pH sensitivity of the GTPase Toc33 as a regulatory circuit for protein translocation into chloroplasts.
The properties of membrane-embedded GTPases are investigated to understand translocation of preprotein across the outer envelope of chloroplasts. The homo- and heterodimerization events of the GTPases had been established previously. We show that the hydrolytic activity of the GTPase Toc33 is pH insensitive in the homodimeric conformation but has a bell-shaped pH optimum in the monomeric conformation. Further, Toc33 GTPase homodimerization and protein translocation into chloroplasts are pH sensitive as well. pH sensitivity might serve to regulate translocation; alternatively, the documented pH sensitivity might reflect a mechanistic requirement for GTPase silencing during translocation as the GTPase switches between homo- and heterodimeric conformations.