Heredity matters: Ancestral protease functions as protein import motor in chloroplasts

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Researchers identified a large novel protein complex in the inner chloroplast membrane that functions as a motor to import proteins into the chloroplast. Components of the complex evolved from a protein of the endosymbiont cyanobacterium-like ancestor of chloroplasts that lost its protein-degrading function but retained its motor ability. These findings solve a longstanding mystery surrounding this protein translocation system that uniquely evolved in photosynthetic eukaryotes.

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