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Plant Mol Biol. 2000 Dec;44(6):799-814.

Promiscuous and specific phospholipid binding by domains in ZAC, a membrane-associated Arabidopsis protein with an ARF GAP zinc finger and a C2 domain.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Arabidopsis proteins were predicted which share an 80 residue zinc finger domain known from ADP-ribosylation factor GTPase-activating proteins (ARF GAPs). One of these is a 37 kDa protein, designated ZAC, which has a novel domain structure in which the N-terminal ARF GAP domain and a C-terminal C2 domain are separated by a region without homology to other known proteins. Zac promoter/beta-glucuronidase reporter assays revealed highest expression levels in flowering tissue, rosettes and roots. ZAC protein was immuno-detected mainly in association with membranes and fractionated with Golgi and plasma membrane marker proteins. ZAC membrane association was confirmed in assays by a fusion between ZAC and the green fluorescence protein and prompted an analysis of the in vitro phospholipid-binding ability of ZAC. Phospholipid dot-blot and liposome-binding assays indicated that fusion proteins containing the ZAC-C2 domain bind anionic phospholipids non-specifically, with some variance in Ca2+ and salt dependence. Similar assays demonstrated specific affinity of the ZAC N-terminal region (residues 1-174) for phosphatidylinositol 3-monophosphate (PI-3-P). Binding was dependent in part on an intact zinc finger motif, but proteins containing only the zinc finger domain (residues 1-105) did not bind PI-3-P. Recombinant ZAC possessed GTPase-activating activity on Arabidopsis ARF proteins. These data identify a novel PI-3-P-binding protein region and thereby provide evidence that this phosphoinositide is recognized as a signal in plants. A role for ZAC in the regulation of ARF-mediated vesicular transport in plants is discussed.

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