• gene expression;
  • green algae;
  • localization;
  • Micrasterias denticulata;
  • morphogenesis;
  • overexpression;
  • Rab GTPase

Rab GTPases are central regulators of cell shape in land plants by coordinating vesicle trafficking during morphogenesis. To date, relatively little is known about the role of these ubiquitous signaling proteins during cell growth in microalgae, in particular in the related charophyte algae. This article identifies the first charophyte Rab GTPase, MdRABE1, in Micrasterias denticulata Bréb., a convenient model organism for studying morphogenesis. Its expression correlated with the onset of morphogenesis, and structural analysis indicated that it belongs to the RABE (Ras gene from rat brain E) subclass. Confocal fluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy (IEM) of transiently GFP-MdRABE1 overexpressing interphase cells demonstrated that the GFP-MdRABE1 protein was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum, dictyosomes, exocytotic vesicles, the cell margin, the membranes of cell organelles, and in the isthmus zone around the nucleus. Although overexpression phenotyping of both N- and C-terminal green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions failed to indicate additional functional evidence of the MdRABE1 protein due to mortality of those transgenic cells, its expression profile, bioinformatics, and intracellular localization suggest a role in vesicle trafficking during morphogenesis.