Target of rapamycin-signaling modulates starch accumulation via glycogenin phosphorylation status in the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae

Imran Pancha, Hiroki Shima, Nahoko Higashitani, Kazuhiko Igarashi, Atsushi Higashitani, Kan Tanaka, Sousuke Imamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling pathway is involved in starch accumulation in various eukaryotic organisms; however, the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon in eukaryotes has not been elucidated. We report a regulatory mechanism of starch accumulation by TOR in the unicellular red alga, Cyanidioschyzon merolae. The starch content in C. merolae after TOR-inactivation by rapamycin, a TOR-specific inhibitor, was increased by approximately 10-fold in comparison with its drug vehicle, dimethyl sulfoxide. However, our previous transcriptome analysis showed that the expression level of genes related to carbohydrate metabolism was unaffected by rapamycin, indicating that starch accumulation is regulated at post-transcriptional levels. In this study, we performed a phosphoproteome analysis using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to investigate potential post-transcriptional modifications, and identified 52 proteins as candidate TOR substrates. Among the possible substrates, we focused on the function of CmGLG1, because its phosphorylation at the Ser613 residue was decreased after rapamycin treatment, and overexpression of CmGLG1 resulted in a 4.7-fold higher starch content. CmGLG1 is similar to the priming protein, glycogenin, which is required for the initiation of starch/glycogen synthesis, and a budding yeast complementation assay demonstrated that CmGLG1 can functionally substitute for glycogenin. We found an approximately 60% reduction in the starch content in a phospho-mimicking CmGLG1 overexpression strain, in which Ser613 was substituted with aspartic acid, in comparison with the wild-type CmGLG1 overexpression cells. Our results indicate that TOR modulates starch accumulation by changing the phosphorylation status of the CmGLG1 Ser613 residue in C. merolae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-499
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Journal
Volume97
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1

Keywords

  • Cyanidioschyzon merolae
  • glycogenin
  • phosphoproteome
  • red alga
  • starch
  • target of rapamycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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