Assessing the bacterial contribution to the plastid proteome

Trends Plant Sci. 2013 Dec;18(12):680-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2013.09.007. Epub 2013 Oct 16.


Plastids fulfill a variety of different functions (e.g., photosynthesis and amino acid biosynthesis) that rely on proteins of cyanobacterial (i.e., endosymbiont), noncyanobacterial, and 'host' (eukaryotic) origins. Analysis of plastid proteome data from glaucophytes and green algae allows robust inference of protein origins and organelle protein sharing across the >1 billion years of Archaeplastida evolution. Here, we show that more than one-third of genes encoding plastid proteins lack detectable homologs in Cyanobacteria, underlining the taxonomically broad contributions to plastid functions. Chlamydiae and Proteobacteria are the most significant other bacterial sources of plastid proteins. Mapping of plastid proteins to metabolic pathways shows a core set of anciently derived proteins in Archaeplastida, with many others being lineage specific and derived from independent horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Chlorophyta / metabolism*
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Photosynthesis
  • Phylogeny
  • Plastids / metabolism
  • Proteome*
  • Symbiosis


  • Proteome