The Division of Pleomorphic Plastids With Multiple FtsZ Rings in Tobacco BY-2 Cells

Eur J Cell Biol. 2003 Jun;82(6):323-32. doi: 10.1078/0171-9335-00318.


Plastids, an essential group of plant cellular organelles, proliferate by division to maintain continuity through cell lineages in plants. In recent years, it was revealed that the bacterial cell division protein FtsZ is encoded in the nuclear genome of plant cells, and plays a major role in the plastid division process forming a ring along the center of plastids. Although the best-characterized type of plastid division so far is the division with a single FtsZ ring at the plastid midpoint, it was recently reported that in some plant organs and tissues, plastids are pleomorphic and form multiple FtsZ rings. However, the pleomorphic plastid division mechanism, such as the formation of multiple FtsZ rings, the constriction of plastids and the behavior of plastid (pt) nucleoids, remains totally unclear. To elucidate these points, we used the cultured cell line, tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) Bright Yellow-2, in which plastids are pleomorphic and show dynamic morphological changes during culture. As a result, it was revealed that as the plastid elongates from an ellipsoid shape to a string shape after medium renewal, FtsZ rings are multiplied almost orderly and perpendicularly to the long axis of plastids. Active DNA synthesis of pt nucleoids is induced by medium transfer, and the division and the distribution of pt nucleoids occur along with plastid elongation. Although it was thought that the plastid divides with simultaneous multiple constrictions at all the FtsZ ring sites, giving rise to many small plastids, we found that the plastids generally divide constricting at only one FtsZ ring site. Moreover, using electron microscopy, we revealed that plastid-dividing (PD) rings are observed only at the constriction site, and not at swollen regions. These results indicate that in the pleomorphic plastid division with multiple FtsZ rings, the formation of PD rings occurs at a limited FtsZ ring site for one division. Multiplied FtsZ rings seem to localize in advance at the expected sites of division, and the formation of a PD ring at each FtsZ ring site occurs in a certain order, not simultaneously. Based on these results, a novel model for the pleomorphic plastid division with multiple FtsZ rings is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • DNA, Plant / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Plant / drug effects
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Plastids / physiology*
  • Plastids / ultrastructure
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Tobacco / cytology


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Plant
  • FTSZ protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms