FtsZ proteins of the FtsZ1 and FtsZ2 families play important roles in the initiation and progression of plastid division in plants and green algae. Arabidopsis possesses a single FTSZ1 member and two FTSZ2 members, FTSZ2-1 and FTSZ2-2. The contribution of these to chloroplast division and partitioning has been mostly investigated in leaf mesophyll tissues. Here, we assessed the involvement of the three FtsZs in plastid division at earlier stages of chloroplast differentiation. To this end, we studied the effect of the absence of specific FtsZ proteins on plastids in the vegetative shoot apex, where the proplastid-to-chloroplast transition takes place. We found that the relative contribution of the two major leaf FtsZ isoforms, FtsZ1 and FtsZ2-1, to the division process varies with cell lineage and position within the shoot apex. While FtsZ2-1 dominates division in the L1 and L3 layers of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), in the L2 layer, FtsZ1 and FtsZ2-1 contribute equally toward the process. Depletion of the third isoform, FtsZ2-2, generally resulted in stronger effects in the shoot apex than those observed in mature leaves. The implications of these findings, along with additional observations made in this work, to our understanding of the mechanisms and regulation of plastid proliferation in the shoot apex are discussed.
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