In plants and possibly other organisms, channelling of the reactive intermediates resulting from P450 oxygenation is thought to require the formation of supramolecular complexes associating membrane-bound and soluble enzymes. This implies a most probably loose membrane association of the soluble proteins. For the assessment of such membrane association in vivo, we propose an imaging strategy based on the accurate evaluation of fluorescent protein repartition and distance around endoplasmic reticulum (ER) tubules. It requires candidate protein fusion constructs with fluorescent reporters and transient expression in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana. The method was tested with soluble eGFP/mRFP1, with various P450 and P450 reductase fluorescent fusions, and with anchored eGFP/mRFP1. It easily differentiated soluble and anchored proteins and detects subtle changes in ER tubules. The method was further assessed with a soluble protein previously shown to be loosely associated with the ER, the phenylalanine ammonia lyase PAL1 involved in the lignin biosynthetic pathway. This protein was found located in close vicinity to the ER. Taken together, these data indicate that the method proposed herein is suitable to monitor membrane association and relocalization of soluble proteins involved in the formation of metabolons.
© 2011 The Authors Journal compilation © 2011 FEBS.