An NPF transporter exports a central monoterpene indole alkaloid intermediate from the vacuole – University of Copenhagen

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16 January 2017

An NPF transporter exports a central monoterpene indole alkaloid intermediate from the vacuole

Payne RME, Xu D, Foureau E, Teto Carqueijeiro MIS, Oudin A, Bernonville TD de, Novak V, Burow M, Olsen C-E, Jones DM, Tatsis EC, Pendle A, Halkier BA, Geu-Flores F, Courdavault V, Nour-Eldin HH, O’Connor SE (2017) An NPF transporter exports a central monoterpene indole alkaloid intermediate from the vacuole. Nature Plants 3: 16208.

a, Representative total ion chromatogram (TIC) of leaf tissue extracts from Little Bright Eyes plants transformed with empty vector (VIGS-EV, black), and a vector designed to silence CrNPF2.9 (VIGS-CrNPF2.9, blue). The red box highlights the accumulation of strictosidine. b, Alkaloid profiles for tissue transformed with the VIGS-CrNPF2.9 vector relative to the empty vector control (VIGS CrNPF2.9 (n = 12), VIGS-EV (n = 10)). **P < 0.01. All data shown are mean ± s.e.m. c, Blackened leaf tissue that results upon silencing of CrNPF2.9 is indicated by a white arrow.

Abstract

Plants sequester intermediates of metabolic pathways into different cellular compartments, but the mechanisms by which these molecules are transported remain poorly understood. Monoterpene indole alkaloids, a class of specialized metabolites that includes the anticancer agent vincristine, antimalarial quinine and neurotoxin strychnine, are synthesized in several different cellular locations. However, the transporters that control the movement of these biosynthetic intermediates within cellular compartments have not been discovered. Here we present the discovery of a tonoplast localized nitrate/peptide family (NPF) transporter from Catharanthus roseus, CrNPF2.9, that exports strictosidine, the central intermediate of this pathway, into the cytosol from the vacuole. This discovery highlights the role that intracellular localization plays in specialized metabolism, and sets the stage for understanding and controlling the central branch point of this pharmacologically important group of compounds.

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