Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 46, Issue 1–2, pp 329–337 | Cite as

Movement of DNA across the chloroplast envelope: Implications for the transfer of promiscuous DNA

  • Heriberto Cerutti
  • André Jagendorf
Regular Paper Oxygenic Photosynthesis


Little is known about the mechanistic basis for the movement of promiscuous nucleic acids across cell membranes. To address this problem we sought conditions that would permit the entry of plasmid DNA into isolated, intact pea chloroplasts. DNA uptake did not occur normally, but was induced by hypotonic treatments, by incubation with millimolar levels of Mg2+, or by heat shock at 42 °C. These results are consistent with DNA movement being permitted by conditions that transiently alter the permeability of the chloroplast envelope. Plant cells are subject to osmotic tensions and/or conditions inducing polymorphic changes in the membranes, such as those used in the present study, under several environmental stresses. In an evolutionary time frame, these phenomena may provide a mechanism for the transfer of promiscuous nucleic acids between organelles.

Key words

chloroplast envelope DNA entry promiscuous DNA 



polyethylene glycol


transferred DNA


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heriberto Cerutti
    • 1
  • André Jagendorf
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Biology Section, Plant Science BuildingCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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