A novel light-regulated promoter is conserved in cereal and dicot chloroplasts. Academic Article uri icon


  • The chloroplast psbD-psbC genes encode D2 and cp43, a reaction center protein and chlorophyll-binding antenna protein of photosystem II, respectively. We have previously shown that differential accumulation of light-induced psbD-psbC mRNAs in barley chloroplasts is due to transcription from a blue light-responsive promoter (LRP). It is hypothesized that the light-induced mRNAs help to maintain levels of the D2 polypeptide, which is photodamaged and degraded in illuminated plants. To determine if light-induced accumulation of psbD-psbC mRNAs was a conserved phenomenon in chloroplasts, the expression of psbD-psbC operons from five cereals (barley, wheat, rice, maize, and sorghum) and three dicot (tobacco, spinach, and pea) species was examined. Cereal and dicot psbD-psbC operons differ due to several DNA rearrangements that moved psbK-psbI proximal to psbD-psbC, allowing cotranscription of these genes and production of several unique transcripts in cereals. Despite differences in the structure and expression of the cereal and dicot psbD-psbC operons, the accumulation of light-induced psbD-psbC mRNAs was conserved in all species studied. An unusual feature of the light-induced mRNAs was the occurrence of 5' end microheterogeneity. The multiple 5' termini were mapped to several consecutive nucleotides (8 to 25 bp) within a highly conserved (61%) DNA region that represents the transcription initiation site for the mRNAs in barley and tobacco. The novel LRP differs in sequence from typical plastid promoters that have prokaryotic "-10" and "-35" elements and is centered 570 bp (cereals), 900 bp (tobacco, spinach), or 1100 bp (pea) upstream from the psbD translational start codon. We propose that physiological and gene regulatory demands of the chloroplast act as constraints that preserved the linkage of the LRP with psbD despite DNA inversions involving the psbD upstream region.

published proceedings

  • Plant Cell

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Christopher, D. A., Kim, M., & Mullet, J. E.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Christopher, DA||Kim, M||Mullet, JE

publication date

  • July 1992