The chloroplastic protein translocation channel Toc75 and its paralog OEP80 represent two distinct protein families and are targeted to the chloroplastic outer envelope by different mechanisms

Plant J. 2004 Aug;39(3):354-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02135.x.


Toc75 is postulated to form the protein translocation channel in the chloroplastic outer envelope membrane. Proteins homologous to Toc75 are present in a wide range of organisms, with the closest homologs occurring in cyanobacteria. Therefore, an endosymbiotic origin of Toc75 has been postulated. Recently, a gene encoding a paralog to Toc75 was identified in Arabidopsis and its product was named atToc75-V. In the present study, we characterized this new Toc75 paralog, and investigated extensively the relationships among Toc75 homologs from higher plants and bacteria in order to gain insights into the evolutionary origin of the chloroplastic protein translocation channel. First, we found that the native molecular weight of atToc75-V is 80 kDa and renamed it (AtOEP80) Arabidopsis thalianaouter envelope protein of 80 kDa. Second, we found that AtOEP80 and Toc75 utilize different mechanisms for their targeting to the chloroplastic envelope. Toc75 is directed with a cleavable bipartite transit peptide partly via the general import pathway, whereas AtOEP80 contains the targeting information within its mature sequence, and its targeting is independent of the general pathway. Third, we undertook phylogenetic analyses of Toc75 homologs from various organisms, and found that Toc75 and OEP80 represent two independent gene families that are most likely derived from cyanobacterial sequences. Our results suggest that Toc75 and OEP80 diverged early in the evolution of plastids from their common ancestor with modern cyanobacteria.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Precursors / genetics
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • OEP75 protein precursor, plant
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Precursors
  • TOC75 protein, Arabidopsis