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1.  Association of six YFP-myosin XI-tail fusions with mobile plant cell organelles 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:6.
Myosins are molecular motors that carry cargo on actin filaments in eukaryotic cells. Seventeen myosin genes have been identified in the nuclear genome of Arabidopsis. The myosin genes can be divided into two plant-specific subfamilies, class VIII with four members and class XI with 13 members. Class XI myosins are related to animal and fungal myosin class V that are responsible for movement of particular vesicles and organelles. Organelle localization of only one of the 13 Arabidopsis myosin XI (myosin XI-6; At MYA2), which is found on peroxisomes, has so far been reported. Little information is available concerning the remaining 12 class XI myosins.
We investigated 6 of the 13 class XI Arabidopsis myosins. cDNAs corresponding to the tail region of 6 myosin genes were generated and incorporated into a vector to encode YFP-myosin tail fusion proteins lacking the motor domain. Chimeric genes incorporating tail regions of myosin XI-5 (At MYA1), myosin XI-6 (At MYA2), myosin XI-8 (At XI-B), myosin XI-15 (At XI-I), myosin XI-16 (At XI-J) and myosin XI-17 (At XI-K) were expressed transiently. All YFP-myosin-tail fusion proteins were targeted to small organelles ranging in size from 0.5 to 3.0 μm. Despite the absence of a motor domain, the fluorescently-labeled organelles were motile in most cells. Tail cropping experiments demonstrated that the coiled-coil region was required for specific localization and shorter tail regions were inadequate for targeting. Myosin XI-6 (At MYA2), previously reported to localize to peroxisomes by immunofluorescence, labeled both peroxisomes and vesicles when expressed as a YFP-tail fusion. None of the 6 YFP-myosin tail fusions interacted with chloroplasts, and only one YFP-tail fusion appeared to sometimes co-localize with fluorescent proteins targeted to Golgi and mitochondria.
6 myosin XI tails, extending from the coiled-coil region to the C-terminus, label specific vesicles and/or organelles when transiently expressed as YFP fusions in plant cells. Although comparable constructs lacking the motor domain result in a dominant negative effect on organelle motility in animal systems, the plant organelles remained motile. YFP-myosin tail fusions provide specific labeling for vesicles of unknown composition, whose identity can be investigated in future studies.
PMCID: PMC1802837  PMID: 17288617
2.  Upregulation of a tonoplast-localized cytochrome P450 during petal senescence in Petunia inflata 
BMC Plant Biology  2006;6:8.
Gene expression in Petunia inflata petals undergoes major changes following compatible pollination. Severe flower wilting occurs reproducibly within 36 hours, providing an excellent model for investigation of petal senescence and programmed cell death. Expression of a number of genes and various enzyme activities involved in the degradation and remobilization of macromolecules have been found to be upregulated during the early stages of petal senescence.
By performing differential display of cDNAs during Petunia inflata petal senescence, a highly upregulated gene encoding a cytochrome P450 was identified. Analysis of the complete cDNA sequence revealed that the predicted protein is a member of the CYP74C family (CYP74C9) and is highly similar to a tomato CYP74C allene oxide synthase (AOS) that is known to be active on 9-hydroperoxides. Cloning of the petunia genomic DNA revealed an intronless gene with a promoter region that carries signals found in stress-responsive genes and potential binding sites for Myb transcription factors. Transcripts were present at detectable levels in root and stem, but were 40 times more abundant in flowers 36 hours after pollination. Ethylene and jasmonate treatment resulted in transitory increases in expression in detached flowers. A protein fusion of the CYP74C coding region to a C-terminal GFP was found to be located in the tonoplast.
Though oxylipins, particularly jasmonates, are known to be involved in stress responses, the role of other products of CYP74 enzymes is less well understood. The identification of a CYP74C family member as a highly upregulated gene during petal senescence suggests that additional products of fatty acid metabolism may play important roles during programmed cell death. In contrast to the chloroplast localization of AOS proteins in the CYP74A subfamily, GFP fusion data indicates that the petunia CYP74C9 enzyme is in the tonoplast. This result suggests that the highly similar CYP74C enzymes that have been identified in two other Solanaceous plants may also be associated with the vacuole, an organelle known to have a prominent role in programmed cell death.
PMCID: PMC1540422  PMID: 16613603
3.  The Arabidopsis Mei2 homologue AML1 binds AtRaptor1B, the plant homologue of a major regulator of eukaryotic cell growth 
BMC Plant Biology  2005;5:2.
TOR, the target of the antibiotic rapamycin in both yeast and mammalian cells, is a potent cell growth regulator in all eukaryotes. It acts through the phosphorylation of downstream effectors that are recruited to it by the binding partner Raptor. In Arabidopsis, Raptor activity is essential for postembryonic growth. Though comparative studies suggest potential downstream effectors, no Raptor binding partners have been described in plants.
AtRaptor1B, a plant Raptor homologue, binds the AML1 (Arabidopsis Mei2-like 1) protein in a yeast two-hybrid assay. This interaction is mediated by the N-terminal 219 residues of AML1, and marks AML1 as a candidate AtTOR kinase substrate in plants. The AML1 N-terminus additionally carries transcriptional activation domain activity. Plants homozygous for insertion alleles at the AML1 locus, as well as plants homozygous for insertion alleles at all five loci in the AML gene family, bolt earlier than wild-type plants.
AML1 interacts with AtRaptor1B, homologue of a protein that recruits substrates for phosphorylation by the major cell-growth regulator TOR. Identification of AML1 as a putative downstream effector of TOR gives valuable insights into the plant-specific mode of action of this critical growth regulator.
PMCID: PMC553980  PMID: 15720729
4.  In vivo analysis of interactions between GFP-labeled microfilaments and plastid stromules 
BMC Plant Biology  2004;4:2.
Plastid stromules are stroma-filled tubules that extend from the surface of plastids in higher plants and allow the exchange of protein molecules between plastids. These structures are highly dynamic; stromules change both their shape and position in the cytoplasm very rapidly. Previous studies with microfilament inhibitors indicated that stromule shape and movement are dependent on the actin cytoskeleton. To learn more about the nature of the interactions of stromules and the cytoskeleton, we imaged fluorescently-labeled microfilaments and plastids.
We have used Arabidopsis thaliana plants expressing green fluorescent protein fused to the human actin-binding protein talin to observe microfilaments and their relationship to stromules in vivo. Microfilaments were observed in close contact with stromules and plastid bodies of hypocotyl epidermis. Time-lapse confocal microscopy revealed that microfilament rearrangements were associated with changes in plastid and stromule morphology and position. We also observed close interactions between mitochondria and stromules in double-labeled cells.
Our results indicate a correlation between the rearrangement of microfilaments and changes in the shape and position of plastids and stromules. Stromules interact with microfilaments that may also be utilized by mitochondria and other organelles. The interaction of microfilaments and plastids is likely to be mediated by actin-binding proteins on the plastid envelope membrane.
PMCID: PMC356911  PMID: 15018639

Results 1-4 (4)