Identification of Chloroplast Envelope Proteins with Critical Importance for Cold Acclimation

Plant Physiol. 2020 Mar;182(3):1239-1255. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00947. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


The ability of plants to withstand cold temperatures relies on their photosynthetic activity. Thus, the chloroplast is of utmost importance for cold acclimation and acquisition of freezing tolerance. During cold acclimation, the properties of the chloroplast change markedly. To provide the most comprehensive view of the protein repertoire of the chloroplast envelope, we analyzed this membrane system in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Profiling chloroplast envelope membranes was achieved by a cross comparison of protein intensities across the plastid and the enriched membrane fraction under both normal and cold conditions. We used multivariable logistic regression to model the probabilities for the classification of an envelope localization. In total, we identified 38 envelope membrane intrinsic or associated proteins exhibiting altered abundance after cold acclimation. These proteins comprise several solute carriers, such as the ATP/ADP antiporter nucleotide transporter2 (NTT2; substantially increased abundance) or the maltose exporter MEX1 (substantially decreased abundance). Remarkably, analysis of the frost recovery of ntt loss-of-function and mex1 overexpressor mutants confirmed that the comparative proteome is well suited to identify key factors involved in cold acclimation and acquisition of freezing tolerance. Moreover, for proteins with known physiological function, we propose scenarios explaining their possible roles in cold acclimation. Furthermore, spatial proteomics introduces an additional layer of complexity and enables the identification of proteins differentially localized at the envelope membrane under the changing environmental regime.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplast Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • MEX1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Membrane Transport Proteins