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Essays Biochem. 2018 Apr 13;62(1):95-107. doi: 10.1042/EBC20170011. Print 2018 Apr 13.

Ties that bind: the integration of plastid signalling pathways in plant cell metabolism.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, U.S.A.
Plant Gene Expression Center, USDA Agricultural Research Service, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, U.S.A.
Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.
School of Genome Science and Technology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.


Plastids are critical organelles in plant cells that perform diverse functions and are central to many metabolic pathways. Beyond their major roles in primary metabolism, of which their role in photosynthesis is perhaps best known, plastids contribute to the biosynthesis of phytohormones and other secondary metabolites, store critical biomolecules, and sense a range of environmental stresses. Accordingly, plastid-derived signals coordinate a host of physiological and developmental processes, often by emitting signalling molecules that regulate the expression of nuclear genes. Several excellent recent reviews have provided broad perspectives on plastid signalling pathways. In this review, we will highlight recent advances in our understanding of chloroplast signalling pathways. Our discussion focuses on new discoveries illuminating how chloroplasts determine life and death decisions in cells and on studies elucidating tetrapyrrole biosynthesis signal transduction networks. We will also examine the role of a plastid RNA helicase, ISE2, in chloroplast signalling, and scrutinize intriguing results investigating the potential role of stromules in conducting signals from the chloroplast to other cellular locations.


chloroplasts; endosymbiosis; plasmodesmata; retrograde signaling; tetrapyrroles

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