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Chloroplasts are organelles found in plant cells and other eukaryotic organisms that conduct photosynthesis. Chloroplasts capture light energy to conserve free energy in the form of ATP and reduce NADP to NADPH through a complex set of processes called photosynthesis.[1]

The word chloroplast (χλωροπλάσ69ς) is derived from the Greek words chloros (χλωρός), which means green, and plastis (πλάστης), which means "the one who forms". Chloroplasts are members of a class of organelles known as plastids.


Evolutionary origin

Chloroplasts are one of the many different types of organelles in the plant cell. In general, they are considered to have originated from cyanobacteria through endosymbiosis. This was first suggested by Mereschkowsky in 1905[2] after an observation by Schimper in 1883 that chloroplasts closely resemble cyanobacteria.[3] All chloroplasts are thought to derive directly or indirectly from a single endosymbiotic event (in the Archaeplastida), except for Paulinella chromatophora, which has recently acquired a photosynthetic cyanobacterial endosymbiont which is not closely related to chloroplasts of other eukaryotes.[4] In that they derive from an endosymbiotic event, chloroplasts are similar to mitochondria, but chloroplasts are found only in plants and protista. The chloroplast is surrounded by a double-layered composite membrane with an intermembrane space; further, it has reticulations, or many infoldings, filling the inner spaces. The chloroplast has its own DNA,[5] which codes for redox proteins involved in electron transport in photosynthesis; this is termed the plastome.[6]

In green plants, chloroplasts are surrounded by two lipid-bilayer membranes. They are believed to correspond to the outer and inner membranes of the ancestral cyanobacterium.[7] Chloroplasts have their own genome, which is considerably reduced compared to that of free-living cyanobacteria, but the parts that are still present show clear similarities with the cyanobacterial genome. Plastids may contain 60-100 genes whereas cyanobacteria often contain more than 1500 genes.[8] Many of the missing genes are encoded in the nuclear genome of the host. The transfer of nuclear information has been estimated in tobacco plants at one gene for every 16000 pollen grains.[9]

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