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Redox networks in plant chloroplasts

Contact information

Eevi Rintamäki, Professor
email: eevi.rintamaki [at]
Tel. : +358 2 3335568
Mobile: +358 40 5813630


Eevi Rintamäki, Professor, Project Leader
Jouni Toivola,  Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher
Manuel Guinea Diaz, Postdoctoral Researcher
Lauri Nikkanen, PhD Student
Clara Mignée, PhD Student


 As a light-driven energy factory chloroplast absorbs light and converts it into chemical energy, but besides this primary mission it perceives signals from surroundings to adjust plant development and induce acclimation to ever changing environmental cues. Apart from the basic task in photosynthetic energy metabolism, chloroplasts are also the place for a numerous indispensable metabolic reactions including nitrogen and sulphur assimilation, biosynthesis of amino acids, lipids, hormones, cofactors and secondary metabolites that directly affect plant growth capacity. Redox signals are crucial in the control of chloroplast functions including biogenesis, photosynthetic reactions and other biosynthetic pathways localized to chloroplast in plant cells. Redox compounds are also most plausible candidates for the molecules that mediate the regulatory information from chloroplast to other cellular compartments in plant.


Our project addresses to systemic analysis of chloroplast redox networks with specific focus on the plastidial members of thioredoxin protein family, and to molecular dissection of their function in plant development, control of chloroplast metabolism, determination of biomass yield and in relation to plant fitness.
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Plant and algal chloroplasts are living bioreactors converting solar energy into chemical energy that is an ultimate source of energy in ecosystems. Understanding the redox networks in chloroplasts and their interconnections to plant other processes are of fundamental importance for developmental, metabolic and bioenergetics research of photosynthetic organisms and its application for bioenergy production and for production of biopharmaceuticals in chloroplasts. Thioredoxins represent a central regulator of plant defense and development, and are therefore in the heart of processes that must be understood to achieve the goals.



