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J Biol Chem. 1985 Mar 25;260(6):3691-6.

Precursors to two nuclear-encoded chloroplast proteins bind to the outer envelope membrane before being imported into chloroplasts.


Precursor forms of chloroplast proteins synthesized in cell-free translation systems can be imported posttranslationally into isolated, intact chloroplasts. Radiochemically pure precursors to the small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase and to the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b protein have been prepared by in vitro translation of hybrid-selected mRNA and used to study this import process. If chloroplasts are pretreated with the uncoupler nigericin, import does not occur, but the precursors bind to the chloroplast surface. Reincubation of the precursor-chloroplast complex in the presence of ATP results in import of bound precursors. The binding appears to be mediated by proteins of the outer chloroplast envelope membrane because pretreatment of chloroplasts with protease inhibits their ability to bind as well as to import precursors. These results indicate that at least a portion of the observed binding is to functional receptor proteins involved in the import process.

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