Plastid signalling to the nucleus and beyond

Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Nov;13(11):602-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.08.008. Epub 2008 Oct 1.


Communication between the compartments or organelles of cells is essential for plant growth and development. There is an emerging understanding of signals generated within energy-transducing organelles, such as chloroplasts and mitochondria, and the nuclear genes that respond to them, a process known as retrograde signalling. A recent series of unconnected breakthroughs have given scientists a glimpse inside the 'black box' of organellar signalling thanks to the identification of some of the factors involved in generating and propagating signals to the nucleus and, in some instances, systemically throughout photosynthetic tissues. This review will focus on recent developments in our understanding of retrograde and systemic signals generated by organelles, with an emphasis on chloroplasts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genome, Plant
  • Organelles / physiology
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plastids / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant