Localization and integration of thylakoid protein translocase subunit cpTatC

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Thylakoid membranes have a unique complement of proteins, most of which are nuclear encoded synthesized in the cytosol, imported into the stroma and translocated into thylakoid membranes by specific thylakoid translocases. Known thylakoid translocases contain core multi-spanning, membrane-integrated subunits that are also nuclear-encoded and imported into chloroplasts before being integrated into thylakoid membranes. Thylakoid translocases play a central role in determining the composition of thylakoids, yet the manner by which the core translocase subunits are integrated into the membrane is not known. We used biochemical and genetic approaches to investigate the integration of the core subunit of the chloroplast Tat translocase, cpTatC, into thylakoid membranes.In vitroimport assays show that cpTatC correctly localizes to thylakoids if imported into intact chloroplasts, but that it does not integrate into isolated thylakoids.In vitrotransit peptide processing and chimeric precursor import experiments suggest that cpTatC possesses a stroma-targeting transit peptide. Import time-course and chase assays confirmed that cpTatC targets to thylakoids via a stromal intermediate, suggesting that it might integrate through one of the known thylakoid translocation pathways. However, chemical inhibitors to the cpSecA-cpSecY and cpTat pathways did not impede cpTatC localization to thylakoids when used in import assays. Analysis of membranes isolated fromArabidopsis thalianamutants lacking cpSecY or Alb3 showed that neither is necessary for cpTatC membrane integration or assembly into the cpTat receptor complex. These data suggest the existence of another translocase, possibly one dedicated to the integration of chloroplast translocases.

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