Plastoglobules: versatile lipoprotein particles in plastids

Trends Plant Sci. 2007 Jun;12(6):260-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2007.04.003. Epub 2007 May 10.


Plastoglobules are plastid-localized lipoprotein particles that contain tocopherols and other lipid isoprenoid-derived metabolites, as well as structural proteins named plastoglobulins. Surprisingly, recent publications show that plastoglobules contain enzymes involved in the metabolism of these secondary metabolites, as well as enzymes of unknown function. The size and number of plastoglobules vary during plastid development and differentiation, and strongly increase during light stress, senescence and in mutants blocked in thylakoid formation. Given that plastoglobules are contiguous with the outer lipid leaflet of the thylakoid membrane, it is highly plausible that a function of plastoglobules is the active channeling of lipid molecules and lipid breakdown products. Understanding the function of plastoglobules should provide a foundation for improving the nutritional value and yield of plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins / physiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Plastids / metabolism*
  • Plastids / ultrastructure
  • Thylakoids / metabolism
  • Thylakoids / ultrastructure


  • Lipoproteins
  • Plant Proteins