Unexpected deposition patterns of recombinant proteins in post-endoplasmic reticulum compartments of wheat endosperm

Elsa Arcalis, Sylvain Marcel, Friedrich Altmann, Daniel Kolarich, Georgia Drakakaki, Rainer Fischer, Paul Christou, Eva Stoger*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    98 Citations (Scopus)


    Protein transport within cereal endosperm cells is complicated by the abundance of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived and vacuolar protein bodies. For wheat storage proteins, two major transport routes run from the ER to the vacuole, one bypassing and one passing through the Golgi. Proteins traveling along each route converge at the vacuole and form aggregates. To determine the impact of this trafficking system on the fate of recombinant proteins expressed in wheat endosperm, we used confocal and electron microscopy to investigate the fate of three recombinant proteins containing different targeting information. KDEL-tagged recombinant human serum albumin, which is retrieved to the ER lumen in the leaf cells, was deposited in prolamin aggregates within the vacuole of endosperm cells, most likely following the bulk of endogenous glutenins. Recombinant fungal phytase, a glycoprotein design for secretion, was delivered to the same compartment, with no trace of the molecule in the apoplast. Glycan analysis revealed that this protein had passed through the Golgi. The localization of human serum albumin and phytase was compared to that of recombinant legumin, which contains structural targeting information directing it to the vacuole. Uniquely, legumin accumulated in the globulin inclusion bodies at the periphery of the prolamin bodies, suggesting a different mode of transport and/or aggregation. Our results demonstrate the recombinant proteins are deposited in an unexpected pattern within wheat endosperm cells, probably because of the unique storage properties of this tissue. Our data also confirm that recombinant proteins are invaluable tools for the analysis of protein trafficking in cereals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3457-3466
    Number of pages10
    JournalPlant Physiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


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