Nikkanen L, Toivola J, Diaz MG, Rintamäki E. 2017: Chloroplast thioredoxin systems: prospects for improving photosynthesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 372(1730). (Epub 2017 Aug 14).
Nikkanen, L.; Toivola, J. & Rintamäki, E. 2016:  Crosstalk between chloroplast thioredoxin systems in regulation of photosynthesis. - PLANT, CELL AND ENVIRONMENT 39(8): 1691-1705.    Free article   (Epub 2016 Feb 2).
Spetea*, C.; Rintamäki, E. & Schoefs*, B. 2014:   Preface: Changing the light environment: chloroplast signalling and response mechanisms. - PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B 369(1640): 20130220.     Free PMC article
Nikkanen, L. & Rintamäki, E. 2014:  Thioredoxin-dependent regulatory networks in chloroplasts under fluctuating light conditions. - PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B 369(1640): 20130224.    Free article   (Epub 2014 Mar 3)
Toivola, J.; Nikkanen, L.; Dahlström*, KM; Salminen*, TA.; Lepistö, A.; Vignols*, F. & Rintamäki, E. 2013:  Overexpression of chloroplast NADPH-dependent thioredoxin reductase in Arabidopsis enhances leaf growth and elucidates in vivo function of reductase and thioredoxin domains. - FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE 4(389): 1-18.   Free article
Lepistö, A.; Pakula, E.; Toivola, J.; Krieger-Liszkay*, A.; Vignols*, F. & Rintamäki, E. 2013:  Deletion of chloroplast NADPH-dependent thioredoxin reductase results in inability to regulate starch synthesis and causes stunted growth under short-day photoperiods. - JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY  64(12): 3843-3854.   Free article
Richter*, AS.; Peter* E.; Rothbart*, M.; Schlicke*, H.; Toivola, J.; Rintamäki, E. & Grimm*, B. 2013: Posttranslational influence of NTRC on enzymes in tetrapyrrole synthesis. -  PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 162(1): 63-73.   Free article
Lepistö, A.; Toivola, J.; Nikkanen, L. & Rintamäki, E. 2012:  Retrograde signaling from functionally heterogeneous plastids. - FRONTIERS IN PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 3(286): 1-9.   Free article
Lepistö, A. & Rintamäki, E. 2012:  Coordination of plastid and light signaling pathways upon development of Arabidopsisleaves under various photoperiods. - MOLECULAR PLANT 5(4): 799-816.   Free article
Rintamäki, E., Lepistö, A., and Kangasjärvi S. 2009: Implication of chlorophyll biosynthesis on chloroplast-to-nucleus retrograde signaling. Plant Signaling & Behavior 4: 545-547
Lepistö A., Kangasjärvi S., Luomala EM., Brader G., Sipari N., Keränen. M., Keinänen M. & Rintamäki E. 2009: Chloroplast NADPH thioredoxin reductase interacts with photoperiodic development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiology. 149:1261-1276
Lintala, M., Allahverdiyeva, Y., Kangasjärvi, S., Lehtimäki, N., Keränen, M., Rintamäki, E., Aro, EM & Mulo, P. 2009: Comparative analysis of leaf-type ferredoxin-NADP+-oxidoreductase isoforms in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant J. 57:1103-1115.
Kangasjärvi S, Lepistö A, Hännikäinen K, Piippo M, Luomala, EM, Aro EM & Rintamäki E (2008): Diverse roles for chloroplast stromal and thylakoid-bound ascorbate peroxidases in plant stress responses. Biochem. J. 412: 275-285.
Rintamäki E., Lepistö A., Kangasjärvi S., Ruokamo R., Sipari N. & Keinänen M. 2008: Chloroplast NADPHthioredoxin reductase A novel modulator of plastidial amino acid and hormone metabolism.    In: Photosynthesis. Energy from the Sun. 14th International Congress on Photosynthesis Research, Glasgow 22-27 July 2007. Allen, J.F., Gantt, E., Golbeck, J.H., Osmond, B. (eds.). Springer, Heidelberg, ISBN: 978-1-4020-6707-5, pp. 977-980.
Lepistö A, Kangasjärvi S, Luomala EM, Hännikäinen K, Brader G, & Rintamäki E. 2008:     Chloroplastic NADPH thioredoxin reductase mediates photoperiod-dependent development of leaves in Arabidopsis. In: Photosynthesis. Energy from the Sun. 14th International Congress on Photosynthesis Research, Glasgow 22-27 July 2007. Allen, J.F., Gantt, E., Golbeck, J.H., Osmond, B. (eds.). Springer, Heidelberg, ISBN: 978-1-4020-6707-5, pp. 1303-1306.
Lintala M, Allahverdiyeva Y, Kidron H, Piippo M, Battchikova N, Suorsa M, Rintamäki E, Salminen TA, Aro E-M, Mulo P 2007:  Structural and functional characterization of ferredoxin-NADP+-oxidoreductase using knock-out mutants of Arabidopsis. The Plant Journal 49:1041-1052.
