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Plant Cell. Feb 1998; 10(2): 267–282.
PMCID: PMC143980

AtMRP2, an Arabidopsis ATP binding cassette transporter able to transport glutathione S-conjugates and chlorophyll catabolites: functional comparisons with Atmrp1.


Three ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter-like activities directed toward large amphipathic organic anions have recently been identified on the vacuolar membrane of plant cells. These are the Mg-ATP-energized, vanadate-inhibitable vacuolar accumulation of glutathione S-conjugates (GS conjugates), chlorophyll catabolites, and bile acids, respectively. Although each of these activities previously had been assigned to distinct pumps in native plant membranes, we describe here the molecular cloning, physical mapping, and heterologous expression of a gene, AtMRP2, from Arabidopsis thaliana that encodes a multispecific ABC transporter competent in the transport of both GS conjugates and chlorophyll catabolites. Unlike its isoform, AtMRP1, which transports the model Brassica napus chlorophyll catabolite transporter substrate Bn-NCC-1 at low efficiency, heterologously expressed AtMRP2 has the facility for simultaneous high-efficiency parallel transport of GS conjugates and Bn-NCC-1. The properties of AtMRP2 therefore establish a basis for the manipulation of two previously identified plant ABC transporter activities and provide an explanation for how the comparable transporter in native plant membranes would be systematically mistaken for two distinct transporters. These findings are discussed with respect to the functional organization of AtMRP2, the inability of AtMRP2 and AtMRP1 to transport the model bile acid transporter substrate taurocholate (despite the pronounced sensitivity of both to direct inhibition by this agent), the differential patterns of expression of their genes in the intact plant, and the high capacity of AtMRP2 for the transport of glutathionated herbicides and anthocyanins.

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