Plant Science


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 600 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 279 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 519 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 448 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 421 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 991 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:

0 Q&A 1495 Views Oct 5, 2022

A number of molecules, such as secreted peptides, have been shown to mediate root-to-shoot signaling in response to various conditions. The xylem is a pathway for water and molecules that are translocated from roots to shoots. Therefore, collecting and analyzing xylem exudates is an efficient approach to study root-to-shoot long-distance signaling. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for the collection of xylem exudate from the model plant Arabidopsis and the crop plant soybean (Glycine max). In this protocol, we can collect xylem exudate from plants cultured under normal growth conditions without using special equipment.

Graphical abstract:

Xylem exudates on the cut surfaces of an Arabidopsis hypocotyl and a soybean internode.

0 Q&A 1878 Views May 20, 2022

Protein–lipid interactions play important roles in many biological processes, including metabolism, signaling, and transport; however, computational and structural analyses often fail to predict such interactions, and determining which lipids participate in these interactions remains challenging. In vitro assays to assess the physical interaction between a protein of interest and a panel of phospholipids provide crucial information for predicting the functionality of these interactions in vivo. In this protocol, which we developed in the context of evaluating protein–lipid binding of the Arabidopsis thaliana florigen FLOWERING LOCUS T, we describe four independent in vitro experiments to determine the interaction of a protein with phospholipids: lipid–protein overlay assays, liposome binding assays, biotin-phospholipid pull-down assays, and fluorescence polarization assays. These complementary assays allow the researcher to test whether the protein of interest interacts with lipids in the test panel, identify the relevant lipids, and assess the strength of the interaction.

0 Q&A 2219 Views Apr 20, 2022

The protein expression and purification process is an essential initial step for biochemical analysis of a protein of interest. Traditionally, heterologous protein expression systems (such as E. coli, yeast, insect cells, and cell-free) are employed for plant protein expression, although a plant expression system is often desirable for plant proteins, to ensure proper post-translational modifications. Here, we describe a method to express and purify the ectodomain of one of the leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase called CARD1/HPCA1, from Nicotiana benthamiana apoplastic fluid. First, we express His-tagged CARD1 ectodomain in the apoplastic space of N. benthamiana by the Agroinfiltration method. Then, we collect apoplastic fluids from the leaves and purify the His-tagged protein by Ni2+-affinity chromatography. In addition to plant-specific post-translational modifications, protein accumulated in the plant apoplastic space, rather than in the cytosolic space, should be kept under an oxidizing environment. Such an environment will help to maintain the property of intrinsic disulfide bonds in the protein of interest. Further, purification from the apoplastic fluids, rather than the total protein extract, will significantly reduce contaminants (for instance RuBisCO) during protein extraction, and simplify downstream processes. We envisage that our system will be useful for expressing various plant proteins, particularly the apoplastic or extracellular regions of membrane proteins.

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to allow the storage of cookies on your computer.