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Leister, Dario; Wang, Liangsheng; Kleine, Tatjana (2017): Organellar Gene Expression and Acclimation of Plants to Environmental Stress. In: Frontiers in Plant Science, Vol. 8, 387


Organelles produce ATP and a variety of vital metabolites, and are indispensable for plant development. While most of their original gene complements have been transferred to the nucleus in the course of evolution, they retain their own genomes and gene-expression machineries. Hence, organellar function requires tight coordination between organellar gene expression (OGE) and nuclear gene expression (NGE). OGE requires various nucleus-encoded proteins that regulate transcription, splicing, trimming, editing, and translation of organellar RNAs, which necessitates nucleus-to-organelle (anterograde) communication. Conversely, changes in OGE trigger retrograde signaling that modulates NGE in accordance with the current status of the organelle. Changes in OGE occur naturally in response to developmental and environmental changes, and can be artificially induced by inhibitors such as lincomycin or mutations that perturb OGE. Focusing on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and its plastids, we review here recent findings which suggest that perturbations of OGE homeostasis regularly result in the activation of acclimation and tolerance responses, presumably via retrograde signaling.