A family of S-methylmethionine-dependent thiol/selenol methyltransferases. Role in selenium tolerance and evolutionary relation. (1/693)

Several plant species can tolerate high concentrations of selenium in the environment, and they accumulate organoselenium compounds. One of these compounds is Se-methylselenocysteine, synthesized by a number of species from the genus Astragalus (Fabaceae), like A. bisulcatus. An enzyme has been previously isolated from this organism that catalyzes methyl transfer from S-adenosylmethionine to selenocysteine. To elucidate the role of the enzyme in selenium tolerance, the cDNA coding for selenocysteine methyltransferase from A. bisulcatus was cloned and sequenced. Data base searches revealed the existence of several apparent homologs of hitherto unassigned function. The gene for one of them, yagD from Escherichia coli, was cloned, and the protein was overproduced and purified. A functional analysis showed that the YagD protein catalyzes methylation of homocysteine, selenohomocysteine, and selenocysteine with S-adenosylmethionine and S-methylmethionine as methyl group donors. S-Methylmethionine was now shown to be also the physiological methyl group donor for the A. bisulcatus selenocysteine methyltransferase. A model system was set up in E. coli which demonstrated that expression of the plant and, although to a much lesser degree, of the bacterial methyltransferase gene increases selenium tolerance and strongly reduces unspecific selenium incorporation into proteins, provided that S-methylmethionine is present in the medium. It is postulated that the selenocysteine methyltransferase under selective pressure developed from an S-methylmethionine-dependent thiol/selenol methyltransferase.  (+info)

Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. III. Incomplete microspore division. (2/693)

During the microspore division in Datura innoxia, the mitotic spindle is oriented in planes both perpendicular (PE) and oblique (OB) to the spore wall against which the nucleus is situated. However, irrespective of polarity, the usual type of hemispherical wall is laid down at cytokinesis and isolates the generative cell from the rest of the pollen grain (type A). In PE spores the vegetative nucleus initially occupies a central position in the pollen grain, whereas in OB spores the vegetative nucleus lies at the periphery of the grain close to the generative cell. In anther cultures initiated just before the microspore division is due to take place, no marked change can be observed in either orientation or symmetry of the mitotic spindle when the spores divide. In some, however, cytokinesis is disrupted and deposition of the hemispherical wall arrested. In the absence of a complete wall, differentiation of the generative cell cannot take place and binucleate pollen grains are formed having 2 vegetative-type nuclei (type B). The 2 nuclei in the B pollens are always situated against the pollen-grain wall, suggesting that the disruption phenomenon is related to the OB spores. The incomplete wall always makes contact with the intine on the intine-side of the spindle. Wall material may be represented merely as short stubs projecting out from the intine into the cytoplasm, in which event the 2 nuclei lie close to each other and are separated by only a narrow zone of cytoplasm. In other grains the wall is partially developed between the nuclei and terminates at varying distances from the tonoplast; in these, the nuclei are separated by a wider zone of cytoplasm. The significance of these binucleate grains in pollen embryogenesis is discussed.  (+info)

Calcein as a fluorescent probe for ferric iron. Application to iron nutrition in plant cells. (3/693)

The recent use of calcein (CA) as a fluorescent probe for cellular iron has been shown to reflect the nutritional status of iron in mammalian cells (Breuer, W., Epsztejn, S., and Cabantchik, Z. I. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 24209-24215). CA was claimed to be a chemosensor for iron(II), to measure the labile iron pool and the concentration of cellular free iron(II). We first study here the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of iron binding by CA. Chelation of a first iron(III) involves one aminodiacetic arm and a phenol. The overall stability constant log beta111 of FeIIICAH is 33. 9. The free metal ion concentration is pFeIII = 20.3. A (FeIII)2 CA complex can be formed. A reversible iron(III) exchange from FeIIICAH to citrate and nitrilotriacetic acid is evidenced when these ligands are present in large excess. The kinetics of iron(III) exchange by CA is compatible with metabolic studies. The low reduction potential of FeIIICAH shows that the ferric form is highly stabilized. CA fluorescence is quenched by 85% after FeIII chelation but by only 20% using FeII. Real time iron nutrition by Arabidopsis thaliana cells has been measured by fluorimetry, and the iron buffer FeIIICAH + CA was used as source of iron. As a siderophore, FeIIICAH promotes cell growth and regreening of iron-deficient cells more rapidly than FeIIIEDTA. We conclude that CA is a good chemosensor for iron(III) in cells and biological fluids, but not for Fe(II). We discuss the interest of quantifying iron buffers in biochemical studies of iron, in vitro as well as in cells.  (+info)

The movement of coiled bodies visualized in living plant cells by the green fluorescent protein. (4/693)

Coiled bodies are nuclear organelles that contain components of at least three RNA-processing pathways: pre-mRNA splicing, histone mRNA 3'- maturation, and pre-rRNA processing. Their function remains unknown. However, it has been speculated that coiled bodies may be sites of splicing factor assembly and/or recycling, play a role in histone mRNA 3'-processing, or act as nuclear transport or sorting structures. To study the dynamics of coiled bodies in living cells, we have stably expressed a U2B"-green fluorescent protein fusion in tobacco BY-2 cells and in Arabidopsis plants. Time-lapse confocal microscopy has shown that coiled bodies are mobile organelles in plant cells. We have observed movements of coiled bodies in the nucleolus, in the nucleoplasm, and from the periphery of the nucleus into the nucleolus, which suggests a transport function for coiled bodies. Furthermore, we have observed coalescence of coiled bodies, which suggests a mechanism for the decrease in coiled body number during the cell cycle. Deletion analysis of the U2B" gene construct has shown that the first RNP-80 motif is sufficient for localization to the coiled body.  (+info)

