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The Journal of Biochemistry
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 146  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 463 - 469

Protein Quality Control in Chloroplasts: A Current Model of D1 Protein Degradation in the Photosystem II Repair Cycle

Y Kato and W. Sakamoto    


The chloroplast originated from endosymbiosis of photosynthetic bacteria. Thus, mechanisms essential for chloroplast biogenesis/homeostasis (protein synthesis, import from cytosol, assembly, and degradation) are predominantly governed by prokaryotic systems. Among these, the quality control system is crucial, because light energy constantly damages photosynthetic proteins and excessive light often limits plant growth by irreversibly inactivating the photosynthetic apparatuses. Here, we overview prokaryotic proteases (FtsH and Deg) which are two enzymes that play critical roles in this system. We particularly focus on Photosystem II (PSII) in thylakoid membranes, which is composed of more than 20 subunits. Among the subunits is one of the intrinsic reaction centre proteins (D1) which is considered to be the target of photodamage. Its rapid and specific turnover suggests that photodamaged D1 is degraded by these proteases and replaced with a de novo synthesized one in a system which is termed the PSII repair cycle. We discuss a current model of D1 degradation which is executed by a concerted action of particular FtsH and Deg isoforms.

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