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Plant Cell Environ. 2015 Jul;38(7):1347-56. doi: 10.1111/pce.12483. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Chloroplast protrusions in leaves of Ranunculus glacialis L. respond significantly to different ambient conditions, but are not related to temperature stress.

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Institute of Botany, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, A - 6020, Austria.


The occurrence of chloroplast protrusions (CPs) in leaves of Ranunculus glacialis L. in response to different environmental conditions was assessed. CPs occur highly dynamically. They do not contain thylakoids and their physiological function is still largely unknown. Controlled in situ sampling showed that CP formation follows a pronounced diurnal rhythm. Between 2 and 27 °C the relative proportion of chloroplasts with CPs (rCP) showed a significant positive correlation to leaf temperature (TL; 0.793, P < 0.01), while irradiation intensity had a minor effect on rCP. In situ shading and controlled laboratory experiments confirmed the significant influence of TL. Under moderate irradiation intensity, an increase of TL up to 25 °C significantly promoted CP formation, while a further increase to 37 °C led to a decrease. Furthermore, rCP values were lower in darkness and under high irradiation intensity. Gas treatment at 2000 ppm CO2/2% O2 led to a significant decrease of rCP, suggesting a possible involvement of photorespiration in CP formation. Our findings demonstrate that in R. glacialis, CPs are neither a rare phenomenon nor a result of heat or light stress; on the contrary, they seem to be most abundant under moderate temperature and non-stress irradiation conditions.


climate conditions; stroma; stromules; thylakoid; ultrastructure

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