Rho of Plants (ROP) small G proteins function at discrete domains of the plasma and possibly endo membranes. ROPs are synthesized as soluble proteins and their attachment to membranes and partitioning in membrane microdomains are facilitated by the posttranslational lipid modifications prenylation and/or S-acylation. Based on their amino acid sequences, ROPs can be classified into two major subgroups: type-I ROPs terminate with a canonical CaaX box motif and are prenylated primarily by geranylgeranyltransferase- I (GGT-I) and to a lesser extent by farnesyltransferase (FT). Type-II ROPs terminate with a plant specific GC-CG box domain and are attached to the plasma membrane by stable S-acylation. In addition, type-I and possibly also type-II ROPs undergo activation dependent transient S-acylation in the G-domain and consequent partitioning into lipid rafts. Surprisingly, although geranylgeranylation is required for the membrane attachment of type-I ROPs and the γ subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins, Arabidopsis mutants lacking GGT-I function have a mild phenotype compared to wild type plants. The mild phenotype of the ggt-I mutants suggested that farnesylation by FT may compensate for the loss of GGT-I function and that possibly the prenylated type-I and S-acylated type-II ROPS have some overlapping functions. In a paper recently published in Plant Physiology1 we examined the role of the prenyl group type in type-I ROP function and membrane interaction dynamics and the functional redundancy between type-I and type-II ROPs. This study complements a second paper in which we examined the role of G-domain transient S-acylation in the membrane interaction dynamics and signaling by type-I ROPs.2 Together these two studies provide a framework for realizing the role of prenylation and S-acylation in subcellular targeting, membrane interaction dynamics and signaling by ROP GTPases.
- Lipid rafts
- Membrane targeting