Understanding chloroplast biogenesis using second-site suppressors of immutans and var2

Abstract

Chloroplast biogenesis is an essential light-dependent process involving the differentiation of photosynthetically competent chloroplasts from precursors that include undifferentiated proplastids in leaf meristems, as well as etioplasts in dark-grown seedlings. The mechanisms that govern these developmental processes are poorly understood, but entail the coordinated expression of nuclear and plastid genes. This coordination is achieved, in part, by signals generated in response to the metabolic and developmental state of the plastid that regulate the transcription of nuclear genes for photosynthetic proteins (retrograde signaling). Variegation mutants are powerful tools to understand pathways of chloroplast biogenesis, and over the years our lab has focused on immutans (im) and variegated2 (var2), two nuclear gene-induced variegations of Arabidopsis. im and var2 are among the best-characterized chloroplast biogenesis mutants, and they define the genes for plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX) and the AtFtsH2 subunit of the thylakoid FtsH metalloprotease complex, respectively. To gain insight into the function of these proteins, forward and reverse genetic approaches have been used to identify second-site suppressors of im and var2 that replace or bypass the need for PTOX and AtFtsH2 during chloroplast development. In this review, we provide a brief update of im and var2 and the functions of PTOX and AtFtsH2. We then summarize information about second-site suppressors of im and var2 that have been identified to date, and describe how they have provided insight into mechanisms of photosynthesis and pathways of chloroplast development.

Publication
Photosynth. Res.