Plasmas promote protein introduction in plants

February 10, 2017

The introduction of organic matter, such as proteins, into living cells has multiple uses for basic scientific research and industrial techniques. For example, the behavior of cell components can be traced by introducing a protein that emits a fluorescent signal into the cell. While scientists have long been successful in delivering proteins into living animal cells, there are difficulties in using the same techniques for plant studies.

Developing a non-destructive method for protein introduction that could be used for genome editing and controlling a functionality, for example. Moreover, it will be expected to control flowering time by introducing flowering control proteins. With this in mind, Yuki Yanagawa and co-workers at the Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO together with Akitoshi Okino and colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, have developed a potentially useful technique for introducing proteins into plant cells using non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasmas.

Plasmas are created by adding energy to a gas, causing the atoms in the gas to become ionized. Plasmas have already proved invaluable in multiple applications and recently showed promise in inactivating bacteria by damaging the bacterial cell surfaces. Thus, the same process may be used to disturb the surface structure of plant cells, allowing proteins to enter the cell interior.

The team tested their theory on tobacco, rice and Arabidopsis leaves or roots. They exposed groups of leaves to one of five different plasma types, and then immersed the leaves into solution containing a green fluorescent protein (sGFP) -- adenylate cyclase fusion protein. They found that those leaves treated with either carbon dioxide or nitrogen gas plasmas showed a high uptake of the protein into their cells.

Protein introduction by plasma must be done by a completely different principle from any other existing techniques. Because it does not need any special pretreatment to plant tissues and/or proteins themselves, it is simple. In addition, it is scalable because the plasma jet apparatus can be modified in size. The researchers are hopeful that their method could prove useful for various plant species and tissues in future.

Background

Protein introduction into cells

The method for introducing organic matter, such as proteins, into living cells has been successfully developed in the biological sciences. Existing techniques for introducing organic matter into animal cells include micro-injections and transfection (where tiny holes or pores are opened up in the cell membrane to allow material to pass through). However, most of the methods are developed in animal cells, and there are additional obstacles in plants because of the different structure of plant cell surfaces and cell walls.

Implications of the current study

The technique could be extended to introduce various different proteins in different plants, and could have applications in plant genome editing, analysis of protein function and the fine control of plant properties for research and industrial applications.
-end-
Acknowledgement

This work was partly supported by KAKENHI (25440057) and Cabinet Office, Governmental of Japan, Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), "Technologies for creating next-generation agriculture, forestry and fisheries" (funding agency: Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, NARO)

Reference

Y. Yanagawa1, H. Kawano1, T. Kobayashi1, H. Miyahara1, A. Okino2, & I. Mitsuhara1. Direct protein introduction into plant cells using a multi-gas plasma jet. PlosOne (2017),DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171942

1. Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO

2. Laboratory for Future Interdisciplinary Research of Science and Technology (FIRST), Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Related Proteins Articles from Brightsurf:

New understanding of how proteins operate
A ground-breaking discovery by Centenary Institute scientists has provided new understanding as to the nature of proteins and how they exist and operate in the human body.

Finding a handle to bag the right proteins
A method that lights up tags attached to selected proteins can help to purify the proteins from a mixed protein pool.

Designing vaccines from artificial proteins
EPFL scientists have developed a new computational approach to create artificial proteins, which showed promising results in vivo as functional vaccines.

New method to monitor Alzheimer's proteins
IBS-CINAP research team has reported a new method to identify the aggregation state of amyloid beta (Aβ) proteins in solution.

Composing new proteins with artificial intelligence
Scientists have long studied how to improve proteins or design new ones.

Hero proteins are here to save other proteins
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have discovered a new group of proteins, remarkable for their unusual shape and abilities to protect against protein clumps associated with neurodegenerative diseases in lab experiments.

Designer proteins
David Baker, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington to speak at the AAAS 2020 session, 'Synthetic Biology: Digital Design of Living Systems.' Prof.

Gone fishin' -- for proteins
Casting lines into human cells to snag proteins, a team of Montreal researchers has solved a 20-year-old mystery of cell biology.

Coupled proteins
Researchers from Heidelberg University and Sendai University in Japan used new biotechnological methods to study how human cells react to and further process external signals.

Understanding the power of honey through its proteins
Honey is a culinary staple that can be found in kitchens around the world.

Read More: Proteins News and Proteins Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.