A lettuce (Lactuca sativa) homolog of human Nogo-B receptor interacts with cis-prenyltransferase and is necessary for natural rubber biosynthesis [Metabolism]

December 4th, 2014 by Qu, Y., Chakrabarty, R., Tran, H. T., Kwon, E.-J. G., Kwon, M., Nguyen, T.-D., Ro, D.-K.

Natural rubber (cis-1,4-polyisoprene) is an indispensable biopolymer used to manufacture diverse consumer products. Although a major source of natural rubber is the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is also known to synthesize natural rubber. Here, we report that an unusual cis-prenyltransferase-like 2 (CPTL2), which lacks the conserved motifs of conventional cis-prenyltransferase, is required for natural rubber biosynthesis in lettuce. CPTL2, identified from the lettuce rubber particle proteome, displays homology to a human NogoB receptor and is predominantly expressed in latex. Multiple transgenic lettuces expressing CPTL2-RNAi constructs showed that decrease of CPTL2 transcripts (3-15% CPTL2 expression relative to controls) coincided with the reduction of natural rubber as low as 5%. We also identified a conventional cis-prenyltransferase 3 (CPT3), exclusively expressed in latex. In subcellular localization studies using fluorescent proteins, cytosolic CPT3 was re-localized to endoplasmic reticulum by co-occurrence of CPTL2 in tobacco and yeast at the log phase. Furthermore, yeast two-hybrid data showed that CPTL2 and CPT3 interact. Yeast microsomes containing CPTL2/CPT3 showed enhanced synthesis of short cis-polyisoprenes, but natural rubber could not be synthesized in vitro. Intriguingly, a homologous pair CPTL1/CPT1, which displays ubiquitous expressions in lettuce, showed a potent dolichol biosynthetic activity in vitro. Taken together, our data suggest that CPTL2 is a scaffolding protein that tethers CPT3 on endoplasmic reticulum and is necessary for natural rubber biosynthesis in planta, but yeast-expressed CPTL2 and CPT3 alone could not synthesize high molecular weight natural rubber in vitro.
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