Dual targeting to mitochondria and chloroplasts

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Dec 12;1541(1-2):54-63. doi: 10.1016/s0167-4889(01)00146-x.


Plant cells contain two organelles originally derived from endosymbiotic bacteria: mitochondria and plastids. Their endosymbiotic origin explains why these organelles contain their own DNA, nonetheless only a few dozens of genes are actually encoded by these genomes. Many of the other genes originally present have been transferred to the nuclear genome of the host, the product of their expression being targeted back to the corresponding organelle. Although targeting of proteins to mitochondria and chloroplasts is generally highly specific, an increasing number of examples have been discovered where the same protein is imported into both organelles. The object of this review is to compare and discuss these examples in order to try and identify common features of dual-targeted proteins. The study helps throw some light on the factors determining organelle targeting specificity, and suggests that dual-targeted proteins may well be far more common than once thought.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Gene Targeting
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport


  • Plant Proteins