Physiologia plantarum

In-depth analysis of the distinctive effects of norflurazon implies that tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, organellar gene expression and ABA cooperate in the GUN-type of plastid signalling.

PMID 20028479


Application of norflurazon (NF) damages plastids, induces photobleaching and represses expression of the nuclear LHCB1.2 gene encoding a light-harvesting protein. In genomes uncoupled (gun) mutants, LHCB1.2 expression is maintained in the presence of NF. The mutants gun2, gun4 and gun5 exhibit perturbations in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, but gun1 is defective in organellar gene expression (OGE). How gun mutations affect nuclear gene expression (NGE) and why the signals elicited by the two types evoke the same response remains unknown. Here we show that the carotenoid biosynthesis inhibitors amitrole and flurochloridone can replace NF in gun assays, whereas novel tetrapyrrole pathway mutations do not provoke a gun phenotype. Changes in haem levels also do not account for LHCB1.2 derepression in NF-treated gun mutants. Pigment measurements indicated that gun mutants are not resistant to NF, but gun2, gun4 and gun5 retain low levels of lutein, as well as of neoxanthin and violaxanthin, the precursors of abscisic acid (ABA). This might explain the enhanced ABA sensitivity of gun4 and gun5 plants found in germination assays. Metabolite profiling and analyses of reactive oxygen species and cellular redox state failed to suggest a link between gun mutations and altered LHCB1.2 expression. However, in contrast to NF-treated wild-type plants, gun mutants retain to a marked extent the capability to express the plastome-encoded proteins AtpB and RbcL. This, together with the finding that application of ABA can partially restore LHCB1.2 expression in NF-treated wild-type plants, supports the view that tetrapyrrole, OGE and ABA signalling are interconnected.

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Norflurazon, PESTANAL®, analytical standard
Norflurazon, analytical standard