The yellow variegated2 (var2) mutant in Arabidopsis thaliana has been studied as a typical leaf-variegated mutant whose defect results from the lack of FtsH2 metalloprotease in chloroplasts. The var2 green sectors suffer from photo-oxidative stress and accumulate high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) because of compromised Photosystem II repair. This study investigated and compared microarray-based expression profiles of green and white sectors of var2 leaves. Results suggest that ROS that accumulate in chloroplasts of var2 green sectors do not cause much significant change in the transcriptional profile related to ROS signalling and scavenging. By contrast, transcriptome in the white sectors apparently differs from those in the green sectors and wild type. Numerous genes related to photosynthesis and chloroplast functions were repressed in the white sectors. Furthermore, many genes related to oxidative stress were up-regulated. Among them, ROS scavenging genes were specifically examined, such as Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 2 (CSD2), that were apparently up-regulated in white but not in the green sectors. Up-regulation of CSD2 appears to be partly attributable to the lack of a microRNA (miR398) in the white sectors. It was concluded that the white sectors exhibit a response to oxidative and other stresses, including CSD2 up-regulation, which might be commonly found in tissues with abnormal chloroplast differentiation.
Arabidopsis; chloroplasts; miR398; plastids; reactive oxygen species (ROS); superoxide dismutase (SOD); yellow variegated2 (var2)
Variegated plants provide a valuable tool for studying chloroplast biogenesis by allowing direct comparison between green and white/yellow sectors within the same leaf. While variegated plants are abundant in nature, the mechanism of leaf variegation remains largely unknown. Current studies are limited to a few mutants in model plant species, and are complicated by the potential for cross-contamination during dissection of leaf tissue into contrasting sectors. To overcome these obstacles, an alternative approach was explored using tissue-culture techniques to regenerate plantlets from unique sectors. Stable green and pale yellow plants were developed from a naturally variegated Epipremnum aureum ‘Golden Pothos’. By comparing the gene expression between green and pale yellow plants using suppression subtractive hybridization in conjunction with homologous sequence search, nine down-regulated and 18 up-regulated genes were identified in pale yellow plants. Transcript abundance for EaZIP (Epipremnum aureum leucine zipper), a nuclear gene homologue of tobacco NTZIP and Arabidopsis CHL27, was reduced more than 4000-fold in qRT-PCR analysis. EaZIP encodes the Mg-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester cyclase, one of the key enzymes in the chlorophyll biosynthesis pathway. Examination of EaZIP expression in naturally variegated ‘Golden Pothos’ confirmed that EaZIP transcript levels were correlated with leaf chlorophyll contents, suggesting that this gene plays a major role in the loss of chlorophyll in the pale yellow sectors of E. aureum ‘Golden Pothos’. This study further suggests that tissue-culture regeneration of plantlets from different coloured sectors of variegated leaves can be used to investigate the underlying mechanisms of variegation.
Golden Pothos; Mg-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester cyclase; tissue culture; transcript abundance; variegation formation
The immutans (im) variegation mutant of Arabidopsis has green and white-sectored leaves due to the absence of fully functional plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX), a plastoquinol oxidase in thylakoid membranes. PTOX appears to be at the nexus of a growing number of biochemical pathways in the plastid, including carotenoid biosynthesis, PSI cyclic electron flow, and chlororespiration. During the early steps of chloroplast biogenesis, PTOX serves as an alternate electron sink and is a prime determinant of the redox poise of the developing photosynthetic apparatus. Whereas a lack of PTOX causes the formation of photooxidized plastids in the white sectors of im, compensating mechanisms allow the green sectors to escape the effects of the mutation. This manuscript provides an update on PTOX, the mechanism of im variegation, and findings about im compensatory mechanisms.
