Plastids are major organelles found in the cells of plants and algae. Plastids are the site of manufacture and storage of important chemical compounds used by the cell. Plastids often contain pigments used in photosynthesis, and the types of pigments present can change or determine the cell's color.
Plastids in plants
Plastids are responsible for photosynthesis, storage of products like starch and for the synthesis have the ability to differentiate, or redifferentiate, between these and other forms. All plastids are derived from proplastids (formerly "eoplasts", eo-: dawn, early), which are present in the meristematic regions of the plant. Proplastids and young chloroplasts commonly divide, but more mature chloroplasts also have this capacity.
In plants, plastids may differentiate into several forms, depending upon which function they need to play in the cell. Undifferentiated plastids (proplastids) may develop into any of the following plastids:
Each plastid creates multiple copies of the circular 75–250 kilobase plastome. The number of genome copies per plastid is flexible, ranging from more than 1000 in rapidly dividing cells, which generally contain few plastids, to 100 or fewer in mature cells, where plastid divisions has given rise to a large number of plastids. The plastome contains about 100 genes encoding ribosomal and transfer ribonucleic acids (rRNAs and tRNAs) as well as proteins involved in photosynthesis and plastid gene transcription and translation. However, these proteins only represent a small fraction of the total protein set-up necessary to build and maintain the structure and function of a particular type of plastid. Nuclear genes encode the vast majority of plastid proteins, and the expression of plastid genes and nuclear genes is tightly co-regulated to allow proper development of plastids in relation to cell differentiation.
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