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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2006;57:599-621.

Protein degradation machineries in plastids.

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Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, Kurashiki, Okayama 710-0046, Japan.


Plastids undergo drastic morphological and physiological changes under different developmental stages and in response to environmental conditions. A key to accomplishing these transitions and maintaining homeostasis is the quality and quantity control of many plastid proteins by proteases and chaperones. Although a limited number of plastid proteases have been identified by biochemical approaches, recent progress in genome information revealed various plant proteases that are of prokaryotic origin and that are localized in chloroplasts. Of these, ATP-dependent proteases such as Clp, FtsH, and Lon are considered the major enzymes involved in processive degradation (gradual degradation to oligopeptides and amino acids). The basic architecture of plant ATP-dependent proteases is very similar to the architechture of bacterial enzymes, such as those in Escherichia coli, but plastid enzymes apparently have extraordinary numbers of isomers. Recent molecular genetic characterization in Arabidopsis has identified differential roles of these isomers. This review covers what is currently known about the types and function of plastid proteases together with our new observations.

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