In higher plants, photosynthesis occurs within specific membrane-bound organelles called chloroplasts. These large (5-10.um diameter) organelles, which are probably the descendants of prokaryotic ancestors, are found in the cytosol of leaf cells in apposition to the cytoplasmic and tonoplastic membranes. Chloroplasts present three major structural regions: (a) a highly organized internal membrane network formed of flat compressed vesicles, the thylakoids; (b) an amorphous background rich in soluble proteins and ribosomes, the stroma; and (c) a pair of outer membranes, the chloroplast envelope. Chloroplasts are crucial for plant cell metabolism. They are the site of carbon dioxide reduction and its assimilation into carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, and terpenoid compounds. They are also the site of nitrite and sulfate reduction and their assimilation into amino acids. Envelope membranes, :it the border between plastids and their surrounding cytosol, control uptake of raw material for all synthesis occurring in the plastids and regulate export to the cytosol of newly synthesized molecules. Some of the most interesting functions of plastid envelope membranes concern their role in plastid biogenesis. The dynamics of the plastid enÂ velope membranes are important for the formation of thylakoids during development. Recent work has demonstrated the essential role
Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology – Annual Reviews
Published: Nov 1, 1990
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