The role of retrograde signals during plant stress responses
J Exp Bot. 2017, 69 (11):2783-2795
Crawford T, Lehotai N, Strand Å

Chloroplast and mitochondria not only provide the energy to the plant cell but, due to the sensitivity of organellar processes to perturbations caused by abiotic stress, they are also key cellular sensors of environmental fluctuations. Abiotic stresses result in reduced photosynthetic efficiency and thereby reduced energy supply for cellular processes. Thus, in order to acclimate to stress, plants must re-program gene expression and cellular metabolism to divert energy from growth and developmental processes to stress responses. To restore cellular energy homeostasis following exposure to stress, the activities of the organelles must be tightly co-ordinated with the transcriptional re-programming in the nucleus. Thus, communication between the organelles and the nucleus, so-called retrograde signalling, is essential to direct the energy use correctly during stress exposure. Stress triggered retrograde signals are mediated by reactive oxygen species and metabolites including β-cyclocitral, MEcPP, PAP and intermediates of the tetrapyrrole biosynthesis pathway. However, for the plant cell to respond optimally to environmental stress, these stress-triggered retrograde signalling pathways must be integrated with the cytosolic stress signalling network. We hypothesize that the Mediator transcriptional co-activator complex may play a key role as a regulatory hub in the nucleus, integrating the complex stress signalling networks originating in different cellular compartments.

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