Mechanisms of protein import and routing in chloroplasts

Curr Biol. 2004 Dec 29;14(24):R1064-77. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.11.049.


The vast majority of the approximately 3000 different proteins required to build a fully functional chloroplast are encoded by the nuclear genome and translated on cytosolic ribosomes. As chloroplasts are each surrounded by a double-membrane system, or envelope, sophisticated mechanisms are necessary to mediate the import of these nucleus-encoded proteins into chloroplasts. Once inside the organelle, many chloroplast proteins engage one of four additional protein sorting mechanisms that direct targeting to the internal thylakoid membrane system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / physiology*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology
  • Protein Sorting Signals / physiology
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins
  • Protein Sorting Signals