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Title: Investigating cell type specific metabolism using GFP as a reporter protein
Author: Rossi, Merja
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 3591
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) is a powerful technique for quantifying the intracellular fluxes in central carbon metabolism. It relies on detection of stable isotope labelling from metabolites such as amino acids derived from protein. Current standard techniques are, however, unable to distinguish between different cell types in heterogeneous tissue. The aim of the thesis was to address this problem by developing and validating a strategy using green fluorescent protein (GFP) with cell type specific expression as a reporter protein for investigating the fluxes in specific cell types in the Arabidopsis thaliana root. The fundamental difficulty in applying a reporter protein strategy in a multicellular organism arises from the limited amount of recombinant protein expressed by the cells. The main novel contributions of the work in this thesis are threefold. First, a robust protocol for purification of GFP from the roots of Arabidopsis seedlings and for detection of reliable mass isotopomer distributions from the amino acids derived from GFP are described. Secondly, the reporter protein strategy is validated in this biological system with a focus on showing the data obtained by the use of the reporter protein is equal to that normally obtained from the total protein fraction. To expand on this, stable isotope labelling in isolated root hair cells is explored. These cells are easily isolated and show potential as a model system for cell type specific metabolism. Finally, the experimental data provide evidence for the feasibility of measuring data from specific cell types with appropriate mass spectrometric techniques. Analysis of cell type specific gene expression in this system suggests differences in the primary metabolism of different cell types cannot be ruled out without further investigation. Based on small scale in silico modelling described in this thesis, new solutions capable of providing data on sub-populations of cells are required, if central metabolism of the cell types differs significantly.
Supervisor: Ratcliffe, R. George ; Kruger, Nicholas J. Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Green fluorescent protein ; Recombinant proteins ; Arabidopsis thaliana