ABCG transporters export cutin precursors for the formation of the plant cuticle

Carolina Elejalde-Palmett, Ignacio Martinez San Segundo, Imène Garroum, Laurence Charrier, Damien De Bellis, Antonio Mucciolo, Aurore Guerault, Jie Liu, Viktoria Zeisler-Diehl, Asaph Aharoni, Lukas Schreiber, Bénédicte Bakan, Mads Hartvig Clausen, Markus Geisler, Christiane Nawrath*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The plant cuticle is deposited on the surface of primary plant organs, such as leaves, fruits, and floral organs, forming a diffusion barrier and protecting the plant against various abiotic and biotic stresses. Cutin, the structural polyester of the plant cuticle, is synthesized in the apoplast. Plasma-membrane-localized ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters of the G family have been hypothesized to export cutin precursors. Here, we characterize SlABCG42 of tomato representing an ortholog of AtABCG32 in Arabidopsis. SlABCG42 expression in Arabidopsis complements the cuticular deficiencies of the Arabidopsis pec1/abcg32 mutant. RNAi-dependent downregulation of both tomato genes encoding proteins highly homologous to AtABCG32 (SlABCG36 and SlABCG42) leads to reduced cutin deposition and formation of a thinner cuticle in tomato fruits. By using a tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) protoplast system, we show that AtABCG32 and SlABCG42 have an export activity for 10,16-dihydroxy hexadecanoyl-2-glycerol, a cutin precursor in vivo. Interestingly, also free ω-hydroxy hexadecanoic acid as well as hexadecanedioic acid were exported, furthering the research on the identification of cutin precursors in vivo and the respective mechanisms of their integration into the cutin polymer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • ABC transporter
  • acyl lipid
  • cutin
  • cuticle
  • wax
  • tomato
  • Arabidopsis
  • transport
  • plasma membrane
  • diffusion barrier

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