Plant Science

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0 Q&A 206 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.

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0 Q&A 640 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.

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0 Q&A 1152 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 1433 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 1691 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.

1 Q&A 1364 Views Apr 5, 2022

The precise regulation of the homeostasis of the cellular proteome is critical for the appropriate growth and development of plants. It also allows the plants to respond to various environmental stresses, by modulating their biochemical and physiological aspects in a timely manner. Ubiquitination of cellular proteins is one of the major protein degradation routes for maintaining cellular protein homeostasis, and ubiquitin E3 ligases, components of ubiquitin ligase complexes, play an important role in the selective degradation of target proteins via substrate-specific interactions. Thus, understanding the role of E3 ligases and their substrate regulation uncovers their specific cellular and physiological functions. Here, we provide protocols for auto- and substrate-ubiquitination analyses that utilize the combination of in vitro purified E3 ubiquitin ligase proteins and immunoprecipitation.

0 Q&A 1176 Views Mar 20, 2022

Activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) is a chemoproteomics platform to assess the functional state of enzymes in complex biological systems. Over the two decades, ABPP has emerged from a gel-based to gel-free platform, for in-depth proteome analysis with enhanced resolution, sensitivity for target detection, and discovery of small molecule inhibitors. The gel-free format of ABPP coupled with advanced mass spectrometry is highly sensitive and provides more comprehensive knowledge for the targeted enzyme family than the gel-based method. ABPP strategy is applied across microbe, plant, and animal models. It can be performed both in vitro and in vivo studies, and there is no limitation on sample origin. Here, we report an ultrasensitive, gel-free format of ABPP called active site peptide profiling. This protocol describes the identification of authentic functional proteins, by tagging their active sites in a native biological system. It is high throughput in nature and helps enrich even low abundance functional proteins. Since protein identification is virtually based on a single peptide, the identified peptide should be a unique peptide to identify its parent protein. It can be performed in a facile manner and offers to consolidate identification of protein targets as well as the site of probe modification. We have validated this approach using a fluorophosphonate (FP) serine hydrolase probe in the native proteome of the cereal crop Oryza sativa.

Graphic abstract:

Serine hydrolase active site peptide profiling

0 Q&A 1349 Views Dec 20, 2021

Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) catalyzes a critical step in carbon metabolism in plants and bacteria, the irreversible reaction between bicarbonate and phosphoenolpyruvate to produce the C4 compound oxaloacetate. This enzyme is particularly important in the context of C4 photosynthesis, where it is the initial carbon-fixing enzyme. Many studies have used kinetic approaches to characterize the properties of PEPCs from different species, different post-translational states, and after mutagenesis. Most of these studies have worked at a fixed saturating concentration of bicarbonate. Controlling the concentration of bicarbonate is difficult at low concentrations because of equilibration with atmospheric CO2. We describe here a simple, repeatable, and gas-tight assay system for PEPC that allows bicarbonate concentrations to be controlled above ca. 50 µM.

0 Q&A 1939 Views Oct 20, 2021

Ascorbate (Vitamin C) fulfills various functions in plant photosynthesis and abiotic stress tolerance. The four key enzymes involved in the ascorbate-turnover pathway are ascorbate peroxidase, ascorbate oxidase, monodehydroascorbate reductase, and dehydroascorbate reductase. Several reports have shown the pivotal roles of these enzymes in plant development and stress tolerance. Therefore, reliable and rapid assay protocols are required for researchers to investigate their enzymatic activities during plant development and stress responses. Previously published methods for analyzing these enzymatic activities rely on cuvette spectrophotometers, which can only handle one sample per test, leading to a prolonged investigation. In this protocol, we employed a 96-well microplate reader to analyze at least eight samples with two technical replicates simultaneously. We analyzed two rice (Oryza sativa L.) genotypes with distinct ascorbate oxidase and dehydroascorbate reductase activities to demonstrate the assay process, including plant growth, sample preparation, reaction setup, and data analysis. Our protocol provides a high throughput method for investigating ascorbate turnover-related enzymatic activities in plants.

0 Q&A 1503 Views Oct 20, 2021

Lipids in biomembranes can control the structure and, therefore, the functionality of membrane-embedded protein complexes. Unraveling how the lipid composition determines the mode of operation of membrane proteins provides mechanistic insights into their functionality. We applied a proteoliposome technique for studying how proteins function in biomembranes. The incorporation of isolated membrane proteins in preformed liposomes made from a well-defined lipid composition (proteoliposomes) is a powerful tool for studying lipid-protein interactions. Over several decades, the proteoliposome technique was employed for many different membrane proteins. Recently, it was recognized that different lipid compositions control the light-harvesting functionality of the major photosynthetic light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) isolated from plant thylakoid membranes in vitro. This technique allows systematic examination of the role of so-called non-bilayer lipids on light-harvesting characteristics of LHCII. This protocol describes the isolation of LHCII from leaves and details a four-step procedure to incorporate the detergent-solubilized membrane protein in large unilamellar vesicles (LUV). The protocol was optimized to ensure a very high lipid/protein ratio, designed to specifically examine lipid-protein interactions by minimizing LHCII aggregation. The procedure provides structurally and functionally highly intact LHCII in a detergent-free lipid bilayer with a defined composition.

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