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J Cell Biol. 2001 Aug 20;154(4):719-29. Epub 2001 Aug 13.

Thylakoid DeltapH-dependent precursor proteins bind to a cpTatC-Hcf106 complex before Tha4-dependent transport.

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  • 1Horticultural Sciences and Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. kcline@ufl.edu


The thylakoid DeltapH-dependent pathway transports folded proteins with twin arginine-containing signal peptides. Identified components of the machinery include cpTatC, Hcf106, and Tha4. The reaction occurs in two steps: precursor binding to the machinery, and transport across the membrane. Here, we show that a cpTatC-Hcf106 complex serves as receptor for specific binding of twin arginine-containing precursors. Antibodies to either Hcf106 or cpTatC, but not Tha4, inhibited precursor binding. Blue native gel electrophoresis and coimmunoprecipitation of digitonin-solubilized thylakoids showed that Hcf106 and cpTatC are members of an approximately 700-kD complex that lacks Tha4. Thylakoid-bound precursor proteins were also associated with an approximately 700-kD complex and were coimmunoprecipitated with antibodies to cpTatC or Hcf106. Chemical cross-linking revealed that precursors make direct contact with cpTatC and Hcf106 and confirmed that Tha4 is not associated with precursor, cpTatC, or Hcf106 in the membrane. Precursor binding to the cpTatC-Hcf106 complex required both the twin arginine and the hydrophobic core of the signal peptide. Precursors remained bound to the complex when Tha4 was sequestered by antibody, even in the presence of DeltapH. These results indicate that precursor binding to the cpTatC-Hcf106 complex constitutes the recognition event for this pathway and that subsequent participation by Tha4 leads to translocation.

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