Go to the About Us section
Go to the Courses section
Go to the Research section
Go to the Specialist Services & Consultancy section
Go to the Outreach section
You can find details about all the staff in the department below.
return to full list
Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Sinclair Annex SNAG.01
Social media now complements many parts of our lives. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other social networking sites allow users to share and interact with online content and to connect with like-minded people. Its strengths – rapid dissemination and amplification of content and the ability to lead informal conversations – make it a powerful tool to use in a professional context. This commentary explains the overall concept of social media and offers suggestions on usage and possible types of scientific content. It advises researchers on the potential benefits and how to take a strategic approach towards building a social media presence. It also presents examples of effective social media use within the plant science community. Common reasons for scientists to not engage with social media include the fear of appearing unprofessional, posting something wrong or being misunderstood, or a lack of confidence in their computer skills. With the rapid changes in academic publishing, dissemination and science communication, as well as the rise of ‘altmetrics’ to track online engagement with scientific content, digital literacy will become an essential skill in a scientist’s tool kit.
P>We have identified two endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated Arabidopsis proteins, KMS1 and KMS2, which are conserved among most species. Fluorescent protein fusions of KMS1 localised to the ER in plant cells, and over-expression induced the formation of a membrane structure, identified as ER whorls by electron microscopy. Hydrophobicity analysis suggested that KMS1 and KMS2 are integral membrane proteins bearing six transmembrane domains. Membrane protein topology was assessed by a redox-based topology assay (ReTA) with redox-sensitive GFP and confirmed by a protease protection assay. A major loop domain between transmembrane domains 2 and 3, plus the N- and C-termini were found on the cytosolic side of the ER. A C-terminal di(tri)-lysine motif is involved in retrieval of KMS1 and deletion led to a reduction of the GFP-KMS1 signal in the ER. Over-expression of KMS1/KMS2 truncations perturbed ER and Golgi morphology and similar effects were also seen when KMS1/KMS2 were knocked-down by RNA interference. Microscopy and biochemical experiments suggested that expression of KMS1/KMS2 truncations inhibited ER to Golgi protein transport.
An inducible system has been established in Nicotiana tabacum plants allowing controlled expression of Sar1-GTP and thus the investigation of protein dynamics after inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to Golgi transport. Complete Golgi disassembly and redistribution of Golgi markers into the ER was observed within 18-24h after induction. At the ultrastructural level Sar1-GTP expression led to a decrease in Golgi stack size followed by Golgi fragmentation and accumulation of vesicle remnants. Induction of Sar1-GTP resulted in redistribution of the green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Arabidopsis golgins AtCASP and GC1 (golgin candidate 1, an Arabidopsis golgin 84 isoform) into the ER or cytoplasm, respectively. Additionally, both fusion proteins were observed in punctate structures, which co-located with a yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-tagged version of Sar1-GTP. The Sar1-GTP-inducible system is compared with constitutive Sar1-GTP expression and brefeldin A treatment, and its potential for the study of the composition of ER exit sites and early cis-Golgi structures is discussed.
Herein, we report the stepwise transport of multiple plant Golgi membrane markers during disassembly of the Golgi apparatus in tobacco leaf epidermal cells in response to the induced expression of the GTP-locked Sar1p or Brefeldin A (BFA), and reassembly on BFA washout. The distribution of fluorescent Golgi-resident N-glycan processing enzymes and matrix proteins (golgins) with specific cis-trans-Golgi sub-locations was followed by confocal microscopy during disassembly and reassembly. The first event during Golgi disassembly was the loss of trans-Golgi enzymes and golgins from Golgi membranes, followed by a sequential redistribution of medial and cis-Golgi enzymes into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), whilst golgins were relocated to the ER or cytoplasm. This event was confirmed by fractionation and immuno-blotting. The sequential redistribution of Golgi components in a trans-cis sequence may highlight a novel retrograde trafficking pathway between the trans-Golgi and the ER in plants. Release of Golgi markers from the ER upon BFA washout occurred in the opposite sequence, with cis-matrix proteins labelling Golgi-like structures before cis/medial enzymes. Trans-enzyme location was preceded by trans-matrix proteins being recruited back to Golgi membranes. Our results show that Golgi disassembly and reassembly occur in a highly ordered fashion in plants.
