrastructural changes in mitochondria and chloroplasts. These abnormalities correlated with elevated levels of reactive oxygen species and carbonylated mitochondrial proteins. We found that two classes of molecular chaperones, Hsp70 and prohibitins, were over-expressed in ftsh4 mutants during late vegetative growth under both short- and long-day conditions. Taken together, our data indicate that lack of AtFtsH4 results in impairment of organelle development and Arabidopsis leaf morphology under short-day conditions.

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