Kentaro Inoue

Kentaro Inoue

Position Title
(In Memoriam) Professor

Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences


Research Interests

How are the energy conversion systems regulated?

Photosynthetic electron transport provides reducing equivalents to anabolic pathways in the chloroplast stroma (e.g., carbon fixation) not only as substrates but also as regulators. We test if and how the redox-dependent mechanism controls protein targeting and assembly in the thylakoid lumen. 

Organelle Biogenesis - Protein evolution

How did the protein import channel in the organelle envelope evolve from a protein in the outer membrane of an ancestral cyanobacterium? We elucidate the functions and sorting/assembly mechanisms of Toc75 and OEP80/Toc75-V, which are homologous to a family of proteins essential for the viability of Gram-negative bacteria.

Organelle Biogenesis - Development of Membrane System

How do the intraorganellar membrane systems develop? We take two strategies. Strategy 1 is to define the mechanism by which a protein called Plsp1 is sorted to the envelope and thylakoid within a chloroplast. In strategy 2, we attempt to address how citrus fruit peel changes its color from green to orange, then back to green (dis-assembly and re-assembly of thylakoids).

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Genomics
  • Organelle and Membrane Biology
  • Plant Molecular Biology


  • PLS 14 Introduction to Current Topics in Plant Biology, Fall (-2010)
  • BIS 103 Bioenergetics and Metabolism, Spring (2010-2011); Fall (2011-2014); Winter (2016-)
  • PBI 200B PBGG core course (part), Winter


  • 222 Asmundson
    • Wilbur Chung (undergraduate), Jyodi Mohole (undergraduate), Andrew Zareie (undergraduate), Lu Zhang (undergraduate); Philip Day (Graduate student), Joshua Endow (Graduate student), Laura Klasek (Graduate student), Lucas Mckinnon (Graduate student)

Honors and Awards

  • Finalist - ASUCD Excellence in Education 2011

    Professional Societies

    • American Society for Cell Biology
    • American Society of Plant Biologists
    • International Society of Photosynthesis Research


    • 1991 BS Pharmaceutical Sciences University of Tokyo
    • 1993 MS Pharmaceutical Sciences University of Tokyo
    • 1996 PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences University of Tokyo



    Klasek L, Inoue K (2016) Dual protein localization to the envelope and thylakoid membranes within the chloroplast. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol 323:231-263



    Endow JK, Singhal R, Fernandez DE, Inoue K (2015) Chaperone-assisted posttranslational-transport of plastidic type I signal peptidase 1. J Biol Chem 290:28778-28791


    Day PM, Potter D, Inoue K (2014) Evolution and targeting of Omp85 homologs in the chloroplast outer envelope membrane. Front Plant Sci 5:535


    Midorikawa T, Endow JK, Dufour J, Zhu J, Inoue K (2014) Plastidic type I signal peptidase 1 is a redox-dependent thylakoidal processing peptidase. Plant J 80:592-603


    Midorikawa T, Inoue K (2013) Multiple fates of nonmature lumenal proteins in thylakoids. Plant J 76:73-86

    Endow JK, Inoue K (2013) Stable complex formation of thylakoidal processing peptidase and PGRL1. FEBS Lett 587:2226-2231

    Hsu S-C, Nafati M, Inoue K (2012) OEP80, an essential protein paralogous to the chloroplast protein translocation channel Toc75, exists as a 70-kD protein in the Arabidopsis thaliana chloroplast outer envelope. Plant Mol Biol 78:147-158

    Hsu S-C, Endow JK, Ruppel NJ, Roston RL, Baldwin AJ, Inoue K (2011) Functional Diversification of Thylakoidal Processing Peptidases in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS ONE 6:e27258

    Inoue K (2011) Emerging roles of the chloroplast outer envelope membrane. Trends Plant Sci 16:550-557

    Hsu S-C, Belmonte MF, Harada JJ, Inoue K (2010) Indispensable roles of plastids in Arabidopsis thaliana embryogenesis. Curr Genomics 11:338-349

    Shipman-Roston RL, Ruppel NJ, Damoc C, Phinney BS, Inoue K (2010) The significance of protein maturation by plastidic type I signal peptidase 1 in Arabidopsis thaliana chloroplasts. Plant Physiol 152:1297-1308

    Hsu S-C, Inoue K (2009) Two evolutionary conserved essential beta-barrel proteins in the chloroplast outer envelope membrane. BioSci Trend 3:168-178

    Shipman RL, Inoue K (2009) Suborganellar localization of plastidic type I signal peptidase 1 depends on chloroplast development. FEBS Lett 583: 938-942

    Hsu S-C, Patel R, Bedard J, Jarvis P, Inoue K (2008) Two distinct Omp85 paralogs in the chloroplast outer envelope membrane are essential for embryogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Signal Behav 3:1134-1135

    Inoue K (2007) The chloroplast outer envelope membrane: the edge of light and excitement. J Integr Plant Biol 49:1100-1111

    Baldwin AJ, Inoue K (2006) The most C-terminal tri-glycine segment within the polyglycine stretch of the pea Toc75 transit peptide plays a critical role for targeting the protein to the chloroplast outer envelope membrane. FEBS J 273:1547-1555

    Inoue K, Baldwin AJ, Shipman RL, Matsui K, Theg SM, Ohme-Takagi M (2005) Complete maturation of the plastid protein translocation channel requires a type I signal peptidase. J Cell Biol 171: 425-430