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Chloroplast division and morphology are differentially affected by overexpression of FtsZ1 and FtsZ2 genes in Arabidopsis

Stokes, K.D., McAndrew, R.S., Figueroa, R., Vitha, S., Osteryoung, K.W.
Plant physiology 2000 v.124 no.4 pp. 1668-1677
Arabidopsis thaliana, chloroplasts, cell division, genes, gene expression, developmental stages, plant anatomy, plant morphology, transgenic plants, phenotype
In higher plants, two nuclear gene families, FtsZ1 and FtsZ2, encode homologs of the bacterial protein FtsZ, a key component of the prokaryotic cell division machinery. We previously demonstrated that members of both gene families are essential for plastid division, but are functionally distinct. To further explore differences between FtsZ1 and FtsZ2 proteins we investigated the phenotypes of transgenic plants overexpressing AtFtsZ1-1 or AtFtsZ2-1, Arabidopsis members of the FtsZ1 and FtsZ2 families, respectively. Increasing the level of AtFtsZ1-1 protein as little as 3-fold inhibited chloroplast division. Plants with the most severe plastid division defects had 13- to 26-fold increases in AtFtsZ1-1 levels over wild type, and some of these also exhibited a novel chloroplast morphology. Quantitative immunoblotting revealed a correlation between the degree of plastid division inhibition and the extent to which the AtFtsZ1-1 protein level was elevated. In contrast, expression of an AtFtsZ2-1 sense transgene had no obvious effect on plastid division or morphology, though AtFtsZ2-1 protein levels were elevated only slightly over wild-type levels. This may indicate that AtFtsZ2-1 accumulation is more tightly regulated than that of AtFtsZ1-1. Plants expressing the AtFtsZ2-1 transgene did accumulate a form of the protein smaller than those detected in wild-type plants. AtFtsZ2-1 levels were unaffected by increased or decreased accumulation of AtFtsZ1-1 and vice versa, suggesting that the levels of these two plastid division proteins are regulated independently. Taken together, our results provide additional evidence for the functional divergence of the FtsZ1 and FtsZ2 plant gene families.