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Free Content Characterization of the Arabidopsis Brittle1 transport protein and impact of reduced activity on plant metabolism

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The Arabidopsis genome contains a gene (Atbt1) encoding a highly hydrophobic membrane protein of the mitochondrial carrier family, with six predicted transmembrane domains, and showing substantial structural similarity to Brittle1 proteins from maize and potato. We demonstrate that AtBT1 transports AMP, ADP and ATP (but not ADP-glucose), shows a unidirectional mode of transport, and locates to the plastidial membrane and not to the ER as previously proposed. Analysis using an Atbt1 promoter–GUS construct revealed substantial gene expression in rapidly growing root tips and maturating or germinating pollen. Survival of homozygous Atbt1::T-DNA mutants is very limited, and those that do survive produce non-fertile seeds. These observations indicate that no other carrier protein or metabolic mechanism can compensate for the loss of this transporter. Atbt1 RNAi dosage mutants show substantially retarded growth, adenylate levels similar to those of wild-type plants, increased glutamine contents and unchanged starch levels. Interestingly, the growth retardation of Atbt1 RNAi mutant plants was circumvented by adenosine feeding, and was accompanied by increased adenylate levels. Further observations showed the presence of a functional nucleotide salvage pathway in Atbt1 RNAi mutants. In summary, our data indicate that AtBT1 is a plastidial nucleotide uniport carrier protein that is strictly required to export newly synthesized adenylates into the cytosol.
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Keywords: Arabidopsis; brittle proteins; mitochondrial carrier; nucleotide biosynthesis; nucleotide uniporter

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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