, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 106–113

Photooxidative destruction of chloroplasts and its consequences for expression of nuclear genes

  • R. Oelmüller
  • H. Mohr

DOI: 10.1007/BF00446376

Cite this article as:
Oelmüller, R. & Mohr, H. Planta (1986) 167: 106. doi:10.1007/BF00446376


Expression of nuclear genes involved in plastidogenesis is known to be controlled by light via phytochrome. Examples are the small subunit (SSU) of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase and the light harvesting chlorophyll a/b binding protein of photosystem II (LHCP). In the present study we show that, beside phytochrome, the integrity of the plastid is essential for the expression of the pertinent nuclear genes as measured at the level of translatable mRNA. When the plastids are severely damaged by photooxidation in virtually carotenoid-free mustard (Sinapis alba L.) seedling cotyledons (made carotenoid-free by the application of Norflurazon, NF), almost no SSU, no SSU precursor, LHCP and LHCP precursor can be detected by immunological assays, and almost no translatable mRNA of SSU and LHCP can be found, although the levels and rates of phytochrome-mediated syntheses of representative cytoplasmic, mitochondrial and glyoxisomal enzymes are not adversely affected and morphogenesis of the mustard seedling proceeds normally (Reiß et al. 1983; Planta 159, 518–528). Norflurazon per se has no effect on the amount of translatable mRNA of SSU and LHCP as shown by irradiation of NF-treated seedlings with far-red light (FR) which strongly activates phytochrome but does not cause photooxidation in the plastids. It is concluded that a signal from the plastid is required to allow the phytochrome-mediated appearance of translatable mRNA for SSU and LHCP. Seedlings not treated with NF show a higher level of translatable mRNALHCP in red light (RL) compared to FR, whereas the mRNASSU levels are the same in RL and FR. These facts indicate that the level of translatable mRNALHCP is adversely affected if the apoprotein is not incorporated into the thylakoid membrane.

Key words

Chloroplast photooxidation Gene expression Photooxidation (chloroplast) Phytochrome, chloroplasts, gene expression Sinapis 



far-red light (3.5 W m-2)


light harvesting chlorophyll a/b binding protein of photosystem II


large subunit of RuBPCase




red light (6.8 W m-2)


ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (EC


small subunit of RuBPCase


white light (28 W m-2)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Oelmüller
    • 1
  • H. Mohr
    • 1
  1. 1.Biologisches Institut II der UniversitätFreiburgGermany

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