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Title: Chloroplast membrane lipid remodeling protects against dehydration by limiting membrane fusion and distortion
Authors: Chng, Choon-Peng
Wang, Kun
Ma, Wei
Hsia, K. Jimmy
Huang, Changjin
Keywords: Science::Biological sciences::Biophysics
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Chng, C., Wang, K., Ma, W., Hsia, K. J. & Huang, C. (2021). Chloroplast membrane lipid remodeling protects against dehydration by limiting membrane fusion and distortion. Plant Physiology, 188(1), 526-539.
Project: NTU–ACE2020-07
Journal: Plant Physiology
Abstract: Dehydration damages the structural integrity of the chloroplast membrane and, consequently, the normal photosynthetic function of this organelle. Remodeling of galactolipids by converting monogalactosyl-diacylglycerol (MGDG) to digalactosyl-diacylglycerol (DGDG) and oligo-galactolipids is an effective adaptation strategy for protecting against dehydration damage to the chloroplast membrane. However, detailed molecular mechanisms are missing. In this study, by performing molecular-level simulations of bi-lamellar membranes under various dehydration conditions, we find that MGDG-to-DGDG remodeling protects the chloroplast membrane in a unique manner by simultaneously dictating both the extent and the pattern of fusion stalks formed with the apposed membrane. Specifically, MGDG-rich membranes form elongated stalks at a moderate dehydration level, whereas DGDG-rich membranes form smaller, rounded stalks. Simulations of wild-type and mutant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) outer chloroplast membranes further confirm that the mutant membrane without galactolipid remodeling is more susceptible to membrane fusion due to its higher MGDG content. Our work reveals the underlying physical mechanisms that govern the pattern and extent of membrane fusion structures, paving the way for rational genetic engineering of crops with improved dehydration tolerance.
ISSN: 0032-0889
DOI: 10.1093/plphys/kiab512
DOI (Related Dataset): 10.21979/N9/WTDBTD
Schools: School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
School of Biological Sciences 
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering 
Rights: © 2021 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Plant Physiology and is made available with permission of American Society of Plant .
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MAE Journal Articles
SBS Journal Articles
SCBE Journal Articles

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