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Plant J. 2007 Apr;50(2):265-77. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

The chloroplast HSP70B-CDJ2-CGE1 chaperones catalyse assembly and disassembly of VIPP1 oligomers in Chlamydomonas.

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Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg, Schänzlestrasse 1, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


The vesicle-inducing protein in plastids (VIPP1) is essential for the biogenesis of thylakoid membranes in cyanobacteria and plants. VIPP1 and its bacterial ancestor PspA form large homo-oligomeric rings of >1 MDa. We recently demonstrated that VIPP1 interacts with the chloroplast J-domain co-chaperone CDJ2 and its chaperone partner HSP70B, and hypothesized that the chaperones might be involved in the assembly and/or disassembly of VIPP1 oligomers. To test this hypothesis, we analysed the composition of VIPP1/chaperone complexes in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cell extracts and monitored effects of the chaperones on VIPP1 assembly states in vitro. We found that CGE1, the chloroplast GrpE homologue, is also part of complexes with HSP70B, CDJ2 and VIPP1. We observed that CDJ2-VIPP1 accumulated as low- and high-molecular-weight complexes in ATP-depleted cell extracts, but as intermediate-size complexes in extracts supplemented with ATP. This was consistent with a role for the chaperones in VIPP1 assembly and disassembly. Using purified proteins, we could demonstrate that the chaperones indeed facilitated both the assembly and disassembly of VIPP1 oligomers. Electron microscopy studies revealed that, in contrast to PspA, VIPP1 rings assembled into rod-shaped supercomplexes that were morphologically similar to microtubule-like structures observed earlier in various plastid types. VIPP1 rods, too, were disassembled by the chaperones, and chaperone-mediated rod disassembly also occurred when VIPP1 lacked an approximately 30-aa C-terminal extension present in VIPP1 homologues but absent in PspA. By regulating the assembly state of VIPP1, the chloroplast HSP70 chaperone system may play an important role in the maintenance/biogenesis of thylakoid membranes.

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