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BMC Plant Biol. 2015 Feb 13;15:50. doi: 10.1186/s12870-015-0441-5.

Protein palmitoylation is critical for the polar growth of root hairs in Arabidopsis.



Protein palmitoylation, which is critical for membrane association and subcellular targeting of many signaling proteins, is catalyzed mainly by protein S-acyl transferases (PATs). Only a few plant proteins have been experimentally verified to be subject to palmitoylation, such as ROP GTPases, calcineurin B like proteins (CBLs), and subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins. However, emerging evidence from palmitoyl proteomics hinted that protein palmitoylation as a post-translational modification might be widespread. Nonetheless, due to the large number of genes encoding PATs and the lack of consensus motifs for palmitoylation, progress on the roles of protein palmitoylation in plants has been slow.


We combined pharmacological and genetic approaches to examine the role of protein palmitoylation in root hair growth. Multiple PATs from different endomembrane compartments may participate in root hair growth, among which the Golgi-localized PAT24/TIP GROWTH DEFECTIVE1 (TIP1) plays a major role while the tonoplast-localized PAT10 plays a secondary role in root hair growth. A specific inhibitor for protein palmitoylation, 2-bromopalmitate (2-BP), compromised root hair elongation and polarity. Using various probes specific for cellular processes, we demonstrated that 2-BP impaired the dynamic polymerization of actin microfilaments (MF), the asymmetric plasma membrane (PM) localization of phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP2), the dynamic distribution of RabA4b-positive post-Golgi secretion, and endocytic trafficking in root hairs.


By combining pharmacological and genetic approaches and using root hairs as a model, we show that protein palmitoylation, regulated by protein S-acyl transferases at different endomembrane compartments such as the Golgi and the vacuole, is critical for the polar growth of root hairs in Arabidopsis. Inhibition of protein palmitoylation by 2-BP disturbed key intracellular activities in root hairs. Although some of these effects are likely indirect, the cytological data reported here will contribute to a deep understanding of protein palmitoylation during tip growth in plants.

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