Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 289–299

Involvement of tetrapyrroles in inter-organellar signaling in plants and algae

  • Zinaida Vasileuskaya
  • Ulrike Oster
  • Christoph F. Beck
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s11120-004-2160-x

Cite this article as:
Vasileuskaya, Z., Oster, U. & Beck, C.F. Photosynth Res (2004) 82: 289. doi:10.1007/s11120-004-2160-x

Abstract

For the assembly of a functional chloroplast, the coordinated expression of genes distributed between nucleus and chloroplasts is a prerequisite. While the nucleus plays an undisputed dominant role in controling biogenesis and functioning of chloroplasts, plastidic signals appear to control the expression of a subset of nuclear genes; the majority of which encodes chloroplast constituents. Tetrapyrrole biosynthesis intermediates are attractive candidates for one type of plastidic signal ever since an involvement of Mg–porphyrins in signaling from chloroplast to nucleus was first demonstrated in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Since then, Mg-protoporphyrin IX has been shown to exert a regulatory function on nuclear genes in higher plants as well. Here we review evidence for the role played by tetrapyrroles in inter-organellar communication. We also report on a screening for nuclear genes that may be subject to regulation by tetrapyrroles. This revealed that (i) >HEMA, the gene encoding the first enzyme specific for porphyrin biosynthesis is induced by Mg-protoporphyrin IX, (ii) several nuclear HSP70 genes are regulated by tetrapyrroles. Members of the gene family induced by the feeding of Mg–rotoporphyrin IX encode chaperones located in either the chloroplast or the cytosol. These results point to an important role of Mg–tetrapyrroles as plastidic signal in controling the initial step of porphyrin biosynthesis, and the synthesis of chaperones involved in protein folding in cytosol/stroma, protein transport into organelles, and the stress response.

Keywords

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii chloroplast signaling Mg–protoporphyrin IX nuclear gene expression plastid factor light induction 

Abbreviations

ALA

5-aminolevulinic acid

Chl

chlorophyll

CHLH

H subunit of Mg– chelatase

Chlide

chlorophyllide

gun

genome uncoupled mutant gene

LHC(B)

gene encoding a light harvesting protein

MgProto

Mg–protoporphyrin IX

MgProtoMe

Mg–protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester

Pchlide

protochlorophyllide

Proto

protoporphyrin IX

Protogen

protoporphyrinogen IX

RBCS

gene encoding the small subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zinaida Vasileuskaya
    • 1
  • Ulrike Oster
    • 2
  • Christoph F. Beck
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut fuer Biologie IIIAlbert-Ludwigs-UniversitaetFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Botanisches InstitutUniversitaet MuenchenMuenchenGermany

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