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Methods Mol Biol. 2011;774:113-32. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-234-2_8.

Studying Arabidopsis chloroplast structural organisation using transmission electron microscopy.

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Core Biotechnology Services Electron Microscopy Laboratory, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.


Chloroplasts, as well as other, non-photosynthetic types of plastid, are characteristic structures within plant cells. They are relatively large organelles (typically 1-5 μm in diameter), and so can readily be analysed by electron microscopy. Chloroplast structure is remarkably complex, comprising at least six distinct sub-organellar compartments, and is sensitive to developmental changes, environmental effects, and genetic lesions. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), therefore, represents a powerful technique for monitoring the effects of various changing parameters or treatments on the development and differentiation of these important organelles. We describe a method for the analysis of Arabidopsis plant material by TEM, primarily for the assessment of plastid ultrastructure.

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