Translation is localized within cells to target proteins to their proper locations. We asked whether translation occurs on the chloroplast surface in Chlamydomonas and, if so, whether it is involved in co-translational protein targeting, aligned spatially with localized translation by the bacterial-type ribosomes within this organelle, or both. Our results reveal a domain of the chloroplast envelope which is bound by translating ribosomes. Purified chloroplasts retained ribosomes and mRNAs encoding two chloroplast proteins specifically on this “translation domain”, but not a mRNA encoding a cytoplasmic protein. Ribosomes clusters were seen on this domain by electron tomography. Activity of the chloroplast-bound ribosomes is supported by results of the ribopuromycylation and puromycin-release assays. Co-translational chloroplast protein import is supported by nascent polypeptide dependency of the ribosome-chloroplast associations. This cytoplasmic translation domain aligns localized translation by organellar bacterial-type ribosomes in the chloroplast. This juxtaposition the dual translation systems facilitates the targeting and assembly of the polypeptide products.
Translation is localized to a domain of the chloroplast envelope for co-translational protein targeting in Chlamydomonas .