Purification and characterization of a spinach-leaf protein capable of transferring phospholipids from liposomes to mitochondria or chloroplasts

Eur J Biochem. 1984 Mar 1;139(2):411-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1984.tb08020.x.


A phospholipid transfer protein has been purified 195-fold from an extract of spinach leaves. This protein is capable of transferring phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylethanolamine from liposomes to mitochondria. In addition to this protein, a minor part of the total activity was associated with a less purified fraction. The pure protein has an isoelectric point of 9.0 +/- 0.2 determined by a chromatofocusing technique. Electrophoresis on sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel showed that the protein is homogeneous and has an apparent molecular weight of 9000 +/- 1000, in agreement with the value (8832) calculated from the amino acid composition. This composition is characterized by a high amount of alanine and glycine and by the absence of phenylalanine, whereas arginine, glutamine, histidine and methionine are minor components. The spinach protein is also able to transfer phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylglycerol from liposomes to intact chloroplasts. This observation reinforces the hypothesis that plastid phospholipids are partly imported from outside the organelle by a transfer process.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Carrier Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Liposomes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins*
  • Plant Proteins / isolation & purification*


  • Amino Acids
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Liposomes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins
  • Plant Proteins