A Plasma Membrane Syntaxin Is Phosphorylated in Response to the Bacterial Elicitor Flagellin

Thomas S. Nühse, Thomas Boller, Scott C. Peck

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In vivo pulse labeling of suspension-cultured Arabidopsis cells with [ 32P]orthophosphate allows a systematic analysis of dynamic changes in protein phosphorylation. Here, we use this technique to investigate signal transduction events at the plant plasma membrane triggered upon perception of microbial elicitors of defense responses, using as a model elicitor flg22, a peptide corresponding to the most conserved domain of bacterial flagellin. We demonstrate that two-dimensional gel electrophoresis in conjunction with mass spectrometry is a suitable tool for the identification of intrinsic membrane proteins, and we show that among them a syntaxin, AtSyp122, is phosphorylated rapidly in response to flg22. Although incorporation of radioactive phosphate into the protein only occurs significantly after elicitation, immunoblot analysis after two-dimensional gel separation indicates that the protein is also phosphorylated prior to elicitation. These results indicate that flg22 elicits either an increase in the rate of turnover of phosphate or an additional de novo phosphorylation event. In vitro, phosphorylation of AtSyp122 is calcium-dependent. In vitro phosphorylated peptides separated by two-dimensional thin layer chromatography comigrate with two of the three in vivo phosphopeptides, indicating that this calcium-dependent phosphorylation is biologically relevant. These results indicate a regulatory link between elicitor-induced calcium fluxes and the rapid phosphorylation of a syntaxin. Because syntaxins are known to be important in membrane fusion and exocytosis, we hypothesize that one of the functions of the calcium signal is to stimulate exocytosis of defense-related proteins and compounds.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45248-45254
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Issue number46
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2003


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