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Chloroplasts conduct photosynthesis and numerous metabolic and signalling processes that enable plant growth and development. Most of the ∼3000 proteins in chloroplasts are nucleus encoded and must be imported from the cytosol. Thus, the protein import machinery of the organelle (the TOC-TIC apparatus) is of fundamental importance for chloroplast biogenesis and operation. Cytosolic factors target chloroplast precursor proteins to the TOC-TIC apparatus, which drives protein import across the envelope membranes into the organelle, before various internal systems mediate downstream routing to different suborganellar compartments. The protein import system is proteolytically regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), enabling centralized control over the organellar proteome. In addition, the UPS targets a range of chloroplast proteins directly. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we present mechanistic details of these different chloroplast protein targeting and translocation events, and of the UPS systems that regulate chloroplast proteins.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date





Chloroplast, Plastid, Protein degradation, Protein import, Protein translocation, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin, Chloroplasts, Photosynthesis, Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex, Chloroplast Proteins, Protein Transport