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Schreiber, Viktoria, Dersch, Josefine, Puzik, Katharina, Bäcker, Oliver, Liu, Xiaojuan, Stork, Simone, Schulz, Julian, Heimerl, Thomas, Klingl, Andreas, Zauner, Stefan and Maier, Uwe G. (2017): The Central Vacuole of the Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum: Identification of New Vacuolar Membrane Proteins and of a Functional Di-leucine-based Targeting Motif. In: Protist, Vol. 168, No. 3: pp. 271-282

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Diatoms are unicellular organisms evolved by secondary endosymbiosis. Although studied in many aspects, the functions of vacuolar-like structures of these organisms are rarely investigated. One of these structures is a dominant central vacuole-like compartment with a marbled phenotype, which is supposed to represent a chrysolaminarin-storing and carbohydrate mobilization compartment. However, other functions as well as targeting of proteins to this compartment are not shown experimentally. In order to study trafficking of membrane proteins to the vacuolar membrane, we scanned the genome for intrinsic vacuolar membrane proteins and used one representative for targeting studies. Our work led to the identification of several proteins located in the vacuolar membrane as well as the subcompartmentalized localization of one protein. In addition, we show that a di-leucine-based motif is an important signal for correct targeting to the central vacuole of diatoms, like it is in plants.

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