Multiple feedbacks between chloroplast and whole plant in the context of plant adaptation and acclimation to the environment

Barbara Demmig-Adams, Jared J. Stewart, William W. Adams

Abstract

This review focuses on feedback pathways that serve to match plant energy acquisition with plant energy utilization, and thereby aid in the optimization of chloroplast and whole-plant function in a given environment. First, the role of source–sink signalling in adjusting photosynthetic capacity (light harvesting, photochemistry and carbon fixation) to meet whole-plant carbohydrate demand is briefly reviewed. Contrasting overall outcomes, i.e. increased plant growth versus plant growth arrest, are described and related to respective contrasting environments that either do or do not present opportunities for plant growth. Next, new insights into chloroplast-generated oxidative signals, and their modulation by specific components of the chloroplast's photoprotective network, are reviewed with respect to their ability to block foliar phloem-loading complexes, and, thereby, affect both plant growth and plant biotic defences. Lastly, carbon export capacity is described as a newly identified tuning point that has been subjected to the evolution of differential responses in plant varieties (ecotypes) and species from different geographical origins with contrasting environmental challenges.

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