Breitholtz H.-L., Srivastava, R., Tyystjärvi, E. & Rintamäki, E. 2005: LHCII protein phosphorylation in leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana mutants deficient in non-photochemical quenching. - Photosynth. Res., 84: 217-223.
Aro, E.-M, Suorsa, M., Rokka, A., Allahverdiyeva, Y., Paakkarinen, V., Saleem, A., Battchikova, N. & Rintamäki E. 2005: Dynamics of photosystem II: a proteomic approach to thylakoid protein complexes. - J. Exp. Bot. 56:347-356.
Rintamäki, E. 2004: Plant response to stress: Modification of the photosynthetic apparatus. In: Goodman R.M. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York. pp. 990-994.
Pursiheimo, S., Martinsuo P., Rintamäki, E. & Aro, E.-M. 2003: Photosystem II protein phosphorylation follows four distinctly different regulatory patterns induced by environmental cues. - Plant Cell Environm., 26: 1995-2003.
Martinsuo, P., Pursiheimo, S., Aro, E.-M. and Rintamäki, E. 2003: Dithiol oxidant and disulfide reductant dynamically regulate the phosphorylation of light harvesting complex II proteins in thylakoid membranes. - Plant Physiol. 133: 37-46
Hou, C-.X, Rintamäki, E. and Aro, E.-M. 2003: Ascorbate-mediated LHCII protein phosphorylation - LHCII kinase regulation in light and in darkness. Biochemistry 42: 5828-5836.
Hou, C-.X , Pursiheimo, S.,. Rintamäki, E. and Aro, E.-M. 2002: Environmental and metabolic control of LHCII protein phosphorylation: Revealing the mechanisms for dual regulation of the LHCII kinase. - Plant Cell Environm. 25: 1515-1525
Mamedov F, Rintamäki E, Aro EM, Andersson B and Styring S 2002: Influence of protein phosphorylation on the electron-transport properties of Photosystem II. Photosynt. Res. 74: 61-72.
Pursiheimo, S., Mulo, P., Rintamäki, E. & Aro, E.-M. 2001: Coregulation of light-harvesting complex II phosphorylation and lhcb mRNA accumulation in winter rye. - Plant J. 26: 317-327.
Rintamäki, E. & Aro, E.-M. 2001: Phosphorylation of Photosystem II proteins. In: Aro M,Andersson B (eds.) Regulation of Photosynthesis. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration 11, 395-418.
Rintamäki, E., Martinsuo, P., Pursiheimo, S. & Aro, E.-M. 2000: Cooperative regulation of light-harvesting complex II phosphorylation via plastoquinol and ferredoxin-thioredoxin system in chloroplast. - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 97: 11644-11649.
Carlberg I., Rintamäki E., Aro E.-M. and Andersson, B. 1999: Thylakoid protein phosphorylation and the thiol redox state. - Biochemistry 38:3197-3204.
Salonen, M., Aro, E.-M. & Rintamäki, E. 1998: Reversible phosphorylation and turnover of the D1 protein under various redox states of Photosystem II induced by low temperature photoinhibition. - Photosynthesis Research 58: 143-151
Pursiheimo S., Rintamäki E., Baena-Gonzalez, E. and Aro, E.-M. 1998: Thylakoid protein phosphorylation in evolutionally divergent species with oxygenic photosynthesis. FEBS Lett. 423:178-182.
Kettunen, R., Pursiheimo S., Rintamäki, E., Wijk, K.-J. & Aro, E.-M. 1997:Transcriptional and translational adjustment of psbA gene expression in mature chloroplasts during photoinhibition and subsequent repair of photosystem II. - Eur. J. Biochem. 247:441-448.
Hagman, Å., Shi, L.-X., Rintamäki, E., Andersson, B. & Schröder, W.P. 1997: The nuclear-encoded PsbW protein subunit of photosystem II undergoes light-induced proteolysis. - Biochemistry 36:12666-12671.
Rintamäki, E., Salonen, M., Suoranta, U.-M., Carlberg, I., Andersson, B., & Aro, E.-M. 1997: Phosphorylation of light-harvesting complex II and Photosystem II core proteins shows different irradiance-dependent regulation in vivo. Application of phosphothreonine antibodies to analysis of thylakoid phosphoproteins. - J. Biol. Chem. 272:30476-30482.
Rintamäki, E., Kettunen, R. and Aro, E.-M. 1996. Differential D1 dephosphorylation in functional and photodamaged Photosystem II centres. Dephosphorylation is a prerequisite for degradation of damaged D1*. - J. Biol. Chem., 271:14870-14875.
Rintamäki, E., Salo, R. Lehtonen, E. & Aro, E.-M. 1995: Regulation of D1 protein degradation during photoinhibition in vivo: Phosphorylation of the D1 protein in various plant groups. - Planta 195:379-386.
Rintamäki, E., Kettunen, R., Tyystjärvi, E. and Aro, E.-M. 1995. Light-dependent phosphorylation of D1 reaction centre protein of Photosystem II: hypothesis for the functional role in vivo. - Physiologia Plantarum 93:191-195.
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