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Photosynth Res. 2003;78(3):205-30.

Proteomics of chloroplast envelope membranes.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire Végétale, UMR 5019 (CNRS/CEA/INRA/Université Joseph Fourier, France,


Proteomics is a very powerful approach to link the information contained in sequenced genomes, like Arabidopsis, to the functional knowledge provided by studies of plant cell compartments, such as chloroplast envelope membranes. This review summarizes the present state of proteomic analyses of highly purified spinach and Arabidopsis envelope membranes. Methods targeted towards the hydrophobic core of the envelope allow identifying new proteins, and especially new transport systems. Common features were identified among the known and newly identified putative envelope inner membrane transporters and were used to mine the complete Arabidopsis genome to establish a virtual plastid envelope integral protein database. Arabidopsis envelope membrane proteins were extracted using different methods, that is, chloroform/methanol extraction, alkaline or saline treatments, in order to retrieve as many proteins as possible, from the most to the less hydrophobic ones. Mass spectrometry analyses lead to the identification of more than 100 proteins. More than 50% of the identified proteins have functions known or very likely to be associated with the chloroplast envelope. These proteins are (a) involved in ion and metabolite transport, (b) components of the protein import machinery and (c) involved in chloroplast lipid metabolism. Some soluble proteins, like proteases, proteins involved in carbon metabolism or in responses to oxidative stress, were associated with envelope membranes. Almost one third of the newly identified proteins have no known function. The present stage of the work demonstrates that a combination of different proteomics approaches together with bioinformatics and the use of different biological models indeed provide a better understanding of chloroplast envelope biochemical machinery at the molecular level.

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