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Title: Plastid  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chromoplast, Gerontoplast, Botany, Chloroplast, Organelle
Collection: Endosymbiotic Events, Organelles, Photosynthesis, Plant Physiology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Plant cells with visible chloroplasts.

The plastid (Greek: πλαστός; plastós: formed, molded – plural plastids) is a major double-membrane

  • Transplastomic plants for biocontainment (biological confinement of transgenes) — Co-extra research project on coexistence and traceability of GM and non-GM supply chains
  • Tree of Life Eukaryotes

External links

  • Chan CX, Bhattacharya D (2010). "The origins of plastids". Nature Education 3 (9): 84. 
  • Bhattacharya, D., ed. (1997). Origins of Algae and their Plastids. New York: Springer-Verlag/Wein.  
  • Gould SB, Waller RR, McFadden GI (2008). Plastid evolution. Annu Rev Plant Biol 59: 491–517.

Further reading

  • A Novel View of Chloroplast Structure: contains fluorescence images of chloroplasts and stromules as well as an easy to read chapter.
  • Wycliffe P, Sitbon F, Wernersson J, Ezcurra I, Ellerström M, Rask L (October 2005). PEND homologue blocks differentiation of plastids and development of palisade cells"Brassica napus"Continuous expression in tobacco leaves of a . Plant J. 44 (1): 1–15.  
  • Birky CW (2001). "The inheritance of genes in mitochondria and chloroplasts: laws, mechanisms, and models". Annu. Rev. Genet. 35: 125–48. PDF  


  1. ^ Sato, N. in The Structure and Function of Plastids, Vol. 23. (eds. R.R. Wise & J.K. Hoober) 75-102 (Springer Netherlands, 2006).
  2. ^ Kolattukudy, PE (1996) Biosynthetic pathways of cutin and waxes, and their sensitivity to environmental stresses. In: Plant Cuticles. Ed. by G. Kerstiens, BIOS Scientific publishers Ltd., Oxford, pp 83-108
  3. ^ a b Wise, Robert R. (2006). "1. The Diversity of Plastid Form and Function". Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration (PDF) 23. Springer. pp. 3–26.  
  4. ^ a b "Plants Without Plastid Genomes | The Scientist Magazine®". The Scientist. Retrieved 2015-09-26. 
  5. ^ Barbrook, Adrian C.; Howe, Christopher J.; Purton, Saul (2006-01-02). "Why are plastid genomes retained in non-photosynthetic organisms?". Trends in Plant Science 11 (2): 101–108.  
  6. ^ Zhang, Q.; Sodmergen (2010). "Why does biparental plastid inheritance revive in angiosperms?". Journal of Plant Research 123 (2): 201–206.  
  7. ^ Ochoa de Alda JAG, Esteban, R, Diago, ML, Houmard, J. The plastid ancestor originated among one of the major cyanobacterial lineages. Nature Communications, 5 Article number: 4937 doi:10.1038/ncomms5937}
  8. ^ Hedges SB, Blair JE, Venturi ML, Shoe JL (January 2004). "A molecular timescale of eukaryote evolution and the rise of complex multicellular life". BMC Evol. Biol. 4: 2.  
  9. ^ "The Origin of Plastids | Learn Science at Scitable". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 


See also

Some dinoflagellates and sea slugs, in particular of the genus Elysia, take up algae as food and keep the plastid of the digested alga to profit from the photosynthesis; after a while, the plastids are also digested. This process is known as kleptoplasty, from the Greek, kleptes, thief.

Complex plastids start by secondary Cryptosporidium parvum, which causes cryptosporidiosis). The 'apicoplast' is no longer capable of photosynthesis, but is an essential organelle, and a promising target for antiparasitic drug development.

Plastids are thought to have originated from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. The symbiosis evolved around 1.5 billion years ago[7] and enabled eukaryotes to carry out oxygenic photosynthesis.[8] Three evolutionary lineages have since emerged in which the plastids are named differently: chloroplasts in green algae and plants, rhodoplasts in red algae and muroplasts in the glaucophytes. The plastids differ both in their pigmentation and in their ultrastructure. For example, chloroplasts have lost all phycobilisomes, the light harvesting complexes found in cyanobacteria, red algae and glaucophytes, but instead contain stroma and grana thylakoids, structures found only in plants and closely related green algae. The glaucocystophycean plastid — in contrast to chloroplasts and rhodoplasts — is still surrounded by the remains of the cyanobacterial cell wall. All these primary plastids are surrounded by two membranes.

