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Euglena complex chloroplasts evolved through secondary endosymbiosis between a phagotrophic trypanosome host and eukaryotic algal endosymbiont. Cytoplasmically synthesized chloroplast proteins are transported in vesicles as integral membrane proteins from the ER to the Golgi apparatus to the Euglena chloroplast. Euglena chloroplast preprotein pre-sequences contain a functional N-terminal ER-targeting signal peptide and a domain having characteristics of a higher plant chloroplast targeting transit peptide, which contains a hydrophobic stop-transfer membrane anchor sequence that anchors the precursor in the vesicle membrane. Pulse-chase subcellular fractionation studies showed that 35S-labeled precursor to the light harvesting chlorophyll a/b binding protein accumulated in the Golgi apparatus of Euglena incubated at 15C and transport to the chloroplast resumed after transfer to 26C. Transport of the 35S-labeled precursor to the chlorophyll a/b binding protein from Euglena Golgi membranes to Euglena chloroplasts and import into chloroplasts was reconstituted using Golgi membranes isolated from 15C cells returned to 26C. Transport was dependent upon extra- and intrachloroplast ATP and GTP hydrolysis. Golgi to chloroplast transport was not inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide indicating that fusion of Golgi vesicles to the chloroplast envelope does not require N-ethylmaleimide- sensitive factor (NSF). This suggests that N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) are not utilized in the targeting fusion reaction. The Euglena precursor to the chloroplast-localized small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase was not imported into isolated pea chloroplasts. A precursor with the N-terminal signal peptide deleted was imported, indicating that the Euglena pre-sequence has a transit peptide that functions in pea chloroplasts. A precursor to the small subunit of ribulose- 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase with the hydrophobic membrane anchor and the pre-sequence region C-terminal to the hydrophobic membrane anchor deleted was imported localizing the functional transit peptide to the Euglena pre-sequence region between the signal peptidase cleavage site and the hydrophobic membrane anchor. The Euglena precursor to the small subunit of ribulose-1,5- bisphosphate carboxylase and the deletion constructs were not post-translationally imported into isolated Euglena chloroplasts indicating that vesicular transport is the obligate import mechanism. Taken together, these studies suggest that protein import into complex Euglena chloroplasts evolved by developing a novel vesicle fusion targeting system to link the host secretory system to the transit peptide-dependent chloroplast protein import system of the endosymbiont.