Indexed on: 05 Oct '16Published on: 05 Oct '16Published in: Scientific Reports
The cytochrome b6 f complex occupies an electrochemically central position in the electron-transport chain bridging the photosynthetic reaction center of PS I and PS II. In plants, the subunits of these thylakoid membrane protein complexes are both chloroplast and nuclear encoded. How the chloroplast-encoded subunits of multi-spanning cytochrome b6 are targeted and inserted into the thylakoid membrane is not fully understood. Experimental approaches to evaluate the cytochrome b6 import mechanism in vivo have been limited to bacterial membranes and were not a part of the chloroplast environment. To evaluate the mechanism governing cytochrome b6 integration in vivo, we performed a comparative analysis of both native and synthetic cytochrome b6 insertion into purified thylakoids. Using biophysical and biochemical methods, we show that cytochrome b6 insertion into the thylakoid membrane is a non-spontaneous co-translational process that involves ALB3 insertase. Furthermore, we provided evidence that CSP41 (chloroplast stem-loop-binding protein of 41 kDa) interacts with RNC-cytochrome b6 complexes, and may be involved in cytochrome b6 (petB) transcript stabilization or processing.