Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 845–859 | Cite as

Plant sigma factors and their role in plastid transcription

  • Eugene A. Lysenko


Plant sigma factors determine the promoter specificity of the major RNA polymerase of plastids and thus regulate the first level of plastome gene expression. In plants, sigma factors are encoded by a small family of nuclear genes, and it is not yet clear if the family members are functionally redundant or each paralog plays a particular role. The review presents the analysis of the information on plant sigma factors obtained since their discovery a decade ago and focuses on similarities and differences in structure and functions of various paralogs. Special attention is paid to their interaction with promoters, the regulation of their expression, and their role in the development of a whole plant. The analysis suggests that though plant sigma factors are basically similar, at least some of them perform distinct functions. Finally, the work presents the scheme of this gene family evolution in higher plants.


Plastids Promoters RNA polymerases Sigma factors Transcription 



Plastid encoded RNA polymerase


Light-regulated promoter psbD



I thank Prof. K. Tanaka for the thorough reading of the manuscript and for the helpful discussion, and A.M.Murygina for the assistance in manuscript preparation. This study was partly supported by the Grant from the President of Russian Federation for Leading Scientific Schools (NSh-1785.2003.4) and by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project nos. 04-04-48247, 04-04-81003 and 06-04-81024).

Supplementary material

299_2007_318_MOESM1_ESM.doc (218 kb)
Consensus sequences are based on the aligning of the following sigma factors. (DOC 218 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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