IMMUTANS; PTOX; variegation; chloroplast; photosynthesis; carotenoids; chloroplast biogenesis; retrograde signaling
Arabidopsis thaliana chloroplasts contain at least two 3′ to 5′ exoribonucleases, polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) and an RNase R homolog (RNR1). PNPase has been implicated in both mRNA and 23S rRNA 3′ processing. However, the observed maturation defects do not affect chloroplast translation, suggesting that the overall role of PNPase in maturation of chloroplast rRNA is not essential. Here, we show that this role can be largely ascribed to RNR1, for which homozygous mutants germinate only on sucrose-containing media, and have white cotyledons and pale green rosette leaves. Accumulation of chloroplast-encoded mRNAs and tRNAs is unaffected in such mutants, suggesting that RNR1 activity is either unnecessary or redundant for their processing and turnover. However, accumulation of several chloroplast rRNA species is severely affected. High-resolution RNA gel blot analysis, and mapping of 5′ and 3′ ends, revealed that RNR1 is involved in the maturation of 23S, 16S and 5S rRNAs. The 3′ extensions of the accumulating 5S rRNA precursors can be efficiently removed in vitro by purified RNR1, consistent with this view. Our data suggest that decreased accumulation of mature chloroplast ribosomal RNAs leads to a reduction in the number of translating ribosomes, ultimately compromising chloroplast protein abundance and thus plant growth and development.
Suppressors and enhancers of position effect variegation (PEV) have been linked to the establishment and maintenance of heterochromatin. The presence of centromeres and other inheritance elements in hetero-chromatic regions suggests that suppressors and enhancers of PEV, Su(var) s and E(var)s [collectively termed Mod(var)s], may be required for chromosome inheritance. In order to test this hypothesis, we screened 59 ethyl methanesulfonate-generated Drosophila Mod (var)s for dominant effects on the partially compromised inheritance of a minichromosome (J21A) missing a portion of the genetically defined centromere. Nearly half of these Mod(var)s significantly increased or decreased the transmission of J21A. Analyses of homozygous mutant larval neuroblasts suggest that these mutations affect cell cycle progression and native chromosome morphology. Five out of six complementation groups tested displayed mitotic abnormalities, including phenotypes such as telomere fusions, overcondensed chromosomes, and low mitotic index. We conclude that Mod (var)s as a group are highly enriched for genes that encode essential inheritance functions. We propose that a primary function of Mod(var)s is to promote chromosome inheritance, and that the gene silencing phenotype associated with PEV may be a secondary consequence of the heterochromatic structures required to carry out these functions.
Co-ordination between plastids and mitochondria is so essential that there should be extensive inter-organellar crosstalk during development of plant cells. Indeed, chloroplast dysfunction in white leaves of plastid ribosome-deficient mutant barley, albostrians, is reportedly accompanied by increases in the levels of mitochondrial DNA and mitochondrial transcripts, suggesting that (i) developmental/physiological status of plastids (or heterotrophic growth condition of albino leaves) can affect the status of mitochondrial genome, and (ii) the function of the affected mitochondria may also be up-regulated accordingly. However, functional aspects of the mitochondria affected by chloroplast dysfunction have not yet been examined in detail. Here, we examined the effects of chloroplast dysfunction on mitochondrial DNA level and dark respiration rate, by comparing white and green sectors within individual variegated leaves, using 12 ornamental plants as experimental materials. The pattern of leaf variegation differed from species to species, suggesting that different mechanisms were involved in the formation of white sectors in different species. Quantitative hybridization analysis revealed that mitochondrial DNA levels were generally higher in white sectors than in green sectors. In spite of the elevated mitochondrial DNA levels, however, dark respiration rates in white sectors were generally lower than those in green sectors. Several possible mechanisms for elevation of mitochondrial DNA level and suppression of dark respiration rates in white sectors are discussed.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00709-011-0325-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chloroplast dysfunction; Inter-organellar crosstalk; Leaf variegation; Mitochondrial DNA; Ornamental plant; Respiration
Protein quality control plays an important role in the photosynthetic apparatus because its components receive excess light energy and are susceptible to photooxidative damage. In chloroplasts, photodamage is targeted to the D1 protein of Photosystem II (PSII). The coordinated PSII repair cycle (PSII disassembly, D1 degradation and synthesis, and PSII reassembly) is necessary to mitigate photoinhibition. A thylakoid protease FtsH, which is formed predominantly as a heteromeric complex with two isoforms of FtsH2 and FtsH5 in Arabidopsis, is the major protease involved in PSII repair. A mutant lacking FtsH2 (termed var2) shows compromised D1 degradation. Furthermore, var2 accumulates high levels of chloroplastic reactive oxygen species (cpROS), reflecting photooxidative stress without functional PSII repair. To examine if the cpROS produced in var2 are connected to a ROS signaling pathway mediated by plasma membrane NADPH oxidase (encoded by AtRbohD or AtRbohF), we generated mutants in which either Rboh gene was inactivated under var2 background. Lack of NADPH oxidases had little or no impact on cpROS accumulation. It seems unlikely that cpROS in var2 activate plasma membrane NADPH oxidases to enhance ROS production and the signaling pathway. Mutants that are defective in PSII repair might be valuable for investigating cpROS and their physiological roles.
