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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 7 months ago




Chloroplasts are one of the forms a plastid may take, and are generally considered to have originated as endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. In this respect they are similar to mitochondria, but are found only in plants and protista. Both organelles are surrounded by a double celled composite membrane with an intermembrane space; both have their own DNA and are involved in energy metabolism; and both have reticulations, or many infoldings, filling their inner spaces.


In green plants chloroplasts are surrounded by two lipid-bilayer membranes. The inner membrane is now thought to correspond to the outer membrane of the ancestral cyanobacterium. The chloroplast genome is considerably reduced compared to that of free-living cyanobacteria, but the parts that are still present show clear similarities. Many of the missing genes are encoded in the nuclear genome of the host.


It is interesting to note that in some algae (such as the heterokonts and other protists such as Euglenozoa and Cercozoa), chloroplasts seem to have arisen through a secondary event of endosymbiosis, in which a eukaryotic cell engulfed a second eukaryotic cell containing chloroplasts, forming chloroplasts with three or four membrane layers. In some cases, such secondary endosymbionts have themselves been engulfed by still other eukaryotes, forming tertiary endosymbionts.

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