In Arabidopsis thaliana brassinosteroid (BR), perception is mediated by two Leu-rich repeat receptor-like kinases, BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE1 (BRI1) and BRI1-ASSOCIATED RECEPTOR KINASE1 (BAK1) (Arabidopsis SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS RECEPTOR-like KINASE3 [AtSERK3]). Genetic, biochemical, and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) interaction studies suggested that the BRI1-BAK1 receptor complex initiates BR signaling, but the role of the BAK1 receptor is still not clear. Using transient expression in protoplasts of BRI1 and AtSERK3 fused to cyan and yellow fluorescent green fluorescent protein variants allowed us to localize each receptor independently in vivo. We show that BRI1, but not AtSERK3, homodimerizes in the plasma membrane, whereas BRI1 and AtSERK3 preferentially heterodimerize in the endosomes. Coexpression of BRI1 and AtSERK3 results in a change of the steady state distribution of both receptors because of accelerated endocytosis. Endocytic vesicles contain either BRI1 or AtSERK3 alone or both. We propose that the AtSERK3 protein is involved in changing the equilibrium between plasma membrane-located BRI1 homodimers and endocytosed BRI1-AtSERK3 heterodimers.
Mycorrhizal plants benefit from the fungal partners by getting better access to soil nutrients. In exchange, the plant supplies carbohydrates to the fungus. The additional carbohydrate demand in mycorrhizal plants was shown to be balanced partially by higher CO2 assimilation and increased C metabolism in shoots and roots. In order to test the role of sucrose transport for fungal development in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) tomato, transgenic plants with down-regulated expression of three sucrose transporter genes were analysed. Plants that carried an antisense construct of SlSUT2 (SlSUT2as) repeatedly exhibited increased mycorrhizal colonization and the positive effect of plants to mycorrhiza was abolished. Grafting experiments between transgenic and wild-type rootstocks and scions indicated that mainly the root-specific function of SlSUT2 has an impact on colonization of tomato roots with the AM fungus. Localization of SISUT2 to the periarbuscular membrane indicates a role in back transport of sucrose from the periarbuscular matrix into the plant cell thereby affecting hyphal development. Screening of an expression library for SlSUT2-interacting proteins revealed interactions with candidates involved in brassinosteroid (BR) signaling or biosynthesis. Interaction of these candidates with SlSUT2 was confirmed by bimolecular fluorescence complementation. Tomato mutants defective in BR biosynthesis were analysed with respect to mycorrhizal symbiosis and showed indeed decreased mycorrhization. This finding suggests that BRs affect mycorrhizal infection and colonization. If the inhibitory effect of SlSUT2 on mycorrhizal growth involves components of BR synthesis and of the BR signaling pathway is discussed.