Movement of Genetic Information Between the Chloroplast and Nucleus

  • J. N. Timmis
  • N. Steele Scott
Part of the Plant Gene Research book series (GENE)


The discovery of cytoplasmic inheritance in plants at the turn of the century (Correns and Baur as described in Kirk and Tilney-Basset, 1978), culminated in the demonstration of plastid (pt) DNA in the late 1960’s. At the same time there was mounting biochemical and genetic evidence which showed that most of plastid biogenesis and function was controlled by nuclear genes and involved proteins synthesized on cytoplasmic ribosomes (see reviews by Kirck and Tilney-Bassett, 1978; Ellis, 1983). The expression of plastid DNA and the use of plastid ribosomes to synthesize large amounts of particular plastid proteins has only been described in the special case of the photosynthetically competent plastid, the chloroplast (Scott and Possingham, 1980). We wish to distinguish between the general term plastid which describes a family of related plant cell organelles of which the most commonly studied and perhaps the most numerous and important are chloroplasts. In general we will use the name plastid and only use the term chloroplast in specific instances. It appears however that chloroplasts and all other plastids carry an identical subgenome which has been called the plastome. In this article we will briefly describe the interaction of the genetic information from nucleus and plastid that is involved in the formation of chloroplasts and other plastid forms and go on to discuss in more detail the recent observations which indicate that plastids and nuclei share extensive DNA sequence homology (Timmis and Scott, 1983).


Small Subunit EcoRI Fragment Bisphosphate Carboxylase Cytoplasmic Ribosome Large Subunit Gene 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. N. Timmis
    • 1
  • N. Steele Scott
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideSouth Australia
  2. 2.CSIRO Division of Horticultural ResearchAdelaideSouth Australia

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