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Chloroplasts and Photosynthesis
All animals and most microorganisms rely on the continual uptake of large amounts of organic compounds from their environment. These compounds are used to provide both the carbon skeletons for biosynthesis and the metabolic energy that drives cellular processes. It is believed that the first organisms on the primitive Earth had access to an abundance of the organic compounds produced by geochemical processes, but that most of these original compounds were used up billions of years ago. Since that time, the vast majority of the organic materials required by living cells have been produced by photosynthetic organisms, including many types of photosynthetic bacteria.
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Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition.
Chloroplasts and Photosynthesis
All animals and most microorganisms rely on the continual uptake of large amounts of organic compounds from their environment. These compounds are used to provide both the carbon skeletons for biosynthesis and the metabolic energy that drives cellular processes. It is believed that the first organisms on the primitive Earth had access to an abundance of the organic compounds produced by geochemical processes, but that most of these original compounds were used up billions of years ago. Since that time, the vast majority of the organic materials required by living cells have been produced by including many types of photosynthetic bacteria.
The most advanced photosynthetic bacteria are the cyanobacteria, which have minimal nutrient requirements. They use electrons from water and the energy of sunlight when they convert atmospheric CO2 into organic compounds—a process called In the course of splitting water [in the overall reaction H2O + CO2
(CH2O) + O2], they also liberate into the atmosphere the oxygen required for oxidative phosphorylation. As we see in this section, it is thought that the evolution of cyanobacteria from more primitive photosynthetic bacteria eventually made possible the development of abundant aerobic life forms.
In plants and algae, which developed much later, photosynthesis occurs in a specialized intracellular organelle—the chloroplast. Chloroplasts perform photosynthesis during the daylight hours. The immediate products of photosynthesis, NADPH and ATP, are used by the photosynthetic cells to produce many organic molecules. In plants, the products include a low-molecular-weight sugar (usually sucrose) that is exported to meet the metabolic needs of the many nonphotosynthetic cells of the organism.
Biochemical and genetic evidence strongly suggest that chloroplasts are descendants of oxygen-producing photosynthetic bacteria that were endocytosed and lived in symbiosis with primitive eucaryotic cells. Mitochondria are also generally believed to be descended from an endocytosed bacterium. The many differences between chloroplasts and mitochondria are thought to reflect their different bacterial ancestors, as well as their subsequent evolutionary divergence. Nevertheless, the fundamental mechanisms involved in light-driven ATP synthesis in chloroplasts are very similar to those that we have already discussed for respiration-driven ATP synthesis in mitochondria.
The Chloroplast Is One Member of the Plastid Family of Organelles
Chloroplasts are the most prominent members of the plastid family of organelles. Plastids are present in all living plant cells, each cell type having its own characteristic complement. All plastids share certain features. Most notably, all plastids in a particular plant species contain multiple copies of the same relatively small genome. In addition, each is enclosed by an envelope composed of two concentric membranes.
As discussed in Chapter 12 (see Figure 12-3), all plastids develop from small organelles in the immature cells of plant meristems (Figure 14-33A). Proplastids develop according to the requirements of each differentiated cell, and the type that is present is determined in large part by the nuclear genome. If a leaf is grown in darkness, its proplastids enlarge and develop into which have a semicrystalline array of internal membranes containing a yellow chlorophyll precursor instead of chlorophyll. When exposed to light, the etioplasts rapidly develop into chloroplasts by converting this precursor to chlorophyll and by synthesizing new membrane pigments, photosynthetic enzymes, and components of the electron-transport chain.
Plastid diversity. (A) A proplastid from a root tip cell of a bean plant. Note the double membrane; the inner membrane has also generated the relatively sparse internal membranes present. (B) Three amyloplasts (a form of leucoplast), or starch-storing (more...)
are plastids present in many epidermal and internal tissues that do not become green and photosynthetic. They are little more than enlarged proplastids. A common form of leucoplast is the (Figure 14-33B), which accumulates the polysaccharide starch in storage tissues—a source of sugar for future use. In some plants, such as potatoes, the amyloplasts can grow to be as large as an average animal cell.
It is important to realize that plastids are not just sites for photosynthesis and the deposition of storage materials. Plants have also used their plastids to compartmentalize their intermediary metabolism. Purine and pyrimidine synthesis, most amino acid synthesis, and all of the fatty acid synthesis of plants takes place in the plastids, whereas in animal cells these compounds are produced in the cytosol.