reactive oxygen species (ROS); photosystem II repair cycle; chloroplast; FtsH; NADPH oxidase; D1 protein; protein turnover
LEPA is one of the most conserved translation factors and is found from bacteria to higher plants. However, the physiological function of the chloroplast LEPA homolog in higher plants remains unknown. Herein, we demonstrate the physiological role of cpLEPA in enabling efficient photosynthesis in higher plants. The cplepa-1 mutant displays slightly high chlorophyll fluorescence and pale green phenotypes under normal growth conditions. The growth of the cplepa-1 mutant is reduced when grown on soil, and greater reduction is observed under intense light illumination. Photosynthetic activity is impaired in the cplepa-1 mutants, which is reflected in the decreased steady-state levels of chloroplast proteins. In vivo protein labeling experiments explained the decrease in the steady-state levels of chloroplast proteins. An abnormal association of the chloroplast-encoded mRNAs with ribosomes suggests that the protein synthesis deficiencies in cplepa-1 are due to defects in translation initiation in the chloroplasts. The cpLEPA protein appears to be an essential translation factor that promotes the efficiency of chloroplast protein synthesis.
The Plasmodium falciparum genome is equipped with several subtelomeric gene families that are implicated in parasite virulence and immune evasion. Members of these families are uniformly positioned within heterochromatic domains and are thus subject to variegated expression. The best-studied example is that of the var family encoding the major parasite virulence factor P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1). PfEMP1 undergoes antigenic variation through switches in mutually exclusive var gene transcription. var promoters function as crucial regulatory elements in the underlying epigenetic control strategy. Here, we analysed promoters of upsA, upsB and upsC var, rifA1-type rif, stevor, phist and pfmc-2tm genes and investigated their role in endogenous gene transcription by comparative genome-wide expression profiling of transgenic parasite lines. We find that the three major var promoter types are functionally equal and play an essential role in singular gene choice. Unlike var promoters, promoters of non-var families are not silenced by default, and transcription of non-var families is not subject to the same mode of mutually exclusive transcription as has been observed for var genes. Our findings identified a differential logic in the regulation of var and other subtelomeric virulence gene families, which will have important implications for our understanding and future analyses of phenotypic variation in malaria parasites.
The occurrence of homologous DNA recombination in chloroplasts is well documented, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved or their biological significance. The endosymbiotic origin of plastids and the recent finding of an Arabidopsis nuclear gene, encoding a chloroplast-localized protein homologous to Escherichia coli RecA, suggest that the plastid recombination system is related to its eubacterial counterpart. Therefore, we examined whether dominant negative mutants of the E. coli RecA protein can interfere with the activity of their putative homolog in the chloroplast of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Transformants expressing these mutant RecA proteins showed reduced survival rates when exposed to DNA-damaging agents, deficient repair of chloroplast DNA, and diminished plastid DNA recombination. These results strongly support the existence of a RecA-mediated recombination system in chloroplasts. We also found that the wild-type E. coli RecA protein enhances the frequency of plastid DNA recombination over 15-fold, although it has no effect on DNA repair or cell survival. Thus, chloroplast DNA recombination appears to be limited by the availability of enzymes involved in strand exchange rather than by the level of initiating DNA substrates. Our observations suggest that a primary biological role of the recombination system in plastids is in the repair of their DNA, most likely needed to cope with damage due to photooxidation and other environmental stresses. This hypothesis could explain the evolutionary conservation of DNA recombination in chloroplasts despite the predominantly uniparental inheritance of their genomes.
In Drosophila, SU(VAR)3-7 is an essential heterochromatin component. It is required for proper chromatin condensation, and changing its dose modifies position-effect variegation. Sumoylation is a post-translational modification shown to play a role in diverse biological processes. Here, we demonstrate that sumoylation is essential for proper heterochromatin function in Drosophila through modification of SU(VAR)3-7. Indeed, SU(VAR)3-7 is sumoylated at lysine K839; this modification is required for localization of SU(VAR)3-7 at pericentric heterochromatin, chromosome 4, and telomeres. In addition, sumoylation of SU(VAR)3-7 is a prerequisite for its ability to enhance position-effect variegation. Thus, these results show that the heterochromatic function of SU(VAR)3-7 depends on its own sumoylation, and unveil a role for sumoylation in Drosophila heterochromatin.
