Extensive posttranscriptional regulation of nuclear gene expression by plastid retrograde signals

Guo Zhang Wu, Etienne H. Meyer, Si Wu, Ralph Bock

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13 Scopus citations


Retrograde signals emanate from the DNA-containing cell organelles (plastids and mitochondria) and control the expression of a large number of nuclear genes in response to environmental and developmental cues. Previous studies on retrograde signaling have mainly analyzed the regulation of nuclear gene expression at the transcript level. To determine the contribution of translational and posttranslational regulation to plastid retrograde signaling, we combined label-free proteomics with transcriptomic analysis of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seedlings and studied their response to interference with the plastid gene expression pathway of retrograde signaling. By comparing the proteomes of the genomes uncoupled1 (gun1) and gun5 mutants with the wild type, we show that GUN1 is critical in the maintenance of plastid protein homeostasis (proteostasis) when plastid translation is blocked. Combining transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of the wild type and gun1, we identified 181 highly translationally or posttranslationally regulated (HiToP) genes. We demonstrate that HiToP photosynthesis-associated nuclear genes (PhANGs) are largely regulated by translational repression, while HiToP ribosomal protein genes are regulated posttranslationally, likely at the level of protein stability without the involvement of GUN1. Our findings suggest distinct posttranscriptional control mechanisms of nuclear gene expression in response to plastid-derived retrograde signals. They also reveal a role for GUN1 in the translational regulation of several PhANGs and highlight extensive posttranslational regulation that does not necessitate GUN1. This study advances our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular communication and provides new insight into cellular responses to impaired plastid protein biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2034-2048
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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