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Leister, Dario; Wang, Xi; Haberer, Georg; Mayer, Klaus F. X. and Kleine, Tatjana (2011): Intracompartmental and Intercompartmental Transcriptional Networks Coordinate the Expression of Genes for Organellar Functions. In: Plant physiology, Vol. 157, No. 1: pp. 386-404 [PDF, 1MB]

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Genes for mitochondrial and chloroplast proteins are distributed between the nuclear and organellar genomes. Organelle biogenesis and metabolism, therefore, require appropriate coordination of gene expression in the different compartments to ensure efficient synthesis of essential multiprotein complexes of mixed genetic origin. Whereas organelle-to-nucleus signaling influences nuclear gene expression at the transcriptional level, organellar gene expression (OGE) is thought to be primarily regulated posttranscriptionally. Here, we show that intracompartmental and intercompartmental transcriptional networks coordinate the expression of genes for organellar functions. Nearly 1,300 ATH1 microarray-based transcriptional profiles of nuclear and organellar genes for mitochondrial and chloroplast proteins in the model plant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) were analyzed. The activity of genes involved in organellar energy production (OEP) or OGE in each of the organelles and in the nucleus is highly coordinated. Intracompartmental networks that link the OEP and OGE gene sets serve to synchronize the expression of nucleus- and organelle-encoded proteins. At a higher regulatory level, coexpression of organellar and nuclear OEP/OGE genes typically modulates chloroplast functions but affects mitochondria only when chloroplast functions are perturbed. Under conditions that induce energy shortage, the intercompartmental coregulation of photosynthesis genes can even override intracompartmental networks. We conclude that dynamic intracompartmental and intercompartmental transcriptional networks for OEP and OGE genes adjust the activity of organelles in response to the cellular energy state and environmental stresses, and we identify candidate cis-elements involved in the transcriptional coregulation of nuclear genes. Regarding the transcriptional regulation of chloroplast genes, novel tentative target genes of σ factors are identified.

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