, Volume 250, Issue 1, pp 317-323

An antibody against a conserved C-terminal consensus motif from plant alternative oxidase (AOX) isoforms 1 and 2 label plastids in the explosive dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum, Santalaceae) fruit exocarp

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Abstract

Dwarf mistletoes, genus Arceuthobium (Santalaceae), are parasitic angiosperms that spread their seeds by an explosive process. As gentle heating triggers discharge in the lab, we wondered if thermogenesis (endogenous heat production) is associated with dispersal. Thermogenesis occurs in many plants and is enabled by mitochondrial alternative oxidase (AOX) activity. The purpose of this study was to probe Arceuthobium americanum fruit (including seed tissues) collected over a 10-week period with an anti-AOX antibody/gold-labeled secondary antibody to determine if AOX could be localized in situ, and if so, quantitatively assess whether label distribution changed during development; immunochemical results were evaluated with Western blotting. No label could be detected in the mitochondria of any fruit or seed tissue, but was observed in fruit exocarp plastids of samples collected in the last 2 weeks of study; plastids collected in week 10 had significantly more label than week 9 (p = 0.002). Western blotting of whole fruit and mitochondrial proteins revealed a signal at 30–36 kD, suggestive of AOX, while blots of whole fruit (but not mitochondrial fraction) proteins showed a second band at 40–45 kD, in agreement with plastid terminal oxidases (PTOXs). AOX enzymes are likely present in the A. americanum fruit, even though they were not labeled in mitochondria. The results strongly indicate that the anti-AOX antibody was labeling PTOX in plastids, probably at a C-terminal region conserved in both enzymes. PTOX in plastids may be involved in fruit ripening, although a role for PTOX in thermogenesis cannot be eliminated.

Handling Editor: Hanns H. Kassemeyer