Intracellular signaling from chloroplast to nucleus followed by a subsequent response in the chloroplast is called retrograde signaling. It not only coordinates the expression of nuclear and chloroplast genes, which is essential for chloroplast biogenesis, but also maintains chloroplast function at optimal levels in response to fluxes in metabolites and changes in environmental conditions. In recent years several putative retrograde signals have been identified and signaling pathways have been proposed. Here we review retrograde signals derived from tetrapyrroles, carotenoids, nucleotides and isoprene precursors in response to abiotic stresses, including oxidative stress. We discuss the responses that these signals elicit and show that they not only modify chloroplast function but also influence other aspects of plant development and adaptation.
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