ANGUSTIFOLIA, a plant homolog of CtBP/BARS, functions outside the nucleus.
ABSTRACT CtBP/BARS is a unique protein family in having quite diversified cellular functions, intercellular localizations, and developmental roles. ANGUSTIFOLIA (AN) is the sole homolog of CtBP/BARS from Arabidopsis thaliana, although it has plant AN-specific motifs and a long C-terminus. Previous studies suggested that AN would function in the nucleus as a transcriptional co-repressor, as CtBPs function in animals; however, precise verification has been lacking. In this paper, we isolated a homologous gene (MAN) of AN from liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha. Transformation of the Arabidopsis an-1 mutant with 35S-driven MAN completely complemented the an-1 phenotype, although it lacks the putative nuclear localization signal (NLS) that exists in AN proteins isolated from other plant species. We constructed several plasmids for expressing modified ANs with amino acid substitutions in known motifs. The results clearly indicated that modified AN with mutations in the putative NLS-like domain could complement the an-1 phenotype. Therefore, we re-examined localization of AN using several techniques. Our results demonstrated that AN localizes on punctuate structures around the Golgi, partially overlapping with a trans-Golgi network resident, which highlighted an unexpected link between leaf development and membrane trafficking. We should reconsider the roles and evolutionary traits of AN based on these findings.