The functional network of the Arabidopsis plastoglobule proteome based on quantitative proteomics and genome-wide coexpression analysis

Plant Physiol. 2012 Mar;158(3):1172-92. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.193144. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


Plastoglobules (PGs) in chloroplasts are thylakoid-associated monolayer lipoprotein particles containing prenyl and neutral lipids and several dozen proteins mostly with unknown functions. An integrated view of the role of the PG is lacking. Here, we better define the PG proteome and provide a conceptual framework for further studies. The PG proteome from Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) leaf chloroplasts was determined by mass spectrometry of isolated PGs and quantitative comparison with the proteomes of unfractionated leaves, thylakoids, and stroma. Scanning electron microscopy showed the purity and size distribution of the isolated PGs. Compared with previous PG proteome analyses, we excluded several proteins and identified six new PG proteins, including an M48 metallopeptidase and two Absence of bc1 complex (ABC1) atypical kinases, confirmed by immunoblotting. This refined PG proteome consisted of 30 proteins, including six ABC1 kinases and seven fibrillins together comprising more than 70% of the PG protein mass. Other fibrillins were located predominantly in the stroma or thylakoid and not in PGs; we discovered that this partitioning can be predicted by their isoelectric point and hydrophobicity. A genome-wide coexpression network for the PG genes was then constructed from mRNA expression data. This revealed a modular network with four distinct modules that each contained at least one ABC1K and/or fibrillin gene. Each module showed clear enrichment in specific functions, including chlorophyll degradation/senescence, isoprenoid biosynthesis, plastid proteolysis, and redox regulators and phosphoregulators of electron flow. We propose a new testable model for the PGs, in which sets of genes are associated with specific PG functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Arabidopsis / anatomy & histology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Fibrillins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Immunoblotting
  • Isoelectric Point
  • Metalloproteases / genetics
  • Metalloproteases / metabolism
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Terpenes / metabolism
  • Thylakoid Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Thylakoid Membrane Proteins / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Fibrillins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Terpenes
  • Thylakoid Membrane Proteins
  • Metalloproteases