J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (8): 1100-1111.DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00543.x

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The Chloroplast Outer Envelope Membrane: The Edge of Light and Excitement

Kentaro Inoue   

  • Published:2007-08-04

Abstract: The chloroplast is surrounded by a double-membrane envelope at which proteins, ions, and numerous metabolites including nucleotides, amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates are exchanged between the two aqueous phases, the cytoplasm and the chloroplast stroma. The chloroplast envelope is also the location where the biosynthesis and accumulation of various lipids take place. By contrast to the inner membrane, which contains a number of specific transporters and acts as the permeability barrier, the chloroplast outer membrane has often been considered a passive compartment derived from the phagosomal membrane. However, the presence of galactoglycerolipids and β-barrel membrane proteins support the common origin of the outer membranes of the chloroplast envelope and extant cyanobacteria. Furthermore, recent progress in the field underlines that the chloroplast outer envelope plays important roles not only for translocation of various molecules, but also for regulation of metabolic activities and signaling processes. The chloroplast outer envelope membrane offers various interesting and challenging questions that are relevant to the understanding of organelle biogenesis, plant growth and development, and also membrane biology in general.

Key words: chloroplast envelope, lipid biosynthesis, outer membrane, protein import, putative solute channel.

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