Individual lipid transfer proteins from Tanacetum parthenium show different specificity for extracellular accumulation of sesquiterpenes

Kashkooli, Arman Beyraghdar; Dijk, Aalt D.J. van; Bouwmeester, Harro; Krol, Alexander van der


Key message: A highly specialized function for individual LTPs for different products from the same terpenoid biosynthesis pathway is described and the function of an LTP GPI anchor is studied. Abstract: Sequiterpenes produced in glandular trichomes of the medicinal plant Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) accumulate in the subcuticular extracellular space. Transport of these compounds over the plasma membrane is presumably by specialized membrane transporters, but it is still not clear how these hydrophobic compounds are subsequently transported over the hydrophilic cell wall. Here we identified eight so-called non-specific Lipid transfer proteins (nsLTPs) genes that are expressed in feverfew trichomes. A putative function of these eight nsLTPs in transport of the lipophilic sesquiterpene lactones produced in feverfew trichomes, was tested in an in-planta transport assay using transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana. Of eight feverfew nsLTP candidate genes analyzed, two (TpLTP1 and TpLTP2) can specifically improve extracellular accumulation of the sesquiterpene costunolide, while one nsLTP (TpLTP3) shows high specificity towards export of parthenolide. The specificity of the nsLTPs was also tested in an assay that test for the exclusion capacity of the nsLTP for influx of extracellular substrates. In such assay, TpLTP3 was identified as most effective in blocking influx of both costunolide and parthenolide, when these substrates are infiltrated into the apoplast. The TpLTP3 is special in having a GPI-anchor domain, which is essential for the export activity of TpLTP3. However, addition of the TpLTP3 GPI-anchor domain to TpLTP1 resulted in loss of TpLTP1 export activity. These novel export and exclusion assays thus provide new means to test functionality of plant nsLTPs.