Origin of plastids

In normal intraspecific crossings (resulting in normal hybrids of one species), the inheritance of plastid DNA appears to be quite strictly 100% uniparental. In interspecific hybridisations, however, the inheritance of plastids appears to be more erratic. Although plastids inherit mainly maternally in interspecific hybridisations, there are many reports of hybrids of flowering plants that contain plastids of the father. Approximately 20% of angiosperms, including alfalfa (Medicago sativa), normally show biparental inheritance of plastids.[6]

Most plants inherit the plastids from only one parent. In general, angiosperms inherit plastids from the female gamete, whereas many gymnosperms inherit plastids from the male pollen. Algae also inherit plastids from only one parent. The plastid DNA of the other parent is, thus, completely lost.

Inheritance of plastids

Glaucocystophytic algae contain muroplasts, which are similar to chloroplasts except that they have a cell wall that is similar to that of prokaryotes. Rhodophytic algae contain rhodoplasts, which are red chloroplasts that allow the algae to photosynthesise to a depth of up to 268 m.[3]

In algae, the term leucoplast is used for all unpigmented plastids and their function differs from the leucoplasts of plants. Etioplasts, amyloplasts and chromoplasts are plant-specific and do not occur in algae. Plastids in algae and hornworts may also differ from plant plastids in that they contain pyrenoids.

Plastids in algae

In 2014, evidence of possible plastid genome loss was found in Rafflesia lagascae, a non-photosynthetic parasitic flowering plant, and in Polytomella, a genus of non-photosynthetic green algae. Extensive searches for plastid genes in both Rafflesia and Polytomella yielded no results, however the conclusion that their plastomes are entirely missing is still controversial.[4] Some scientists argue that plastid genome loss is unlikely since even non-photosynthetic plastids contain genes necessary to complete various biosynthetic pathways, such as heme biosynthesis.[4][5]

In plant cells, long thin protuberances called stromules sometimes form and extend from the main plastid body into the cytosol and interconnect several plastids. Proteins, and presumably smaller molecules, can move within stromules. Most cultured cells that are relatively large compared to other plant cells have very long and abundant stromules that extend to the cell periphery.

Many plastids, particularly those responsible for photosynthesis, possess numerous internal membrane layers.

Plastid DNA exists as large protein-DNA complexes associated with the inner envelope membrane and called 'plastid nucleoids'. Each nucleoid particle may contain more than 10 copies of the plastid DNA. The proplastid contains a single nucleoid located in the centre of the plastid. The developing plastid has many nucleoids, localized at the periphery of the plastid, bound to the inner envelope membrane. During the development of proplastids to chloroplasts, and when plastids convert from one type to another, nucleoids change in morphology, size and location within the organelle. The remodelling of nucleoids is believed to occur by modifications to the composition and abundance of nucleoid proteins.

Each plastid creates multiple copies of a circular 75–250 kilobase plastome. The number of genome copies per plastid is variable, ranging from more than 1000 in rapidly dividing cells, which, in general, contain few plastids, to 100 or fewer in mature cells, where plastid divisions have given rise to a large number of plastids. The plastome contains about 100 genes encoding ribosomal and transfer ribonucleic acids (rRNAs and tRNAs) as well as proteins involved in photosynthesis and plastid gene transcription and translation. However, these proteins only represent a small fraction of the total protein set-up necessary to build and maintain the structure and function of a particular type of plastid. Plant nuclear genes encode the vast majority of plastid proteins, and the expression of plastid genes and nuclear genes is tightly co-regulated to coordinate proper development of plastids in relation to cell differentiation.

Depending on their morphology and function, plastids have the ability to differentiate, or redifferentiate, between these and other forms.

In plants, plastids may differentiate into several forms, depending upon which function they play in the cell. Undifferentiated plastids (proplastids) may develop into any of the following variants:[3]

Those plastids that contain pigments can carry out photosynthesis. Plastids can also store products like starch and can synthesise fatty acids and terpenes, which can be used for producing energy and as raw material for the synthesis of other molecules. For example, the components of the plant cuticle and its epicuticular wax are synthesized by the epidermal cells from palmitic acid, which is synthesized in the chloroplasts of the mesophyll tissue.[2] All plastids are derived from proplastids, which are present in the meristematic regions of the plant. Proplastids and young chloroplasts commonly divide by binary fission, but more mature chloroplasts also have this capacity.

Leucoplasts in plant cells.

Plastids in plants


  • Plastids in plants 1
  • Plastids in algae 2
  • Inheritance of plastids 3
  • Origin of plastids 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Sources 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

. prokaryotes molecule that is circular, like that of DNA, and the types of pigments present can change or determine the cell's color. They have a common origin and possess a double-stranded photosynthesis used in pigments. Plastids are the site of manufacture and storage of important chemical compounds used by the cell. They often contain algae and plants of cells found, among others, in the [1]

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