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Plant Physiol. 2006 May;141(1):196-207. Epub 2006 Mar 31.

Identification of a vacuolar sucrose transporter in barley and Arabidopsis mesophyll cells by a tonoplast proteomic approach.

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University of Zurich, Institute of Plant Biology, CH-8008 Zurich, Switzerland.


The vacuole is the main cellular storage pool, where sucrose (Suc) accumulates to high concentrations. While a limited number of vacuolar membrane proteins, such as V-type H(+)-ATPases and H(+)-pyrophosphatases, are well characterized, the majority of vacuolar transporters are still unidentified, among them the transporter(s) responsible for vacuolar Suc uptake and release. In search of novel tonoplast transporters, we used a proteomic approach, analyzing the tonoplast fraction of highly purified mesophyll vacuoles of the crop plant barley (Hordeum vulgare). We identified 101 proteins, including 88 vacuolar and putative vacuolar proteins. The Suc transporter (SUT) HvSUT2 was discovered among the 40 vacuolar proteins, which were previously not reported in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) vacuolar proteomic studies. To confirm the tonoplast localization of this Suc transporter, we constructed and expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins with HvSUT2 and its closest Arabidopsis homolog, AtSUT4. Transient expression of HvSUT2-GFP and AtSUT4-GFP in Arabidopsis leaves and onion (Allium cepa) epidermal cells resulted in green fluorescence at the tonoplast, indicating that these Suc transporters are indeed located at the vacuolar membrane. Using a microcapillary, we selected mesophyll protoplasts from a leaf protoplast preparation and demonstrated unequivocally that, in contrast to the companion cell-specific AtSUC2, HvSUT2 and AtSUT4 are expressed in mesophyll protoplasts, suggesting that HvSUT2 and AtSUT4 are involved in transport and vacuolar storage of photosynthetically derived Suc.

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