- Protein-induced modulation of chloroplast membrane morphology (2012)
- Organelles are surrounded by membranes with a distinct lipid and protein composition. While it is well established that lipids affect protein functioning and vice versa, it has been only recently suggested that elevated membrane protein concentrations may affect the shape and organization of membranes. We therefore analyzed the effects of high chloroplast envelope protein concentrations on membrane structures using an in vivo approach with protoplasts. Transient expression of outer envelope proteins or protein domains such as CHUP1-TM–GFP, outer envelope protein of 7 kDa–GFP, or outer envelope protein of 24 kDa–GFP at high levels led to the formation of punctate, circular, and tubular membrane protrusions. Expression of inner membrane proteins such as translocase of inner chloroplast membrane 20, isoform II (Tic20-II)–GFP led to membrane protrusions including invaginations. Using increasing amounts of DNA for transfection, we could show that the frequency, size, and intensity of these protrusions increased with protein concentration. The membrane deformations were absent after cycloheximide treatment. Co-expression of CHUP1-TM–Cherry and Tic20-II–GFP led to membrane protrusions of various shapes and sizes including some stromule-like structures, for which several functions have been proposed. Interestingly, some structures seemed to contain both proteins, while others seem to contain one protein exclusively, indicating that outer and inner envelope dynamics might be regulated independently. While it was more difficult to investigate the effects of high expression levels of membrane proteins on mitochondrial membrane shapes using confocal imaging, it was striking that the expression of the outer membrane protein Tom20 led to more elongate mitochondria. We discuss that the effect of protein concentrations on membrane structure is possibly caused by an imbalance in the lipid to protein ratio and may be involved in a signaling pathway regulating membrane biogenesis. Finally, the observed phenomenon provides a valuable experimental approach to investigate the relationship between lipid synthesis and membrane protein expression in future studies.
- Structural and functional analysis of the archaeal endonuclease Nob1 (2011)
- Eukaryotic ribosome biogenesis requires the concerted action of numerous ribosome assembly factors, for most of which structural and functional information is currently lacking. Nob1, which can be identified in eukaryotes and archaea, is required for the final maturation of the small subunit ribosomal RNA in yeast by catalyzing cleavage at site D after export of the preribosomal subunit into the cytoplasm. Here, we show that this also holds true for Nob1 from the archaeon Pyrococcus horikoshii, which efficiently cleaves RNA-substrates containing the D-site of the preribosomal RNA in a manganese-dependent manner. The structure of PhNob1 solved by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed a PIN domain common with many nucleases and a zinc ribbon domain, which are structurally connected by a flexible linker. We show that amino acid residues required for substrate binding reside in the PIN domain whereas the zinc ribbon domain alone is sufficient to bind helix 40 of the small subunit rRNA. This suggests that the zinc ribbon domain acts as an anchor point for the protein on the nascent subunit positioning it in the proximity of the cleavage site.
- 40S ribosome biogenesis co-factors are essential for gametophyte and embryo development (2013)
- Ribosome biogenesis is well described in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In contrast only very little information is available on this pathway in plants. This study presents the characterization of five putative protein co-factors of ribosome biogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana, namely Rrp5, Pwp2, Nob1, Enp1 and Noc4. The characterization of the proteins in respect to localization, enzymatic activity and association with pre-ribosomal complexes is shown. Additionally, analyses of T-DNA insertion mutants aimed to reveal an involvement of the plant co-factors in ribosome biogenesis. The investigated proteins localize mainly to the nucleolus or the nucleus, and atEnp1 and atNob1 co-migrate with 40S pre-ribosomal complexes. The analysis of T-DNA insertion lines revealed that all proteins are essential in Arabidopsis thaliana and mutant plants show alterations of rRNA intermediate abundance already in the heterozygous state. The most significant alteration was observed in the NOB1 T-DNA insertion line where the P-A3 fragment, a 23S-like rRNA precursor, accumulated. The transmission of the T-DNA through the male and female gametophyte was strongly inhibited indicating a high importance of ribosome co-factor genes in the haploid stages of plant development. Additionally impaired embryogenesis was observed in some mutant plant lines. All results support an involvement of the analyzed proteins in ribosome biogenesis but differences in rRNA processing, gametophyte and embryo development suggested an alternative regulation in plants.