Micromanipulation of chloroplasts using optical tweezers


H. Rubinsztein-Dunlop. Tel.: +61 07 33653139; fax: +61 07 33651242; e-mail: halina@physics.uq.edu.au


This paper describes experiments using optical tweezers to probe chloroplast arrangement, shape and consistency in cells of living leaf tissue and in suspension. Dual optical tweezers provided two-point contact on a single chloroplast or two-point contact on two adhered chloroplasts for manipulation in suspension. Alternatively, a microstirrer consisting of a birefringent particle trapped in an elliptically polarized laser trap was used to induce motion and tumbling of a selected chloroplast suspended in a solution. We demonstrate that displacement of chloroplasts inside the cell is extremely difficult, presumably due to chloroplast adhesion to the cytoskeleton and connections between organelles. The study also confirms that the chloroplasts are very thin and extremely cup-shaped with a concave inner surface and a convex outer surface.