Understanding protein import in diverse non-green plastids. Academic Article uri icon


  • The spectacular diversity of plastids in non-green organs such as flowers, fruits, roots, tubers, and senescing leaves represents a Universe of metabolic processes in higher plants that remain to be completely characterized. The endosymbiosis of the plastid and the subsequent export of the ancestral cyanobacterial genome to the nuclear genome, and adaptation of the plants to all types of environments has resulted in the emergence of diverse and a highly orchestrated metabolism across the plant kingdom that is entirely reliant on a complex protein import and translocation system. The TOC and TIC translocons, critical for importing nuclear-encoded proteins into the plastid stroma, remain poorly resolved, especially in the case of TIC. From the stroma, three core pathways (cpTat, cpSec, and cpSRP) may localize imported proteins to the thylakoid. Non-canonical routes only utilizing TOC also exist for the insertion of many inner and outer membrane proteins, or in the case of some modified proteins, a vesicular import route. Understanding this complex protein import system is further compounded by the highly heterogeneous nature of transit peptides, and the varying transit peptide specificity of plastids depending on species and the developmental and trophic stage of the plant organs. Computational tools provide an increasingly sophisticated means of predicting protein import into highly diverse non-green plastids across higher plants, which need to be validated using proteomics and metabolic approaches. The myriad plastid functions enable higher plants to interact and respond to all kinds of environments. Unraveling the diversity of non-green plastid functions across the higher plants has the potential to provide knowledge that will help in developing climate resilient crops.

published proceedings

  • Front Genet

altmetric score

  • 1.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Christian, R., Labbancz, J., Usadel, B., & Dhingra, A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Christian, Ryan||Labbancz, June||Usadel, Bjorn||Dhingra, Amit

publication date

  • January 2023