Membrane topology and sequence requirements for oil body targeting of oleosin


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Oleosin protein is targeted to oil bodies via the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and consists of a lipid-submerged hydrophobic (H) domain that is flanked by cytosolic hydrophilic domains. We investigated the relationship between oleosin ER topology and its subsequent ability to target to oil bodies. Oleosin variants were created to yield differing ER membrane topologies and tagged with a reporter enzyme. Localisation was assessed by fractionation after transient expression in embryonic cells. Membrane-straddled topologies with N-terminal sequence in the ER lumen and C-terminal sequence in the cytosol were unable to target to oil bodies efficiently. Similarly, a translocated topology with only ER membrane and lumenal sequence was unable to target to oil bodies efficiently. Both topology variants accumulated proportionately higher in ER microsomal fractions, demonstrating a block in transferring from ER to oil bodies. The residual oil body accumulation for the inverted topology was shown to be because of partial adoption of native ER membrane topology, using a reporter variant, which becomes inactivated by ER-mediated glycosylation. In addition, the importance of H domain sequence for oil body targeting was assessed using variants that maintain native ER topology. The central proline knot motif (PKM) has previously been shown to be critical for oil body targeting, but here the arms of the H domain flanking this motif were shown to be interchangeable with only a moderate reduction in oil body targeting. We conclude that oil body targeting of oleosin depends on a specific ER membrane topology but does not require a specific sequence in the H domain flanking arms.