Transport of Isoprenoid Intermediates Across Chloroplast Envelope Membranes

Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2005 Jan;7(1):91-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-830446.


The common precursor for isoprenoid biosynthesis in plants, isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP), is synthesized by two pathways, the cytosolic mevalonate pathway and the plastidic 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate/methylerythritol phosphate (DOXP/MEP) pathway. The DOXP/MEP pathway leads to the formation of various phosphorylated intermediates, including DOXP, 4-hydroxy-3-methylbutenyl diphosphate (HMBPP), and finally IPP. There is ample evidence for metabolic cross-talk between the two biosynthetic pathways. The present study addresses the question whether isoprenoid intermediates could be exchanged between both compartments by members of the plastidic phosphate translocator (PT) family that all mediate a counter-exchange between inorganic phosphate and various phosphorylated compounds. Transport experiments using intact chloroplasts, liposomes containing reconstituted envelope membrane proteins or recombinant PT proteins showed that HMBPP is not exchanged between the cytosol and the chloroplasts and that the transport of DOXP is preferentially mediated by the recently discovered plastidic transporter for pentose phosphates, the xylulose 5-phosphate translocator. Evidence is presented that transport of IPP does not proceed via the plastidic PTs although IPP transport is strictly dependent on various phosphorylated compounds on the opposite side of the membrane. These phosphorylated trans compounds are, in part, also used as counter-substrates by the plastidic PTs but appear to only trans activate IPP transport without being transported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Hemiterpenes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Organophosphates / metabolism*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism*
  • Pentosephosphates / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Spinacia oleracea / metabolism
  • Spinacia oleracea / ultrastructure
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • 1-deoxylulose 5-phosphate
  • 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-2-butenyl diphosphate
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Organophosphates
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Pentosephosphates
  • Plant Proteins
  • isopentenyl pyrophosphate