Glycosylphosphatidylinositol lipid anchoring of plant proteins. Sensitive prediction from sequence- and genome-wide studies for Arabidopsis and rice

Plant Physiol. 2003 Dec;133(4):1691-701. doi: 10.1104/pp.103.023580.


Posttranslational glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) lipid anchoring is common not only for animal and fungal but also for plant proteins. The attachment of the GPI moiety to the carboxyl-terminus after proteolytic cleavage of a C-terminal propeptide is performed by the transamidase complex. Its four known subunits also have obvious full-length orthologs in the Arabidopsis and rice (Oryza sativa) genomes; thus, the mechanism of substrate protein processing appears similar for all eukaryotes. A learning set of plant proteins (substrates for the transamidase complex) has been collected both from the literature and plant sequence databases. We find that the plant GPI lipid anchor motif differs in minor aspects from the animal signal (e.g. the plant hydrophobic tail region can contain a higher fraction of aromatic residues). We have developed the "big-Pi plant" program for prediction of compatibility of query protein C-termini with the plant GPI lipid anchor motif requirements. Validation tests show that the sensitivity for transamidase targets is approximately 94%, and the rate of false positive prediction is about 0.1%. Thus, the big-Pi predictor can be applied as unsupervised genome annotation and target selection tool. The program is also suited for the design of modified protein constructs to test their GPI lipid anchoring capacity. The big-Pi plant predictor Web server and lists of potential plant precursor proteins in Swiss-Prot, SPTrEMBL, Arabidopsis, and rice proteomes are available at Arabidopsis and rice protein hits have been functionally classified. Several GPI lipid-anchored arabinogalactan-related proteins have been identified in rice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / physiology*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Guanosine Triphosphate