Suppressors of the Chloroplast Protein Import Mutant tic40 Reveal a Genetic Link between Protein Import and Thylakoid Biogenesis.
Bédard J., Trösch R., Wu F., Ling Q., Flores-Pérez Ú., Töpel M., Nawaz F., Jarvis P.
To extend our understanding of chloroplast protein import and the role played by the import machinery component Tic40, we performed a genetic screen for suppressors of chlorotic tic40 knockout mutant Arabidopsis thaliana plants. As a result, two suppressor of tic40 loci, stic1 and stic2, were identified and characterized. The stic1 locus corresponds to the gene ALBINO4 (ALB4), which encodes a paralog of the well-known thylakoid protein targeting factor ALB3. The stic2 locus identified a previously unknown stromal protein that interacts physically with both ALB4 and ALB3. Genetic studies showed that ALB4 and STIC2 act together in a common pathway that also involves cpSRP54 and cpFtsY. Thus, we conclude that ALB4 and STIC2 both participate in thylakoid protein targeting, potentially for a specific subset of thylakoidal proteins, and that this targeting pathway becomes disadvantageous to the plant in the absence of Tic40. As the stic1 and stic2 mutants both suppressed tic40 specifically (other TIC-related mutants were not suppressed), we hypothesize that Tic40 is a multifunctional protein that, in addition to its originally described role in protein import, is able to influence downstream processes leading to thylakoid biogenesis.