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. 2018 Jun 1;59(6):1111-1119.
doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcy083.

New Perspectives on Chloroplast Protein Import


New Perspectives on Chloroplast Protein Import

Masato Nakai. Plant Cell Physiol. .

Erratum in

  • Erratum.
    Plant Cell Physiol. 2018 Aug 1;59(8):1695. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcy114. Plant Cell Physiol. 2018. PMID: 30032245 No abstract available.


Virtually all chloroplasts in extant photosynthetic eukaryotes derive from a single endosymbiotic event that probably occurred more than a billion years ago between a host eukaryotic cell and a cyanobacterium-like ancestor. Many endosymbiont genes were subsequently transferred to the host nuclear genome, concomitant with the establishment of a system for protein transport through the chloroplast double-membrane envelope. Presently, 2,000-3,000 different nucleus-encoded chloroplast proteins must be imported into the chloroplast following their synthesis in the cytosol. The TOC (translocon at the outer envelope membrane of chloroplasts) and TIC (translocon at the inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts) complexes are protein translocation machineries at the outer and inner envelope membranes, respectively, that facilitate this chloroplast protein import with the aid of a TIC-associated ATP-driven import motor. All the essential components of this protein import system seemed to have been identified through biochemical analyses and subsequent genetic studies that initiated in the late 1990s. However, in 2013, the Nakai group reported a novel inner envelope membrane TIC complex, for which a novel ATP-driven import motor associated with this TIC complex is likely to exist. In this mini review, I will summarize these recent discoveries together with new, or reanalyzed, data presented by other groups in recent years. Whereas the precise concurrent view of chloroplast protein import is still a matter of some debate, it is anticipated that the entire TOC/TIC/ATP motor system, including any novel components, will be conclusively established in the next decade. Such findings may lead to an extensively revised view of the evolution and molecular mechanisms of chloroplast protein import.

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