To study the regulation of lipid transport from the chloroplast envelope to the thylakoid, intact chloroplasts, isolated from fully expanded or still-expanding pea (Pisum sativum) leaves, were incubated with radiolabeled lipid precursors and thylakoid membranes subsequently were isolated. Incubation with UDP[3H]Gal labeled monogalactosyldiacylglycerol in both envelope membranes and digalactosyldiacylglycerol in the outer chloroplast envelope. Galactolipid synthesis increased with incubation temperature. Transport to the thylakoid was slow below 12°C, and exhibited a temperature dependency closely resembling that for the previously reported appearance and disappearance of vesicles in the stroma (D.J. Morré, G. Selldén, C. Sundqvist, A.S. Sandelius  Plant Physiol 97: 1558–1564). In mature chloroplasts, monogalactosyldiacylglycerol transport to the thylakoid was up to three times higher than digalactosyldiacylglycerol transport, whereas the difference was markedly lower in developing chloroplasts. Incubation of chloroplasts with [14C]acyl-coenzyme A labeled phosphatidylcholine (PC) and free fatty acids in the inner envelope membrane and phosphatidylglycerol at the chloroplast surface. PC and phosphatidylglycerol were preferentially transported to the thylakoid. Analysis of lipid composition revealed that the thylakoid contained approximately 20% of the chloroplast PC. Our results demonstrate that lipids synthesized at the chloroplast surface as well as in the inner envelope membrane are transported to the thylakoid and that lipid sorting is involved in the process. Furthermore, the results also indicate that more than one pathway exists for galactolipid transfer from the chloroplast envelope to the thylakoid
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