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The multifaceted role of Lon proteolysis in seedling establishment and maintenance of plant organelle function: living from protein destruction




Intracellular selective proteolysis is an important post-translational regulatory mechanism maintaining protein quality control by removing defective, damaged or even deleterious protein aggregates. The ATP-dependent Lon protease is a key component of protein quality control that is highly conserved across the kingdoms of living organisms. Major advancements have been made in bacteria and in non-plant organisms to understand the role of Lon in protection against protein oxidation, ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. This review presents the progress currently made in plants. The Lon gene family in Arabidopsis consists of four members that produce distinct protein isoforms localized in several organelles. Lon1 and Lon4 that potentially originate from a recent gene duplication event are dual-targeted to mitochondria and chloroplasts through distinct mechanisms revealing divergent evolution. Arabidopsis mutant analysis showed that mitochondria and peroxisomes biogenesis or maintenance of function is modulated by Lon1 and Lon2, respectively. Consequently, the lack of Lon selective proteolysis leading to growth retardation and impaired seedling establishment can be attributed to defects in the oil reserve mobilization pathway. The current progress in Arabidopsis research uncovers the role of Lon in the proteome homeostasis of plant organelles and stimulates biotechnology scenarios of plant tolerance against harsh abiotic conditions because of climate instability.