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Comparative ultrastructure of fruit plastids in three genetically diverse genotypes of apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) during development

Schaeffer, Scott M., Christian, Ryan, Castro-Velasquez, Nohely, Hyden, Brennan, Lynch-Holm, Valerie, Dhingra, Amit
Plant cell reports 2017 v.36 no.10 pp. 1627-1640
Malus domestica, apples, biochemical pathways, chloroplasts, collenchyma, developmental stages, genotype, leaves, plant organs, proteins, starch granules, ultrastructure
KEY MESSAGE : Comparative ultrastructural developmental time-course analysis has identified discrete stages at which the fruit plastids undergo structural and consequently functional transitions to facilitate subsequent development-guided understanding of the complex plastid biology. Plastids are the defining organelle for a plant cell and are critical for myriad metabolic functions. The role of leaf plastid, chloroplast, is extensively documented; however, fruit plastids—chromoplasts—are poorly understood, especially in the context of the diverse metabolic processes operating in these diverse plant organs. Recently, in a comparative study of the predicted plastid-targeted proteomes across seven plant species, we reported that each plant species is predicted to harbor a unique set of plastid-targeted proteins. However, the temporal and developmental context of these processes remains unknown. In this study, an ultrastructural analysis approach was used to characterize fruit plastids in the epidermal and collenchymal cell layers at 11 developmental timepoints in three genotypes of apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.): chlorophyll-predominant ‘Granny Smith’, carotenoid-predominant ‘Golden Delicious’, and anthocyanin-predominant ‘Top Red Delicious’. Plastids transitioned from a proplastid-like plastid to a chromoplast-like plastid in epidermis cells, while in the collenchyma cells, they transitioned from a chloroplast-like plastid to a chloro-chromo-amyloplast plastid. Plastids in the collenchyma cells of the three genotypes demonstrated a diverse array of structures and features. This study enabled the identification of discrete developmental stages during which specific functions are most likely being performed by the plastids as indicated by accumulation of plastoglobuli, starch granules, and other sub-organeller structures. Information regarding the metabolically active developmental stages is expected to facilitate biologically relevant omics studies to unravel the complex biochemistry of plastids in perennial non-model systems.