, Volume 165, Issue 2, pp 197-204

Plastid changes during the conversion of chloroplasts to chromoplasts in ripening tomatoes

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Methods were developed for the isolation of plastids from mature green and ripening tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) and purification by sucrose or Percoll density-gradient centrifugation. Assessment of the purity of preparations involved phase-contrast and electron microscopy, assays for marker enzymes and RNA extraction and analysis. Proteins were extracted from isolated plastids at different ripening stages and separated by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The profiles obtained from chloroplasts and chromoplasts showed many qualitative and quantitative differences. Labelling of proteins with [35S]methionine in vivo showed that there was active protein synthesis throughout ripening, but there was a change in the plastid proteins made as ripening proceeded. The cellular location of synthesis of specific proteins has yet to be established.