Date: 02 Jul 2011

Studying Arabidopsis Chloroplast Structural Organisation Using Transmission Electron Microscopy

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Abstract

Chloroplasts, as well as other, non-photosynthetic types of plastid, are characteristic structures within plant cells. They are relatively large organelles (typically 1–5 μm in diameter), and so can readily be analysed by electron microscopy. Chloroplast structure is remarkably complex, comprising at least six distinct sub-organellar compartments, and is sensitive to developmental changes, environmental effects, and genetic lesions. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), therefore, represents a powerful technique for monitoring the effects of various changing parameters or treatments on the development and differentiation of these important organelles. We describe a method for the analysis of Arabidopsis plant material by TEM, primarily for the assessment of plastid ultrastructure.