We have described the identification of crinkled leaves 8 (cls8) which contains a mutation within the gene encoding the large subunit of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), the enzyme that catalyses the rate limiting step in the synthesis of deoxyribonucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs) for DNA synthesis and repair. The mutation resulted in plants with altered leaf and flower morphology, reduced root growth, bleached leaf sectors and reduced levels of dNTPs. An interesting consequence of the mutation was its effect on chloroplast division. Mutant plants had fewer, larger chloroplasts and a reduced number of chloroplast genomes compared to wild type plants. The morphological phenotype may be a consequence of altered chloroplast replication.
chloroplast; RNR1; leaf development; DNA replication; dNTPs
Plastidial (pt) and mitochondrial (mt) genes usually show maternal inheritance. Non-Mendelian, biparental inheritance of plastids was first described by Baur (Z Indukt Abstamm Vererbungslehre 1:330–351, 1909) for crosses between Pelargonium cultivars. We have analyzed the inheritance of pt and mtDNA by examining the progeny from reciprocal crosses of Pelargoniumzonale and P. inquinans using nucleotide sequence polymorphisms of selected pt and mt genes. Sequence analysis of the progeny revealed biparental inheritance of both pt and mtDNA. Hybrid plants exhibited variegation: our data demonstrate that the inquinans chloroplasts, but not the zonale chloroplasts bleach out, presumably due to incompatibility of the former with the hybrid nuclear genome. Different distribution of maternal and paternal sequences could be observed in different sectors of the same leaf, in different leaves of the same plant, and in different plants indicating random segregation and sorting-out of maternal and paternal plastids and mitochondria in the hybrids. The substantial transmission of both maternal and paternal mitochondria to the progeny turns Pelargonium into a particular interesting subject for studies on the inheritance, segregation and recombination of mt genes.
Mitochondria; Chloroplasts; Biparental inheritance; Heteroplasmy; Pelargonium
We recently reported that autophagy plays a role in chloroplasts degradation in individually-darkened senescing leaves. Chloroplasts contain approximately 80% of total leaf nitrogen, mainly as photosynthetic proteins, predominantly ribulose 1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco). During leaf senescence, chloroplast proteins are degraded as a major source of nitrogen for new growth. Concomitantly, while decreasing in size, chloroplasts undergo transformation to non-photosynthetic gerontoplasts. Likewise, over time the population of chloroplasts (gerontoplasts) in mesophyll cells also decreases. While bulk degradation of the cytosol and organelles is mediated by autophagy, the role of chloroplast degradation is still unclear. In our latest study, we darkened individual leaves to observe chloroplast autophagy during accelerated senescence. At the end of the treatment period chloroplasts were much smaller in wild-type than in the autophagy defective mutant, atg4a4b-1, with the number of chloroplasts decreasing only in wild-type. Visualizing the chloroplast fractions accumulated in the vacuole, we concluded that chloroplasts were degraded by two different pathways, one was partial degradation by small vesicles containing only stromal-component (Rubisco containing bodies; RCBs) and the other was whole chloroplast degradation. Together, these pathways may explain the morphological attenuation of chloroplasts during leaf senescence and describe the fate of chloroplasts.
Arabidopsis; autophagy; chloroplast; dark treatment; leaf senescence; nutrients recycling
FtsH is an evolutionary conserved membrane-bound metalloprotease complex. While in most prokaryotes FtsH is encoded by a single gene, multiple FtsH genes are found in eukaryotes. Genetic and biochemical data suggest that the Arabidopsis chloroplast FtsH is a hetero-hexamer. This raises the question why photosynthetic organisms require a heteromeric complex, whereas in most bacteria a homomeric one is sufficient. To gain structural information of the possible complexes, the Arabidopsis FtsH2 (type B) and FtsH5 (type A) were modeled. An in silico study with mixed models of FtsH2/5 suggests that heteromeric hexamer structure with ratio of 4∶2 is more likely to exists. Specifically, calculation of the buried surface area at the interfaces between neighboring subunits revealed that a hetero-complex should be thermodynamically more stable than a homo-hexamer, due to the presence of additional hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions. To biochemically assess this model, we generated Arabidopsis transgenic plants, expressing epitope-tagged FtsH2 and immuno-purified the protein. Mass-spectrometry analysis showed that FtsH2 is associated with FtsH1, FtsH5 and FtsH8. Interestingly, we found that ‘type B’ subunits (FtsH2 and FtsH8) were 2–3 fold more abundant than ‘type A’ (FtsH1 and FtsH5). The biochemical data corroborate the in silico model and suggest that the thylakoid FtsH hexamer is composed of two ‘type A’ and four ‘type B’ subunits.
On water deficit, abscisic acid (ABA) induces stomata closure to reduce water loss by transpiration. To identify Arabidopsis thaliana mutants which transpire less on drought, infrared thermal imaging of leaf temperature has been used to screen for suppressors of an ABA-deficient mutant (aba3-1) cold-leaf phenotype. Three novel mutants, called hot ABA-deficiency suppressor (has), have been identified with hot-leaf phenotypes in the absence of the aba3 mutation. The defective genes imparted no apparent modification to ABA production on water deficit, were inherited recessively and enhanced ABA responses indicating that the proteins encoded are negative regulators of ABA signalling. All three mutants showed ABA-hypersensitive stomata closure and inhibition of root elongation with little modification of growth and development in non-stressed conditions. The has2 mutant also exhibited increased germination inhibition by ABA, while ABA-inducible gene expression was not modified on dehydration, indicating the mutated gene affects early ABA-signalling responses that do not modify transcript levels. In contrast, weak ABA-hypersensitivity relative to mutant developmental phenotypes suggests that HAS3 regulates drought responses by both ABA-dependent and independent pathways. has1 mutant phenotypes were only apparent on stress or ABA treatments, and included reduced water loss on rapid dehydration. The HAS1 locus thus has the required characteristics for a targeted approach to improving resistance to water deficit. In contrast to has2, has1 exhibited only minor changes in susceptibility to Dickeya dadantii despite similar ABA-hypersensitivity, indicating that crosstalk between ABA responses to this pathogen and drought stress can occur through more than one point in the signalling pathway.
The DNA in isolated chloroplasts was visualized by the fluorescent probe 4'6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). When excited with light of 360 nm, the DNA-DAPI complex fluoresces brilliantly at 450 nm. Nuclei also fluoresce but their nucleoli do not. RNase and Pronase treatment of chloroplasts did not affect the fluorescence but both pre- and posttreatment of DAPI-stained chloroplasts with DNase specifically destroyed the fluorescence. DNA-DAPI complexes in the chloroplasts show up as bright dots. These are distributed uniformly within the chloroplast except for the outer margins. The fluorescent dots can be seen at different focal levels. The number of DNA dots is roughly proportional to chloroplast area which, in turn, is a function of leaf size. The number of fluorescent dots also gave the impression that large leaves with large chloroplasts contain more chloroplast DNA than nuclear DNA.
White flagging of alfalfa, Medicago sativa 'Ranger, found associated with Ditylenchus dipsaci in the Columbia River Basin was observed in northern Utah during 1971. This is a report on chloroplast changes, induced by D. dipsaci in alfalfa leaves, as observed with an electron microscope. Leaves from alfalfa plants infected with D. dipsaci were either devoid of normal pigmentation or displayed various shades of yellow-green. Cells of leaf tissue from noninfected plants exhibited normal chloroplast structure. By contrast, the chloroplast structure in cells of leaf tissue from infected plants showed progressive degradation as normal pigmentation decreased.
Alfalfa; electron microscope; injury; pigmentation
Chloroplasts are the green plastids where photosynthesis takes place. The biogenesis of chloroplasts requires the coordinate expression of both nuclear and chloroplast genes and is regulated by developmental and environmental signals. Despite extensive studies of this process, the genetic basis and the regulatory control of chloroplast biogenesis and development remain to be elucidated.
