Gain and loss of photosynthetic membranes during plastid differentiation in the shoot apex of arabidopsis

Dana Charuvi, Vladimir Kiss, Reinat Nevo, Eyal Shimoni, Zach Adam, Ziv Reich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Chloroplasts of higher plants develop from proplastids, which are undifferentiated plastids that lack photosynthetic (thylakoid) membranes. In flowering plants, the proplastid-chloroplast transition takes place at the shoot apex, which consists of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) and the flanking leaf primordia. It has been believed that the SAM contains only proplastids and that these become chloroplasts only in the primordial leaves. Here, we show that plastids of the SAM are neither homogeneous nor necessarily null. Rather, their developmental state varies with the specific region and/or layer of the SAM in which they are found. Plastids throughout the L1 and L3 layers of the SAM possess fairly developed thylakoid networks. However, many of these plastids eventually lose their thylakoids during leaf maturation. By contrast, plastids at the central, stem cell-harboring region of the L2 layer of the SAM lack thylakoid membranes; these appear only at the periphery, near the leaf primordia. Thus, plastids in the SAM undergo distinct differentiation processes that, depending on their lineage and position, lead to either development or loss of thylakoid membranes. These processes continue along the course of leaf maturation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1143-1157
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


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