Summary Co‐ordination of gene expression between the three genomes present in plastids, mitochondria and nucleus is of crucial importance for plant cells. Previous studies revealed that in white leaves of the albostrians (Hordeum vulgare cv. Haisa) mutant, photosynthesis‐related plastid and nuclear genes are expressed only at an extremely low level. The plastids of this mutant lack ribosomes, photosynthetic activity and have only rudimentary membrane systems. Here we report on the expression of mitochondrial genes in albostrians barley. Steady‐state RNA levels of the mitochondrial genes encoding cytochrome oxidase or ATPase subunits, coxII, coxIII, atpA, atp6, atp9 and cob, were observed to be consistently elevated in the white leaves but not in roots. Investigation of mitochondrial DNA revealed an about three‐fold enhanced mitochondrial gene copy number in white compared to green leaf cells, but no differential amplification of mitochondrial genes. Analysis of plants in which the white albostrians plastids were combined with a new nuclear background showed that the enhanced transcript levels were a consequence of the impaired plastids and not of the nuclear albostrians allele. Furthermore, plants bleached by the carotenoid biosynthesis inhibitor norflurazon also showed an enhanced mitochondrial transcript level. These findings allow the conclusion that lack of chloroplast activity in an otherwise fully differentiated leaf leads to an increase in mitochondrial gene copy number and an elevated level of mitochondrial transcripts. Our results indicate an influence of plastids on the genetic apparatus of mitochondria in leaves but not in roots.
The Plant Journal – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1999
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