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Plant Cell Rep. 2009 Aug;28(8):1215-34. doi: 10.1007/s00299-009-0722-2. Epub 2009 Jun 6.

Optimization of the transient transformation of Catharanthus roseus cells by particle bombardment and its application to the subcellular localization of hydroxymethylbutenyl 4-diphosphate synthase and geraniol 10-hydroxylase.

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Université François Rabelais de Tours, EA 2106 Biomolécules et Biotechnologies Végétales, IFR 135 Imagerie fonctionnelle, 37200, Tours, France.


The monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIA) synthesized in Catharanthus roseus are highly valuable metabolites due to their pharmacological properties. In planta, the MIA biosynthetic pathway exhibits a complex compartmentation at the cellular level, whereas subcellular data are sparse. To gain insight into this level of organization, we have developed a high efficiency green fluorescent protein (GFP) imaging approach to systematically localize MIA biosynthetic enzymes within C. roseus cells following a biolistic-mediated transient transformation. The biolistic transformation protocol has been first optimized to obtain a high number of transiently transformed cells with a ~12-fold increase compared to previous protocols and thus to clearly and easily identify the fusion GFP expression patterns in numerous cells. On the basis of this protocol, the subcellular localization of hydroxymethylbutenyl 4-diphosphate synthase (HDS), a methyl erythritol phosphate pathway enzyme and geraniol 10-hydroxylase (G10H), a monoterpene-secoiridoid pathway enzyme has been next characterized. Besides showing the accumulation of HDS within plastids of C. roseus cells, we also provide evidences of the presence of HDS in long stroma-filled thylakoid-free extensions budding from plastids, i.e. stromules that are in close association with other organelles such as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) or mitochondria in agreement with their proposed function in enhancing interorganelle metabolite exchanges. Furthermore, we also demonstrated that G10H is an ER-anchored protein, consistent with the presence of a transmembrane helix at the G10H N-terminal end, which is both necessary and sufficient to drive the ER anchoring.

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