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Mitochondrial and Chloroplast Stress Responses Are Modulated in Distinct Touch and Chemical Inhibition Phases

  • Olivier Van Aken
  • Inge De Clercq
  • Aneta Ivanova
  • Simon R Law
  • Frank Van Breusegem
  • A. Harvey Millar
  • James Whelan
Publishing year: 2016-07
Language: English
Pages: 65-2150
Publication/Series: Plant Physiology
Volume: 171
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Society of Plant Biologists

Abstract english

Previous studies have identified a range of transcription factors that modulate retrograde regulation of mitochondrial and chloroplast functions in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). However, the relative importance of these regulators and whether they act downstream of separate or overlapping signaling cascades is still unclear. Here, we demonstrate that multiple stress-related signaling pathways, with distinct kinetic signatures, converge on overlapping gene sets involved in energy organelle function. The transcription factor ANAC017 is almost solely responsible for transcript induction of marker genes around 3 to 6 h after chemical inhibition of organelle function and is a key regulator of mitochondrial and specific types of chloroplast retrograde signaling. However, an independent and highly transient gene expression phase, initiated within 10 to 30 min after treatment, also targets energy organelle functions, and is related to touch and wounding responses. Metabolite analysis demonstrates that this early response is concurrent with rapid changes in tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates and large changes in transcript abundance of genes encoding mitochondrial dicarboxylate carrier proteins. It was further demonstrated that transcription factors AtWRKY15 and AtWRKY40 have repressive regulatory roles in this touch-responsive gene expression. Together, our results show that several regulatory systems can independently affect energy organelle function in response to stress, providing different means to exert operational control.


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • ISSN: 1532-2548
Olivier van Aken
E-mail: olivier [dot] van_aken [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 94 13



Research group

Plant Biology



Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor