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Plant Cell Rep. 2004 Oct;23(4):188-95. Epub 2004 Jul 14.

Plastids and stromules interact with the nucleus and cell membrane in vascular plants.

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


The various metabolic activities of plastids require continuous exchange of reactants and products with other organelles of the plant cell. Physical interactions between plastids and other organelles might therefore enhance the efficiency of plant metabolism. We have observed a close apposition of plastids and nuclei in various organs of Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana. In hypocotyl epidermal cells, plastids and stromules, stroma-filled tubular extensions of the plastid envelope membrane, were observed to reside in grooves and infoldings of the nuclear envelope, indicating a high level of contact between the two organelle membranes. In a number of non-green tissues, including suspension-cultured cells, perinuclear plastids were frequently associated with long stromules that extended from the cell center to the cell membrane. In cotyledon petioles, cells lying adjacent to one another frequently contained stromules that met on either side of the shared cell wall, suggesting a means of intercellular communication. Our results therefore suggest that stromules have diverse roles within plant cells, perhaps serving as pathways between nuclei and more distant regions of the cell and possibly even other cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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