Structure of the Chloroplast

Part of the Cellular Organelles book series (CORG)


The mechanism by which an organelle such as the chloroplast carries out its functions is understood only to the extent that the physical, chemical, and topographical properties of the organelle are known. The actual mechanisms are, of course, described by chemical reactions, which are determined by the physical- chemical properties of the reactants. For reactions in free solution, a knowledge of these properties is usually sufficient. However, a chloroplast is foremost a system of membranes, and a membrane adds another feature to chemical reactions. The end result of a reaction between components of a membrane is determined not only by the inherent properties of the reactants, but also by their locations within the membrane. The physical existence of a membrane can profoundly affect the course and consequences of a reaction. Of importance in this regard is the fact that a membrane acts as a barrier separating two compartments and also provides a means to achieve vectoral reactions between the compartments, in which products are separated from substrates. Therefore, a nonequilibrium distribution of substances, a state containing potential free energy, can occur. Such conditions have great importance in the overall function of the membrane system.


Thylakoid Membrane Photosynthetic Membrane Chloroplast Envelope Prolamellar Body Porphyridium Cruentum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Allen, M. M. (1968) Ultrastructure of the cell wall and cell division of unicellular blue-green algae, Bacteriol. 96:842–852.Google Scholar
  2. Arntzen, C. J., Dilley, R. A., and Crane, F. L. (1969) A comparison of chloroplast membrane surfaces visualized by freeze-etch and negative staining techniques, and ultrastructural characterization of membrane fractions obtained from digitonin-treated spinach chloroplasts, J. Cell Biol. 43:16–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouck, G. B. (1965) Fine structure and organelle associations in brown algae, J. Cell Biol. 26:523–537.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gantt, E., and Conti, S. F. (1965) The ultrastructure of Porphyridium cruentum, J. Cell Biol. 26:365–381.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gantt, E., and Conti, S. F. (1966) Granules associated with the chloroplast lamellae of Porphyridium cruentum, J. Cell Biol. 29:423–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gibbs, S. P. (1970) The comparative ultrastructure of the algal chloroplast, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 175:454–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gibbs, S. P. (1981a) The chloroplast endoplasmic reticulum: Structure, function, and evolutionary significance, Int. Rev. Cytol. 72:49–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gibbs, S. P. (1981b) The chloroplasts of some algal groups may have evolved from endosymbiotic eukaryotic algae, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 361:193–208.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gillott, M. A., and Gibbs, S. P. (1980) The cryptomonad nuc1eomorph: its ultrastructure and evolutionary significance, J. Phycol. 16:558–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaplan, S., and Arntzen, C. J. (1982) Photosynthetic membrane structure and function, in Photosynthesis, Vol. 1: Energy Conversion by Plants and Bacteria (Govindjee, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 65–151.Google Scholar
  11. Lütz, C. (1981) On the significance of prolamellar bodies in membrane development of etioplasts, Protoplasma 108:99–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lütz, C. (1981) On the significance of prolamellar bodies in membrane development of etioplasts, Protoplasma 108:99–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ohad, I., Siekevitz, P., and Palade, G. E. (1967) Biogenesis of chloroplast membranes, J. Cell. Biol. 35:521–584.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Staehelin, L. A., Carter, D. P., and McDonnel, A. (1980) Adhesion between chloroplast membranes: experimental manipulation and incorporation of the adhesion factor into artificial membranes, in Membrane-Membrane Interactions (N. B. Gilula, ed.), Raven Press, New York, pp. 179–193.Google Scholar
  15. Whatley, J. M. (1981) Chloroplast evolution—Ancient and modern, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 361:154–164.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Additional Reading

  1. Anderson, J. M. (1975) The molecular organization of chloroplast thylakoids, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 416:191–235.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Arntzen, C. J., and Briantais, J.-M. (1975) Chloroplast structure and function, in Bioenergetics of Photosynthesis (Govindjee, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 51–113.Google Scholar
  3. Gantt, E. (1980) Structure and function of phycobilisomes: Light harvesting pigment complexes in red and blue-green algae, Int. Rev. Cytol. 66:45–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Giddings, T. H., Jr., Withers, N. W., and Staehelin, L. A. (1980) Supramolecular structure of stacked and unstacked regions of the photosynthetic membrane of Prochloron sp., a prokaryote, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77:352–356.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kirk, J. T. O., and Tilney-Bassett, R. A. E. (1978)The Plastids: Their Chemistry, Structure, Growth and Inheritance, 2nd ed., Elsevier/North Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  6. Lang, N. J. (1968) The fine structure of blue-green algae, Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 22:15–46.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Menke, M. (1962) Structure and chemistry of plastids, Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 13:27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Miller, K. R. (1979) The photosynthetic membrane, Sci. Am. 241(4):102–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Miller, K. R., and Cushman, R. A. (1979) A chloroplast mutant lacking photosystem II, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 546:481–497.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Miller, K. R., Miller, G. J., and McIntyre, K. R. (1977) Organization of the photosynthetic membrane in maize mesophyll and bundle sheath chloroplasts, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 459:145–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ohad, I., and Drews, G. (1982) Biogenesis of the photosynthetic aparatus in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, in Photosynthesis, Vol. 2: Development, Carbon Metabolism and Plant Productivity (Govindjee, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 89–140.Google Scholar
  12. Schiff, J. A., ed. (1982) On the Origins of Chloroplasts, Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Stanier, R. Y., and Cohen-Bazire, G. (1977) Phototrophic prokaryotes: The cyanobacteria, Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 31:225–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tanford, C. (1980) The Hydrophobic Effect: Formation of Micelles and Biological Membranes, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Temple University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations