Plant Science


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0 Q&A 766 Views May 20, 2024

Agrobacterium-mediated transient gene expression in Nicotiana benthamiana is widely used to study gene function in plants. One dramatic phenotype that is frequently screened for is cell death. Here, we present a simplified protocol for Agrobacterium-mediated transient gene expression by infiltration. Compared with current methods, the novel protocol can be done without a centrifuge or spectrometer, thereby suitable for K-12 outreach programs as well as rapidly identifying genes that induce cell death.

0 Q&A 597 Views May 5, 2024

Ribosomes are an archetypal ribonucleoprotein assembly. Due to ribosomal evolution and function, r-proteins share specific physicochemical similarities, making the riboproteome particularly suited for tailored proteome profiling methods. Moreover, the structural proteome of ribonucleoprotein assemblies reflects context-dependent functional features. Thus, characterizing the state of riboproteomes provides insights to uncover the context-dependent functionality of r-protein rearrangements, as they relate to what has been termed the ribosomal code, a concept that parallels that of the histone code, in which chromatin rearrangements influence gene expression. Compared to high-resolution ribosomal structures, omics methods lag when it comes to offering customized solutions to close the knowledge gap between structure and function that currently exists in riboproteomes. Purifying the riboproteome and subsequent shot-gun proteomics typically involves protein denaturation and digestion with proteases. The results are relative abundances of r-proteins at the ribosome population level. We have previously shown that, to gain insight into the stoichiometry of individual proteins, it is necessary to measure by proteomics bound r-proteins and normalize their intensities by the sum of r-protein abundances per ribosomal complex, i.e., 40S or 60S subunits. These calculations ensure that individual r-protein stoichiometries represent the fraction of each family/paralog relative to the complex, effectively revealing which r-proteins become substoichiometric in specific physiological scenarios. Here, we present an optimized method to profile the riboproteome of any organism as well as the synthesis rates of r-proteins determined by stable isotope-assisted mass spectrometry. Our method purifies the r-proteins in a reversibly denatured state, which offers the possibility for combined top-down and bottom-up proteomics. Our method offers a milder native denaturation of the r-proteome via a chaotropic GuHCl solution as compared with previous studies that use irreversible denaturation under highly acidic conditions to dissociate rRNA and r-proteins. As such, our method is better suited to conserve post-translational modifications (PTMs). Subsequently, our method carefully considers the amino acid composition of r-proteins to select an appropriate protease for digestion. We avoid non-specific protease cleavage by increasing the pH of our standardized r-proteome dilutions that enter the digestion pipeline and by using a digestion buffer that ensures an optimal pH for a reliable protease digestion process. Finally, we provide the R package ProtSynthesis to study the fractional synthesis rates of r-proteins. The package uses physiological parameters as input to determine peptide or protein fractional synthesis rates. Once the physiological parameters are measured, our equations allow a fair comparison between treatments that alter the biological equilibrium state of the system under study. Our equations correct peptide enrichment using enrichments in soluble amino acids, growth rates, and total protein accumulation. As a means of validation, our pipeline fails to find “false” enrichments in non-labeled samples while also filtering out proteins with multiple unique peptides that have different enrichment values, which are rare in our datasets. These two aspects reflect the accuracy of our tool. Our method offers the possibility of elucidating individual r-protein family/paralog abundances, PTM status, fractional synthesis rates, and dynamic assembly into ribosomal complexes if top-down and bottom-up proteomic approaches are used concomitantly, taking one step further into mapping the native and dynamic status of the r-proteome onto high-resolution ribosome structures. In addition, our method can be used to study the proteomes of all macromolecular assemblies that can be purified, although purification is the limiting step, and the efficacy and accuracy of the proteases may be limited depending on the digestion requirements.

0 Q&A 1145 Views Sep 5, 2023

Biomolecular condensates are membrane-less assemblies of proteins and nucleic acids formed through liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS). These assemblies are known to temporally and spatially regulate numerous biological activities and cellular processes in plants and animals. In vitro phase separation assay using recombinant proteins represents one of the standard ways to examine the properties of proteins undergoing LLPS. Here, we present a detailed protocol to investigate in vitro LLPS using in vitro expressed and purified recombinant proteins.

0 Q&A 277 Views Aug 20, 2023

Chloroplast NADP-dependent malate dehydrogenase (NADP-MDH) is a redox regulated enzyme playing an important role in plant redox homeostasis. Leaf NADP-MDH activation level is considered a proxy for the chloroplast redox status. NADP-MDH enzyme activity is commonly assayed spectrophotometrically by following oxaloacetate-dependent NADPH oxidation at 340 nm. We have developed a plate-adapted protocol to monitor NADP-MDH activity allowing faster data production and lower reagent consumption compared to the classic cuvette format of a spectrophotometer. We provide a detailed procedure to assay NADP-MDH activity and measure the enzyme activation state in purified protein preparations or in leaf extracts. This protocol is provided together with a semi-automatized data analysis procedure using an R script.

