The change of gravity vector induces short-term phosphoproteomic alterations in Arabidopsis

Zhu Yang, Guangyu Guo, Nan Yang, Sunny Sing Pun, Timothy Ka Leung Ho, Ling Ji, Inch Hu, Jianhua Zhang, Alma L. Burlingame, Ning Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Plants can sense the gravitational force. When plants perceive a change in this natural force, they tend to reorient their organs with respect to the direction of the gravity vector, i.e., the shoot stem curves up. In the present study, we performed a 4C quantitative phosphoproteomics to identify those altered protein phosphosites resulting from 150 s of reorientation of Arabidopsis plants on earth. A total of 5556 phosphopeptides were identified from the gravistimulated Arabidopsis. Quantification based on the 15N-stable isotope labeling in Arabidopsis (SILIA) and computational analysis of the extracted ion chromatogram (XIC) of phosphopeptides showed eight and five unique PTM peptide arrays (UPAs) being up- and down-regulated, respectively, by gravistimulation. Among the 13 plant reorientation-responsive protein groups, many are related to the cytoskeleton dynamic and plastid movement. Interestingly, the most gravistimulation-responsive phosphosites are three serine residues, S350, S376, and S410, of a blue light receptor Phototropin 1 (PHOT1). The immunoblots experiment confirmed that the change of gravity vector indeed affected the phosphorylation level of S410 in PHOT1. The functional role of PHOT1 in gravitropic response was further validated with gravicurvature measurement in the darkness of both the loss-of-function double mutant phot1phot2 and its complementary transgenic plant PHOT1/phot1phot2. 

Significance: The organs of sessile organisms, plants, are able to move in response to environmental stimuli, such as gravity vector, touch, light, water, or nutrients, which is termed tropism. For instance, the bending of plant shoots to the light source is called phototropism. Since all plants growing on earth are continuously exposed to the gravitational field, plants receive the mechanical signal elicited by the gravity vector change and convert it into plant morphogenesis, growth, and development. Past studies have resulted in various hypotheses for gravisensing, but our knowledge about how the signal of gravity force is transduced in plant cells is still minimal.

In the present study, we performed a SILIA-based 4C quantitative phosphoproteomics on 150-s gravistimulated Arabidopsis seedlings to explore the phosphoproteins involved in the gravitropic response. Our data demonstrated that such a short-term reorientation of Arabidopsis caused changes in phosphorylation of cytoskeleton structural proteins like Chloroplast Unusual Positioning1 (CHUP1), Patellin3 (PATL3), and Plastid Movement Impaired2 (PMI2), as well as the blue light receptor Phototropin1 (PHOT1). These results suggested that protein phosphorylation plays a crucial role in gravisignaling, and two primary tropic responses of plants, gravitropism and phototropism, may share some common components and signaling pathways. We expect that the phosphoproteins detected from this study will facilitate the subsequent molecular and cellular studies on the mechanism underlying the signal transduction in plant gravitropic response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103720
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • 4C PTM proteomics
  • Arabidopsis
  • Gravitropism
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Quantitative phosphoproteomics


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