Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Quality control one chloroplast at a time

Sci. Signal.  27 Oct 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 400, pp. ec317
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad7049

How do plant cells get rid of chloroplasts that are not working as they should? Woodson et al. describe a chloroplast quality-control pathway that allows for the selective elimination of individual chloroplasts. Damage by reactive oxygen species during photosynthesis is recognized by a ubiquitin ligase, which marks out damaged chloroplasts for degradation. The findings reveal how cells balance inherently stressful energy production with organelle turnover.

J. D. Woodson, M. S. Joens, A. B. Sinson, J. Gilkerson, P. A. Salomé, D. Weigel, J. A. Fitzpatrick, J. Chory, Ubiquitin facilitates a quality-control pathway that removes damaged chloroplasts. Science 350, 450–454 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]