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Structure-Function Analysis of STRUBBELIG, an Arabidopsis Atypical Receptor-Like Kinase Involved in Tissue Morphogenesis

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019730
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Model Organisms
  • Plant And Algal Models
  • Arabidopsis Thaliana
  • Plant Science
  • Plant Cell Biology
  • Plant Genetics
  • Plant Growth And Development
  • Biology
  • Communication
  • Pharmacology


Tissue morphogenesis in plants requires the coordination of cellular behavior across clonally distinct histogenic layers. The underlying signaling mechanisms are presently being unraveled and are known to include the cell surface leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase STRUBBELIG in Arabidopsis. To understand better its mode of action an extensive structure-function analysis of STRUBBELIG was performed. The phenotypes of 20 EMS and T-DNA-induced strubbelig alleles were assessed and homology modeling was applied to rationalize their possible effects on STRUBBELIG protein structure. The analysis was complemented by phenotypic, cell biological, and pharmacological investigations of a strubbelig null allele carrying genomic rescue constructs encoding fusions between various mutated STRUBBELIG proteins and GFP. The results indicate that STRUBBELIG accepts quite some sequence variation, reveal the biological importance for the STRUBBELIG N-capping domain, and reinforce the notion that kinase activity is not essential for its function in vivo. Furthermore, individual protein domains of STRUBBELIG cannot be related to specific STRUBBELIG-dependent biological processes suggesting that process specificity is mediated by factors acting together with or downstream of STRUBBELIG. In addition, the evidence indicates that biogenesis of a functional STRUBBELIG receptor is subject to endoplasmic reticulum-mediated quality control, and that an MG132-sensitive process regulates its stability. Finally, STRUBBELIG and the receptor-like kinase gene ERECTA interact synergistically in the control of internode length. The data provide genetic and molecular insight into how STRUBBELIG regulates intercellular communication in tissue morphogenesis.

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