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J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 24;285(52):40706-13. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.146605. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Molecular association of the Arabidopsis ETR1 ethylene receptor and a regulator of ethylene signaling, RTE1.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


The plant hormone ethylene plays important roles in growth and development. Ethylene is perceived by a family of membrane-bound receptors that actively repress ethylene responses. When the receptors bind ethylene, their signaling is shut off, activating responses. REVERSION-TO-ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY (RTE1) encodes a novel membrane protein conserved in plants and metazoans. Genetic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana suggest that RTE1 promotes the signaling state of the ethylene receptor ETR1 through the ETR1 N-terminal domain. RTE1 and ETR1 have been shown to co-localize to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi apparatus in Arabidopsis. Here, we demonstrate a physical association of RTE1 and ETR1 using in vivo and in vitro methods. Interaction of RTE1 and ETR1 was revealed in vivo by bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) in a tobacco cell transient assay and in stably transformed Arabidopsis. The association was also observed using a truncated version of ETR1 comprising the N terminus (amino acids 1-349). Interaction of RTE1 and ETR1 was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation from Arabidopsis. The interaction occurs with high affinity (K(d), 117 nM) based on tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy using purified recombinant RTE1 and a tryptophan-less version of purified recombinant ETR1. An amino acid substitution (C161Y) in RTE1 that is known to confer an ETR1 loss-of-function phenotype correspondingly gives a nearly 12-fold increase in the dissociation constant (K(d), 1.38 μM). These findings indicate that a high affinity association of RTE1 and ETR1 is important in the regulation of ETR1.

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