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Identification of a Taraxacum brevicorniculatum rubber elongation factor protein that is localized on rubber particles and promotes rubber biosynthesis

: Laibach, N.; Hillebrand, A.; Twyman, R.M.; Prüfer, D.; Schulze Gronover, C.


The plant journal 82 (2015), No.4, pp.609-620
ISSN: 0960-7412
ISSN: 1365-313X (Online)
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Two protein families required for rubber biosynthesis in Taraxacum brevicorniculatum have recently been characterized, namely the cis-prenyltransferases (TbCPTs) and the small rubber particle proteins (TbSRPPs). The latter were shown to be the most abundant proteins on rubber particles, where rubber biosynthesis takes place. Here we identified a protein designated T. brevicorniculatum rubber elongation factor (TbREF) by using mass spectrometry to analyze rubber particle proteins. TbREF is homologous to the TbSRPPs but has a molecular mass that is atypical for the family. The promoter was shown to be active in laticifers, and the protein itself was localized on the rubber particle surface. In TbREF-silenced plants generated by RNA interference, the rubber content was significantly reduced, correlating with lower TbCPT protein levels and less TbCPT activity in the latex. However, the molecular mass of the rubber was not affected by TbREF silencing. The colloidal s tability of rubber particles isolated from TbREF-silenced plants was also unchanged. This was not surprising because TbREF depletion did not affect the abundance of TbSRPPs, which are required for rubber particle stability. Our findings suggest that TbREF is an important component of the rubber biosynthesis machinery in T. brevicorniculatum, and may play a role in rubber particle biogenesis and influence rubber production. Significance Statement Natural rubber is used in thousands of products but little is known about its synthesis. Russian dandelion plants produce natural rubber and can be used to characterize the biosynthesis steps and to determine how other rubber-producing plants such as the rubber tree can be induced to produce larger amounts. We present a comprehensive analysis of a unique rubber elongation factor family protein that is necessary for efficient rubber biosynthesis in the dandelion root latex.