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1.  Trichoderma viride cellulase induces resistance to the antibiotic pore-forming peptide alamethicin associated with changes in the plasma membrane lipid composition of tobacco BY-2 cells 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:274.
Background
Alamethicin is a membrane-active peptide isolated from the beneficial root-colonising fungus Trichoderma viride. This peptide can insert into membranes to form voltage-dependent pores. We have previously shown that alamethicin efficiently permeabilises the plasma membrane, mitochondria and plastids of cultured plant cells. In the present investigation, tobacco cells (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Bright Yellow-2) were pre-treated with elicitors of defence responses to study whether this would affect permeabilisation.
Results
Oxygen consumption experiments showed that added cellulase, already upon a limited cell wall digestion, induced a cellular resistance to alamethicin permeabilisation. This effect could not be elicited by xylanase or bacterial elicitors such as flg22 or elf18. The induction of alamethicin resistance was independent of novel protein synthesis. Also, the permeabilisation was unaffected by the membrane-depolarising agent FCCP. As judged by lipid analyses, isolated plasma membranes from cellulase-pretreated tobacco cells contained less negatively charged phospholipids (PS and PI), yet higher ratios of membrane lipid fatty acid to sterol and to protein, as compared to control membranes.
Conclusion
We suggest that altered membrane lipid composition as induced by cellulase activity may render the cells resistant to alamethicin. This induced resistance could reflect a natural process where the plant cells alter their sensitivity to membrane pore-forming agents secreted by Trichoderma spp. to attack other microorganisms, and thus adding to the beneficial effect that Trichoderma has for plant root growth. Furthermore, our data extends previous reports on artificial membranes on the importance of lipid packing and charge for alamethicin permeabilisation to in vivo conditions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-274
PMCID: PMC3017840  PMID: 21156059
2.  Higher Plant Calreticulins Have Acquired Specialized Functions in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11342.
Background
Calreticulin (CRT) is a ubiquitous ER protein involved in multiple cellular processes in animals, such as protein folding and calcium homeostasis. Like in animals, plants have evolved divergent CRTs, but their physiological functions are less understood. Arabidopsis contains three CRT proteins, where the two CRTs AtCRT1a and CRT1b represent one subgroup, and AtCRT3 a divergent member.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Through expression of single Arabidopsis family members in CRT-deficient mouse fibroblasts we show that both subgroups have retained basic CRT functions, including ER Ca2+-holding potential and putative chaperone capabilities. However, other more general cellular defects due to the absence of CRT in the fibroblasts, such as cell adhesion deficiencies, were not fully restored. Furthermore, in planta expression, protein localization and mutant analyses revealed that the three Arabidopsis CRTs have acquired specialized functions. The AtCRT1a and CRT1b family members appear to be components of a general ER chaperone network. In contrast, and as recently shown, AtCRT3 is associated with immune responses, and is essential for responsiveness to the bacterial Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern (PAMP) elf18, derived from elongation factor (EF)-Tu. Whereas constitutively expressed AtCRT1a fully complemented Atcrt1b mutants, AtCRT3 did not.
Conclusions/Significance
We conclude that the physiological functions of the two CRT subgroups in Arabidopsis have diverged, resulting in a role for AtCRT3 in PAMP associated responses, and possibly more general chaperone functions for AtCRT1a and CRT1b.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011342
PMCID: PMC2893204  PMID: 20596537
3.  Regulation of callose synthase activity in situ in alamethicin-permeabilized Arabidopsis and tobacco suspension cells 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:27.
Background
The cell wall component callose is mainly synthesized at certain developmental stages and after wounding or pathogen attack. Callose synthases are membrane-bound enzymes that have been relatively well characterized in vitro using isolated membrane fractions or purified enzyme. However, little is known about their functional properties in situ, under conditions when the cell wall is intact. To allow in situ investigations of the regulation of callose synthesis, cell suspensions of Arabidopsis thaliana (Col-0), and tobacco (BY-2), were permeabilized with the channel-forming peptide alamethicin.
Results
Nucleic acid-binding dyes and marker enzymes demonstrated alamethicin permeabilization of plasma membrane, mitochondria and plastids, also allowing callose synthase measurements. In the presence of alamethicin, Ca2+ addition was required for callose synthase activity, and the activity was further stimulated by Mg2+ Cells pretreated with oryzalin to destabilize the microtubules prior to alamethicin permeabilization showed significantly lower callose synthase activity as compared to non-treated cells. As judged by aniline blue staining, the callose formed was deposited both at the cell walls joining adjacent cells and at discrete punctate locations earlier described as half plasmodesmata on the outer walls. This pattern was unaffected by oryzalin pretreatment, showing a quantitative rather than a qualitative effect of polymerized tubulin on callose synthase activity. No callose was deposited unless alamethicin, Ca2+ and UDP-glucose were present. Tubulin and callose synthase were furthermore part of the same plasma membrane protein complex, as judged by two-dimensional blue native SDS-PAGE.
Conclusion
Alamethicin permeabilization allowed determination of callose synthase regulation and tubulin interaction in the natural crowded cellular environment and under conditions where contacts between the cell wall, the plasma membrane and cytoskeletal macromolecules remained. The results also suggest that alamethicin permeabilization induces a defense response mimicking the natural physical separation of cells (for example when intercellulars are formed), during which plasmodesmata are transiently left open.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-27
PMCID: PMC2667179  PMID: 19284621

Results 1-3 (3)