Russell-like bodies in plant seeds share common features with prolamin bodies and occur upon recombinant protein production

Elsa Arcalis, Verena Ibl, Julia Hilscher, Thomas Rademacher, Linda Avesani, Francesca Morandini, Luisa Bortesi, Mario Pezzotti, Alessandro Vitale, Dietmar Pum, Thomas De Meyer, Ann Depicker, Eva Stoger

Although many recombinant proteins have been produced in seeds at high yields without adverse effects on the plant, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and aberrant localization of endogenous or recombinant proteins have also been reported. The production of murine interleukin-10 (mIL-10) in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds resulted in the de novo formation of ER-derived structures containing a large fraction of the recombinant protein in an insoluble form. These bodies containing mIL-10 were morphologically similar to Russell bodies found in mammalian cells. We confirmed that the compartment containing mIL-10 was enclosed by ER membranes, and 3D electron microscopy revealed that these structures have a spheroidal shape. Another feature shared with Russell bodies is the continued viability of the cells that generate these organelles. To investigate similarities in the formation of Russell-like bodies and the plant-specific protein bodies formed by prolamins in cereal seeds, we crossed plants containing ectopic ER-derived prolamin protein bodies with a line accumulating mIL-10 in Russell-like bodies. This resulted in seeds containing only one population of protein bodies in which mIL-10 inclusions formed a central core surrounded by the prolamin-containing matrix, suggesting that both types of protein aggregates are together removed from the secretory pathway by a common mechanism. We propose that, like mammalian cells, plant cells are able to form Russell-like bodies as a self-protection mechanism, when they are overloaded with a partially transport-incompetent protein, and we discuss the resulting challenges for recombinant protein production.

External organisation(s)
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Oekologie IME, Università degli Studi di Verona, CNR, Ghent University , VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology
Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Proteomics, Cell biology, Ultrastructure research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
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