Plant Rabs: Characterization, Functional Diversity, and Role in Stress Tolerance
A large number of Rab/Ypt-family small GTPases have been identified from higher plants. While some of them can complement yeast ypt mutants, the expression of Arabidopsis Ara4 protein aggravated the growth defect of a subset of ypt mutants, probably because of the titration of common regulator(s) of yeast Ypt proteins [Ueda, T. et al. (1996) Plant Cell, 8: 2079-20911. PRA2 from pea Pisum sativum encodes an interesting Rab GTPase whose expression is regulated by light [Yoshida, K. et al. (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 90: 6636-6640]. We examined whether PRA2 complements any of the yeast ypt mutants and found again that PRA2 does not complement but rather confers the growth defect to some of the ypt mutants. No growth defect was observed when PRA2 was expressed in the wild-type yeast cells. Unlike the case of Ara4, neither Arabidopsis nor yeast GDI remedied the growth defect by Pra2, indicating that the mechanism of the exacerbation is different. Mutational analysis of PRA2 suggests that the growth inhibition can be ascribed to unidentified factor(s) which prefers the GTP-bound form of Pra2. This yeast system will be useful for identifying such putative regulatory factor(s) from yeast and plants and analyzing their interactions with Pra2.