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SJTU Assoc. Prof. Wu Guozhang Published Review Article on Plant Cell

January 18, 2021      Author:

On January 11, 2021, from SJTU School of Agriculture and Biology and Professor Ralph Bock from German Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology published a review paper on the website of Plant Cell, titled “GUN control in retrograde signaling: How GENOMES UNCOUPLED proteins adjust nuclear gene expression to plastid biogenesis”. This paper discusses the research progress of GUN-related retrograde signaling in plastid biogenesis, adversity and light signal interaction, as well as prospects for future research in related field.

This paper mainly reviews recent research on GUN1 function, the central regulatory element of plastid retrogrades signaling, comments on the commonly concerned issues, and introduces the central function of GUN1 in maintaining plastid protein homeostasis. This research builds a full landscape on current research progress in retrograde signaling, which will guide the future research and development in this field.

The corresponding authors are SJTU tenure-track Associate Professor Wu Guozhang and Professor Ralph Bock of German Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. The first author is Associate Professor Wu Guozhang. Assoc. Prof. Wu joint SJTU School of Agriculture and Biology in 2019 as a tenure-track associate professor and has established the “Organelles and Retrograde Biology” Max Planck Partner Group with funds from Max Planck Society. This research received support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (32070299) and Shanghai Pujiang Program (20PJ1405600).


Communication between cellular compartments is vital for development and environmental adaptation. Signals emanating from organelles, so-called retrograde signals, coordinate nuclear gene expression with the developmental stage and/or the functional status of the organelle. Plastids (best known in their green photosynthesizing differentiated form, the chloroplasts) are the primary energy-producing compartment of plant cells, and the site for the biosynthesis of many metabolites, including fatty acids, amino acids, nucleotides, isoprenoids, tetrapyrroles, vitamins and phytohormone precursors. Signals derived from plastids regulate the accumulation of a large set of nucleus-encoded proteins, many of which localize to plastids. A set of mutants defective in retrograde signaling (genomes uncoupled, or gun) was isolated over 25 years ago. While most GUN genes act in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, resolving the molecular function of GUN1, the proposed integrator of multiple retrograde signals, has turned out to be particularly challenging. Based on its amino acid sequence, GUN1 was initially predicted to be a plastid-localized nucleic acid-binding protein. Only recently, mechanistic information on the function of GUN1 has been obtained, pointing to a role in plastid protein homeostasis. This review article

Source: School of Agriculture and Biology, SJTU

Translated by Han Yueyue