Plant Science

Dividing Links

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Science  13 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5588, pp. 1771
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5588.1771c

The chloroplasts found within plant cells are thought to derive from ancient endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. Chloroplasts contain their own genome and must replicate their DNA and divide to provide new chloroplasts in growing and dividing plant cells.

A protein named ARTEMIS has now been discovered by Fulgosi et al. and appears to play a key role in chloroplast division. ARTEMIS is encoded in the plant cell nucleus, but the protein is found on the chloroplast inner envelope, where it is required for organelle division. Plants engineered to lack ARTEMIS contained chloroplasts that had failed to divide completely; their inner thylakoid membranes had been duplicated and separated, but organelle fission was incomplete. A similar protein found in a cyanobacterium, Synechocystis, was also required for cyanobacterial division, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved mechanistic link between chloroplast division and prokaryotic cell fission. — SMH

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.99, 11501 (2002).

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