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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Jun;1803(6):715-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

The TOC complex: preprotein gateway to the chloroplast.

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Institut de Biologie, Université de Neuchâtel, CH-2009 Neuchâtel, Switzerland.


Photosynthetic eukaryotes strongly depend on chloroplast metabolic pathways. Most if not all involve nuclear encoded proteins. These are synthesized as cytosolic preproteins with N-terminal, cleavable targeting sequences (transit peptide). Preproteins are imported by a major pathway composed of two proteins complexes: TOC and TIC (Translocon of the Outer and Inner membranes of the Chloroplasts, respectively). These selectively recognize the preproteins and facilitate their transport across the chloroplast envelope. The TOC core complex consists of three types of components, each belonging to a small family: Toc34, Toc75 and Toc159. Toc34 and Toc159 isoforms represent a subfamily of the GTPase superfamily. The members of the Toc34 and Toc159 subfamily act as GTP-dependent receptors at the chloroplast surface and distinct members of each occur in defined, substrate-specific TOC complexes. Toc75, a member of the Omp85 family, is conserved from prokaryotes and functions as the unique protein-conducting channel at the outer membrane. In this review we will describe the current state of knowledge regarding the composition and function of the TOC complex.

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