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Protein prenylation is a post-translational process where lipids are added to carboxyl end groups, which allows proteins to function properly in the eukaryotic cell. The job of prenylation is to help in targeting certain proteins to specific membrane along with promoting protein-protein interactions. We use reverse genetics techniques to understand the function of prenylation in plant development by examining the phenotypic changes caused by specific gene disruption. One of the excellent model organisms Physcomitrella patens (moss) is used due to its simple structure, limited tissue and cells, sequenced genome, and its high gene targeting efficiency.

Rab geranylgeranyl transferase-II (Rab-GGT) is one of three enzymes that can perform protein prenylation and the actual function of Rab-GGT is largely unknown. Moss has one copy of Rab-GGT α subunit (PpRGTA1) and two copies of β subunit (PpRGTB1 and PpRGTB2). This study focuses on the role of the Rab-GGT β subunit in the moss. It has been found that the knockout of either PpRGTB1 or PpRGTB2 results in no visible phenotype, which leads us to believe that these genes are functionally redundant. The knockout of both PpRGTB1 and PpRGTB2 genes has shown to be lethal, which means Rab-GGT is required for viability. To figure out the function of Rab-GGT, we use RNA interference approach to down-regulate the expression level of PpRGTB2 in the PpRGTB1 knockout background so we can observe the phenotypic consequences.

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Protein prenylation, Physcomitrella patens, knockout, knockdown, Rab-GGT, α β subunits


Plant Sciences

Identification of the Biological Function of Rab-GGT β-Subunits by Reverse Techniques