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Plastids sustain life on this planet by providing food, feed, essential biomolecules and oxygen. Such diverse metabolic and biosynthetic functions require efficient communication between plastids and the nucleus. However, specific factors, especially large molecules, released from plastids that regulate nuclear genes have not yet been fully elucidated. When tobacco and lettuce transplastomic plants expressing GFP within chloroplasts, were challenged with Erwinia carotovora (biotic stress) or paraquat (abiotic stress), GFP was released into the cytoplasm. During this process GFP moves gradually towards the envelope, creating a central red zone of chlorophyll fluorescence. GFP was then gradually released from intact chloroplasts into the cytoplasm with an intact vacuole and no other visible cellular damage. Different stages of GFP release were observed inside the same cell with a few chloroplasts completely releasing GFP with detection of only red chlorophyll fluorescence or with no reduction in GFP fluorescence or transitional steps between these two phases. Time lapse imaging by confocal microscopy clearly identified sequence of these events. Intactness of chloroplasts during this process was evident from chlorophyll fluorescence emanated from thylakoid membranes and in vivo Chla fluorescence measurements (maximum quantum yield of photosystem II) made before or after infection with pathogens to evaluate their photosynthetic competence. Hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion serve as signal molecules for generation of reactive oxygen species and Tiron, scavenger of superoxide anion, blocked release of GFP from chloroplasts. Significant increase in ion leakage in the presence of paraquat and light suggests changes in the chloroplast envelope to facilitate protein release. Release of GFP-RC101 (an antimicrobial peptide), which was triggered by Erwinia infection, ceased after conferring protection, further confirming this export phenomenon. These results suggest a novel signaling mechanism, especially for participation of chloroplast proteins (e.g. transcription factors) in retrograde signaling, thereby offering new opportunities to regulate pathways outside chloroplasts.
© 2012 Ali et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Kwon, K., Verma, D., Jin, S., Singh, N. D., & Daniell, H. (2020). Release of Proteins from Intact Chloroplasts Induced by Reactive Oxygen Species During Biotic and Abiotic Stress. PLoS One, 8 (6), e67106-. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067106
Date Posted: 01 March 2022
This document has been peer reviewed.