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Plant J. 2003 Jul;35(1):16-26.

Microfilaments and microtubules control the morphology and movement of non-green plastids and stromules in Nicotiana tabacum.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Biotechnology Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Plastid stromules are stroma-filled tubular extensions of the plastid envelope membrane. These structures, which have been observed in a number of species, allow transfer of proteins between interconnected plastids. The dramatic shape of stromules and their dynamic movement within the cell provide an opportunity to study the control of morphology and motion of plastids. Using inhibitors of actin and tubulin, we found that both microfilaments and microtubules affect the shape and motility of non-green plastids. Actin and tubulin control plastid and stromule structure by independent mechanisms, while plastid movement is promoted by microfilaments but inhibited by microtubules. The presence or absence of stromules does not affect the motility of plastids. Photobleaching experiments indicate that actin and tubulin are not necessary for the bulk of green fluorescent protein (GFP) movement between plastids via stromules.

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