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BMC Evol Biol. 2007 Mar 20;7:43.

Tic62: a protein family from metabolism to protein translocation.

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Dep Biologie I, Botanisches Institut, LMU München, 80638 München, Germany.



The function and structure of protein translocons at the outer and inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts (Toc and Tic complexes, respectively) are a subject of intensive research. One of the proteins that have been ascribed to the Tic complex is Tic62. This protein was proposed as a redox sensor protein and may possibly act as a regulator during the translocation process. Tic62 is a bimodular protein that comprises an N-terminal module, responsible for binding to pyridine nucleotides, and a C-terminal module which serves as a docking site for ferredoxin-NAD(P)-oxido-reductase (FNR). This work focuses on evolutionary analysis of the Tic62-NAD(P)-related protein family, derived from the comparison of all available sequences, and discusses the structure of Tic62.


Whereas the N-terminal module of Tic62 is highly conserved among all oxyphototrophs, the C-terminal region (FNR-binding module) is only found in vascular plants. Phylogenetic analyses classify four Tic62-NAD(P)-related protein subfamilies in land plants, closely related to members from cyanobacteria and green sulphur bacteria. Although most of the Tic62-NAD(P)-related eukaryotic proteins are localized in the chloroplast, one subgroup consists of proteins without a predicted transit peptide. The N-terminal module of Tic62 contains the structurally conserved Rossman fold and probably belongs to the extended family of short-chain dehydrogenases-reductases. Key residues involved in NADP-binding and residues that may attach the protein to the inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts or to the Tic complex are proposed.


The Tic62-NAD(P)-related proteins are of ancient origin since they are not only found in cyanobacteria but also in green sulphur bacteria. The FNR-binding module at the C-terminal region of the Tic62 proteins is probably a recent acquisition in vascular plants, with no sequence similarity to any other known motifs. The presence of the FNR-binding domain in vascular plants might be essential for the function of the protein as a Tic component and/or for its regulation.

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