Dissecting the subcellular membrane proteome reveals enrichment of H+ (co-)transporters and vesicle trafficking proteins in acidic zones of Chara internodal cells

PLoS One. 2018 Aug 29;13(8):e0201480. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201480. eCollection 2018.


The Characeae are multicellular green algae with very close relationship to land plants. Their internodal cells have been the subject of numerous (electro-)physiological studies. When exposed to light, internodal cells display alternating bands of low and high pH along their surface in order to facilitate carbon uptake required for photosynthesis. Here we investigated for the first time the subcellular membrane protein composition of acidic and alkaline regions in internodal cells of Chara australis R. Br. using MS-proteomics. The identified peptides were annotated to Chara unigenes using a custom-made Chara database generated from a transcriptome analysis and to orthologous Arabidopsis genes using TAIR (The Arabidopsis Information Resource) database. Apart from providing the first public-available, functionally-annotated sequence database for Chara australis, the proteome study, which is supported by immunodetection, identified several membrane proteins associated with acidic regions that contain a high density of specific plasma membrane (PM) invaginations, the charasomes, which locally increase the membrane area to overcome diffusion limitation in membrane transport. An increased abundance of PM H+ ATPases at charasomes is consistent with their role in the acidification of the environment, but the characean PM H+ ATPase sequence suggests a different regulation compared to higher plant PM H+ ATPases. A higher abundance of H+ co-transporters in the charasome-rich, acidic regions possibly reflects enhanced uptake of ions and nutrients. The increase in mitochondrial proteins confirms earlier findings about the accumulation of cortical mitochondria in the acidic zones. The significant enrichment of clathrin heavy chains and clathrin adaptor proteins as well as other proteins involved in trafficking indicate a higher activity of membrane transport in the charasome-rich than in charasome-poor areas. New and unexpected data, for instance the upregulation and abundance of vacuolar transporters correlating with the charasome-rich, acidic cell regions account for new perspectives in the formation of charasomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chara / cytology
  • Chara / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases