Essentials of Proteolytic Machineries in Chloroplasts

Kenji Nishimura, Yusuke Kato, Wataru Sakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Plastids are unique organelles that can alter their structure and function in response to environmental and developmental stimuli. Chloroplasts are one type of plastid and are the sites for various metabolic processes, including photosynthesis. For optimal photosynthetic activity, the chloroplast proteome must be properly shaped and maintained through regulated proteolysis and protein quality control mechanisms. Enzymatic functions and activities are conferred by protein maturation processes involving consecutive proteolytic reactions. Protein abundances are optimized by the balanced protein synthesis and degradation, which is depending on the metabolic status. Malfunctioning proteins are promptly degraded. Twenty chloroplast proteolytic machineries have been characterized to date. Specifically, processing peptidases and energy-driven processive proteases are the major players in chloroplast proteome biogenesis, remodeling, and maintenance. Recently identified putative proteases are potential regulators of photosynthetic functions. Here we provide an updated, comprehensive overview of chloroplast protein degradation machineries and discuss their importance for photosynthesis. Wherever possible, we also provide structural insights into chloroplast proteases that implement regulated proteolysis of substrate proteins/peptides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-19
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 9 2017


  • chloroplast biogenesis
  • protease
  • protein homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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