In 8 classes of algae, namely the Cryptophyceae, Raphidophyceae, Haptophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Bacillariophyceae, Xanthophyceae, Eustigmatophyceae and Phaeophyceae, the chloroplasts, in addition to being surrounded by a double-membraned chloroplast envelope, are also enclosed by a cisterna of endoplasmic reticulum called the chloroplast ER. Often this ER cisterna is continuous with the outher membrane of the nuclear envelope in such a manner that the nuclear envelope forms a part of the ER sac enclosing the chloroplast. In all these classes of algae except the Cryptophyceae, a regular network of tubules and vesicles, named the periplastidal reticulum, is present at a specific location between the chloroplast envelope and the chloroplast ER. In the Cryptophyceae, scattered vesicles are found between the chloroplast envelope and the chloroplast ER. Ribosomes which have been shown to be arranged to polysomes are found on the outer membrane of the chloroplast ER. It is proposed that nuclear-coded proteins which are destined for the chloroplast are synthesized on these polysomes, passing during synthesis into the lumen of the ER cisterna. Vesicles containing these proteins then pinch off the chloroplast ER and form the periplastidal reticulum. Vesicles containing these proteins then pinch off the chloroplast ER and form the periplastidal reticulum. Vesicles then fuse with the outer membrane of the chloroplast envelope thereby delivering their contents to the lumen of the chloroplast envelope. Proteins then cross the inner membrane of the chloroplast envelope in an as yet unknown manner. Experimental evidence for this hypothesis comes from studies on Ochromonas danica using chloramphenicol and spectinomycin, which inhibit protein synthesis on plastid ribosomes, and cycloheximide, which inhibits protein synthesis on cytoplasmic ribosomes. In cells of Ochromonas exposed to chloramphenicol or spectinomycin, the periplastidal reticulum proliferates markedly becoming several layers thick. Presumably this build up of periplastidal reticulum occurs because the transport of cytoplasmically synthesized plastid proteins is slowed down when protein synthesis in the chloroplast is inhibited. Conversely, when cells of Ochromonas are treated with cycloheximide, there is a reduction in the amount of periplastidal reticulum presumably because there are no cytoplasmically synthesized proteins to be transported into the chloroplast.
- © 1979 by Company of Biologists