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Leister, Dario and Kleine, Tatjana (2016): Definition of a core module for the nuclear retrograde response to altered organellar gene expression identifies GLK overexpressors as gun mutants. In: Physiologia Plantarum, Vol. 157, No. 3: pp. 297-309

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Retrograde signaling can be triggered by changes in organellar gene expression (OGE) induced by inhibitors such as lincomycin (LIN) or mutations that perturb OGE. Thus, an insufficiency of the organelle-targeted prolyl-tRNA synthetase PRORS1 in Arabidopsis thaliana activates retrograde signaling and reduces the expression of nuclear genes for photosynthetic proteins. Recently, we showed that mTERF6, a member of the so-called mitochondrial transcription termination factor (mTERF) family, is involved in the formation of chloroplast (cp) isoleucine-tRNA. To obtain further insights into its functions, co-expression analysis of MTERF6, PRORS1 and two other genes for organellar aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases was conducted. The results suggest a prominent role of mTERF6 in aminoacylation activity, light signaling and seed storage. Analysis of changes in whole-genome transcriptomes in the mterf6-1 mutant showed that levels of nuclear transcripts for cp OGE proteins were particularly affected. Comparison of the mterf6-1 transcriptome with that of prors1-2 showed that reduced aminoacylation of proline (prors1-2) and isoleucine (mterf6-1) tRNAs alters retrograde signaling in similar ways. Database analyses indicate that comparable gene expression changes are provoked by treatment with LIN, norflurazon or high light. A core OGE response module was defined by identifying genes that were differentially expressed under at least four of six conditions relevant to OGE signaling. Based on this module, overexpressors of the Golden2-like transcription factors GLK1 and GLK2 were identified as genomes uncoupled mutants.

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