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Distinct Functions of STARCH SYNTHASE 4 Domains in Starch Granule Formation.

Lu K.J., Pfister B., Jenny C., Eicke S., Zeeman S.C.

The formation of normal starch granules in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) leaf chloroplasts requires STARCH SYNTHASE 4 (SS4). In plants lacking SS4, chloroplasts typically produce only one round granule rather than multiple lenticular granules. The mechanisms by which SS4 determines granule number and morphology are not understood. The N-terminal region of SS4 is unique among SS isoforms and contains several long coiled-coil motifs, typically implicated in protein-protein interactions. The C-terminal region contains the catalytic glucosyltransferase domains, which are widely conserved in plant SS and bacterial glycogen synthase (GS) isoforms. We investigated the specific roles of the N- and C-terminal regions of SS4 by expressing truncated versions of SS4 and a fusion between the N-terminal region of SS4 and GS in the Arabidopsis ss4 mutant. Expression of the N-terminal region of SS4 alone did not alter the ss4 mutant phenotype. Expression of the C-terminal region of SS4 alone increased granule initiation but did not rescue their aberrant round morphology. Expression of a self-priming GS from Agrobacterium tumefaciens also increased the number of round granules. Remarkably, fusion of the N-terminal region of SS4 to A. tumefaciens GS restored the development of wild-type-like lenticular starch granules. Interestingly, the N-terminal region of SS4 alone or when fused to GS conferred a patchy subchloroplastic localization similar to that of the full-length SS4 protein. Considered together, these data suggest that, while the glucosyltransferase activity of SS4 is important for granule initiation, the N-terminal part of SS4 serves to establish the correct granule morphology by properly localizing this activity.

Plant Physiol. 176:566-581(2018) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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