The most C-terminal tri-glycine segment within the polyglycine stretch of the pea Toc75 transit peptide plays a critical role for targeting the protein to the chloroplast outer envelope membrane

FEBS J. 2006 Apr;273(7):1547-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2006.05175.x.


The protein translocation channel at the outer envelope membrane of chloroplasts (Toc75) is synthesized as a larger precursor with an N-terminal transit peptide. Within the transit peptide of the pea Toc75, a major portion of the 10 amino acid long stretch that contains nine glycine residues was shown to be necessary for directing the protein to the chloroplast outer membrane in vitro. In order to get insights into the mechanism by which the polyglycine stretch mediates correct targeting, we divided it into three tri-glycine segments and examined the importance of each domain in targeting specificity in vitro. Replacement of the most C-terminal segment with alanine residues resulted in mistargeting the protein to the stroma, while exchange of either of the other two tri-glycine regions had no effect on correct targeting. Furthermore, simultaneous replacement of the N-terminal and middle tri-glycine segments with alanine repeats did not cause mistargeting of the protein as much as those of the N- and C-terminal, or the middle and C-terminal segments. These results indicate that the most C-terminal tri-glycine segment is important for correct targeting. Exchanging this portion with a repeat of leucine or glutamic acid also caused missorting of Toc75 to the stroma. By contrast, its replacement with repeats of asparagine, aspartic acid, serine, and proline did not largely affect correct targeting. These data suggest that relatively compact and nonhydrophobic side chains in this particular region play a crucial role in correct sorting of Toc75.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Glycine / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Peas / genetics
  • Peas / metabolism*
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein Transport*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Plant Proteins
  • Glycine