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Chapter: Introduction to Botany: Symbiogenesis and the Plant Cell

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Mitochondria and Chloroplasts

To escape from competition, cells which were prokaryotic became larger. To fa-cilitate communication between all parts of this larger cell, they developed cy-toplasm mobility using actin protein.

Mitochondria and Chloroplasts

 

 

To escape from competition, cells which were prokaryotic became larger. To fa-cilitate communication between all parts of this larger cell, they developed cy-toplasm mobility using actin protein. In turn, this mobility resulted in acquiring phagocytosis, which is when a large cell changes shape and can engulf (“eat”)other cells. This way, cells that used to be prey became predators. These preda-tors captured prey by phagocytosis and digested bacteria in lysosomes, which use enzymes that destroy the cytoplasmic components of the bacterial cells. The threat of predators result in cells became even larger, and these cells will need a better supply of ATP. Some prey which were not digested, and turned out to be useful in providing ATP (of course, predator cells should also invent a proper transport through the resulted double membrane). Due to natural selection, those prey, which were purple bacteria, became the cell’s mitochondria. This is symbiogenesis, or the formation of two separate organisms into a single or-ganism (Fig. 3.5).


 

Another result of a larger cell (eukatyotic cells are typically 10–100 fold larger than prokaryotic) is that the size of DNA will increase, and to hold it, the cell will form a nucleus. The new predator cells also needed to prevent alien organisms from transferring their genes which will delay the evolution. The other reason is that the nucleus protects the DNA by enclosing it; in case if DNA virus comes into the cell and tries to mock up cell DNA, eukaryotic cell immediately destroys any DNA found in the cytoplasm. One more reason to make nucleus is pressure of antibiotics: nucleus improves isolation from these harmful chemicals. Nucleus formation and symbiogenesis leaded cells to become eukaryotic.

Note that to be an eukaryote, it is more important to have phagocytosis and mi-tochondria then nucleus because (1) nucleus is not always exists, it could disap-pear during the division of cell and (2) some prokaryotes (planctobacteria) also have membrane compartments containing DNA.

 

On next step, some eukaryotes also captured cyanobacteria (or another photo-synthetic eukaryote), which became chloroplasts. These photosynthetic protists are called algae.

 

In all, eukaryotic cells are “second-level cells” because they are cells made up of multiple cells. Cells of all eukaryotes have two genomes, nuclear usually has biparental origin whereas mitochondial genome normally originates only from mother. Plant cells, in turn, have three genomes, and chloroplast genome is usu-ally also inherited maternally.

 

Chloroplasts synthesize organic compounds whereas mitochondria produce most of the cytoplasmic ATP. Both organells are covered with two membranes and contain circular DNA and ribosomes similar to bacterial. Chloroplasts have thy-lakoids, or inner membrane pockets and vesicles. Chloroplast thylakoids could be long (lamellae) or short and stacked (granes).

 

Chloroplasts are normally green because of chlorophyll which converts light energy into chemical energy. Some chloroplasts lose chlorophyll and become transparent, “white”, they are called leucoplasts. Other chloroplasts could be red and/or orange (chromoplasts), because they are rich of carotenes and xan-thophyls. These pigments facilitate photosynthesis and are directly responsi-ble for the fall colors of leaves. Since starch is a more compact way of storing energy than glucose, chloroplasts store carbohydrates as starch grains. Trans-parent amyloplasts contain large granules of starch. Storage tissues of potato tubers, carrot roots, sweet potato roots, and grass seeds are examples of tissues rich in amyloplasts.

 

Having chloroplasts and cell walls are not directly connected, but almost all or-ganisms with chloroplasts have also cell walls. Probably, this is because cell walls do not facilitate cell motility, and for those protists which already have cell walls, obtaining chloroplast will be the nice way for coming out of competition with organotrophic beings.

 

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