Plant Nuclear Gene Knockout Reveals a Role in Plastid Division for the Homolog of the Bacterial Cell Division Protein FtsZ, an Ancestral Tubulin
Little is known about the division of eukaryotic cell organelles and up to now neither in animals nor in plants has a gene product been shown to mediate this process. A cDNA encoding a homolog of the bacterial cell division protein FtsZ, an ancestral tubulin, was isolated from the eukaryote Physcomitrella patens and used to disrupt efficiently the genomic locus in this terrestrial seedless plant. Seven out of 51 transgenics obtained were knockout plants generated by homologous recombination; they were specifically impeded in plastid division with no detectable effect on mitochondrial division or plant morphology. Implications on the theory of endosymbiosis and on the use of reverse genetics in plants are discussed.