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Plant Mol Biol. 2013 Dec;83(6):625-49. doi: 10.1007/s11103-013-0113-5. Epub 2013 Jul 27.

Coexpression patterns indicate that GPI-anchored non-specific lipid transfer proteins are involved in accumulation of cuticular wax, suberin and sporopollenin.

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IFM, Linköping University, 581 83, Linköping, Sweden.


The non-specific lipid transfer proteins (nsLTP) are unique to land plants. The nsLTPs are characterized by a compact structure with a central hydrophobic cavity and can be classified to different types based on sequence similarity, intron position or spacing between the cysteine residues. The type G nsLTPs (LTPGs) have a GPI-anchor in the C-terminal region which attaches the protein to the exterior side of the plasma membrane. The function of these proteins, which are encoded by large gene families, has not been systematically investigated so far. In this study we have explored microarray data to investigate the expression pattern of the LTPGs in Arabidopsis and rice. We identified that the LTPG genes in each plant can be arranged in three expression modules with significant coexpression within the modules. According to expression patterns and module sizes, the Arabidopsis module AtI is functionally equivalent to the rice module OsI, AtII corresponds to OsII and AtIII is functionally comparable to OsIII. Starting from modules AtI, AtII and AtIII we generated extended networks with Arabidopsis genes coexpressed with the modules. Gene ontology analyses of the obtained networks suggest roles for LTPGs in the synthesis or deposition of cuticular waxes, suberin and sporopollenin. The AtI-module is primarily involved with cuticular wax, the AtII-module with suberin and the AtIII-module with sporopollenin. Further transcript analysis revealed that several transcript forms exist for several of the LTPG genes in both Arabidopsis and rice. The data suggests that the GPI-anchor attachment and localization of LTPGs may be controlled to some extent by alternative splicing.

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