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AtPTR4 and AtPTR6 are differentially expressed, tonoplast-localized members of the peptide transporter/nitrate transporter 1 (PTR/NRT1) family

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Members of the peptide transporter/nitrate transporter 1 (PTR/NRT1) family in plants transport a variety of substrates like nitrate, di- and tripepetides, auxin and carboxylates. We isolated two members of this family from Arabidopsis, AtPTR4 and AtPTR6, which are highly homologous to the characterized di- and tripeptide transporters AtPTR1, AtPTR2 and AtPTR5. All known substrates of members of the PTR/NRT1 family were tested using heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants and oocytes of Xenopus laevis, but none could be identified as substrate of AtPTR4 or AtPTR6. AtPTR4 and AtPTR6 show distinct expression patterns, while AtPTR4 is expressed in the vasculature of the plants, AtPTR6 is highly expressed in pollen and during senescence. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that AtPTR2, 4 and 6 belong to one clade of subgoup II, whereas AtPTR1 and 5 are found in a second clade. Like AtPTR2, AtPTR4-GFP and AtPTR6-GFP fusion proteins are localized at the tonoplast. Vacuolar localization was corroborated by co-localization of AtPTR2-YFP with the tonoplast marker protein GFP-AtTIP2;1 and AtTIP1;1-GFP. This indicates that the two clades reflect different intracellular localization at the tonoplast (AtPTR2, 4, 6) and plasma membrane (AtPTR1, 5), respectively.

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aa :

Amino acid


Green fluorescent protein






Open reading frame


Yellow fluorescent protein


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We wish to thank Erwin Sigel and Matthias Hediger (University of Bern) for providing Xenopus oocytes, Christophe Maurel (INRA/Montpellier) for providing AtTIP1;1-GFP and GFP-AtTIP2;1 plants and John M. Ward (University of Minnesota) for help with the phylogenetic analysis. This work was supported by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation 3100A0–107507 and 31003A_127340, and EU Marie Curie Research Training Network ‘VaTEP—Vacuolar Transport Equipment for Growth Regulation of Plants’ (MRTN-CT-2006-035833).

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Correspondence to Doris Rentsch.

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Weichert, A., Brinkmann, C., Komarova, N.Y. et al. AtPTR4 and AtPTR6 are differentially expressed, tonoplast-localized members of the peptide transporter/nitrate transporter 1 (PTR/NRT1) family. Planta 235, 311–323 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-011-1508-7

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  • Arabidopsis
  • Dipeptide
  • Peptide
  • Tonoplast
  • Transport