Chloroplasts are the defining organelle of photoautotrophic plant cells. Photosynthetic light reactions and electron transport are the functions of an elaborate thylakoid membrane system inside chloroplasts. The lipid composition of photosynthetic membranes is characterized by a substantial fraction of nonphosphorous galactoglycerolipids reflecting the need of sessile plants to conserve phosphorus. Lipid transport and assembly of glycerolipids play an essential role in the biogenesis of the photosynthetic apparatus in developing chloroplasts. During chloroplast biogenesis, fatty acids are synthesized in the plastid and are exported to the endoplasmic reticulum, where they are incorporated into membrane lipids. Alternatively, lipids can also be assembled de novo at the inner envelope membrane of plastids in many plants. A rich repertoire of lipid exchange mechanisms involving the thylakoid membranes, the chloroplast inner and outer envelope membranes, and the endoplasmic reticulum is emerging. Studies of thylakoid biogenesis provide new insights into the general mechanisms of intermembrane lipid transfer.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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