In vivo analyses of the roles of essential Omp85-related proteins in the chloroplast outer envelope membrane.
Huang W., Ling Q., Bédard J., Lilley K., Jarvis P.
Two different, essential Omp85 (Outer membrane protein, 85 kD)-related proteins exist in the outer envelope membrane of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) chloroplasts: Toc75 (Translocon at the outer envelope membrane of chloroplasts, 75 kD), encoded by atTOC75-III; and OEP80 (Outer Envelope Protein, 80 kD), encoded by AtOEP80/atTOC75-V. The atToc75-III protein is closely related to the originally identified pea (Pisum sativum) Toc75 protein, and it forms a preprotein translocation channel during chloroplast import; the AtOEP80 protein is considerably more divergent from pea Toc75, and its role is unknown. As knockout mutations for atTOC75-III and AtOEP80 are embryo lethal, we employed a dexamethasone-inducible RNA interference strategy (using the pOpOff2 vector) to conduct in vivo studies on the roles of these two proteins in older, postembryonic plants. We conducted comparative studies on plants silenced for atToc75-III (atToc75-III↓) or AtOEP80 (AtOEP80↓), as well as additional studies on a stable, atToc75-III missense allele (toc75-III-3/modifier of altered response to gravity1), and our results indicated that both proteins are important for chloroplast biogenesis at postembryonic stages of development. Moreover, both are important for photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic development, albeit to different degrees: atToc75-III↓ phenotypes were considerably more severe than those of AtOEP80↓. Qualitative similarity between the atToc75-III↓ and AtOEP80↓ phenotypes may be linked to deficiencies in atToc75-III and other TOC proteins in AtOEP80↓ plants. Detailed analysis of atToc75-III↓ plants, by electron microscopy, immunoblotting, quantitative proteomics, and protein import assays, indicated that these plants are defective in relation to the biogenesis of both photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic plastids and preproteins, confirming the earlier hypothesis that atToc75-III functions promiscuously in different substrate-specific import pathways.