Stabilisation of minus ends of microtubules (MTs) is critical for organising MT networks in land plant cells, in which all MTs are nucleated independent of centrosomes. Recently, Arabidopsis SPIRAL2 (SPR2) protein was shown to localise to plus and minus ends of cortical MTs, and increase stability of both ends. Here, we report molecular and functional characterisation of SPR2 of the basal land plant, the moss Physcomitrella patens. In protonemal cells of P. patens, where non-cortical, endoplasmic MT network is organised, we observed SPR2 at minus ends, but not plus ends, of endoplasmic MTs and likely also of phragmoplast MTs. Minus end decoration was reconstituted in vitro using purified SPR2, suggesting that moss SPR2 is a minus end-specific binding protein (-TIP). We generated a loss-of-function mutant of SPR2, in which frameshift-causing deletions/insertions were introduced into all four paralogous SPR2 genes by means of CRISPR/Cas9. Protonemal cells of the mutant showed instability of endoplasmic MT minus ends. These results indicate that moss SPR2 is a MT minus end stabilising factor.
Key words: acentrosomal microtubule network, microtubule minus end, P. patens, CAMSAP/Nezha/Patronin
The Golgi apparatus is a key station of glycosylation and membrane traffic. It consists of stacked cisternae in most eukaryotes. However, the mechanisms how the Golgi stacks are formed and maintained are still obscure. The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana provides a nice system to observe Golgi structures by light microscopy, because the Golgi in A. thaliana is in the form of mini-stacks that are distributed throughout the cytoplasm. To obtain a clue to understand the molecular basis of Golgi morphology, we took a forward-genetic approach to isolate A. thaliana mutants that show abnormal structures of the Golgi under a confocal microscope. In the present report, we describe characterization of one of such mutants, named #46-3. The #46-3 mutant showed pleiotropic Golgi phenotypes. The Golgi size was in majority smaller than the wild type, but varied from very small ones, sometimes without clear association of cis and trans cisternae, to abnormally large ones under a confocal microscope. At the ultrastructual level by electron microscopy, queer-shaped large Golgi stacks were occasionally observed. By positional mapping, genome sequencing, and complementation and allelism tests, we linked the mutant phenotype to the missense mutation D374N in the NSF gene, encoding the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), a key component of membrane fusion. This residue is near the ATP-binding site of NSF, which is very well conserved in eukaryotes, suggesting that the biochemical function of NSF is important for maintaining the normal morphology of the Golgi.
Key words: Golgi morphology, N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), Arabidopsis thaliana
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a refractory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that is believed to develop in genetically susceptible individuals. Glycosylation, a type of post-translational modification, is involved in the development of a wide range of diseases, including IBD, by modulating the function of various glycoproteins. To identify novel genes contributing to the development of IBD, we analyzed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of glycosylation-related genes in IBD patients and identified MAN2A1, encoding alpha-mannosidase II (α-MII), as a candidate gene. α-MII plays a crucial, but not exclusive, role in the maturation of N-glycans. We also observed that intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), which establish the first-line barrier and regulate gut immunity, selectively expressed α-MII with minimal expression of its isozyme, alpha-mannosidase IIx (α-MIIx). This led us to hypothesize that IEC-intrinsic α-MII is implicated in the pathogenesis of IBD. To test this hypothesis, we generated IEC-specific α-MII-deficient (α-MIIΔIEC) mice. Although α-MII deficiency has been shown to have a minimal effect on N-glycan maturation in most cell types due to the compensation by α-MIIx, ablation of α-MII impaired the maturation of N-glycans in IECs. α-MIIΔIEC mice were less susceptible to dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis compared with control littermates. In accordance with this, neutrophil infiltration in the colonic mucosa was attenuated in α-MIIΔIEC mice. Furthermore, gene expression levels of neutrophil-attracting chemokines were downregulated in the colonic tissue. These results suggest that IEC-intrinsic α-MII promotes intestinal inflammation by facilitating chemokine expression. We propose SNPs in MAN2A1 as a novel genetic factor for IBD.
Key words: inflammatory bowel disease, alpha-mannosidase II, intestinal epithelial cell, N-glycosylation