Exchange of protein molecules through connections between higher plant plastids

Science. 1997 Jun 27;276(5321):2039-42. doi: 10.1126/science.276.5321.2039.


Individual plastids of vascular plants have generally been considered to be discrete autonomous entities that do not directly communicate with each other. However, in transgenic plants in which the plastid stroma was labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP), thin tubular projections emanated from individual plastids and sometimes connected to other plastids. Flow of GFP between interconnected plastids could be observed when a single plastid or an interconnecting plastid tubule was photobleached and the loss of green fluorescence by both plastids was seen. These tubules allow the exchange of molecules within an interplastid communication system, which may facilitate the coordination of plastid activities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nicotiana
  • Plant Leaves / ultrastructure*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins