Carotenoids are a core plastid component and yet their regulatory function during plastid biogenesis remains enigmatic. A unique carotenoid biosynthesis mutant, carotenoid chloroplast regulation 2 (ccr2), that has no prolamellar body (PLB) and normal PROTOCHLOROPHYLLIDE OXIDOREDUCTASE (POR) levels, was used to demonstrate a regulatory function for carotenoids and their derivatives under varied dark-light regimes. A forward genetics approach revealed how an epistatic interaction between a ζ-carotene isomerase mutant (ziso-155) and ccr2 blocked the biosynthesis of specific cis-carotenes and restored PLB formation in etioplasts. We attributed this to a novel apocarotenoid retrograde signal, as chemical inhibition of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase activity restored PLB formation in ccr2 etioplasts during skotomorphogenesis. The apocarotenoid acted in parallel to the repressor of photomorphogenesis, DEETIOLATED1 (DET1), to transcriptionally regulate PROTOCHLOROPHYLLIDE OXIDOREDUCTASE (POR), PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR3 (PIF3) and ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL5 (HY5). The unknown apocarotenoid signal restored POR protein levels and PLB formation in det1, thereby controlling plastid development.
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- etioplast and chloroplast development