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Chloroplast vesicle transport

Review article
Authors Emelie Lindquist
Henrik Aronsson
Published in Photosynthesis Research
Volume 138
Issue 3
Pages 361-371
ISSN 0166-8595
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 361-371
Language en
Keywords Chloroplast, Lipid, Membrane, Targeting, Transport, Vesicles, thylakoid membrane formation, protein disulfide-isomerase, higher-plant, chloroplast, biogenesis factor cyo1, photosynthetic apparatus, arabidopsis-thaliana, envelope membranes, lipid trafficking, secretory, pathway, low-temperature, Plant Sciences, ates of america, v108, p20248
Subject categories Biological Sciences


Photosynthesis is a well-known process that has been intensively investigated, but less is known about the biogenesis of the thylakoid membrane that harbors the photosynthetic machinery. Thylakoid membranes are constituted by several components, the major ones being proteins and lipids. However, neither of these two are produced in the thylakoid membranes themselves but are targeted there by different mechanisms. The interior of the chloroplast, the stroma, is an aqueous compartment that prevents spontaneous transport of single lipids and/or membrane proteins due to their hydrophobicities. Thylakoid targeted proteins are encoded either in the nucleus or plastid, and thus some cross the envelope membrane before entering one of the identified thylakoid targeting pathways. However, the pathway for all thylakoid proteins is not known. Lipids are produced at the envelope membrane and have been proposed to reach the thylakoid membrane by different means: invaginations of the envelope membrane, direct contact sites between these membranes, or through vesicles. Vesicles have been observed in chloroplasts but not much is yet known about the mechanism or regulation of their formation. The question of whether proteins can also make use of vesicles as one mechanism of transport remains to be answered. Here we discuss the presence of vesicles in chloroplasts and their potential role in transporting lipids and proteins. We additionally discuss what is known about the proteins involved in the vesicle transport and the gaps in knowledge that remain to be filled.

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