Pinpointing the location of a new class of plant proteins

A study has mapped the cellular location of newly discovered proteins at the heart of protein transport networks required for plant growth and survival.

Plant-specific proteins of the “Phytolongine family” are localised across trafficking networks and may be helping to deliver important cargos to specific destinations within the cell.

The study was carried out by Dr Carine de Marcos Lousa (Leeds Beckett University/University of Leeds, UK) and international collaborators in France (University of Bordeaux) and Italy (University of Padova). Results are published in the Journal of Experimental Botany, an Oxford University Press Journal. The authors also contributed to the front cover of the issue.

Trafficking of proteins from one point of the cells to another is essential to building cells in organisms across all kingdoms. Protein trafficking in cells is like delivering mail from the post office to your personal letter box. To deliver the right mail to the right home, three main components are needed: a specific address (sorting signals), a working force (trafficking machinery) with specialised personnel (regulatory proteins).

Phytolongine proteins are plant specific sub-class of a large family of regulatory “SNARE proteins”, which are involved in the trafficking machinery in most organisms, including humans.

The research has also identified important motifs within the phytolongine proteins that determine the delivery address of these proteins.

Although the exact function of phytolongines are unknown yet, this study opens new opportunities to better understand the trafficking of proteins in plants and therefore potentially contribute to our general knowledge on crop plant growth.

The original article is open access and can be viewed by clicking on the link here:

The front cover of this issue can be accessed by clicking on the link:

This post was written in collaboration with Dr Carine de Marcos Lousa, who is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the Leeds Beckett University, and a Visiting Researcher at the University of Leeds.

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