Characterization of membrane-bound small GTP-binding proteins from Nicotiana tabacum

T Haizel, T Merkle, F Turck, F Nagy

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We have cloned nine cDNAs encoding small GTP-binding proteins from leaf cDNA libraries of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). These cDNAs encode distinct proteins (22-25 kD) that display different levels of identity with members of the mammalian Rab family: Nt-Rab6 with Rab6 (83%), Nt-Rab7a-c with Rab7 (63-70%), and Nt-Rab11a-e with Rab11 (53-69%). Functionally important regions of these proteins, including the "effector binding" domain, the C-terminal Cys residues for membrane attachment, and the four regions involved in GTP-binding and hydrolysis, are highly conserved. Northern and western blot analyses show that these genes are expressed, although at slightly different levels, in all plant tissues examined. We demonstrate that the plant Rab5, Rab6, and Rab11 proteins, similar to their mammalian and yeast counterparts, are tightly bound to membranes and that they exhibit different solubilization characteristics. Furthermore, we show that the yeast GTPase-activating protein Gyp6, shown to be specifically required to control the GTP hydrolysis of the yeast Ypt6 protein, could interact with tobacco GTP-binding proteins. It increases in vitro the GTP hydrolysis rate of the wild-type Nt-Rab7 protein. In addition, it also increases, at different levels, the GTP hydrolysis rates of a Nt-Rab7m protein with a Rab6 effector domain and of two other chimaeric Nt-Rab6/Nt-Rab7 proteins. However, it does not interact with the wild-type Nt-Rab6 protein, which is most similar to the yeast Ypt6 protein.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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