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Image-Based Methods to Study Membrane Trafficking Events in Stomatal Lineage Cells

Published: May 12th, 2023



1Department of Biology, Rutgers University, 2Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Several commonly used methods are introduced here to study the membrane trafficking events of a plasma membrane receptor kinase. This manuscript describes detailed protocols including the plant material preparation, pharmacological treatment, and confocal imaging setup.

In eukaryotic cells, membrane components, including proteins and lipids, are spatiotemporally transported to their destination within the endomembrane system. This includes the secretory transport of newly synthesized proteins to the cell surface or the outside of the cell, the endocytic transport of extracellular cargoes or plasma membrane components into the cell, and the recycling or shuttling transport of cargoes between the subcellular organelles, etc. Membrane trafficking events are crucial to the development, growth, and environmental adaptation of all eukaryotic cells and, thus, are under stringent regulation. Cell-surface receptor kinases, which perceive ligand signals from the extracellular space, undergo both secretory and endocytic transport. Commonly used approaches to study the membrane trafficking events using a plasma membrane-localized leucine-rich-repeat receptor kinase, ERL1, are described here. The approaches include plant material preparation, pharmacological treatment, and confocal imaging setup. To monitor the spatiotemporal regulation of ERL1, this study describes the co-localization analysis between ERL1 and a multi-vesicular body marker protein, RFP-Ara7, the time series analysis of these two proteins, and the z-stack analysis of ERL1-YFP treated with the membrane trafficking inhibitors brefeldin A and wortmannin.

Membrane traffic is a conserved cellular process that distributes membrane components (also known as cargoes), including proteins, lipids, and other biological products, between different organelles within a eukaryotic cell or across the plasma membrane to and from the extracellular space1. This process is facilitated by a collection of membranes and organelles named the endomembrane system, which consists of the nuclear membrane, the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, the vacuole/lysosomes, the plasma membrane, and multiple endosomes1. The endomembrane system enables the modification, packaging, and transport o....

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1. Preparation of the solutions

  1. Prepare seed sterilization solution by mixing 15 mL of bleach with 35 mL of distilled water and 50 µL of Triton X-100.
  2. Prepare brefeldin A (BFA) solution by dissolving the BFA powder in ethanol to a final concentration of 10 mM (stock). Prepare wortmannin (Wm) solution by dissolving the Wm powder in DMSO to a final concentration of 10 mM (stock).

2. Sowing the seeds

  1. Aliquot 10-50 see.......

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A previous study indicated that ERL1 is an active receptor kinase that undergoes dynamic membrane trafficking events20. ERL1 is a transmembrane LRR-receptor kinase on the plasma membrane. Newly synthesized ERL1 in the endoplasmic reticulum is processed in the Golgi bodies and further transported to the plasma membrane. The ERL1 molecules on the plasma membrane can perceive EPF ligands using their extracellular LRR domain18. Upon activation by the inhibitory EPFs, including .......

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The endomembrane system separates the cytoplasm of a eukaryotic cell into different compartments, which enables the specialized biological function of these organelles. To deliver cargo proteins and macromolecules to their final destination at the right time, numerous vesicles are guided to shuttle between these organelles. Highly regulated membrane trafficking events play fundamental roles in the viability, development, and growth of cells. The mechanism regulating this crucial and complicated process is still poorly un.......

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This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (IOS-2217757) (X.Q.) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Bronson Foundation Award (H.Z.).


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NameCompanyCatalog NumberComments
10 mL syringesVWRBD309695Vacuum samples
Brefeldin A (BFA)SigmaB7651membrane trafficking drug
Confocal MicroscopeLeicaLecia SP8 TCS with LAS-X software packageImaging
Dissecting ForcepsVWR82027-402Genetic cross
FijiNIH processing
Leica LAS AF softwareLeicahttp://www.leica-microsystems.comImage processing
transgenic seeds of ERL1-YFPQi, X. et al. The manifold actions of signaling peptides on subcellular dynamics of a receptor specify stomatal cell fate. Elife. 9, doi:10.7554/eLife.58097, (2020).
transgenic seeds of RFP-Ara7Ebine, K. et al. A membrane trafficking pathway regulated by the plant-specific RAB GTPase ARA6. Nat Cell Biol. 13 (7), 853-859, doi:10.1038/ncb2270, (2011).
Wortmannin (Wm)SigmaW1628membrane trafficking drug

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