Learning the Languages of the Chloroplast: Retrograde Signaling and beyond

Kai Xun Chan, Su Yin Phua, Peter Crisp, Ryan McQuinn, Barry J. Pogson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

399 Scopus citations


The chloroplast can act as an environmental sensor, communicating with the cell during biogenesis and operation to change the expression of thousands of proteins. This process, termed retrograde signaling, regulates expression in response to developmental cues and stresses that affect photosynthesis and yield. Recent advances have identified many signals and pathways-including carotenoid derivatives, isoprenes, phosphoadenosines, tetrapyrroles, and heme, together with reactive oxygen species and proteins-that build a communication network to regulate gene expression, RNA turnover, and splicing. However, retrograde signaling pathways have been viewed largely as a means of bilateral communication between organelles and nuclei, ignoring their potential to interact with hormone signaling and the cell as a whole to regulate plant form and function. Here, we discuss new findings on the processes by which organelle communication is initiated, transmitted, and perceived, not only to regulate chloroplastic processes but also to intersect with cellular signaling and alter physiological responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-53
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
StatePublished - Apr 29 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Abiotic stress
  • Biogenesis
  • Development
  • High light
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plastid


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