L.R. Poulsen, R.L. López-Marqués, P.R. Pedas, S.C. McDowell, E. Brown, R. Kunze, J.F. Harper, T. Günther Pomorski, and Michael Palmgren (2015).
A phospholipid uptake system in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
Nature Communications 6: 7649.
doi: 10.1038/ncomms8649

Plants use solar energy to produce lipids directly from inorganic elements and are not thought to require molecular systems for lipid uptake from the environment. Here we show that Arabidopsis thaliana Aminophospholipid ATPase10 (ALA10) is a P4-type ATPase flippase that internalizes exogenous phospholipids across the plasma membrane, after which they are rapidly metabolized. ALA10 expression and phospholipid uptake are high in the epidermal cells of the root tip and in guard cells, the latter of which regulate the size of stomatal apertures to modulate gas exchange. ALA10-knockout mutants exhibit reduced phospholipid uptake at the root tips and guard cells and are affected in growth and transpiration. The presence of a phospholipid uptake system in plants is surprising. Our results suggest that one possible physiological role of this system is to internalize lysophosphatidylcholine, a signalling lipid involved in root development and stomatal control.