Molecular properties of disordered plant dehydrins : Membrane interaction and function in stress

Sammanfattning: Dehydrins are intrinsically disordered plant stress-proteins. Repetitively in their sequence are some highly conserved stretches of 7-17 residues, the so called K-, S-, Y- and lysine rich segments. This thesis aims to give insight into the possible role dehydrins have in the stressed plant cell with main focus on membrane interaction and protection. The work includes four recombinant dehydrins from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana: Cor47 (SK3), Lti29 (SK3), Lti30 (K6) and Rab18 (Y2SK2).Initially, we mimicked crowded cellular environment in vitro to verify that dehydrins are truly disordered proteins. Thereafter, the proposal that the compulsory K-segment determines membrane binding was tested. Experiments show that only Lti30 and Rab18 bind, whereas Cor47 and Lti29 does not. As Lti30 and Rab18 binds they assembles vesicles into clusters in vitro, a feature used to characterize the interaction. From this it was shown that membrane binding of Lti30 is electrostatic and determined by global as well as local charges. Protonation of histidine pairs flanking the K-segments works as an on/off-binding switch. By NMR studies it was shown that the K-segments form a dynamic α-helix upon binding, so called disorder-to-order behaviour. Also, dehydrins electrostatic interaction with lipids can be further tuned by posttranslational phosphorylation or coordination of calcium and zinc ions.Finally, specific binding of Rab18 to inositol lipids, mainly PI(4,5)P2, is reported. The interaction is mainly coordinated by two arginines neighboring one of the K-segments. In conclusion, the K-segments are indeed involved in the binding of dehydrins to membrane but only in combination with extensions (Lti30) or modified (Rab18).