Establishing an efficient protoplast transient expression system for investigation of floral thermogenesis in aroids

Haruhiko Maekawa, Miyabi Otsubo, Mitsuhiko P. Sato, Tomoko Takahashi, Koichiro Mizoguchi, Daiki Koyamatsu, Takehito Inaba, Yasuko Ito-Inaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Key message: Floral thermogenesis is an important reproductive strategy for attracting pollinators. We developed essential biological tools for studying floral thermogenesis using two species of thermogenic aroids,Symplocarpus renifolius and Alocasia odora. Abstract: Aroids contain many species with intense heat-producing abilities in their inflorescences. Several genes have been proposed to be involved in thermogenesis of these species, but biological tools for gene functional analyses are lacking. In this study, we aimed to develop a protoplast-based transient expression (PTE) system for the study of thermogenic aroids. Initially, we focused on skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus renifolius) because of its ability to produce intense as well as durable heat. In this plant, leaf protoplasts were isolated from potted and shoot tip-cultured plants with high efficiency (ca. 1.0 × 105/g fresh weight), and more than half of these protoplasts were successfully transfected. Using this PTE system, we determined the protein localization of three mitochondrial energy-dissipating proteins, SrAOX, SrUCPA, and SrNDA1, fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP). These three GFP-fused proteins were localized in MitoTracker-stained mitochondria in leaf protoplasts, although the green fluorescent particles in protoplasts expressing SrUCPA-GFP were significantly enlarged. Finally, to assess whether the PTE system established in the leaves of S. renifolius is applicable for floral tissues of thermogenic aroids, inflorescences of S. renifolius and another thermogenic aroid (Alocasia odora) were used. Although protoplasts were successfully isolated from several tissues of the inflorescences, PTE systems worked well only for the protoplasts isolated from the female parts (slightly thermogenic or nonthermogenic) of A. odora inflorescences. Our developed system has a potential to be widely used in inflorescences as well as leaves in thermogenic aroids and therefore may be a useful biological tool for investigating floral thermogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan


  • Alocasia odora
  • Araceae
  • Inflorescence
  • Mesophyll protoplast
  • Protein localization
  • Symplocarpus renifolius


Dive into the research topics of 'Establishing an efficient protoplast transient expression system for investigation of floral thermogenesis in aroids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this