Chloroplast Contact to the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Lipid Trafficking

  • Mats X. AnderssonEmail author
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 36)


The higher plant chloroplast membranes are mainly composed of galactolipids assembled from diacylglycerol backbones in the chloroplast envelope. All plants depend on import of diacylglycerol backbones from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). During phosphate limitation digalactosyl diacylglycerol synthesized in the plastid envelope is exported to other extra­plastid membranes. In addition, use of fatty acid desaturase mutants demonstrates lipid export from the chloroplast under normal growth conditions as well. Isoprenoid compounds such as plastoquinone are also most likely transported from the ER to the chloroplast. Thus, there must be one or several mechanisms present in the plant cell to mediate directional transport of highly hydrophobic molecules between the ER and the plastid. The molecular details of the transport system(s) remain to be determined. However, there is evidence to suggest that a specialized domain of the ER is associated with chloroplasts and thus likely to be directly involved in transfer of hydrophobic compounds between the compartments. The identification of the TGD-transporter complex represents a significant advance towards understanding the transport of precursors for membrane lipid synthesis in the plastid. The recently described molecular details of contact sites between ER and mitochondria in yeast and mammalian cells should inspire similar studies to uncover the same details in ER chloroplast contacts in plants.


Endoplasmic Reticulum Envelope Membrane Outer Envelope Chloroplast Envelope Phosphatidyl Glycerol 
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.



– Acyl carrier protein;


– Coenzyme A;


– Diacylglycerol;


– Digalactosyl diacylglycerol;


– Endoplasmic reticulum;


– Long chain acyl coenzyme A synthase;


– Lipid transfer protein;


– Mitochondria associated membranes;


– Monogalactosyl diacylglycerol;


– Phosphatidic acid;


– Phosphatidic acid phosphatase;


– Phosphatidylcholine;


– Phosphatidylglycerol;


– Plastid asso­ciated membranes;


– Phospholipase D; TGD –Trigalactosyl diacylglycerol



The author wishes to express his gratitude to two anonymous reviewers for very constructive comments. Work in the authors lab is supported by the Swedish Research Council for Agriculture, Environmental Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS, grant no. 2009-888), the Carl Tryggers foundation for scientific research and the Olle Engkvist Byggmästare foundation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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