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A Synthetic Multidomain Peptide That Drives a Macropinocytosis-Like Mechanism for Cytosolic Transport of Exogenous Proteins into Plants

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journal contribution
posted on 28.12.2021, 17:11 by Takaaki Miyamoto, Kiminori Toyooka, Jo-Ann Chuah, Masaki Odahara, Mieko Higchi-Takeuchi, Yumi Goto, Yoko Motoda, Takanori Kigawa, Yutaka Kodama, Keiji Numata
Direct delivery of proteins into plants represents a promising alternative to conventional gene delivery for probing and modulating cellular functions without the risk of random integration of transgenes into the host genome. This remains challenging, however, because of the lack of a protein delivery tool applicable to diverse plant species and the limited information about the entry mechanisms of exogenous proteins in plant cells. Here, we present the synthetic multidomain peptide (named dTat-Sar-EED4) for cytosolic protein delivery in various plant species via simple peptide-protein coincubation. dTat-Sar-EED4 enabled the cytosolic delivery of an active enzyme with up to ∼20-fold greater efficiency than previously described cell-penetrating peptides in several model plant systems. Our analyses using pharmacological inhibitors and transmission electron microscopy revealed that dTat-Sar-EED4 triggered a unique endocytic mechanism for cargo protein internalization. This endocytic mechanism shares several features with macropinocytosis, including the dependency of actin polymerization, sensitivity to phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase activity, and formation of membrane protrusions and large intracellular vesicles (>200 nm in diameter), even though macropinocytosis has not been identified to date in plants. Our study thus presents a robust molecular tool that can induce a unique cellular uptake mechanism for the efficient transport of bioactive proteins into plants.