skip to main content

Title: RECOVERY ACT - Thylakoid Assembly and Folded Protein Transport by the Tat Pathway

Assembly of functional photosystems complete with necessary intrinsic (membrane-bound) and extrinsic proteins requires the function of at least 3 protein transport pathways in thylakoid membranes. Our research focuses on one of those pathways, a unique and essential protein transport pathway found in the chloroplasts of plants, bacteria, and some archaebacteria, the Twin arginine translocation (Tat) system. The chloroplast Tat (cpTat) system is thought to be responsible for the proper location of ~50% of thylakoid lumen proteins, several of which are necessary for proper photosystem assembly, maintenance, and function. Specifically, cpTat systems are unique because they transport fully folded and assembled proteins across ion tight membranes using only three membrane components, Tha4, Hcf106, and cpTatC, and the protonmotive force generated by photosynthesis. Despite the importance of the cpTat system in plants, the mechanism of transport of a folded precursor is not well known. Our long-term goal is to investigate the role protein transport systems have on organelle biogenesis, particularly the assembly of membrane protein complexes in thylakoids of chloroplasts. The objective of this proposal is to correlate structural changes in the membrane-bound cpTat component, Tha4, to the mechanism of translocation of folded-precursor substrates across the membrane bilayer by using a cysteinemore » accessibility and crosslinking approach. Our central hypothesis is that the precursor passes through a proteinaceous pore of assembled Tha4 protomers that have undergone a conformational or topological change in response to transport. This research is predicated upon the observations that Tha4 exists in molar excess in the membrane relative to the other cpTat components; its regulated assembly to the precursor-bound receptor; and our data showing oligomerization of Tha4 into very large complexes in response to transport. Our rationale for these studies is that understanding cpTat system mechanism in chloroplasts will lead to a better understanding of the biogenesis of photosynthetic membranes potentially providing a means to engineer photosynthetic complexes into synthetic membranes for energy production. We are especially well prepared to undertake this project because we have developed a novel functional replacement assay, which was used to demonstrate a correlation of Tha4 oligomerization to transport. Thylakoids of plant chloroplasts provide a very robust, reliable assay to gain mechanistic detail about cpTat systems, providing most of the biochemical analyses to date. We plan to test our central hypothesis and accomplish the overall objective of this proposal by (1) Identifying the cpTat component(s) that interact with the mature domain of precursor during transport, (2) Determining the organization of the cpTat translocon, and (3) Comparing Tha4 topology in thylakoids during active transport and at rest. The proposed studies are innovative due to our ability to correlate structural changes in cpTat protein complexes during the transport of precursor. At the completion of this project, we expect to know the cpTat component(s) that interacts directly with the mature domain of the precursor, important because it is not known which components comprise the pore for passage of the mature domain. We also expect to know the arrangement of the components in the cpTat transport complex through direct interaction between Tha4 and the other CpTat components, a key point to establishing the mechanism of translocation. Lastly, we expect to correlate topological changes of Tha4 with precursor transport, key to establishing Tha4's role in the transport process. The successful completion of these studies is expected to have an important impact in understanding chloroplast biogenesis and assembly of photosynthetic complexes in plants and photosynthetic bacteria.« less
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Miami Univ., Oxford, OH (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: Debjani Pal, Kristen Fite, and Carole Dabney-Smith. Direct interaction between precursor mature domain and transport component Tha4 during Twin Arginine Transport (Tat) of chloroplasts. Plant Physiology 161:990-1001. doi:10.1104/pp.112.207522.Cassie Aldridge, Amanda Storm, Kenneth Cline, and Carole Dabney-Smith. The chloroplast Twin Arginine Transport (Tat) component, Tha4, undergoes conformational changes leading to Tat protein transport. J. Biol. Chem. 2012 287: 34752-34763. doi:10.1074/jbc.M112.385666Zhang, L., Liu, L., Maltsev, S., Lorigan, G.A., and Dabney-Smith, C. Investigating the interaction between the transmembrane domain of Hcf106 and phospholipid bilayer by solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Chem Phys Lipids. Doi: 10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2013.09.002Zhang, L., Liu, L., Maltsev, S., Lorigan, G.A., and Dabney-Smith, C. Investigating the interaction between amphipathic helix of Hcf106 peptides and the phospholipid bilayer by solid-state NMR spectroscopy. BBA: Biomembranes. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2013.10.007Dabney-Smith, C., & Storm, A. (2014). Protein Routing Processes in the Thylakoid. In S. M. Theg & F.-A. Wollman, Advances in Plant Biology (Vol. 5, pp. 271–289). New York, NY: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-1136-3_10.
Research Org:
Miami Univ., Oxford, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES protein transport; thylakoid membrane organization; chloroplast biogenesis