Send to

Choose Destination
Front Plant Sci. 2012 Dec 19;3:286. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00286. eCollection 2012.

Retrograde signaling from functionally heterogeneous plastids.

Author information

Molecular Plant Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, University of Turku Turku, Finland.


Structural and functional components of chloroplast are encoded by genes localized both to nuclear and plastid genomes of plant cell. Development from etioplasts to chloroplasts is triggered by light receptors that activate the expression of photosynthesis-associated nuclear genes (PhaNGs). In addition to photoreceptor-mediated pathways, retrograde signals from the chloroplast to the nucleus activate or repress the expression of nuclear genes involved in acclimatory or stress responses in plant leaves. A plant mesophyll cell contains up to 100 chloroplasts that function autonomously, raising intriguing questions about homogeneity and coordination of retrograde signals transmitted from chloroplast to nucleus. We have previously demonstrated that the knockout of the chloroplast regulatory protein, chloroplast NADPH-dependent thioredoxin reductase (NTRC) leads to a heterogeneous population of chloroplasts with a range of different functional states. The heterogeneous chloroplast population activates both redox-dependent and undifferentiated plastid-generated retrograde signaling pathways in the mutant leaves. Transcriptome data from the ntrc knockout lines suggest that the induction of the redox-dependent signaling pathway depends on light conditions and leads to activation of stress-responsive gene expression. Analysis of mutants in different developmental stages allows to dissect signals from normal and anomalous chloroplasts. Thus, the signals derived from anomalous chloroplasts repress expression of PhaNGs as well as genes associated with light receptor signaling and differentiation of stomata, implying interaction between retrograde pathways and plant development. Analysis of the nuclear gene expression in mutants of retrograde signaling pathways in ntrc background would reveal the components that mediate signals generated from heterogeneous plastids to nucleus.


NTRC; differentiation; light signaling; nuclear gene expression; redox signals; stress

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center