Methodology: an optimized, high-yield tomato leaf chloroplast isolation and stroma extraction protocol for proteomics analyses and identification of chloroplast co-localizing proteins

Plant Methods. 2020 Sep 24;16:131. doi: 10.1186/s13007-020-00667-5. eCollection 2020.


Background: Chloroplasts are critical organelles that perceive and convey metabolic and stress signals to different cellular components, while remaining the seat of photosynthesis and a metabolic factory. The proteomes of intact leaves, chloroplasts, and suborganellar fractions of plastids have been evaluated in the model plant Arabidopsis, however fewer studies have characterized the proteomes of plastids in crops. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is an important world-wide crop and a model system for the study of wounding, herbivory and fruit ripening. While significant advances have been made in understanding proteome and metabolome changes in fruit ripening, far less is known about the tomato chloroplast proteome or its subcompartments.

Results: With the long-term goal of understanding chloroplast proteome dynamics in response to stress, we describe a high-yielding method to isolate intact tomato chloroplasts and stromal proteins for proteomic studies. The parameters that limit tomato chloroplast yields were identified and revised to increase yields. Compared to published data, our optimized method increased chloroplast yields by 6.7- and 4.3-fold relative to published spinach and Arabidopsis leaf protocols, respectively; furthermore, tomato stromal protein yields were up to 79-fold higher than Arabidopsis stromal proteins yields. We provide immunoblot evidence for the purity of the stromal proteome isolated using our enhanced methods. In addition, we leverage our nanoliquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC-MS/MS) data to assess the quality of our stromal proteome. Using strict criteria, proteins detected by 1 peptide spectral match, by one peptide, or were sporadically detected were designated as low-level contaminating proteins. A set of 254 proteins that reproducibly co-isolated with the tomato chloroplast stroma were identified. The subcellular localization, frequency of detection, normalized spectral abundance, and functions of the co-isolating proteins are discussed.

Conclusions: Our optimized method for chloroplast isolation increased the yields of tomato chloroplasts eightfold enabling the proteomics analysis of the chloroplast stromal proteome. The set of 254 proteins that co-isolate with the chloroplast stroma provides opportunities for developing a better understanding of the extensive and dynamic interactions of chloroplasts with other organelles. These co-isolating proteins also have the potential for expanding our knowledge of proteins that are co-localized in multiple subcellular organelles.

Keywords: Chloroplast isolation; Proteomics; Solanum lycopersicum; Soluble proteins; Stroma.