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Trends Plant Sci. 2003 Sep;8(9):432-8.

An evolutionary puzzle: chloroplast and mitochondrial division rings.

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  • 1Department of Life Science, College of Science, Rikkyo (St Paul's) University, 3-34-1 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171-8501, Japan.


Consistent with their bacterial origin, chloroplasts and primitive mitochondria retain a FtsZ ring for division. However, chloroplasts and mitochondria have lost most of the proteins required for bacterial division other than FtsZ and certain homologues of the Min proteins, but they do contain plastid and mitochondrion dividing rings, which were recently shown to be distinct from the FtsZ ring. Moreover, recent studies have revealed that rings of the eukaryote-specific dynamin-related family of GTPases regulate the division of chloroplasts and mitochondria, and these proteins emerged early in eukaryotic evolution. These findings suggest that the division of chloroplasts and primitive mitochondria involve very similar systems, consisting of an amalgamation of rings from bacteria and eukaryotes.

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