The Journal of biological chemistry

Chloroplast SRP54 Was Recruited for Posttranslational Protein Transport via Complex Formation with Chloroplast SRP43 during Land Plant Evolution.

PMID 25833951


In bacteria, membrane proteins are targeted cotranslationally via a signal recognition particle (SRP). During the evolution of higher plant chloroplasts from cyanobacteria, the SRP pathway underwent striking adaptations that enable the posttranslational transport of the abundant light-harvesting chlorophyll-a/b-binding proteins (LHCPs). The conserved 54-kDa SRP subunit in higher plant chloroplasts (cpSRP54) is not bound to an SRP RNA, an essential SRP component in bacteria, but forms a stable heterodimer with the chloroplast-specific cpSRP43. This heterodimeric cpSRP recognizes LHCP and delivers it to the thylakoid membrane whereby cpSRP43 plays a central role. This study shows that the cpSRP system in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii differs significantly from that of higher plants as cpSRP43 is not complexed to cpSRP54 in Chlamydomonas and cpSRP54 is not involved in LHCP recognition. This divergence is attributed to altered residues within the cpSRP54 tail and the second chromodomain of cpSRP43 that are crucial for the formation of the binding interface in Arabidopsis. These changes are highly conserved among chlorophytes, whereas all land plants contain cpSRP proteins with typical interaction motifs. These data demonstrate that the coevolution of LHCPs and cpSRP43 occurred independently of complex formation with cpSRP54 and that the interaction between cpSRP54 and cpSRP43 evolved later during the transition from chlorophytes to land plants. Furthermore, our data show that in higher plants a heterodimeric form of cpSRP is required for the formation of a low molecular weight transit complex with LHCP.