Proteomic Insight into the Response of Arabidopsis Chloroplasts to Darkness

PLoS One. 2016 May 3;11(5):e0154235. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154235. eCollection 2016.


Chloroplast function in photosynthesis is essential for plant growth and development. It is well-known that chloroplasts respond to various light conditions. However, it remains poorly understood about how chloroplasts respond to darkness. In this study, we found 81 darkness-responsive proteins in Arabidopsis chloroplasts under 8 h darkness treatment. Most of the proteins are nucleus-encoded, indicating that chloroplast darkness response is closely regulated by the nucleus. Among them, 17 ribosome proteins were obviously reduced after darkness treatment. The protein expressional patterns and physiological changes revealed the mechanisms in chloroplasts in response to darkness, e.g., (1) inhibition of photosystem II resulted in preferential cyclic electron flow around PSI; (2) promotion of starch degradation; (3) inhibition of chloroplastic translation; and (4) regulation by redox and jasmonate signaling. The results have improved our understanding of molecular regulatory mechanisms in chloroplasts under darkness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism / radiation effects
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / radiation effects*
  • Darkness*
  • Photosynthesis / radiation effects
  • Proteomics*
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Starch / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chlorophyll
  • Starch
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase

Grants and funding

This work was supported by grants from Capacity Construction Project of Local Universities, Shanghai, China (No.14390502700) and Specially-Appointed Professors (Oriental Scholars) for Shanghai’s Universities to S. Dai, and the National Science Foundation of China (N31370271) to ZN Yang. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.