Little is known about possible interactions between chloroplasts and the Golgi apparatus, although there is increasing evidence for a direct Golgi to chloroplast transport pathway targeting proteins to their destinations within the membranes and stroma of plastids. Here data are presented showing that a blockage of secretion results in a significant increase of starch within plastids. Golgi disassembly promoted either by the secretory inhibitor brefeldin A or through an inducible Sar1-GTP system leads to dramatic starch accumulation in plastids, thus providing evidence for a direct interaction between plastids and Golgi activity. The possibility that starch accumulation is due either to elevated levels of cytosolic sugars because of loss of secretory Golgi activity or even to a blockage of amylase transport from the Golgi to the chloroplast is discussed.
The cortical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) epidermal cells is a network of tubules and cisternae undergoing dramatic rearrangements. Reticulons are integral membrane proteins involved in shaping ER tubules. Here, we characterized the localization, topology, effect, and interactions of five Arabidopsis thaliana reticulons (RTNs), isoforms 1-4 and 13, in the cortical ER. Our results indicate that RTNLB13 and RTNLB1-4 colocate to and constrict the tubular ER membrane. All five RTNs preferentially accumulate on ER tubules and are excluded from ER cisternae. All isoforms share the same transmembrane topology, with N and C termini facing the cytosol and four transmembrane domains. We show by Förster resonance energy transfer and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy that several RTNs have the capacity to interact with themselves and each other, and we suggest that oligomerization is responsible for their residence in the ER membrane. We also show that a complete reticulon homology domain is required for both RTN residence in high-curvature ER membranes and ER tubule constriction, yet it is not necessary for homotypic interactions.
Laser trapping of micron-sized particles can be achieved utilizing the radiation pressure generated by a focused infrared laser beam. Thus, it is theoretically possible to trap and manipulate organelles within the cytoplasm and remodel the architecture of the cytoplasm and membrane systems. Here we describe recent progress, using this under utilized technology, in the manipulation of cytoplasmic strands and organelles in plant cells. Research highlights Laser traps/optical tweezers can be used to manipulate organelles within plant cell cytoplasm. Organelles can be trapped and used to create cytoplasmic strands within vacuoles. Manipulation of cytoplasmic using laser traps reveals that actin regulates cytoplasmic stiffness. Golgi bodies can be trapped and manipulated to remodel the cortical ER network in leaves. Optical trapping confirms connections between ER and Golgi and the existence of ER anchor points.
It has long been assumed that the individual cisternal stacks that comprise the plant Golgi apparatus multiply by some kind of fission process. However, more recently, it has been demonstrated that the Golgi apparatus can be experimentally disassembled and the reformation process from the ER (endoplasmic reticulum) monitored sequentially using confocal fluorescence and electron microscopy. Some other evidence suggests that Golgi stacks may arise de novo in cells. In the present paper, we review some of the more recent findings on plant Golgi stack biogenesis and propose a new model for their growth de novo from ER exit sites.
Peripheral tethering factors bind to small GTPases in order to obtain their correct location within the Golgi apparatus. Using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) we visualized interactions between Arabidopsis homologues of tethering factors and small GTPases at the Golgi stacks in planta. Co-expression of the coiled-coil proteins AtGRIP and golgin candidate 5 (GC5) [TATA element modulatory factor (TMF)] and the putative post-Golgi tethering factor AtVPS52 fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) with mRFP (monomeric red fluorescent protein) fusions to the small GTPases AtRab-H1 (b), AtRab-H1(c) and AtARL1 resulted in reduced GFP lifetimes compared to the control proteins. Interestingly, we observed differences in GFP quenching between the different protein combinations as well as selective quenching of GFP-AtVPS52-labelled structures. The data presented here indicate that the FRET-FLIM technique should prove invaluable in assessing protein interactions in living plant cells at the organelle level.
The interface between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the Golgi apparatus is a critical junction in the secretory pathway mediating the transport of both soluble and membrane cargo between the two organelles. Such transport can be bidirectional and is mediated by coated membranes. In this review, we consider the organization and dynamics of this interface in plant cells, the putative structure of which has caused some controversy in the literature, and we speculate on the stages of Golgi biogenesis from the ER and the role of the Golgi and ER on each other's motility.
Society of Experimental Biology.
European Plant Science Organisation.