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Multiparametric real-time sensing of cytosolic physiology links hypoxia responses to mitochondrial electron transport

  • Stephan Wagner
  • Janina Steinbeck
  • Philippe Fuchs
  • Sophie Lichtenauer
  • Marlene Elsässer
  • Jos H.M. Schippers
  • Thomas Nietzel
  • Cristina Ruberti
  • Olivier Van Aken
  • Andreas J. Meyer
  • Joost T. Van Dongen
  • Romy R. Schmidt
  • Markus Schwarzländer
Publishing year: 2019
Language: English
Publication/Series: New Phytologist
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Hypoxia regularly occurs during plant development and can be induced by the environment through, for example, flooding. To understand how plant tissue physiology responds to progressing oxygen restriction, we aimed to monitor subcellular physiology in real time and in vivo. We establish a fluorescent protein sensor-based system for multiparametric monitoring of dynamic changes in subcellular physiology of living Arabidopsis thaliana leaves and exemplify its applicability for hypoxia stress. By monitoring cytosolic dynamics of (magnesium adenosine 5'-triphosphate), free calcium ion concentration, pH, NAD redox status, and glutathione redox status in parallel, linked to transcriptional and metabolic responses, we generate an integrated picture of the physiological response to progressing hypoxia. We show that the physiological changes are surprisingly robust, even when plant carbon status is modified, as achieved by sucrose feeding or extended night. Inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain causes dynamics of cytosolic physiology that are remarkably similar to those under oxygen depletion, highlighting mitochondrial electron transport as a key determinant of the cellular consequences of hypoxia beyond the organelle. A broadly applicable system for parallel in vivo sensing of plant stress physiology is established to map out the physiological context under which both mitochondrial retrograde signalling and low oxygen signalling occur, indicating shared upstream stimuli.


  • Botany
  • cytosol
  • genetically encoded fluorescent protein sensors
  • hypoxia stress
  • in vivo sensing
  • mitochondrial electron transport chain
  • retrograde signalling


  • ISSN: 0028-646X
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