Do plastids in Dendrobium cv. Lucky Duan petals function similar to autophagosomes and autolysosomes

W.J. van Doorn, K. Kirasak, A. Sonong, Y. Srihiran, J.W.M. van Lent, S. Ketsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In animal cells a double-membrane-bound structure, the autophagosome, encloses a portion of the cytoplasm. The encapsulated material becomes digested after fusion of the autophagosome with a vesicle containing lytic enzymes. The autophagosome is then termed autolysosome. In intact plants, structures similar to animal autophagosomes/autolysosomes have been found only in a few types of cells. Additionally, some early papers indicated that plastids can function similar to autophagosomes/autolysosomes. Here, we report that plastids in Dendrobium cv. Lucky Duan petals produced an endocytosis-like invagination of the two outer membranes. The opening between the invagination space and the cytoplasm was almost isodiametric, less than 0.2 µm in diameter. The volume of the space formed by the invagination had a maximum of about half of the total plastid volume. Staining of the invagination lumen for acid phosphatase, a marker of organelles showing autophagic activity, was positive. Membranes and numerous ribosomes were observed inside the lumen of the invagination. The structure of the material inside the lumen varied from that of the cytoplasm to uniform electron-translucent, indicating that the enclosed cytoplasmic material became completely digested. No support was found for the idea that the material engulfed by the plastid or the whole plastid became transferred to a vacuole. Taken together, the data suggested the hypothesis that plastids in Dendrobium petal mesophyll cells can function in a way similar to both autophagosomes and autolysosomes in animal cells
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-597
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • acid-phosphatase-activity
  • cell-death
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • embryo-suspensor
  • protein
  • stromules
  • membrane
  • vacuoles
  • plants
  • visualization


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