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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fibril assembly and carotenoid overaccumulation in chromoplasts: a model for supramolecular lipoprotein structures.

Chromoplast development in ripening bell pepper fruits is characterized by a massive synthesis of carotenoid pigments, resulting in their distinctive red color. We have shown that 95% of these pigments accumulate in chromoplasts in specific lipoprotein fibrils. In addition to carotenoids, purified fibrils contain galactolipids, phospholipids, and a single, 32-kD protein, designated fibrillin, which has antigenically related counterparts in other species. Fibrils were reconstituted in vitro when purified fibrillin was combined with carotenoids and polar lipids in the same stoichiometric ratio found in fibrils in vivo. Antibodies directed against fibrillin were used to isolate a fibrillin cDNA clone and, in immunological studies, to follow its accumulation during the chloroplast-to-chromoplast transition under different conditions. A model for fibril architecture is proposed wherein carotenoids accumulate in the center of the fibrils and are surrounded by a layer of polar lipids, which in turn are surrounded by an outer layer of fibrillin. Topological analysis of purified fibrils verified this structure. Collectively, these results suggest that the process of fibril self-assembly in chromoplasts is an example of a general phenomenon shared among cells that target excess membrane lipids into deposit structures to avoid their destabilizing or toxic effects. In addition, we have shown that abscisic acid stimulates this phenomenon in chromoplasts, whereas gibberellic acid and auxin delay it.[1]


  1. Fibril assembly and carotenoid overaccumulation in chromoplasts: a model for supramolecular lipoprotein structures. Deruère, J., Römer, S., d'Harlingue, A., Backhaus, R.A., Kuntz, M., Camara, B. Plant Cell (1994) [Pubmed]
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