Identification and characterisation of the Arabidopsis thaliana cell wall proteome : unravelling novel cell wall proteins and new potential functions of the plant extracellular matrix
The application of the proteomic approach has facilitated efforts directed toward the mapping of the entire Arabidopsis cell wall proteome. Proteins were sequentially extracted from purified cell walls using 0.2 M CaC1(_2) followed by a urea buffer. The extracts were resolved via large format two dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-D PAGE) and were visualised via Coomassie brilliant blue staining. The aim was to identify and characterise as many cell wall proteins as possible, with the hope of identifying novel cell wall proteins. Out of 325 spots visualised on the 2-D polyacrylamide gel, 144 gave a positive protein identification representing 104 different proteins. The identified proteins were divided into 3 categories. The first category included proteins that have been previously identified as plant cell wall proteins. The second category was designated to include novel cell wall proteins (hypothetical proteins) and the third category was made up of proteins, which had recognised functions, but had never hitherto been known to be secreted to the extracellular matrix. Among the identified novel cell wall proteins there were several that shared high homology with protein kinases. These proteins possessed all the characteristics of secreted polypeptides, such as the cleavable N-terminal signal peptide, and were found to lack both the transmembrane domain and the endoplasmic reticulum retention tetrapeptides (HDEL and KDEL). These observations suggested that, as in animal cells, plant cells had extracellular protein kinase activity (phosphorylation). This was supported by the recent discovery that plant cells secrete ATP to the extracellular matrix (Thomas et al., 2000). Verification of the occurrence of extracellular protein kinase activity was further strengthened by the identification of phosphorylated bona fide cell wall proteins and stress responses caused by the depletion extracellular ATP.