What is hot in plant mitochondria?

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DOI

In this overview of recent trends in plant mitochondrial research, four questions are considered: (1) How large is the mitochondrial proteome? It appears to be in excess of 1500 proteins in a tissue at any given time. It is proposed that the fusion–fission frequently observed for plant mitochondria provides a vital mixing function ensuring that all low-abundance proteins are present in each mitochondrion at least some of the time. (2) What is the significance of posttranslational modifications (PTM) of proteins? As a result of PTM, many proteins are present in a very large number of slightly different forms. The most well-studied PTMs, such as protein phosphorylation, acetylation and reversible cysteine oxidation, are known to regulate mitochondrial function. Recent studies have provided examples of the importance of this regulation, but it remains a research area with a massive growth potential. (3) What is the role(s) of pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins in plant mitochondria? There is general agreement that PPR proteins are involved in RNA metabolism such as RNA editing. Recent comprehensive proteomic studies raise the question of how many of the potential 250–300 mitochondrial PPR proteins encoded in the nuclear DNA are required to be present for a mitochondrion to be able to grow and divide. (4) What is the mechanism(s) of retrograde signal transduction from the mitochondria to the nucleus? The nature of the signal transduction molecule is still unknown, but calcium ions, hydrogen peroxide and/or oxidized peptides are potential candidates. Recent results place a receptor for the activation of a group of nuclear genes on the endoplasmic reticulum, possibly close to ER–mitochondrial contact points.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Volume157
Issue3
Pages (from-to)256-263
Number of pages8
ISSN0031-9317
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

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