Genes Genet Syst 2004 Aug;79(4):207-12
Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-8602, Japan.
Plastid protein import 2 (ppi2), a mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, lacks a homologue of a component of the translocon at the outer envelope membrane of chloroplasts (Toc), designated Toc159 of the pea. Toc159 is thought to be essential for the import of photosynthetic proteins into chloroplasts. In order to investigate the effect of protein import on the plant development, we examined the morphologies of the developing leaves and the shoot apical meristems (SAM) in the ppi2 plants. Our histological analysis revealed that the development of leaves is severely affected in ppi2, while the structure of SAM is normal. Abnormalities in leaves became obvious in the later stages of leaf development, resulting in the generation of mature leaves with fewer mesophyll cells and more intercellular spaces as compared with the wild type. Palisade and spongy tissues of the mature leaves were indistinguishable in ppi2. Replication of chloroplast DNA was also suggested to be impaired in ppi2. Our results suggest that protein import into chloroplasts is important for the normal development of leaves.