skip to main content

Title: Development and quantitative analysis of a biosensor based on the Arabidopsis SWEET1 sugar transporter
SWEETs are transporters with homologs in Archeae, plants, some fungi, and animals. As the only transporters known to facilitate the cellular release of sugars in plants, SWEETs play critical roles in the allocation of sugars from photosynthetic leaves to storage tissues in seeds, fruits, and tubers. Here, we report the design and use of genetically encoded biosensors to measure the activity of SWEETs. We created a SweetTrac1 sensor by inserting a circularly permutated green fluorescent protein into the Arabidopsis SWEET1, resulting in a chimera that translates substrate binding during the transport cycle into detectable changes in fluorescence intensity. We demonstrate that a combination of cell sorting and bioinformatics can accelerate the design of biosensors and formulate a mass action kinetics model to correlate the fluorescence response of SweetTrac1 with the transport of glucose. Our analysis suggests that SWEETs are low-affinity, symmetric transporters that can rapidly equilibrate intra- and extracellular concentrations of sugars. This approach can be extended to SWEET homologs and other transporters.
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Sugar translocation between cells and between subcellular compartments in plants requires either plasmodesmata or a diverse array of sugar transporters. Interactions between plants and associated microorganisms also depend on sugar transporters. The sugars will eventually be exported transporter (SWEET) family is made up of conserved and essential transporters involved in many critical biological processes. The functional significance and small size of these proteins have motivated crystallographers to successfully capture several structures of SWEETs and their bacterial homologs in different conformations. These studies together with molecular dynamics simulations have provided unprecedented insights into sugar transport mechanisms in general and into substrate recognition of glucose and sucrose in particular. This review summarizes our current understanding of the SWEET family, from the atomic to the whole-plant level. We cover methods used for their characterization, theories about their evolutionary origins, biochemical properties, physiological functions, and regulation. We also include perspectives on the future work needed to translate basic research into higher crop yields.
  2. Sindhu Sareen (Ed.)
    Potassium (K+) is the most abundant cation that plays a crucial role in various cellular processes in plants. Plants have developed an efficient mechanism for the acquisition of K+ when grown in K+ deficient or saline soils. A total of 47 K+ transport gene homologs (27 HAKs, 4 HKTs, 2 KEAs, 9 AKTs, 2 KATs, 2 TPCs, and 1 VDPC) have been identified in Sorghum bicolor. Of 47 homologs, 33 were identified as K+ transporters and the remaining 14 as K+ channels. Chromosome 2 has been found as the hotspot of K+ transporters with 9 genes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the conservation of sorghum K+ transport genes akin to Oryza sativa. Analysis of regulatory elements indicates the key roles that K+ transport genes play under different biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Digital expression data of different developmental stages disclosed that expressions were higher in milk, flowering, and tillering stages. Expression levels of the genes SbHAK27 and SbKEA2 were higher during milk, SbHAK17, SbHAK11, SbHAK18, and SbHAK7 during flowering, SbHAK18, SbHAK10, and 23 other gene expressions were elevated during tillering inferring the important role that K+ transport genes play during plant growth and development. Differential transcript expression was observed in different tissuesmore »like root, stem, and leaf under abiotic stresses such as salt, drought, heat, and cold stresses. Collectively, the in-depth genome-wide analysis and differential transcript profiling of K+ transport genes elucidate their role in ion homeostasis and stress tolerance mechanisms.« less
  3. Abstract Fluoride is everywhere in the environment, yet it is toxic to living things. How biological organisms detoxify fluoride has been unknown until recently. Fluoride-specific ion transporters in both prokaryotes (Fluoride channel; Fluc) and fungi (Fluoride Exporter; FEX) efficiently export fluoride to the extracellular environment. FEX homologs have been identified throughout the plant kingdom. Understanding the function of FEX in a multicellular organism will reveal valuable knowledge about reducing toxic effects caused by fluoride. Here, we demonstrate the conserved role of plant FEX (FLUORIDE EXPORTER) in conferring fluoride tolerance. Plant FEX facilitates the efflux of toxic fluoride ions from yeast cells and is required for fluoride tolerance in plants. A CRISPR/Cas9-generated mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana FEX renders the plant vulnerable to low concentrations (100-µM) of fluoride at every stage of development. Pollen is particularly affected, failing to develop even at extremely low levels of fluoride in the growth medium. The action of the FEX membrane transport protein is the major fluoride defense mechanism in plants.
  4. The biological membrane is an efficient barrier against water-soluble substances. Solute transporters circumvent this membrane barrier by transporting water-soluble solutes across the membrane to the other sides. These transport proteins are thus required for all living organisms. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, effectively exploit solute transporters to acquire useful nutrients for growth or to expel substances that are inhibitory to their growth. Overall, there are distinct types of related solute transporters that are grouped into families or superfamilies. Of these various transporters, the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) represents a very large and constantly growing group and are driven by solute- and ion-gradients, making them passive and secondary active transporters, respectively. Members of the major facilitator superfamily transport an extreme variety of structurally different substrates such as antimicrobial agents, amino acids, sugars, intermediary metabolites, ions, and other small molecules. Importantly, bacteria, especially pathogenic ones, have evolved multidrug efflux pumps which belong to the major facilitator superfamily. Furthermore, members of this important superfamily share similar primary sequences in the form of highly conserved sequence motifs that confer useful functional properties during transport. The transporters of the superfamily also share similarities in secondary structures, such as possessing 12- or 14-membrane spanning α-helices and themore »more recently described 3-helix structure repeat element, known as the MFS fold. The three-dimensional structures of bacterial multidrug efflux pumps have been determined for only a few members of the superfamily, all drug pumps of which are surprisingly from Escherichia coli. This review briefly summarizes the structural properties of the bacterial multidrug efflux pumps of the major facilitator superfamily in a comparative manner and provides future directions for study.« less
  5. Annually, half of all plant-derived carbon is added to soil where it is microbially respired to CO 2 . However, understanding of the microbiology of this process is limited because most culture-independent methods cannot link metabolic processes to the organisms present, and this link to causative agents is necessary to predict the results of perturbations on the system. We collected soil samples at two sub-root depths (10–20 cm and 30–40 cm) before and after a rainfall-driven nutrient perturbation event in a Northern California grassland that experiences a Mediterranean climate. From ten samples, we reconstructed 198 metagenome-assembled genomes that represent all major phylotypes. We also quantified 6,835 proteins and 175 metabolites and showed that after the rain event the concentrations of many sugars and amino acids approach zero at the base of the soil profile. Unexpectedly, the genomes of novel members of the Gemmatimonadetes and Candidate Phylum Rokubacteria phyla encode pathways for methylotrophy. We infer that these abundant organisms contribute substantially to carbon turnover in the soil, given that methylotrophy proteins were among the most abundant proteins in the proteome. Previously undescribed Bathyarchaeota and Thermoplasmatales archaea are abundant in deeper soil horizons and are inferred to contribute appreciably to aromatic amino acid degradation.more »Many of the other bacteria appear to breakdown other components of plant biomass, as evidenced by the prevalence of various sugar and amino acid transporters and corresponding hydrolyzing machinery in the proteome. Overall, our work provides organism-resolved insight into the spatial distribution of bacteria and archaea whose activities combine to degrade plant-derived organics, limiting the transport of methanol, amino acids and sugars into underlying weathered rock. The new insights into the soil carbon cycle during an intense period of carbon turnover, including biogeochemical roles to previously little known soil microbes, were made possible via the combination of metagenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.« less