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Vojta, Lea (2006): Protein Import into Chloroplasts. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Biology
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Abstract

Import of a hybrid construct consisting of the transit sequence of SSU, the N-proximal part of mature Tic110 and the mature SSU into chloroplasts led to the appearance of a soluble stromal import intermediate and the proposal that Tic110 might use a re-export pathway from the stroma to the inner envelope membrane. For full length Tic110 no soluble intermediate has been observed yet. One of the goals of this work was to investigate the import pathway of Tic110 in more detail. In this research the soluble stromal intermediate of Tic110 was observed, its re-export to the membrane was followed, and finally, the intermediate was isolated and co-immunoprecipitated with the stromal chaperones Hsp93, Hsp70 and to a lesser extent Cpn60. The obtained results indicate that Tic110, as proposed, uses a re-export pathway (conservative sorting) during its import into the chloroplast inner envelope membrane. Tic110 also requires stromal chaperones for achieving its native conformation, prior to the insertion into the inner envelope membrane. The pathway for targeting to the intermembrane space of chloroplasts had not been intensively studied yet. For this reason, the analysis of two intermembrane space localized proteins was conducted: Tic22, a 22 kDa Tic-complex protein component, and MGD1, synthase of MGDG, the most abundant galactolipid in nature. Both proteins are nuclear-encoded and synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes with a cleavable N?terminal chloroplast targeting presequence. Tic22 was found to be associated with the outer face of the inner envelope membrane, as well as with the inner face of the outer envelope membrane, even though at a lower level. MGD1 was proposed to be associated with one of the envelopes by weak electrostatic interactions. Import properties of Tic22 and MGD1 and the localization of MGD1 were investigated in this research. Results presented in this thesis show that import of MGD1 is dependent on, and that of Tic22 is enhanced by, but not dependent on, addition of external ATP. Both preproteins need thermolysin sensitive components on the chloroplast surface for successful import. Chemical crosslinking and immunoprecipitation have demonstrated that Tic22 and MGD1 interact with the components of the Toc translocon of the chloroplast outer envelope during their translocation. Import competition experiments showed that both proteins use the Toc machinery of the general import pathway. Therefore, proteins targeted to the intermembrane space seem to use the same translocation mode across the outer envelope as stromal proteins.