ATP binding cassette (ABC) proteins form the largest protein family known with more than 1000 members operating in all living cells from bacteria to man. Over the past decades, a great deal of progress has been made in the analysis of ABC proteins in mamma ls and yeast, but in plants our knowledge remains scarce despite the fact that plants are particularly rich in ABC proteins. For instance Arabidopsis with 131 members has the largest ABC family from all genomes sequenced to date. A major role, fulfilled by ABC proteins consists in membrane translocation of a wide range of unrelated molecules. Within described plant ABC transporters, there is evidence that these enzymes play a role, by secretion of endogenous molecules, in the cross talk between plants and other organisms.
A particular example of plant-microbe interaction is symbiosis of the legume Medicago and endosymbiotic prokaryotes known as rhizobia. These prokaryotes convert atmospheric N2 to ammonia, which is transferred to the plant and incorporated into amino acids. The symbiosis results in formation of a new root organ the nodule, where nitrogen fixation occurs. The aim of this project is to determine whether the Medicago ABC transporters are essential components in the cross talk between plant and bacteria. To date very little is known about ABC transporters in Medicago, however, this family of protein seems to play an important role in the symbiosis process for the rhizobia where transport of signalling molecules and nutritive elements is crucial for successful colonization and fulfilled by an ABC transport system.
ABC transporter-specific genes have been identified in cDNA libraries derived from elicited Medicago cell cultures and nodulated roots. We will investigate in details the expression patter n of these ABC genes; isolate full-length cDNAs; and study their localisation, biochemical and physiological properties of the encoded proteins.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesmicrobiologybacteriology
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesbiological behavioural sciencesethologybiological interactions
- natural scienceschemical sciencesorganic chemistryamines
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesgeneticsgenomes
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesbiochemistrybiomoleculesproteinsenzymes
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