In EMBO Journal (Open Access)

Circadian clock adjustment to plant iron status depends on chloroplast and phytochrome function

Patrice A Salomé, Michele Oliva, Detlef Weigel and Ute Krämer

Plant chloroplasts are not only the main cellular location for storage of elemental iron (Fe), but also the main site for Fe, which is incorporated into chlorophyll, haem and the photosynthetic machinery. How plants measure internal Fe levels is unknown. We describe here a new Fe-depen- dent response, a change in the period of the circadian clock. In Arabidopsis, the period lengthens when Fe becomes limiting, and gradually shortens as external Fe levels increase. Etiolated seedlings or light-grown plants treated with plastid translation inhibitors do not respond to changes in Fe supply, pointing to developed chloroplasts as central hubs for circadian Fe sensing. Phytochrome- deficient mutants maintain a short period even under Fe deficiency, stressing the role of early light signalling in coupling the clock to Fe responses. Further mutant and pharmacological analyses suggest that known players in plastid-to-nucleus signalling do not directly participate in Fe sensing. We propose that the sensor governing circa- dian Fe responses defines a new retrograde pathway that involves a plastid-encoded protein that depends on phyto- chromes and the functional state of chloroplasts.