Envelope K+/H+ Antiporters AtKEA1 and AtKEA2 Function in Plastid Development.Plant Physiol. 2016 09; 172(1):441-9.PP
It is well established that thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts convert light energy into chemical energy, yet the development of chloroplast and thylakoid membranes is poorly understood. Loss of function of the two envelope K(+)/H(+) antiporters AtKEA1 and AtKEA2 was shown previously to have negative effects on the efficiency of photosynthesis and plant growth; however, the molecular basis remained unclear. Here, we tested whether the previously described phenotypes of double mutant kea1kea2 plants are due in part to defects during early chloroplast development in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). We show that impaired growth and pigmentation is particularly evident in young expanding leaves of kea1kea2 mutants. In proliferating leaf zones, chloroplasts contain much lower amounts of photosynthetic complexes and chlorophyll. Strikingly, AtKEA1 and AtKEA2 proteins accumulate to high amounts in small and dividing plastids, where they are specifically localized to the two caps of the organelle separated by the fission plane. The unusually long amino-terminal domain of 550 residues that precedes the antiport domain appears to tether the full-length AtKEA2 protein to the two caps. Finally, we show that the double mutant contains 30% fewer chloroplasts per cell. Together, these results show that AtKEA1 and AtKEA2 transporters in specific microdomains of the inner envelope link local osmotic, ionic, and pH homeostasis to plastid division and thylakoid membrane formation.