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Role of OMP24 in the regulation of plastids-mitochondria contact sites in response to phosphate starvation in Arabidopsis thaliana

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Published on 26 March 2021
Project summary
These last decades, direct contact sites between organelles appear as cellular hubs where many fundamental processes occur, including lipids and ion exchanges or programmed cell death. Membrane contact sites (MCSs) are formed when two membranes are closely apposed (10-30 nm) without fusing. In plants, MCSs are highly regulated in response to stress, in particular during phosphate (Pi) starvation, a frequent nutrient stress triggering important decreases of crop yields. Low Pi in soil leads to a significant increase of plastids-mitochondria MCSs and promotes lipid transfer between those two organelles, a process required for the remobilization of intracellular Pi reserves. Previously, we identified a complex located in mitochondria involved in mitochondrial lipid transport during Pi starvation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Interestingly, one of the major proteins of this complex, OMP24, is an uncharacterized protein located in the plastid envelope, suggesting its presence at plastids-mitochondria MCSs. In addition, preliminary results suggest that plastid-mitochondria lipid transfer is reduced in omp24 knock out (KO) lines during Pi starvation. The goal of the project is to investigate the role of OMP24 in the regulation of plastids-mitochondria MCSs formation during Pi starvation. To this aim, the partners of OMP24 will be determined by co-immunoprecipitation and proteomic analyses from A. thaliana cell cultures grown in presence or absence of Pi to highlight specific interactions induced by this stress. In parallel, an analysis of the subcellular localization of OMP24 will be performed by immuno-labeling to confirm the presence of OMP24 at plastids-mitochondria MCSs. Finally, the number and extent of plastids-mitochondria MCSs will be analyzed in KO and overexpression lines by electron microscopy to decipher the role of OMP24 in the formation of such structure in response to stress. Overall, this project will open important perspectives to understand the intracellular adaptations occurring in plants in response to nutrient stress.

Host laboratory
Lipid team.

Plastids-mitochondria interaction, membrane contact site remodeling, phosphate starvation.

Morgane Michaud
Sébastien Leterme

Call for students applications. Academic year 2021-2022

In the framework of the Chemistry Biology Health (CBH) Graduate School of Université Grenoble Alpes, the GRAL research programme funds MSc (Master 2) research scholarships.

We seek motivated candidates planning to:

attend one of the following Master programmes (2nd year MSc / Master 2 / M2) at Université Grenoble Alpes (taught in English):
Master in Biology:
Structural Biology of Pathogens
Immunology, Microbiology, Infectious Diseases
Neurobiology, Neurosciences
Physiology, Epigenetics Development, Cell Differentiation

Master in Plant Biology:
PLANTA International

& do a research internship in Integrated & Structural Cell Biology at one of the labs associated with the GRAL programme in Grenoble: IBS, PCV, BS, and CBM.

A maximum of 6 GRAL scholarships of 8 000 € are offered to cover the academic year from September 2021 to June 2022, which includes 4 months of courses and 6 months of research internship.

The call is open to EU and non-EU students.

The candidates must send their application in a unique pdf file to anne-mathilde.thierry _at_ (e-mail subject: M2-2021-LastName) before May 14th 2021 (23:59, CET), including:

A cover letter indicating the selected MSc programme at Université Grenoble Alpes, and 2 choices (ranked) for the 6-month research internship project
Diplomas and copies of academic transcripts for the last 2 academic years (translated to French or English if appropriate)
For non-native English speakers, level of language proficiency (e.g. TOEIC, Bulats, etc.)
One letter of recommendation
E-candidate portal application number

We strongly recommend that the candidates take contact with the potential supervisor(s) for the research project(s) of interest.

The applications will be evaluated by a selection committee composed of representatives of the GRAL Directory and the Master programmes.

The scholarship is conditional to the registration to one of the above programmes of the master’s degree in Biology of Université Grenoble Alpes, and to the recipient maintaining a satisfactory academic record in the programme. The admission to a 2nd year MSc programme (M2) at Université Grenoble Alpes is fully independent of the GRAL Scholarship. Application deadlines may differ between the different programmes. See admission requirements on Université Grenoble Alpes’s website:


Opening of the call for applications: March 1st 2021
Applications must be submitted by May 14th 2021
Results: June 2021

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