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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Dec 12;1541(1-2):102-13.

Molecular chaperones involved in chloroplast protein import.

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Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1312, USA.


Transport of cytoplasmically synthesized precursor proteins into chloroplasts, like the protein transport systems of mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum, appears to require the action of molecular chaperones. These molecules are likely to be the sites of the ATP hydrolysis required for precursor proteins to bind to and be translocated across the two membranes of the chloroplast envelope. Over the past decade, several different chaperones have been identified, based mainly on their association with precursor proteins and/or components of the chloroplast import complex, as putative factors mediating chloroplast protein import. These factors include cytoplasmic, chloroplast envelope-associated and stromal members of the Hsp70 family of chaperones, as well as stromal Hsp100 and Hsp60 chaperones and a cytoplasmic 14-3-3 protein. While many of the findings regarding the action of chaperones during chloroplast protein import parallel those seen for mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum protein transport, the chloroplast import system also has unique aspects, including its hypothesized use of an Hsp100 chaperone to drive translocation into the organelle interior. Many questions concerning the specific functions of chaperones during protein import into chloroplasts still remain that future studies, both biochemical and genetic, will need to address.

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