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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Dec;11(6):585-92. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.10.008. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Plastid protein import and sorting: different paths to the same compartments.

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Horticultural Sciences Department and Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, 1109 Fifield Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, United States.


Chloroplasts contain several thousand different proteins, of which more than 95% are encoded on nuclear genes, synthesized in the cytosol as precursor proteins, and imported into the organelle. The major pathways for import and routing have been described; a general import apparatus in the chloroplast envelope and several ancestral translocases in the thylakoid membranes. In this update we focus on some interesting and emerging areas: the Tat translocase, which operates in parallel with the Sec system but transports folded proteins; different routes to the envelope membranes, which promises an understanding of the ways the Tic apparatus sorts transmembrane domains (TMDs) and may also uncover developmental relationships between envelope and thylakoids; and novel routes for proteins into chloroplasts including delivery from the secretory system.

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