0 Q&A 781 Views Aug 20, 2023

Nitrate (NO3) is an essential element and nutrient for plants and animals. Despite extensive studies on the regulation of nitrate uptake and downstream responses in various cells, our knowledge of the distribution of nitrogen forms in different root cell types and their cellular compartments is still limited. Previous physiological models have relied on in vitro biochemistry and metabolite level analysis, which limits the ability to differentiate between cell types and compartments. Here, to address this, we report a nuclear-localized, genetically encoded fluorescent biosensor, which we named nlsNitraMeter3.0, for the quantitative visualization of nitrate concentration and distribution at the cellular level in Arabidopsis thaliana. This biosensor was specifically designed for nitrate measurements, not nitrite. Through genetic engineering to create and select sensors using yeast, Xenopus oocyte, and Arabidopsis expression systems, we developed a reversible and highly specific nitrate sensor. This method, combined with fluorescence imaging systems such as confocal microscopy, allows for the understanding and monitoring of nitrate transporter activity in plant root cells in a minimally invasive manner. Furthermore, this approach enables the functional analysis of nitrate transporters and the measurement of nitrate distribution in plants, providing a valuable tool for plant biology research. In summary, we provide a protocol for sensor development and a biosensor that can be used to monitor nitrate levels in plants.

Key features

• This protocol builds upon the concept of FRET biosensors for in vivo visualization of spatiotemporal nitrate levels at a cellular resolution.

• Nitrate levels can be quantified utilizing the biosensor in conjunction with either a plate reader or a fluorescence microscope.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 408 Views Aug 20, 2023

Pectin is a complex polysaccharide present in the plant cell wall, whose composition is constantly remodelled to adapt to environmental or developmental changes. Mutants with altered pectin composition have been reported to exhibit altered stress or pathogen resistance. Understanding the link between mutant phenotypes and their pectin composition requires robust analytical methods to detect changes in the relative monosaccharide composition. Here, we describe a quick and efficient gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS)-based method that allows the differential analysis of pectin monosaccharide composition in plants under different conditions or between mutant plants and their respective wild types. Pectin is extracted from seed mucilage or from the alcohol-insoluble residue prepared from leaves or other organs and is subsequently hydrolysed with trifluoracetic acid. The resulting acidic and neutral monosaccharides are then derivatised and measured simultaneously by GC–MS.

Key features

• Comparative analysis of monosaccharide content in Arabidopsis-derived pectin between different genotypes or different treatments.

• Procedures for two sources of pectin are shown: seed coat mucilage and alcohol-insoluble residue.

• Allows quick analyses of neutral and acidic monosaccharides simultaneously.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 518 Views Aug 5, 2023

The chloroplast lumen contains at least 80 proteins whose function and regulation are not yet fully understood. Isolating the chloroplast lumen enables the characterization of the lumenal proteins. The lumen can be isolated in several ways through thylakoid disruption using a Yeda press or sonication, or through thylakoid solubilization using a detergent. Here, we present a simple procedure to isolate thylakoid lumen by sonication using leaves of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The step-by-step procedure is as follows: thylakoids are isolated from chloroplasts, loosely associated thylakoid surface proteins from the stroma are removed, and the lumen fraction is collected in the supernatant following sonication and centrifugation. Compared to other procedures, this method is easy to implement and saves time, plant material, and cost. Lumenal proteins are obtained in high quantity and purity; however, some stromal membrane–associated proteins are released to the lumen fraction, so this method could be further adapted if needed by decreasing sonication power and/or time.

1 Q&A 447 Views Jul 5, 2023

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a model organism for various processes, from photosynthesis to cilia biogenesis, and a great chassis to learn more about biofuel production. This is due to the width of molecular tools available, which have recently expanded with the development of a modular cloning system but, most importantly, with CRISPR/Cas9 editing now being possible. This technique has proven to be more efficient in the absence of a cell wall by using specific mutants or by digesting Chlamydomonas cell wall using the mating-specific metalloprotease autolysin (also called gametolysin). Multiple protocols have been used and shared for autolysin production from Chlamydomonas cells; however, they provide very inconsistent results, which hinders the capacity to routinely perform CRISPR mutagenesis. Here, we propose a simple protocol for autolysin production requiring transfer of cells from plates into a dense liquid suspension, gametogenesis by overnight incubation before mixing of gametes, and enzyme harvesting after 2 h. This protocol has shown to be highly efficient for autolysin production regardless of precise control over cell density at any step. Requiring a minimal amount of labor, it will provide a simple, ready-to-go approach to produce an enzyme critical for the generation of targeted mutants.

Graphical overview

Workflow for autolysin production from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

0 Q&A 417 Views Jun 5, 2023

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants. Green algae usually store excess P as polyphosphate (polyP) in the vacuoles. PolyP, a linear chain of three to hundreds of phosphate residues linked by phosphoanhydride bonds, is important for cell growth. Based on the previous method of polyP purification with silica gel columns (Werner et al., 2005; Canadell et al., 2016) in yeast cells, we developed a protocol to purify and determine the total P and polyP in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by a quick, simplified, and quantitative method. We use hydrochloric acid or nitric acid to digest polyP or total P in dried cells and analyze P content using the malachite green colorimetric method. This method may be applied to other microalgae.

0 Q&A 556 Views Mar 5, 2023

The vacuole is one of the most conspicuous organelles in plant cells, participating in a series of physiological processes, such as storage of ions and compartmentalization of heavy metals. Isolation of intact vacuoles and elemental analysis provides a powerful method to investigate the functions and regulatory mechanisms of tonoplast transporters. Here, we present a protocol to isolate intact vacuoles from Arabidopsis root protoplasts and analyze their elemental content by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In this protocol, we summarize how to prepare the protoplast, extract the vacuole, and analyze element concentration. This protocol has been applied to explore the function and regulatory mechanisms of tonoplast manganese (Mn) transporter MTP8, which is antagonistically regulated by CPK4/5/6/11 and CBL2/3-CIPK3/9/26. This protocol is not only suitable for exploring the functions and regulatory mechanisms of tonoplast transporters, but also for researching other tonoplast proteins.

Graphical abstract

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