, Volume 222, Issue 5, pp 743-756

First online:

Signaling pathways from the chloroplast to the nucleus

  • Christoph F. BeckAffiliated withInstitute of Biology III, University of Freiburg Email author 

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Genetic and physiological studies have to-date revealed evidence for five signaling pathways by which the chloroplast exerts retrograde control over nuclear genes. One of these pathways is dependent on product(s) of plastid protein synthesis, for another the signal is singlet oxygen, a third employs chloroplast-generated hydrogen peroxide, a fourth is controlled by the redox state of the photosynthetic electron transport chain, and a fifth involves intermediates and possibly proteins of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. These five pathways may be part of a complex signaling network that links the functional and physiological state of the chloroplast to the nucleus. Mutants defective in various steps of photosynthesis reveal a surprising diversity in nuclear responses suggesting the existence of a complex signaling network.


Chloroplast-nucleus signaling Green algae Nuclear gene expression Plastid protein synthesis Reactive oxygen species Redox poise Tetrapyrroles