Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 118, Issue 5, pp 295–306

Origin and evolution of the chloroplast division machinery

Invited Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10265-005-0226-2

Cite this article as:
Miyagishima, Sy. J Plant Res (2005) 118: 295. doi:10.1007/s10265-005-0226-2


Chloroplasts were originally established in eukaryotes by the endosymbiosis of a cyanobacterium; they then spread through diversification of the eukaryotic hosts and subsequent engulfment of eukaryotic algae by previously nonphotosynthetic eukaryotes. The continuity of chloroplasts is maintained by division of preexisting chloroplasts. Like their ancestors, chloroplasts use a bacterial division system based on the FtsZ ring and some associated factors, all of which are now encoded in the host nuclear genome. The majority of bacterial division factors are absent from chloroplasts and several new factors have been added by the eukaryotic host. For example, the ftsZ gene has been duplicated and modified, plastid-dividing (PD) rings were most likely added by the eukaryotic host, and a member of the dynamin family of proteins evolved to regulate chloroplast division. The identification of several additional proteins involved in the division process, along with data from diverse lineages of organisms, our current knowledge of mitochondrial division, and the mining of genomic sequence data have enabled us to begin to understand the universality and evolution of the division system. The principal features of the chloroplast division system thus far identified are conserved across several lineages, including those with secondary chloroplasts, and may reflect primeval features of mitochondrial division.


Chloroplast divisionDynaminEndosymbiosisFtsZMitochondrial divisionPD ring

Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA