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0 Q&A 886 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 229 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 621 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 321 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 423 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 325 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 345 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 427 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


0 Q&A 357 Views Feb 5, 2023

Proteases control plant growth and development by limited proteolysis of regulatory proteins at highly specific sites. This includes the processing of peptide hormone precursors to release the bioactive peptides as signaling molecules. The proteases involved in this process have long remained elusive. Confirmation of a candidate protease as a peptide precursor–processing enzyme requires the demonstration of protease-mediated precursor cleavage in vitro. In vitro cleavage assays rely on the availability of suitable substrates and the candidate protease with high purity. Here, we provide a protocol for the expression, purification, and characterization of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) phytaspases as candidate proteases for the processing of the phytosulfokine precursor. We also show how synthetic oligopeptide substrates can be used to demonstrate site-specific precursor cleavage.


Graphical abstract


0 Q&A 919 Views Nov 5, 2022

Cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) is a multi-domain protein that acts as a redox partner of cytochrome P450s. The CPR contains a flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)–binding domain, a flavin mononucleotide (FMN)-binding domain, and a connecting domain. To achieve catalytic events, the FMN-binding domain needs to move relative to the FAD-binding domain, and this high flexibility complicates structural determination in high-resolution by X-ray crystallography. Here, we demonstrate a seeding technique of sorghum CPR crystals for resolution improvement, which can be applied to other poorly diffracting protein crystals. Protein expression is completed using an E. coli cell line with a high protein yield and purified using chromatography techniques. Crystals are screened using an automated 96-well plating robot. Poorly diffracting crystals are originally grown using a hanging drop method from successful trials observed in sitting drops. A macro seeding technique is applied by transferring crystal clusters to fresh conditions without nucleation to increase crystal size. Prior to diffraction, a dehydration technique is applied by serial transfer to higher precipitant concentrations. Thus, an increase in resolution by 7 Å is achieved by limiting the inopportune effects of the flexibility inherent to the domains of CPR, and secondary structures of SbCPR2c are observed.


Graphical abstract:







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