Chloroplasts Resemble Mitochondria But Have an Extra Compartment
Mitochondria and chloroplasts (article)
Structure and function of mitochondria and chloroplasts. Endosymbiosis.
Key points:Mitochondria are the "powerhouses" of the cell, breaking down fuel molecules and capturing energy in cellular respiration.Chloroplasts are found in plants and algae. They're responsible for capturing light energy to make sugars in photosynthesis.
Mitochondria and chloroplasts likely began as bacteria that were engulfed by larger cells (the endosymbiont theory).
You may know that your body is made up of cells (trillions and trillions of them). You may also know that the reason you need to eat food—such as veggies—is so that you have the energy to do things like play sports, study, walk, and even breathe.
But what exactly happens in your body to turn the food energy stored in broccoli into a form that your body can use? And how does energy end up stored in the broccoli to begin with, anyway?
The answers to these questions have a lot to do with two important organelles: mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Chloroplasts are organelles found in the broccoli's cells, along with those of other plants and algae. They capture light energy and store it as fuel molecules in the plant's tissues.
Mitochondria are found inside of your cells, along with the cells of plants. They convert the energy stored in molecules from the broccoli (or other fuel molecules) into a form the cell can use.
Let's take a closer look at these two very important organelles.
ChloroplastsChloroplasts are found only in plants and photosynthetic algae. (Humans and other animals do not have chloroplasts.) The chloroplast's job is to carry out a process called photosynthesis.
In photosynthesis, light energy is collected and used to build sugars from carbon dioxide. The sugars produced in photosynthesis may be used by the plant cell, or may be consumed by animals that eat the plant, such as humans. The energy contained in these sugars is harvested through a process called cellular respiration, which happens in the mitochondria of both plant and animal cells.
Chloroplasts are disc-shaped organelles found in the cytosol of a cell. They have outer and inner membranes with an intermembrane space between them. If you passed through the two layers of membrane and reached the space in the center, you’d find that it contained membrane discs known as thylakoids, arranged in interconnected stacks called grana (singular, granum).
Diagram of a chloroplast, showing the outer membrane, inner membrane, intermembrane space, stroma, and thylakoids arranged in stacks called grana.
_Image modified from "Chloroplast mini," by Kelvin Ma (CC BY 3.0)._
The membrane of a thylakoid disc contains light-harvesting complexes that include chlorophyll, a pigment that gives plants their green color. Thylakoid discs are hollow, and the space inside a disc is called the thylakoid space or lumen, while the fluid surrounding the thylakoids is called the stroma.
You can learn more about chloroplasts, chlorophyll, and photosynthesis in the photosynthesis topic section.
MitochondriaMitochondria (singular, mitochondrion) are often called the powerhouses or energy factories of the cell. Their job is to make a steady supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s main energy-carrying molecule. The process of making ATP using chemical energy from fuels such as sugars is called cellular respiration, and many of its steps happen inside the mitochondria.
The mitochondria are suspended in the jelly-like cytosol of the cell. They are oval-shaped and have two membranes: an outer one, surrounding the whole organelle, and an inner one, with many inward protrusions called cristae that increase surface area.
Electron micrograph of a mitochondrion, showing matrix, cristae, outer membrane, and inner membrane.
_Image credits: upper image, "Eukaryotic cells: Figure 7," by OpenStax College, Biology (CC BY 3.0). Modification of work by Matthew Britton; scale-bar data from Matt Russell. Lower image: modification of "Mitochondrion mini," by Kelvin Ma (public domain)._
Cristae were once thought to be broad, wavy folds, but as Sal discusses in his mitochondria video, they're now understood to be more like long caverns.
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Here is a 3D reconstruction of a slice cut from a mitochondrion:
Image credit: "MitochondrionCAM," by Carmann (public domain).
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The space between the membranes is called the intermembrane space, and the compartment enclosed by the inner membrane is called the mitochondrial matrix. The matrix contains mitochondrial DNA and ribosomes. We'll talk shortly about why mitochondria (and chloroplasts) have their own DNA and ribosomes.
14.Eyl.2014 - Chloroplast-An organelle found in plant and algae cells where photosynthesis occurs.
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