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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e33042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033042. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

A putative plant aminophospholipid flippase, the Arabidopsis P4 ATPase ALA1, localizes to the plasma membrane following association with a β-subunit.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Centre for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease, PUMPKIN, University of Copenhagen, Danish National Research Foundation, Frederiksberg, Denmark.


Plasma membranes in eukaryotic cells display asymmetric lipid distributions with aminophospholipids concentrated in the inner leaflet and sphingolipids in the outer leaflet. This unequal distribution of lipids between leaflets is, amongst several proposed functions, hypothesized to be a prerequisite for endocytosis. P4 ATPases, belonging to the P-type ATPase superfamily of pumps, are involved in establishing lipid asymmetry across plasma membranes, but P4 ATPases have not been identified in plant plasma membranes. Here we report that the plant P4 ATPase ALA1, which previously has been connected with cold tolerance of Arabidopsis thaliana, is targeted to the plasma membrane and does so following association in the endoplasmic reticulum with an ALIS protein β-subunit.

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