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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 1999 Dec;2(6):513-9.

Endosymbiosis and evolution of the plant cell.

Author information

  • Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia. g.mcfadden@botany.unimelb. edu.au


The bacterial origins of plastid division and protein import by plastids are beginning to emerge - thanks largely to the availability of a total genome sequence for a cyanobacterium. Despite existing for hundreds of millions of years within the plant cell host, the chloroplast endosymbiont retains clear hallmarks of its bacterial ancestry. Plastid division relies on proteins that are also responsible for bacterial division, although may of the genes for these proteins have been confiscated by the host. Plastid protein import on the other hand relies on proteins that seem to have functioned originally as exporters but that have now been persuaded to operate in the reverse direction to traffic proteins from the host cell into the endosymbiont.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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