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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Feb 1;91(3):984-8.

Light-regulated, tissue-specific immunophilins in a higher plant.

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Department of Chemistry, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.


In addition to their application in organ transplantation, immunosuppressive drugs are valuable tools for studying signal transduction in eukaryotic cells. Using affinity chromatography, we have purified immunosuppressive drug receptors (immunophilins) from fava bean. Proteins belonging to both major classes of the immunophilin family identified from animal sources [FK506- and rapamycin-binding proteins (FKBPs) and cyclophilins] were present in this higher plant. FKBP13, the most abundant FKBP family member in leaf tissues, was not detected in root tissues, whereas other FKBPs were present in both tissues. While the abundance of cyclophilin A in leaves was similar to that in roots, cyclophilin B/C was expressed at a much higher level in leaf tissues than in root tissues. Subcellular localization of immunophilins in mesophyll cells showed that chloroplasts contained FKBP13 and cyclophilin B/C but not other members, which explains the preferential expression of these two proteins in leaves over roots. The abundance of chloroplast-localized immunophilins, FKBP13 and cyclophilin B/C, was regulated by light. Although etiolated leaves produced detectable levels of cyclophilin B/C, they did not express FKBP13. Illumination of etiolated plants dramatically increased the expression of both FKBP13 and cyclophilin B/C. The light-induced expression of FKBP13 is closely correlated with the accumulation of chlorophyll in the leaf tissue. Our findings suggest that FKBP13 and cyclophilin B/C may play a specific role in chloroplasts.

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