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Open Access Research article

The link between transcript regulation and de novo protein synthesis in the retrograde high light acclimation response of Arabidopsis thaliana

Marie-Luise Oelze, Meenakumari Muthuramalingam, Marc Oliver Vogel and Karl-Josef Dietz*

Author Affiliations

Biochemistry and Physiology of Plants, Faculty of Biology – W5-134, University of Bielefeld, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:320  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-320

Published: 30 April 2014



Efficient light acclimation of photosynthetic cells is a basic and important property of plants. The process of acclimation depends on transformation of retrograde signals in gene expression, transcript accumulation and de novo protein synthesis. While signalling cues, transcriptomes and some involved players have been characterized, an integrated view is only slowly emerging, and information on the translational level is missing. Transfer of low (8 μmol quanta.m-2.s-1) or normal light (80 μmol quanta.m-2.s-1) acclimated 30 d old Arabidopsis thaliana plants to high light (800 μmol quanta.m-2.s-1) triggers retrograde signals. Using this established approach, we sought to link transcriptome data with de novo synthesized proteins by in vivo labelling with 35S methionine and proteome composition.


De novo synthesized protein and proteome patterns could reliably be matched with newly annotated master gels. Each molecular level could be quantified for a set of 41 proteins. Among the proteins preferentially synthesized in plants transferred to high light were enzymes including carbonic anhydrase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase, O-acetyl serine thiol lyase, and chaperones, while low rates upon transfer to high light were measured for e.g. dehydroascorbate reductase, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and CuZn superoxide dismutase, and opposite responses between 10-fold and 100-fold light increment for e.g. glutamine synthetase and phosphoglycerate kinase.


The results prove the hypothesis that transcript abundance is poorly linked to de novo protein synthesis due to profound regulation at the level of translation. This vertical systems biology approach enables to quantitatively and kinetically link the molecular levels for scrutinizing signal processing and response generation.