We examined the effects of phosphate enrichment on chloroplasts of the unicellular green alga Nannochloris bacillaris Naumann. The doubling time of cells was similar in phosphate-limited (no β-glycerophosphate) and phosphate-enriched (2 mM β-glycerophosphate) media. The lengths of cells and chloroplasts were similar, regardless of phosphate concentration. The relationship between the ring formation of the prokaryote-derived chloroplast division protein FtsZ and phosphate concentration was examined using indirect fluorescent antibody staining. The number of FtsZ rings increased as the phosphate concentration of the medium increased. Multiple FtsZ rings were formed in cells in phosphate-enriched medium; up to six FtsZ rings per chloroplast were observed. The number of FtsZ rings increased as the chloroplast grew. The FtsZ ring located near the center of the chloroplast had the strongest fluorescence. The FtsZ ring at the relative center of all FtsZ rings was used for division. Plastid division rings did not multiply in phosphate-enriched culture. The chloroplast DNA content was 2.3 times greater in phosphate-enriched than in phosphate-limited culture and decreased in cells cultured in phosphate-enriched medium containing 5-fluorodeoxyuridine (FdUr). In the presence of FdUr, only one FtsZ ring formed, even under phosphate enrichment. This finding suggests that excessive chloroplast DNA replication induces multiple FtsZ ring formation in phosphate-enriched culture. We propose a multiple FtsZ ring formation model under phosphate enrichment.
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