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Record number 539483
Title Insight into nuclear body formation of phytochromes through stochastic modelling and experiment
Author(s) Grima, Ramon; Sonntag, Sebastian; Venezia, Filippo; Kircher, Stefan; Smith, Robert W.; Fleck, Christian
Source Physical Biology 15 (2018)5. - ISSN 1478-3967
Department(s) CS Raad van Toezicht
Systems and Synthetic Biology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) biological physics - nuclear bodies - phytochrome signaling - plant biology - stochastic modelling

Spatial relocalization of proteins is crucial for the correct functioning of living cells. An interesting example of spatial ordering is the light-induced clustering of plant photoreceptor proteins. Upon irradiation by white or red light, the red light-active phytochrome, phytochrome B, enters the nucleus and accumulates in large nuclear bodies (NBs). The underlying physical process of nuclear body formation remains unclear, but phytochrome B is thought to coagulate via a simple protein-protein binding process. We measure, for the first time, the distribution of the number of phytochrome B-containing NBs as well as their volume distribution. We show that the experimental data cannot be explained by a stochastic model of nuclear body formation via simple protein-protein binding processes using physically meaningful parameter values. Rather modelling suggests that the data is consistent with a two step process: a fast nucleation step leading to macroparticles followed by a subsequent slow step in which the macroparticles bind to form the nuclear body. An alternative explanation for the observed nuclear body distribution is that the phytochromes bind to a so far unknown molecular structure. We believe it is likely this result holds more generally for other nuclear body-forming plant photoreceptors and proteins.

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