Plastid retrograde signaling: A developmental perspective

Naresh Loudya, Alice Barkan, Enrique Lopez Juez

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Chloroplast activities influence nuclear gene expression, a phenomenon referred to as retrograde signaling. Biogenic retrograde signals have been revealed by changes in nuclear gene expression when chloroplast development is disrupted. Research on biogenic signaling has focused on repression of Photosynthesis Associated Nuclear Genes (PhANGs) but this is just one component of a syndrome involving altered expression of thousands of genes involved in diverse processes, many of which are up-regulated. We discuss evidence for a framework that accounts for most of this syndrome. Disruption of chloroplast biogenesis prevents production of signals required to progress through discrete steps in the program of photosynthetic differentiation, causing retention of juvenile states. As a result, expression of PhANGs and other genes that act late during photosynthetic differentiation is not initiated, while expression of genes that act early is retained. The extent of juvenility, and thus the transcriptome, reflects the disrupted process: lack of plastid translation blocks development very early whereas disruption of photosynthesis without compromising plastid translation blocks development at a later stage. We discuss implications of these and other recent observations for the nature of the plastid-derived signals that regulate photosynthetic differentiation, and the role of GUN1, an enigmatic protein involved in biogenic signaling.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2024

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