Photosynthesis-dependent H2O2 transfer from chloroplasts to nuclei provides a high-light signalling mechanism
Nature Publishing Group
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Chloroplasts communicate information by signalling to nuclei during acclimation to fluctuating light. Several potential operating signals originating from chloroplasts have been proposed, but none have been shown to move to nuclei to modulate gene expression. One proposed signal is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) produced by chloroplasts in a light-dependent manner. Using HyPer2, a genetically encoded fluorescent H2O2 sensor, we show that in photosynthetic Nicotiana benthamiana epidermal cells, exposure to high light increases H2O2 production in chloroplast stroma, cytosol and nuclei. Critically, over-expression of stromal ascorbate peroxidase (H2O2 scavenger) or treatment with DCMU (photosynthesis inhibitor) attenuates nuclear H2O2 accumulation and high light-responsive gene expression. Cytosolic ascorbate peroxidase over-expression has little effect on nuclear H2O2 accumulation and high light-responsive gene expression. This is because the H2O2 derives from a sub-population of chloroplasts closely associated with nuclei. Therefore, direct H2O2 transfer from chloroplasts to nuclei, avoiding the cytosol, enables photosynthetic control over gene expression.
The research was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, grant numbers BB/I020071/1 and BB/I020004/1). We are grateful to George R. Littlejohn for his input to initiating the research, advice on microscopy and discussion of the work.
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Vol. 8, article 49