KEY MESSAGE : NO generation is studied in the protoplast chloroplasts. NO, ONOO ( - ) and ROS (O ( 2 ) ( - ) and H ( 2 ) O ( 2 ) ) are generated in chloroplasts. Nitric oxide synthase-like protein appears to be involved in NO generation. Nitric oxide stimulates chlorophyll biosynthesis and chloroplast differentiation. The present study was conducted to better understand the process of NO generation in the leaf chloroplasts and protoplasts. NO, peroxynitrite and superoxide anion were investigated in the protoplasts and isolated chloroplasts using specific dyes, confocal laser scanning and light microscopy. The level of NO was highest after protoplast isolation and subsequently decreased during culture. Suppression of NO signal in the presence of PTIO, suggests that diaminofluorescein-2 diacetate (DAF-2DA) detected NO. Detection of peroxynitrite, a reaction product of NO and superoxide anion, further suggests NO generation. Moreover, generation of NO and peroxynitrite in the chloroplasts of wild-type Arabidopsis and their absence or weak signals in the leaf-derived protoplasts of Atnoa1 mutants confirmed the reactivity of DAF-2DA and aminophenyl fluorescein to NO and peroxynitrite, respectively. Isolated chloroplasts also showed signal of NO. Suppression of NO signal in the presence of 100 μM nitric oxide synthase inhibitors [L-NNA, Nω-nitro-L-arginine and PBIT, S,S'-1,3-phenylene-bis(1,2-ethanediyl)-bis-isothiourea] revealed that nitric oxide synthase-like system is involved in NO synthesis. Suppression of NO signal in the protoplasts isolated in the presence of cycloheximide suggests de novo synthesis of NO generating protein during the process of protoplast isolation. Furthermore, the lack of inhibition of NO production by sodium tungstate (250 μM) and inhibition by L-NNA, and PBIT suggest involvement NOS-like protein, but not nitrate reductase, in NO generation in the leaf chloroplasts and protoplasts.