Green cauliflower mutant causes ectopic development of chloroplasts in the curd tissue of the plant, turning the otherwise white curd green. To investigate the transcriptional control of chloroplast development, we compared gene expression between green and white curds using the RNA-seq approach. Deep sequencing produced over 15 million reads with lengths of 86 base pairs from each cDNA library. A total of 7,155 genes were found to exhibit at least 3-fold changes in expression between green and white curds. These included light-regulated genes, genes encoding chloroplast constituents, and genes involved in chlorophyll biosynthesis. Moreover, we discovered that the cauliflower ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL5 (BoHY5) was expressed higher in green curds than white curds and that 2616 HY5-targeted genes, including 1600 up-regulated genes and 1016 down-regulated genes, were differently expressed in green in comparison to white curd tissue. All these 1600 up-regulated genes were HY5-targeted genes in the light.
The genome-wide profiling of gene expression by RNA-seq in green curds led to the identification of large numbers of genes associated with chloroplast development, and suggested the role of regulatory genes in the high hierarchy of light signaling pathways in mediating the ectopic chloroplast development in the green curd cauliflower mutant.
SUV39H1, a human homologue of the Drosophila position effect variegation modifier Su(var)3-9 and of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe silencing factor clr4, encodes a novel heterochromatic protein that transiently accumulates at centromeric positions during mitosis. Using a detailed structure-function analysis of SUV39H1 mutant proteins in transfected cells, we now show that deregulated SUV39H1 interferes at multiple levels with mammalian higher-order chromatin organization. First, forced expression of full-length SUV39H1 (412 amino acids) redistributes endogenous M31 (HP1β) and induces abundant associations with inter- and metaphase chromatin. These properties depend on the C-terminal SET domain, although the major portion of the SUV39H1 protein (amino acids 89 to 412) does not display affinity for nuclear chromatin. By contrast, the M31 interaction surface, which was mapped to the first 44 N-terminal amino acids, together with the immediately adjacent chromo domain, directs specific accumulation at heterochromatin. Second, cells overexpressing full-length SUV39H1 display severe defects in mitotic progression and chromosome segregation. Surprisingly, whereas localization of centromere proteins is unaltered, the focal, G2-specific distribution of phosphorylated histone H3 at serine 10 (phosH3) is dispersed in these cells. This phosH3 shift is not observed with C-terminally truncated mutant SUV39H1 proteins or with deregulated M31. Together, our data reveal a dominant role(s) for the SET domain of SUV39H1 in the distribution of prominent heterochromatic proteins and suggest a possible link between a chromosomal SU(VAR) protein and histone H3.
The effects of chloroplast number and size on the capacity for blue light-dependent chloroplast movement, the ability to increase light absorption under low light, and the susceptibility to photoinhibition were investigated in Arabidopsis thaliana. Leaves of wild-type and chloroplast number mutants with mean chloroplast numbers ranging from 120 to two per mesophyll cell were analysed. Chloroplast movement was monitored as changes in light transmission through the leaves. Light transmission was used as an indicator of the ability of leaves to optimize light absorption. The ability of leaves to deal with 3 h of high light stress at 10 °C and their capacity to recover in low light was determined by measuring photochemical efficiencies of PSII using chlorophyll a fluorescence. Chloroplast movement was comparable in leaves ranging in chloroplast numbers from 120 to 30 per mesophyll cell: the final light transmission levels after exposure to 0.1 (accumulation response) and 100 μmol photons m−2 s−1 (avoidance response) were indistinguishable, the chloroplasts responded quickly to small increases in light intensity and the kinetics of movement were similar. However, when chloroplast numbers per mesophyll cell decreased to 18 or below, the accumulation response was significantly reduced. The avoidance response was only impaired in mutants with nine or fewer chloroplasts, both in terms of final transmission levels and the speed of movement. Only mutants lacking both blue light receptors (phot1/phot2) or those with drastically reduced chloroplast numbers and severely impacted avoidance responses showed a reduced ability to recover from high light stress.
Chloroplast movement; chloroplast number mutants; chloroplast size; optimizing light absorption; photoinhibition
Chloroplast translation is mediated by nucleus-encoded factors that interact with distinct cis-acting RNA elements. A U-rich sequence within the 5′ untranslated region of the psbD mRNA has previously been shown to be required for its translation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. By using UV cross-linking assays, we have identified a 40-kDa RNA binding protein, which binds to the wild-type psbD leader, but is unable to recognize a nonfunctional leader mutant lacking the U-rich motif. RNA binding is restored in a chloroplast cis-acting suppressor. The functions of several site-directed psbD leader mutants were analyzed with transgenic C. reinhardtii chloroplasts and the in vitro RNA binding assay. A clear correlation between photosynthetic activity and the capability to bind RNA by the 40-kDa protein was observed. Furthermore, the data obtained suggest that the poly(U) region serves as a molecular spacer between two previously characterized cis-acting elements, which are involved in RNA stabilization and translation. RNA-protein complex formation depends on the nuclear Nac2 gene product that is part of a protein complex required for the stabilization of the psbD mRNA. The sedimentation properties of the 40-kDa RNA binding protein suggest that it interacts directly with this Nac2 complex and, as a result, links processes of chloroplast RNA metabolism and translation.
