Chloroplasts play an important role in the cellular sensing of abiotic and biotic stress. Signals originating from photosynthetic light reactions, in the form of redox and pH changes, accumulation of reactive oxygen and electrophile species or stromal metabolites are of key importance in chloroplast retrograde signaling. These signals initiate plant acclimation responses to both abiotic and biotic stresses. To reveal the molecular responses activated by rapid fluctuations in growth light intensity, gene expression analysis was performed with Arabidopsis thaliana wild type and the tlp18.3 mutant plants, the latter showing a stunted growth phenotype under fluctuating light conditions (Biochem. J, 406, 415–425). Expression pattern of genes encoding components of the photosynthetic electron transfer chain did not differ between fluctuating and constant light conditions, neither in wild type nor in tlp18.3 plants, and the composition of the thylakoid membrane protein complexes likewise remained unchanged. Nevertheless, the fluctuating light conditions repressed in wild-type plants a broad spectrum of genes involved in immune responses, which likely resulted from shade-avoidance responses and their intermixing with hormonal signaling. On the contrary, in the tlp18.3 mutant plants there was an imperfect repression of defense-related transcripts upon growth under fluctuating light, possibly by signals originating from minor malfunction of the photosystem II (PSII) repair cycle, which directly or indirectly modulated the transcript abundances of genes related to light perception via phytochromes. Consequently, a strong allocation of resources to defense reactions in the tlp18.3 mutant plants presumably results in the stunted growth phenotype under fluctuating light.
2016. Vol. 7, 405