Analysis of 101 nuclear transcriptomes reveals 23 distinct regulons and their relationship to metabolism, chromosomal gene distribution and co-ordination of nuclear and plastid gene expression

Gene. 2005 Jan 3;344:33-41. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2004.09.009.


Post-endosymbiotic evolution of the proto-chloroplast was characterized by gene transfer to the nucleus. Hence, most chloroplast proteins are nuclear-encoded and the regulation of chloroplast functions includes nuclear transcriptional control. The expression profiles of 3292 nuclear Arabidopsis genes, most of them encoding chloroplast proteins, were determined from 101 different conditions and have been deposited at the GEO database ( under . The 1590 most-regulated genes fell into 23 distinct groups of co-regulated genes (regulons). Genes of some regulons are not evenly distributed among the five Arabidopsis chromosomes and pairs of adjacent, co-expressed genes exist. Except regulons 1 and 2, regulons are heterogeneous and consist of genes coding for proteins with different subcellular locations or contributing to several biochemical functions. This implies that different organelles and/or metabolic pathways are co-ordinated at the nuclear transcriptional level, and a prototype for this is regulon 12 which contains genes with functions in amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as genes associated with transport or transcription. The co-expression of nuclear genes coding for subunits of the photosystems or encoding proteins involved in the transcription/translation of plastome genes (particularly ribosome polypeptides) (regulons 1 and 2, respectively) implies the existence of a novel mechanism that co-ordinates plastid and nuclear gene expression and involves nuclear control of plastid ribosome abundance. The co-regulation of genes for photosystem and plastid ribosome proteins escapes a previously described general control of nuclear chloroplast proteins imposed by a transcriptional master switch, highlighting a mode of transcriptional regulation of photosynthesis which is different compared to other chloroplast functions. From the evolutionary standpoint, the results provided indicate that functional integration of the proto-chloroplast into the eukaryotic cell was associated with the establishment of different layers of nuclear transcriptional control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / physiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genes, Regulator / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Plastids / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins