Nuclear genome diversity in somatic cells is accelerated by environmental stress

Dong Wang, Andrew H. Lloyd, Jeremy N. Timmis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


DNA transfer to the nucleus from prokaryotic ancestors of the cytoplasmic organelles (mitochondria and plastids) has occurred during endosymbiotic evolution in eukaryotes. In most eukaryotes, organelle DNA transfer to nucleus is a continuing process. The frequency of DNA transposition from plastid (chloroplast) to nucleus has been measured in tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum) experimentally. We have monitored the effects of environmental stress on the rate of DNA transfer from plastid to nucleus by exploiting nucleus-specific reporter genes in two transplastomic tobacco lines. DNA migration from plastids to the nucleus is markedly increased by mild heat stress. In addition, insertions of mitochondrial DNA into induced double-strand breaks are observed after heat treatment. These results show that movement of organelle DNA to the nucleus is remarkably increased by heat stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-597
Number of pages3
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date20 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Nucleus/genetics
  • Chloroplasts/genetics
  • DNA, Chloroplast/metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial/metabolism
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genome, Plant
  • Heat-Shock Response/genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Tobacco/genetics
  • environmental stress
  • DNA transfer
  • chloroplast
  • mitochondria
  • endosymbiotic evolution
  • cell division


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