Hemoglobins are ancient O2-binding proteins, ubiquitously found in eukaryotes. They have been categorized as symbiotic, nonsymbiotic and truncated hemoglobins. We have investigated the cellular localization of nonsymbiotic hemoglobin proteins during somatic embryogenesis in Cichorium hybrid leaves (Cichorium intybus L. var. sativum × C. endivia var. latifolia) using immunolocalization technique. These proteins were detected during the two steps of culture: induction and expression. In leaves, hemoglobins colocalised with plastids, which were dispersed in the parietal cytoplasm as well as in the two guard cells of a stomata, but not in epidermis cells. Upon induction of embryogenesis, in the dark, this pattern disappeared. During the induction phase, where competent cells reinitiate the cell cycle and prepare for mitosis, hemoglobins appeared initially near chloroplasts, and then in the vicinity of vascular vessels especially in the phloem and in cells surrounding the xylem vessels. When leaf fragments were transferred to another medium for the expression phase, hemoglobins were observed in the majority of the leaf blade cells and in small young embryos but not in the older ones. Hemoglobins were also detected in other leaves cells or tissues all along the process. The role of these nonsymbiotic hemoglobins during somatic embryogenesis is discussed.
chicory; immunolocalization; nonsymbiotic hemoglobin; somatic embryogenesis
Chloroplasts and their surrounding cell are highly interdependent. One example is lipid metabolism, where the cell depends on its chloroplasts to provide fatty acids for lipid synthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and in turn, chloroplasts rely on import of lipid precursors from the ER. Despite its fundamental importance, the route for lipid trafficking into and out of chloroplasts remains unknown. Biochemical studies of plant membrane lipid metabolism have suggested the possibility of lipid transport at membrane contact sites (MCSs) between the ER and chloroplasts. With the aid of optical manipulation, we recently could present physical evidence for this association. Leaf protoplasts isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the ER lumen were observed by confocal microscopy. A laser scalpel was used to rupture the protoplasts. ER fragments associated with the released chloroplasts could be stretched out by optical tweezers but remained attached to the chloroplast surface, even when a stretching force of 400 pN was applied. We thus provided the first physical evidence for MCSs between two membranes and we propose for the ER-chloroplast pair, that such tight associations are involved in bidirectional lipid trafficking between the two compartments.
membrane contact site; optical scalpel; optical tweezers; lipid trafficking; chloroplast; endoplasmic reticulum; plasma membrane
An Arabidopsis thaliana mutant, cbd (carotenoid biosynthesis deficient), was recovered from a mutant population based on its yellow cotyledons, yellow-first true leaves, and stunted growth. Seven-day-old seedlings and mature seeds of this mutant had lower chlorophyll and total carotenoids than the wild type (WT). Genetic and molecular characterization revealed that cbd was a recessive mutant caused by a T-DNA insertion in the gene cpSRP54 encoding the 54kDa subunit of the chloroplast signal recognition particle. Transcript levels of most of the main carotenoid biosynthetic genes in cbd were unchanged relative to WT, but expression increased in carotenoid and abscisic acid catabolic genes. The chloroplasts of cbd also had developmental defects that contributed to decreased carotenoid and chlorophyll contents. Transcription of AtGLK1 (Golden 2-like 1), AtGLK2, and GUN4 appeared to be disrupted in the cbd mutant suggesting that the plastid-to-nucleus retrograde signal may be affected, regulating the changes in chloroplast functional and developmental states and carotenoid content flux. Transformation of A. thaliana and Brassica napus with a gDNA encoding the Arabidopsis cpSRP54 showed the utility of this gene in enhancing levels of seed carotenoids without affecting growth or seed yield.
Accumulation, Arabidopsis thaliana, biosynthesis, Brassica napus, carotenoids, gene expression