Evolutionary linkage between eukaryotic cytokinesis and chloroplast division by dynamin proteins

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 30;105(39):15202-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0802412105. Epub 2008 Sep 22.


Chloroplasts have evolved from a cyanobacterial endosymbiont and been retained for more than 1 billion years by coordinated chloroplast division in multiplying eukaryotic cells. Chloroplast division is performed by ring structures at the division site, encompassing both the inside and the outside of the two envelopes. A part of the division machinery is derived from the cyanobacterial cytokinetic activity based on the FtsZ protein. In contrast, other parts of the division machinery involve proteins specific to eukaryotes, including a member of the dynamin family. Each member of the dynamin family is involved in the division or fusion of a distinct eukaryotic membrane system. To gain insight into the kind of ancestral dynamin protein and eukaryotic membrane activity that evolved to regulate chloroplast division, we investigated the functions of the dynamin proteins that are most closely related to chloroplast division proteins. These proteins in the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum and Arabidopsis thaliana localize at the sites of cell division, where they are involved in cytokinesis. Our results suggest that the dynamin for chloroplast division is derived from that involved in eukaryotic cytokinesis. Therefore, the chloroplast division machinery is a mixture of bacterial and eukaryotic cytokinesis components, with the latter a key factor in the synchronization of endosymbiotic cell division with host cell division, thus helping to establish the permanent endosymbiotic relationship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amoeba / physiology
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Chloroplasts / enzymology
  • Chloroplasts / physiology*
  • Cytokinesis*
  • Dynamins / classification*
  • Dynamins / genetics
  • Dynamins / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / classification*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Protozoan Proteins / classification*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / physiology


  • Plant Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Dynamins