Master of Science, Universita Degli Studi Di Milano (2006)
Doctorat, EcoleNormaleSuperieuredeLyon (2010)
Wolf Frommer, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Eukaryotic sugar transporters of the MFS and SWEET superfamilies consist of 12 and 7 α-helical transmembrane domains (TMs), respectively. Structural analyses indicate that MFS transporters evolved from a series of tandem duplications of an ancestral 3-TM unit. SWEETs are heptahelical proteins carrying a tandem repeat of 3-TM separated by a single TM. Here, we show that prokaryotes have ancestral SWEET homologs with only 3-TM and that the Bradyrhizobium japonicum SemiSWEET1, like Arabidopsis SWEET11, mediates sucrose transport. Eukaryotic SWEETs most likely evolved by internal duplication of the 3-TM, suggesting that SemiSWEETs form oligomers to create a functional pore. However, it remains elusive whether the 7-TM SWEETs are the functional unit or require oligomerization to form a pore sufficiently large to allow for sucrose passage. Split ubiquitin yeast two-hybrid and split GFP assays indicate that Arabidopsis SWEETs homo- and heterooligomerize. We examined mutant SWEET variants for negative dominance to test if oligomerization is necessary for function. Mutation of the conserved Y57 or G58 in SWEET1 led to loss of activity. Coexpression of the defective mutants with functional A. thaliana SWEET1 inhibited glucose transport, indicating that homooligomerization is necessary for function. Collectively, these data imply that the basic unit of SWEETs, similar to MFS sugar transporters, is a 3-TM unit and that a functional transporter contains at least four such domains. We hypothesize that the functional unit of the SWEET family of transporters possesses a structure resembling the 12-TM MFS structure, however, with a parallel orientation of the 3-TM unit.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1311244110
View details for PubMedID 24027245
Revolutionary new technologies, namely in the areas of DNA sequencing and molecular imaging, continue to impact new discoveries in plant science and beyond. For decades we have been able to determine properties of enzymes, receptors and transporters in vitro or in heterologous systems, and more recently been able to analyze their regulation at the transcriptional level, to use GFP reporters for obtaining insights into cellular and subcellular localization, and tp measure ion and metabolite levels with unprecedented precision using mass spectrometry. However, we lack key information on the location and dynamics of the substrates of enzymes, receptors and transporters, and on the regulation of these proteins in their cellular environment. Such information can now be obtained by transitioning from in vitro to in vivo biochemistry using biosensors. Genetically encoded fluorescent protein-based sensors for ion and metabolite dynamics provide highly resolved spatial and temporal information, and are complemented by sensors for pH, redox, voltage, and tension. They serve as powerful tools for identifying missing processes (e.g., glucose transport across ER membranes), components (e.g., SWEET sugar transporters for cellular sugar efflux), and signaling networks (e.g., from systematic screening of mutants that affect sugar transport or cytosolic and vacuolar pH). Combined with the knowledge of properties of enzymes and transporters and their interactions with the regulatory machinery, biosensors promise to be key diagnostic tools for systems and synthetic biology.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pbi.2013.02.010
View details for PubMedID 23587939
The pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) domain is an RNA binding domain allowing members of the PPR superfamily to participate in post-transcriptional processing of organellar RNA. Loss of PPR8522 from maize (Zea mays) confers an embryo-specific (emb) phenotype. The emb8522 mutation was isolated in an active Mutator (Mu) population and co-segregation analysis revealed that it was tightly linked to a MuDR insertion in the first exon of PPR8522. Independent evidence that disruption of PPR8522 caused the emb phenotype was provided by fine mapping to a region of 116kb containing no other gene than PPR8522 and complementation of the emb8522 mutant by a PPR8522 cDNA. The deduced PPR8522 amino acid sequence of 832 amino acids contains 10 PPR repeats and a chloroplast target peptide, the function of which was experimentally demonstrated by transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana. Whereas mutant endosperm is apparently normal, mutant embryos deviate from normal development as early as 3 days after pollination, are reduced in size, exhibit more or less severe morphological aberrations depending on the genetic background, and generally do not germinate. The emb8522 mutation is the first to associate the loss of a PPR gene with an embryo-lethal phenotype in maize. Analyses of mutant plantlets generated by embryo-rescue experiments indicate that emb8522 also affects vegetative plant growth and chloroplast development. The loss of chloroplast transcription dependent on plastid-encoded RNA polymerase is the likely cause for the lack of an organized thylakoid network and an albino, seedling-lethal phenotype.
