Plastid transcription activity and DNA copy number increase early in barley chloroplast development. Academic Article uri icon


  • Plastid transcription activity and DNA copy number were quantified during chloroplast development in the first foliage leaf in dark-grown and illuminated barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) seedlings. Primary foliage leaves of seedlings given continuous illumination from 2 days post-imbibition reached a final mean length of 15 centimeters at 6.5 days, whereas primary leaves of dark-grown seedlings required 7 days to reach a similar length. Dividing cells were observed in the basal 0.5 to 1 centimeter of primary leaves until 5.5 days post-imbibition. Plastids isolated from cells located in the basal meristem of 4-day-old seedlings were small ( approximately 2 micrometers in diameter), exhibited low transcription activity and contained approximately 130 copies of plastid DNA per organelle. Cell size increased from 18 to 60 micrometers in a 1 to 3 centimeter region located adjacent to the leaf basal meristem. In this region, transcriptional activity per plastid increased 10-fold and DNA copy number increased from 130 to 210. Plastid transcriptional activity declined rapidly in illuminated plants with increasing leaf cell age and plastid DNA copy number also declined but with a slower time course. In dark-grown seedlings, plastid transcriptional activity declined more slowly than in illuminated plants while DNA copy number remained constant with increasing cell age. These data show that plastid transcriptional activity and DNA copy number increase early in chloroplast development and that transcriptional activity per DNA template varies up to 5-fold during barley leaf biogenesis.

published proceedings

  • Plant Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Baumgartner, B. J., Rapp, J. C., & Mullet, J. E.

citation count

  • 167

complete list of authors

  • Baumgartner, BJ||Rapp, JC||Mullet, JE

publication date

  • March 1989