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J Exp Bot. 2012 Feb;63(4):1699-712. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err357. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

Vipp1: a very important protein in plastids?!

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Department of Biology I, LMU Munich, D-82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.


As a key feature in oxygenic photosynthesis, thylakoid membranes play an essential role in the physiology of plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Despite their importance in the process of oxygenic photosynthesis, their biogenesis has remained a mystery to the present day. A decade ago, vesicle-inducing protein in plastids 1 (Vipp1) was described to be involved in thylakoid membrane formation in chloroplasts and cyanobacteria. Most follow-up studies clearly linked Vipp1 to membranes and Vipp1 interactions as well as the defects observed after Vipp1 depletion in chloroplasts and cyanobacteria indicate that Vipp1 directly binds to membranes, locally stabilizes bilayer structures, and thereby retains membrane integrity. Here current knowledge about the structure and function of Vipp1 is summarized with a special focus on its relationship to the bacterial phage shock protein A (PspA), as both proteins share a common origin and appear to have retained many similarities in structure and function.

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