View details for DOI 10.1093/jxb/ers232
View details for Web of Science ID 000309919500010
View details for PubMedID 22945943
RNA editing plays an important role in organelle gene expression in various organisms, including flowering plants, changing the nucleotide information at precise sites. Here, we present evidence that the maize (Zea mays) nuclear gene Pentatricopeptide repeat 2263 (PPR2263) encoding a DYW domain-containing PPR protein is required for RNA editing in the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase5 (nad5) and cytochrome b (cob) transcripts at the nad5-1550 and cob-908 sites, respectively. Its putative ortholog, MITOCHONDRIAL EDITING FACTOR29, fulfills the same role in Arabidopsis thaliana. Both the maize and the Arabidopsis proteins show preferential localization to mitochondria but are also detected in chloroplasts. In maize, the corresponding ppr2263 mutation causes growth defects in kernels and seedlings. Embryo and endosperm growth are reduced, leading to the production of small but viable kernels. Mutant plants have narrower and shorter leaves, exhibit a strong delay in flowering time, and generally do not reach sexual maturity. Whereas mutant chloroplasts do not have major defects, mutant mitochondria lack complex III and are characterized by a compromised ultrastructure, increased transcript levels, and the induction of alternative oxidase. The results suggest that mitochondrial RNA editing at the cob-908 site is necessary for mitochondrion biogenesis, cell division, and plant growth in maize.
View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.091074
View details for Web of Science ID 000302131000022
View details for PubMedID 22319053
Plants transport fixed carbon predominantly as sucrose, which is produced in mesophyll cells and imported into phloem cells for translocation throughout the plant. It is not known how sucrose migrates from sites of synthesis in the mesophyll to the phloem, or which cells mediate efflux into the apoplasm as a prerequisite for phloem loading by the SUT sucrose-H(+) (proton) cotransporters. Using optical sucrose sensors, we identified a subfamily of SWEET sucrose efflux transporters. AtSWEET11 and 12 localize to the plasma membrane of the phloem. Mutant plants carrying insertions in AtSWEET11 and 12 are defective in phloem loading, thus revealing a two-step mechanism of SWEET-mediated export from parenchyma cells feeding H(+)-coupled import into the sieve element-companion cell complex. We discuss how restriction of intercellular transport to the interface of adjacent phloem cells may be an effective mechanism to limit the availability of photosynthetic carbon in the leaf apoplasm in order to prevent pathogen infections.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1213351
View details for Web of Science ID 000299033100050
View details for PubMedID 22157085
The root functions as the physical anchor of the plant and is the organ responsible for uptake of water and mineral nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfate and trace elements that plants acquire from the soil. If we want to develop sustainable approaches to producing high crop yield, we need to better understand how the root develops, takes up a wide spectrum of nutrients, and interacts with symbiotic and pathogenic organisms. To accomplish these goals, we need to be able to explore roots in microscopic detail over time periods ranging from minutes to days. We developed the RootChip, a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)- based microfluidic device, which allows us to grow and image roots from Arabidopsis seedlings while avoiding any physical stress to roots during preparation for imaging(1) (Figure 1). The device contains a bifurcated channel structure featuring micromechanical valves to guide the fluid flow from solution inlets to each of the eight observation chambers(2). This perfusion system allows the root microenvironment to be controlled and modified with precision and speed. The volume of the chambers is approximately 400 nl, thus requiring only minimal amounts of test solution. Here we provide a detailed protocol for studying root biology on the RootChip using imaging-based approaches with real time resolution. Roots can be analyzed over several days using time lapse microscopy. Roots can be perfused with nutrient solutions or inhibitors, and up to eight seedlings can be analyzed in parallel. This system has the potential for a wide range of applications, including analysis of root growth in the presence or absence of chemicals, fluorescence-based analysis of gene expression, and the analysis of biosensors, e.g. FRET nanosensors(3).
View details for DOI 10.3791/4290
View details for PubMedID 22805296