Mechanically induced avoidance response of chloroplasts in fern protonemal cells. (5/693)

Cell response to mechanical stimulation was investigated at a subcellular level in protonemal cells of the fern Adiantum capillus-veneris L. by pressing a small part of the cell with a microcapillary. In cells receiving local stimulation, the chloroplasts moved away from the site of stimulation, whereas the nuclei failed to show such avoidance movement. Mechanical stimulation for a period as short as 0.3 min was enough to induce the avoidance response to a maximal level. The avoidance movement of chloroplasts started within 30 min and the plateau level of avoidance was attained around 2 h after stimulation. By tracing the movement of chloroplasts during the response, it was shown that the mobility of chloroplasts near the stimulation site increased transiently within 1 h after the stimulation. After 2 to 3 h, it slowed down to the control level without stimulation. The avoidance response was inhibited by 0.1 mM cytochalasin B and 25 mM 2, 3-butanedione monoxime but not by 3.3 microM amiprophosmethyl or 5 mM colchicine. These findings indicate that the protonemal cells were very sensitive to mechanical stimulation and that chloroplasts moved away from the mechanically stimulated site through the actomyosin motile system.  (+info)

Mannose induces an endonuclease responsible for DNA laddering in plant cells. (6/693)

The effect of D-mannose (Man) on plant cells was studied in two different systems: Arabidopsis roots and maize (Zea mays) suspension-cultured cells. In both systems, exposure to D-Man was associated with a subset of features characteristic of apoptosis, as assessed by oligonucleosomal fragmentation and microscopy analysis. Furthermore, D-Man induced the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. The specificity of D-Man was evaluated by comparing the effects of diastereomers such as L-Man, D-glucose, and D-galactose. Of these treatments, only D-Man caused a reduction in final fresh weight with concomitant oligonucleosomal fragmentation. Man-induced DNA laddering coincided with the activation of a DNase in maize cytosolic extracts and with the appearance of single 35-kD band detected using an in-gel DNase assay. The DNase activity was further confirmed by using covalently closed circular plasmid DNA as a substrate. It appears that D-Man, a safe and readily accessible compound, offers remarkable features for the study of apoptosis in plant cells.  (+info)

Stromal processing peptidase binds transit peptides and initiates their ATP-dependent turnover in chloroplasts. (7/693)

A stromal processing peptidase (SPP) cleaves a broad range of precursors targeted to the chloroplast, yielding proteins for numerous biosynthetic pathways in different compartments. SPP contains a signature zinc-binding motif, His-X-X-Glu-His, that places it in a metallopeptidase family which includes the mitochondrial processing peptidase. Here, we have investigated the mechanism of cleavage by SPP, a late, yet key event in the import pathway. Recombinant SPP removed the transit peptide from a variety of precursors in a single endoproteolytic step. Whereas the mature protein was immediately released, the transit peptide remained bound to SPP. SPP converted the transit peptide to a subfragment form that it no longer recognized. We conclude that SPP contains a specific binding site for the transit peptide and additional proteolysis by SPP triggers its release. A stable interaction between SPP and an intact transit peptide was directly demonstrated using a newly developed binding assay. Unlike recombinant SPP, a chloroplast extract rapidly degraded both the transit peptide and subfragment. A new degradative activity, distinguishable from SPP, was identified that is ATP- and metal-dependent. Our results indicate a regulated sequence of events as SPP functions during precursor import, and demonstrate a previously unrecognized ATP-requirement for transit peptide turnover.  (+info)

Biosynthesis and immunolocalization of Lewis a-containing N-glycans in the plant cell. (8/693)

We recently demonstrated the presence of a new asparagine-linked complex glycan on plant glycoproteins that harbors the Lewis a (Lea), or Galbeta(1-3)[Fucalpha(1-4)]GlcNAc, epitope, which in mammalian cells plays an important role in cell-to-cell recognition. Here we show that the monoclonal antibody JIM 84, which is widely used as a Golgi marker in light and electron microscopy of plant cells, is specific for the Lea antigen. This antigen is present on glycoproteins of a number of flowering and non-flowering plants, but is less apparent in the Cruciferae, the family that includes Arabidopsis. Lea-containing oligosaccharides are found in the Golgi apparatus, and our immunocytochemical experiments suggest that it is synthesized in the trans-most part of the Golgi apparatus. Lea epitopes are abundantly present on extracellular glycoproteins, either soluble or membrane bound, but are never observed on vacuolar glycoproteins. Double-labeling experiments suggest that vacuolar glycoproteins do not bypass the late Golgi compartments where Lea is built, and that the absence of the Lea epitope from vacuolar glycoproteins is probably the result of its degradation by glycosidases en route to or after arrival in the vacuole.  (+info)