The 14-3-3 proteins are a family of ubiquitous regulatory molecules which have been found in virtually every eukaryotic organism and tissue. Discovered 34 years ago, 14-3-3 proteins have first been studied in mammalian nervous tissues, but in the past decade their indispensable role in various plant regulatory and metabolic pathways has been increasingly established. We now know that 14-3-3 members regulate fundamental processes of nitrogen assimilation and carbon assimilation, play an auxiliary role in regulation of starch synthesis, ATP production, peroxide detoxification, and participate in modulation of several other important biochemical pathways. Plant development and seed germination appear also to be under control of factors whose interaction with 14-3-3 molecules is crucial for their activation. Located within the nucleus, 14-3-3 isoforms are constituents of transcription factor complexes and interact with components of abscisic acid (ABA)-induced gene expression machinery. In addition, in animal cells they participate in nucleo-cytoplasmic trafficking and molecular sequestration. Cytoplasmic 14-3-3 members form a guidance complex with chloroplast destined preproteins and facilitate their import into these photosynthetic organelles. Recently, several 14-3-3s have been identified within chloroplasts where they could be involved in targeting and insertion of thylakoid proteins. The identification of 14-3-3 isoform specificity, and in particular the elucidation of the signal transduction mechanisms connecting 14-3-3 members with physiological responses, are central and developing topics of current research in this field.
- 14-3-3 proteins
- Nucleocytoplasmic trafficking
- Post-translational modification
- Seed development and germination