Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 3–12 | Cite as

Plastid and nuclear DNA synthesis are not coupled in suspension cells ofNicotiana tabacum

  • Sabine Heinhorst
  • Gordon Cannon
  • Arthur Weissbach


The relationship between nuclear and plastid DNA synthesis in cultured tobacco cells was measured by following3H-thymidine incorporation into total cellular DNA in the absence or presence of specific inhibitors. Plastid DNA synthesis was determined by hybridization of total radiolabeled cellular DNA to cloned chloroplast DNA.

Cycloheximide, an inhibitor of nuclear encoded cytoplasmic protein synthesis, caused a rapid and severe inhibition of nuclear DNA synthesis and a delayed inhibition of plastid DNA synthesis. By contrast, chloramphenicol which only inhibits plastid and mitochondrial protein production, shows little inhibition of either nuclear or plastid DNA synthesis even after 24 h of exposure to the cells.

The inhibition of nuclear DNA synthesis by aphidicolin, which specifically blocks the nuclear DNA polymeraseα, has no significant effect on plastid DNA formation. Conversely, the restraint of plastid DNA synthesis exerted by low levels of ethidium bromide has no effect on nuclear DNA synthesis.

These results show that the synthesis of plastid and nuclear DNA are not coupled to one another. However, both genomes require the formation of cytoplasmic proteins for their replication, though our data suggest that different proteins regulate the biosynthesis of nuclear and plastid DNA.


DNA synthesis inhibitors synchronization tobacco suspension cultures 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Heinhorst
    • 1
  • Gordon Cannon
    • 1
  • Arthur Weissbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyRoche Institute of Molecular Biology, Roche Research CenterNutleyUSA

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