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Plant J. 2009 Jan;57(2):356-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03679.x. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

Imaging phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate dynamics in living plant cells.

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Department of Molecular Cytology, Centre for Advanced Microscopy, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Polyphosphoinositides represent a minor group of phospholipids, accounting for less than 1% of the total. Despite their low abundance, these molecules have been implicated in various signalling and membrane trafficking events. Phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PtdIns4P) is the most abundant polyphosphoinositide. (32)Pi-labelling studies have shown that the turnover of PtdIns4P is rapid, but little is known about where in the cell or plant this occurs. Here, we describe the use of a lipid biosensor that monitors PtdIns4P dynamics in living plant cells. The biosensor consists of a fusion between a fluorescent protein and a lipid-binding domain that specifically binds PtdIns4P, i.e. the pleckstrin homology domain of the human protein phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate adaptor protein-1 (FAPP1). YFP-PH(FAPP1) was expressed in four plant systems: transiently in cowpea protoplasts, and stably in tobacco BY-2 cells, Medicago truncatula roots and Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. All systems allowed YFP-PH(FAPP1) expression without detrimental effects. Two distinct fluorescence patterns were observed: labelling of motile punctate structures and the plasma membrane. Co-expression studies with organelle markers revealed strong co-labelling with the Golgi marker STtmd-CFP, but not with the endocytic/pre-vacuolar marker GFP-AtRABF2b. Co-expression with the Ptdins3P biosensor YFP-2 x FYVE revealed totally different localization patterns. During cell division, YFP-PH(FAPP1) showed strong labelling of the cell plate, but PtdIns3P was completely absent from the newly formed cell membrane. In root hairs of M. truncatula and A. thaliana, a clear PtdIns4P gradient was apparent in the plasma membrane, with the highest concentration in the tip. This only occurred in growing root hairs, indicating a role for PtdIns4P in tip growth.

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