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Plant Cell Physiol. 2003 Feb;44(2):217-22.

Evolution of chloroplast vesicle transport.

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Botanisches Institut der LMU München, Menzinger Strasse 67, D-80638 München, Germany.


Vesicle traffic plays a central role in eukaryotic transport. The presence of a vesicle transport system inside chloroplasts of spermatophytes raises the question of its phylogenetic origin. To elucidate the evolution of this transport system we analyzed organisms belonging to different lineages that arose from the first photosynthetic eukaryote, i.e. glaucocystophytes, chlorophytes, rhodophytes, and charophytes/embryophytes. Intriguingly, vesicle transport is not apparent in any group other than embryophytes. The transfer of this eukaryotic-type vesicle transport system from the cytosol into the chloroplast thus seems a late evolutionary development that was acquired by land plants in order to adapt to new environmental challenges.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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