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Home » Successful visualization of the distribution of the heme metabolite bilirubin in plants – Elucidation by live imaging using fluorescent proteins – Okayama University, Utsunomiya University

Successful visualization of the distribution of the heme metabolite bilirubin in plants – Elucidation by live imaging using fluorescent proteins – Okayama University, Utsunomiya University

National University Corporation Okayama University
Successful visualization of the distribution of the heme metabolite bilirubin in plants – Elucidation by live imaging using fluorescent proteins – [Okayama University, Utsunomiya University]
……
This is a press release of joint research results between Okayama University and Utsunomiya University.
March 31, 2024 (Reiwa 6) National University Corporation Okayama University https://www.okayama-u.ac.jp/
[Image 1: https://prtimes.jp/i/72793/2087/resize/d72793-2087-9ecac8094dbecb003933-0.jpg&s3=72793-2087-9a8d87fe60cbb1a654ee81589bef23e3-1890×1060.jpg] -Key points of presentation-
For the first time, we succeeded in visualizing the distribution of bilirubin in plants by using UnaG, a protein that glows when combined with bilirubin, a metabolite of heme.
Bilirubin was found to be localized in the epidermal cells of leaves and roots, and intracellularly in the stroma of chloroplasts. A transport pathway for heme metabolites may exist between
chloroplasts and peroxisomes.
Bilirubin production may have a new physiological function other than mitigating oxidative stress caused by photosynthesis.

◆Overview
National University Corporation Okayama University (Headquarters: Kita-ku, Okayama City, President: Yasutomo Nasu) Assistant Professor Kazuya Ishikawa of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and
Pharmaceutical Sciences (at the time of the research: Specially Appointed Assistant Professor at the Utsunomiya University Bioscience Education and Research Center) and Utsunomiya University Co., Ltd. Professor Yutaka Kodama of the Center used fluorescence imaging to reveal the detailed distribution of the heme metabolite bilirubin in living plant cells, providing suggestions regarding biosynthesis and transport pathways.
This research result is one of the few examples in which metabolites in living cells have been accurately visualized at the organelle level, and it reveals new physiological functions related to heme metabolites, which are known to be essential for photosynthesis and respiration in plants. It proposes existence.
The results of this research were published in the international journal Plant and Cell Physiology on February 27, 2024.
This information was released by Okayama University and Utsunomiya University on March 28, 20204.
[Image 2: https://prtimes.jp/i/72793/2087/resize/d72793-2087-b179e9139d582651b0df-1.jpg&s3=72793-2087-7f2c480988ee8243554a731ba7edbc1f-800×606.jpg] Figure 1 a Metabolic pathway for producing bilirubin from heme that differs between animals and plants. b Microscopic photograph of the stroma, where the UnaG fluorescence signal of bilirubin was
particularly strong among chloroplasts. The granular structures visible with autofluorescence (center) are thylakoids, and UnaG fluorescence (left) is strongly visible in the stroma, which does not overlap with them (right).
[Image 3: https://prtimes.jp/i/72793/2087/resize/d72793-2087-e0655a2106346e0d44d3-2.jpg&s3=72793-2087-bda824ec976df113f4cb4a20cb8ce127-546×533.jpg] Figure 2 Effects of increased bilirubin levels in chloroplasts on other organelles. As bilirubin levels increased in chloroplasts (red arrows), bilirubin levels in peroxisomes decreased (blue arrows), but no changes were observed in other organelles.
◆Paper information
Paper title: Bilirubin distribution in plants at the subcellular and tissue levels Author: Kazuya Ishikawa, Yutaka Kodama Journal: Plant Cell Physiology URL: https://doi.org /10.1093/pcp/pcae017
◆Research support: This research is supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Strategic Creative Research Promotion Project, ERATO, “Numata Organelle Reaction Cluster Project (Keiji Numata, Yutaka Kodama, Project Number: JPMJER1602”), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This work was carried out with the support of the Research Grant for Academic Transformation Area Research (A) “Molecular mechanism of multilayered information control that supports plant resilience against
heterogeneous environmental changes” (Yutaka Kodama, Project number: 20H05905).
◆Detailed research details Succeeded in visualizing the distribution of the heme metabolite bilirubin in plants – Elucidation by live imaging using fluorescent proteins –
 https://www.okayama-u.ac.jp/up_load_files/press_r5/press20240328-1.pdf
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◆Contact information for this matter
-About the research content- Professor Yutaka Kodama, Bioscience Education and Research Center, Utsunomiya University TEL: 028-649-5527 FAX: 028-649-8651 Kazuya Ishikawa, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, National University Corporation Okayama University TEL: 086-251-7954
 https://www.pharm.okayama-u.ac.jp/lab/bunsei/member/ishikawa/-Press response- National University Corporation Utsunomiya University Public Relations Office TEL:028-649-5201
FAX: 028-649-5026 National University Corporation Okayama University General Affairs and Planning Department Public Relations Division TEL: 086-251-7292
 FAX: 086-251-7294
-For inquiries regarding Okayama University’s
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