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A multisubunit translocon of the inner envelope membrane, termed Tic, mediates the late stages of protein import into chloroplasts. Membrane proteins, Tic110 and Tic40, and a stromal chaperone, Hsp93, have been proposed to function together within the Tic complex. In Arabidopsis, single genes, atTIC110 and atTIC40, encode the Tic proteins, and two homologous genes, atHSP93-V and atHSP93-III, encode Hsp93. These four genes exhibited relatively uniform patterns of expression, suggesting important roles for plastid biogenesis throughout development and in all tissues. To investigate the roles played by these proteins in vivo, we conducted a comparative study of T-DNA knockout mutants for each Tic gene, and for the most abundantly expressed Hsp93 gene, atHSP93-V. In the homozygous state, the tic110 mutation caused embryo lethality, implying an essential role for atTic110 during plastid biogenesis. Homozygous tic110 embryos exhibited retarded growth, developmental arrest at the globular stage and a 'raspberry-like' embryo-proper phenotype. Heterozygous tic110 plants, and plants homozygous for the tic40 and hsp93-V mutations, exhibited chlorosis, aberrant chloroplast biogenesis, and inefficient chloroplast-import of both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic preproteins. Non-additive interactions amongst the mutations occurred in double mutants, suggesting that the three components may cooperate during chloroplast protein import.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant J

Publication Date





412 - 428


Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Biological Transport, Active, Chloroplasts, Heat-Shock Proteins, Membrane Proteins, Molecular Chaperones, Mutation, Phenotype, Protein Transport, Seeds