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The Formation of Stromules In Vitro from Chloroplasts Isolated from Nicotiana benthamiana.

  • Author(s): Ho, Jonathan;
  • Theg, Steven M
  • et al.

Stromules are stroma-containing tubules that have been observed to emanate from the main plastidic body in vivo. These structures have been shown to require cytoskeletal components for movement. Though numerous studies have shown a close association with the endoplasmic reticulum, nucleus, mitochondria, and other plastids, the mechanism of formation and their overall function remain unknown. A limiting factor in studying these structures has been the lack of a reconstituted system for in vitro stromule formation. In this study, stromule formation was induced in vitro by adding a plant extract fraction that is greater than 100 kDa to a population of isolated chloroplasts. Kinetic measurements show that stromule formation occurs within ~10 seconds after the addition of the plant extract fraction. Heat inactivation and apyrase treatment reveal that the stromule stimulating compound found in the extract fraction is a protein or protein complex 100 kDa or greater. The formation of the stromules in vitro with isolated chloroplasts and a concentrated fraction of cell extract opens an avenue for the biochemical dissection of this process that has heretofore been studied only in vivo.

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