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J Exp Bot. 2005 Nov;56(421):2839-49. Epub 2005 Sep 12.

The autophagy-associated Atg8 gene family operates both under favourable growth conditions and under starvation stresses in Arabidopsis plants.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.

Abstract

Arabidopsis plants possess a family of nine AtAtg8 gene homologues of the yeast autophagy-associated Apg8/Aut7 gene. To gain insight into how these genes function in plants, first, the expression patterns of five AtAtg8 homologues were analysed in young Arabidopsis plants grown under favourable growth conditions or following exposure to prolonged darkness or sugar starvation. Promoters, plus the entire coding regions (exons and introns) of the AtAtg8 genes, were fused to the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene and transformed into Arabidopsis plants. In all plants, grown under favourable growth conditions, beta-glucuronidase staining was much more significant in roots than in shoots. Different genes showed distinct spatial and temporal expression patterns in roots. In some transgenic plants, beta-glucuronidase staining in leaves was induced by prolonged darkness or sugar starvation. Next, Arabidopsis plants were transformed with chimeric gene-encoding Atg8f protein fused to N-terminal green fluorescent protein and C-terminal haemagglutinin epitope tags. Analysis of these plants showed that, under favourable growth conditions, the Atg8f protein is efficiently processed and is localized to autophagosome-resembling structures, both in the cytosol and in the central vacuole, in a similar manner to its processing and localization under starvation stresses. Moreover, treatment with a cocktail of proteasome inhibitors did not prevent the turnover of this protein, implying that its turnover takes place in the vacuoles, as occurs in yeasts. The results suggest that, in plants, the cellular processes involving the Atg8 genes function efficiently in young, non-senescing tissues, both under favourable growth conditions and under starvation stresses.

PMID:
16157655
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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