Ricinosomes predict programmed cell death leading to anther dehiscence in tomato

Senatore A, Trobacher CP, Greenwood JS

Plant Physiol. 2009 Feb;149(2):775-90

PMID: 19098090


Successful development and dehiscence of the anther and release of pollen are dependent upon the programmed cell death (PCD) of the tapetum and other sporophytic tissues. Ultrastructural examination of the developing and dehiscing anther of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) revealed that cells of the interlocular septum, the connective tissue, the middle layer/endothecium, and the epidermal cells surrounding the stomium all exhibit features consistent with progression through PCD. Ricinosomes, a subset of precursor protease vesicles that are unique to some incidents of plant PCD, were also present in all of these cell types. These novel organelles are known to harbor KDEL-tailed cysteine proteinases that act in the final stages of corpse processing following cell death. Indeed, a tomato KDEL-tailed cysteine proteinase, SlCysEP, was identified and its gene was cloned, sequenced, and characterized. SlCysEP transcript and protein were restricted to the anthers of the senescing tomato flower. Present in the interlocular septum and in the epidermal cells surrounding the stomium relatively early in development, SlCysEP accumulates later in the sporophytic tissues surrounding the locules as dehiscence ensues. At the ultrastuctural level, immunogold labeling localized SlCysEP to the ricinosomes within the cells of these tissues, but not in the tapetum. It is suggested that the accumulation of SlCysEP and the appearance of ricinosomes act as very early predictors of cell death in the tomato anther.

G-proteins modulate invertebrate synaptic calcium channel (LCav2) differently from the classical voltage-dependent regulation of mammalian Cav2.1 and Cav2.2 channels

Huang X, Senatore A, Dawson TF, Quan Q, Spafford JD

J. Exp. Biol. 2010 Jun;213(Pt 12):2094-103

PMID: 20511524


Voltage-gated calcium channels in the Ca(v)2 channel class are regulators of synaptic transmission and are highly modified by transmitter inputs that activate synaptic G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). A ubiquitous form of G-protein modulation involves an inhibition of mammalian Ca(v)2.1 and Ca(v)2.2 channels by Gbetagamma dimers that can be relieved by high-frequency trains of action potentials. Here, we address whether the ubiquitous and versatile form of G-protein regulation in mammals is also found in simpler invertebrate nervous systems. Remarkably, the invertebrate LCa(v)2 channel from the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, does not bear any of the hallmarks of mammalian, voltage-dependent G-protein inhibition of Ca(v)2.2. Swapping either the I-II linker or N-terminus of Ca(v)2.2, which serve as key binding domains for G-protein inhibition, does not endow invertebrate LCa(v)2 channels with voltage-dependent G-protein modulatory capacity. Instead, in vitro expressed LCa(v)2 channels are inhibited slowly by the activation of cAMP, in a manner that depends on G-proteins but does not depend on Gbetagamma subunits. A similar G-protein and cAMP-dependent inhibition of nifedipine-insensitive LCa(v)2 currents is also consistent in native and identified Lymnaea VD4 neurons. The slower inhibition using a cellular messenger such as cAMP may meet the modulatory needs in invertebrates while an activity-dependent regulation, evolving in vertebrates, provides a more dynamic, fine-tuning of neurosecretion by regulating the influence of neurotransmitter inputs through presynaptic GPCRs.

Transient and big are key features of an invertebrate T-type channel (LCav3) from the central nervous system of Lymnaea stagnalis

Senatore A, Spafford JD

J. Biol. Chem. 2010 Mar;285(10):7447-58

PMID: 20056611


Here we describe features of the first non-mammalian T-type calcium channel (LCa(v)3) expressed in vitro. This molluscan channel possesses combined biophysical properties that are reminiscent of all mammalian T-type channels. It exhibits T-type features such as “transient” kinetics, but the “tiny” label, usually associated with Ba(2+) conductance, is hard to reconcile with the “bigness” of this channel in many respects. LCa(v)3 is 25% larger than any voltage-gated ion channel expressed to date. It codes for a massive, 322-kDa protein that conducts large macroscopic currents in vitro. LCa(v)3 is also the most abundant Ca(2+) channel transcript in the snail nervous system. A window current at typical resting potentials appears to be at least as large as that reported for mammalian channels. This distant gene provides a unique perspective to analyze the structural, functional, drug binding, and evolutionary aspects of T-type channels.