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Light Control of Nuclear Gene mRNA Abundance and Translation in Tobacco

Li Tang, Sumana Bhat and Marie E. Petracek
Plant Physiology
Vol. 133, No. 4 (Dec., 2003), pp. 1979-1990
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4281513
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Light Control of Nuclear Gene mRNA Abundance and Translation in Tobacco
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Abstract

Photosynthetic signals modulate expression of nuclear genes at the levels of mRNA transcription, mRNA stability, and translation. In transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), the pea (Pisum sativum) Ferredoxin 1 (Fed-1) mRNA dissociates from polyribosomes and becomes destabilized when photosynthesis is inhibited by photosynthetic electron transport inhibitor 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea. We used polymerase chain reaction suppressive-subtractive hybridization to identify similarly regulated endogenous tobacco genes. This screen identified 14 nuclear-encoded tobacco mRNAs whose light-induced increase in abundance is suppressed in the presence of 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea. Sequence analysis of the cognate cDNAs revealed that nine of the mRNAs encode putative chloroplast-targeted proteins. We asked whether the abundance of these mRNAs was regulated transcriptionally or posttranscriptionally. Of the five mRNAs with sufficient abundance to detect using nuclear run-on assays, we observed transcriptional regulation of α-tubulin, thiazole biosynthetic enzyme, and pSKA10 (an unknown gene). Photosystem A subunit L and, to a lesser extent, α-tubulin and pSKA10 mRNAs, may also be stabilized in the light. In contrast, Rubisco small subunit mRNA abundance appears to be transcriptionally up-regulated but posttranscriptionally down-regulated in the light. To determine whether, like Fed-1 mRNA, the mRNAs identified in this screen were translationally responsive to light, we characterized the polyribosome association of these mRNAs in the light and after a 15-min dark treatment. A subset of the mRNAs showed dramatic dark-induced polyribosome dissociation, similar to Fed-1 mRNA, and all of the mRNAs showed at least slight polyribosome dissociation. Thus, both posttranscriptional and translational regulation appear to be important mechanisms regulating the expression of many nuclear-encoded mRNAs encoding proteins involved in photosynthesis.

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