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Mol Plant. 2008 Mar;1(2):308-20. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssm015. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

Subcellular localization and in vivo interactions of the Arabidopsis thaliana ethylene receptor family members.

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Zentrum für Molekularbiologie der Pflanzen, Pflanzenphysiologie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The gaseous phytohormone ethylene regulates many developmental processes and responses to environmental conditions in higher plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana, ethylene perception and initiation of signaling are mediated by a family of five receptors which are related to prokaryotic two-component sensor histidine kinases. The transient expression of fluorescence-tagged receptors in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) epidermal leaf cells demonstrated that all ethylene receptors are targeted to the ER endomembrane network and do not localize to the plasmalemma. In support of in planta overlay studies, the ethylene receptors form homomeric and heteromeric protein complexes at the ER in living plant cells, as shown by membrane recruitment assays. A comparable in vivo interaction pattern was found in the yeast mating-based split-ubiquitin system. The overlapping but distinct expression pattern of the ethylene receptor genes suggests a differential composition of the ethylene receptor complexes in different plant tissues. Our findings may have crucial functional implications on the ethylene receptor-mediated efficiency of hormone perception, induction of signaling, signal attenuation and output.

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