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Eur J Biochem. 1986 Feb 3;154(3):625-34.

The implication of a plastid-derived factor in the transcriptional control of nuclear genes encoding the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b protein.


In carotenoid-deficient albina mutants of barley and in barley plants treated with the herbicide Norflurazon the light-dependent accumulation of the mRNA for the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b protein (LHCP) is blocked. Thus, the elimination of a functional chloroplast, either as a result of mutation or as a result of herbicide treatment, can lead to the specific suppression of the expression of a nuclear gene encoding a plastid-localized protein. These results confirm and extend earlier observations on maize [Mayfield and Taylor (1984) Eur. J. Biochem. 144, 79-84]. The inhibition of mRNA accumulation appears to be specific for the LHCP; the mRNAs encoding the small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase and the NADPH: protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase are relatively unaffected. The failure of the albina mutants and of Norflurazon-treated plants to accumulate the LHCP mRNA is not exclusively caused by an instability of the transcript but rather by the inability of the plants to enhance the rate of transcription of the LHCP genes during illumination. Several chlorophyll-deficient xantha mutants of barley, which are blocked after protoporphyrin IX or Mg-protoporphyrin, and the chlorophyll-b-less mutant chlorina f2 accumulate the LHCP mRNA to almost normal levels during illumination. Thus, if any of the reactions leading to chlorophyll formation is involved in the control of LHCP mRNA accumulation it should be one between the formation of protochlorophyllide and the esterification of chlorophyllide a. While the nature of the regulatory factor(s) has not been identified our results suggest that, in addition to phytochrome (Pfr), plastid-dependent factors are required for a continuous light-dependent transcription of nuclear genes encoding the LHCP.

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