The reports of dual-targeted proteins in plants have steadily increased over the past years. The vast majority of these proteins are soluble proteins distributed between compartments of the non-secretory pathway, predominantly chloroplasts and mitochondria. In contrast, dual-targeted transmembrane proteins, especially of the secretory pathway, are rare and the mechanisms leading to their differential targeting remain largely unknown. Here, we report dual-targeting of the Arabidopsis DUF679 Membrane Protein 1 (DMP1) to the tonoplast (TP) and the plasma membrane (PM). In Arabidopsis and tobacco two equally abundant DMP1 isoforms are synthesized by alternative translation initiation: a full length protein, DMP1.1, and a truncated one, DMP1.2, which lacks the N-terminal 19 amino acids including a TP-targeting dileucine motif. Accumulation of DMP1.1 and DMP1.2 in the TP and the PM, respectively, is Brefeldin A-sensitive, indicating transit via the Golgi. However, DMP1.2 interacts with DMP1.1, leading to extensive rerouting of DMP1.2 to the TP and “eclipsed” localization of DMP1.2 in the PM where it is barely visible by confocal laser scanning microscopy but clearly detectable by membrane fractionation. It is demonstrated that eGFP fusion to either DMP1 terminus can cause mistargeting artifacts: C-terminal fusion to DMP1.1 or DMP1.2 results in altered ER export and N-terminal fusion to DMP1.1 causes mistargeting to the PM, presumably by masking of the TP targeting signal. These results illustrate how the interplay of alternative translation initiation, presence or absence of targeting information and rerouting due to protein-protein interaction determines the ultimate distribution of a transmembrane protein between two membranes.
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