Journal Article

Chromoplast Differentiation: Current Status and Perspectives

Isabel Egea, Cristina Barsan, Wanping Bian, Eduardo Purgatto, Alain Latché, Christian Chervin, Mondher Bouzayen and Jean-Claude Pech

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 51, issue 10, pages 1601-1611
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Chromoplast Differentiation: Current Status and Perspectives

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Chromoplasts are carotenoid-accumulating plastids conferring color to many flowers and fruits as well as to some tubers and roots. Chromoplast differentiation proceeds from preexisting plastids, most often chloroplasts. One of the most prominent changes is remodeling of the internal membrane system associated with the formation of carotenoid-accumulating structures. During the differentiation process the plastid genome is essentially stable and transcriptional activity is restricted. The buildup of the chromoplast for specific metabolic characteristics is essentially dependent upon the transcriptional activity of the nucleus. Important progress has been made in terms of mediation of the chloroplast-to-chromoplast transition with the discovery of the crucial role of the Or gene. In this article we review recent developments in the structural, biochemical and molecular aspects of chromoplast differentiation and also consider the reverse differentiation of chromoplasts into chloroplast-like structures during the regreening process occurring in some fruit. Future perspectives toward a full understanding of chromoplast differentiation include in-depth knowledge of the changes occurring in the plastidial proteome during chromoplastogenesis, elucidation of the role of hormones and the search for signals that govern the dialog between the nuclear and the chromoplastic genome.

Keywords: Carotenoids synthesis; Chloroplast-to-chromoplast transition; Chromoplast metabolism; Chromoplast structure; Plastid genome; Regreening; Thylakoid breakdown

Journal Article.  7006 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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