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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Printed publications

Flores, R., Gago-Zachert, S., De la Peña, M. & Navarro, B. Chrysanthemum chlorotic mottle viroid. In: Viroids and Satellite. - Academic Press (Ed. A. Hadidi, et al.). 331-338, (2017) ISBN: eBook ISBN: 9780128017029; Hardcover ISBN: 9780128014981.

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Publications

Wasternack, C A plant's balance of growth and defense – revisited. New Phytol 215(, 1291-1294, (2017) DOI: 10.1111/nph.14720

The sessile lifestyle of plants requires a permanent and efficient adjustment to environmental stresses caused by biotic factors, such as pathogens and herbivores, or abiotic factors, such as drought and salt. Any defense responses, however, are costly, and investment into defense leads to reduced growth. These plant growth–defense tradeoffs, with simultaneous activation of defense and maintenance of growth, are critical for crop breeding. For some stresses, such as wounding by herbivores, the cost–benefit ratio in the growth–defense tradeoff has been tested in native populations; a costly jasmonic acid (JA)-induced defense response has been shown, which is down-regulated when the defense is not required (Baldwin, 1998). JA is the central player in many stress responses: inhibition of root growth, photosynthesis, and leaf growth (Zhang & Turner, 2008), induction of defense proteins, formation of secondary compounds active in defense and defense upon bacterial infection are JA-induced processes with consequences for growth (Wasternack & Hause, 2013; reviewed in Havko et al., 2016).
This article is a Commentary on Major et al., 215: 1533–1547.
Publications

García, M. L., Bó, E. D., da Graça, J. V., Gago-Zachert, S., Hammond, J., Moreno, P., Natsuaki, T., Pallás, V., Navarro, J. A., Reyes, C. A., Luna, G. R., Sasaya, T., Tzanetakis, I. E., Vaira, A. M., Verbeek, M. & ICTV Report Consortium Virus Taxonomy profile: Ophioviridae. J. General Virol. 98 , 1161-1162, (2017) DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.000836

Ophioviridae,The Ophioviridae is a family of filamentous plant viruses, with single-stranded negative, and possibly ambisense, RNA genomes of 11.3–12.5 kb divided into 3–4 segments, each encapsidated separately. Virions are naked filamentous nucleocapsids, forming kinked circles of at least two different contour lengths. The sole genus, Ophiovirus, includes seven species. Four ophioviruses are soil-transmitted and their natural hosts include trees, shrubs, vegetables and bulbous or corm-forming ornamentals, both monocots and dicots. This is a summary of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Report on the taxonomy of the which is available at http://www.ictv.global/report/ophioviridae.
Publications

Bürstenbinder, K., Mitra, D. & Quegwer, J.  Functions of IQD proteins as hubs in cellular calcium and auxin signaling: a toolbox for shape formation and tissue-specification in plants? Plant Signaling & Behavior 12 , e1331198, (2017) DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2017.1331198

Ca2+ ions play pivotal roles as second messengers in intracellular signal transduction, and coordinate many biological processes. Changes in intracellular Ca2+ levels are perceived by Ca2+ sensors such as CaM/CML proteins, which transduce Ca2+ signals into cellular responses by regulation of diverse target proteins. Insights into molecular functions of CaM targets are thus essential to understand the molecular and cellular basis of Ca2+ signaling. During the last decade, IQD proteins emerged as the largest class of CaM targets in plants with mostly unknown functions. In the March issue of Plant Physiology, we presented the first comprehensive characterization of the 33-membered IQD family in Arabidopsis thaliana. We showed, by analysis of the subcellular localization of translational GFP fusion proteins, that most IQD members label MTs, and additionally often localize to the cell nucleus or to membranes, where the recruit CaM Ca2+ sensors. Important functions at MTs are supported by altered MT organization and plant growth in IQD gain-of-function lines. Because IQD proteins share structural hallmarks of scaffold proteins, we propose roles of IQDs in the assembly of macromolecular complexes to orchestrate Ca2+ CaM signaling from membranes to the nucleus. 
Publications

Ziegler, J., Schmidt, S., Strehmel, N., Scheel, D. & Abel, S. Arabidopsis transporter ABCG37/PDR9 contributes primarily highly oxygenated coumarins to root exudation.  Scientific Rep 7, 3704, (2017) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-03250-6

The chemical composition of root exudates strongly impacts the interactions of plants with microorganisms in the rhizosphere and the efficiency of nutrient acquisition. Exudation of metabolites is in part mediated by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. In order to assess the contribution of individual ABC transporters to root exudation, we performed an LC-MS based non-targeted metabolite profiling of semi-polar metabolites accumulating in root exudates of Arabidopsis thaliana plants and mutants deficient in the expression of ABCG36 (PDR8/PEN3), ABCG37 (PDR9) or both transporters. Comparison of the metabolite profiles indicated distinct roles for each ABC transporter in root exudation. Thymidine exudation could be attributed to ABCG36 function, whereas coumarin exudation was strongly reduced only in ABCG37 deficient plants. However, coumarin exudation was compromised in abcg37 mutants only with respect to certain metabolites of this substance class. The specificity of ABCG37 for individual coumarins was further verified by a targeted LC-MS based coumarin profiling method. The response to iron deficiency, which is known to strongly induce coumarin exudation, was also investigated. In either treatment, the distribution of individual coumarins between roots and exudates in the investigated genotypes suggested the involvement of ABCG37 in the exudation specifically of highly oxygenated rather than monohydroxylated coumarins.
Printed publications

Bürstenbinder, K., Möller, B., Plötner, R., Stamm, G., Hause, G., Mitra, D. & Abel, S. The IQD family of calmodulin-binding proteins links calcium signaling to microtubules, membrane subdomains, and the nucleus. Plant Physiol. 173, 1692-1708, (2017) DOI: ​org/​10.​1104/​pp.​16.​01743

Calcium (Ca2+) signaling and dynamic reorganization of the cytoskeleton are essential processes for the coordination and control of plant cell shape and cell growth. Calmodulin (CaM) and closely related CaM-like polypeptides (CML) are principal sensors of Ca2+ signals. CaM/CMLs decode and relay information encrypted by the second messenger via differential interactions with a wide spectrum of targets to modulate their diverse biochemical activities. The plant-specific IQ67-DOMAIN (IQD) family emerged as the possibly largest class of CaM interacting proteins with undefined molecular functions and biological roles. Here, we show that the 33 members of the IQD family in Arabidopsis thaliana differentially localize, using GFP-tagged proteins, to multiple and distinct subcellular sites, including microtubule (MT) arrays, plasma membrane microdomains, and nuclear compartments. Intriguingly, the various IQD-specific localization patterns coincide with the subcellular patterns of IQD-dependent recruitment of CaM, suggesting that the diverse IQD members sequester Ca2+-CaM signaling modules to specific subcellular sites for precise regulation of Ca2+-dependent processes. Because MT localization is a hallmark of most IQD family members, we quantitatively analyzed GFP-labeled MT arrays in tobacco cells transiently expressing GFP-IQD fusions and observed IQD-specific MT patterns, which point to a role of IQDs in MT organization and dynamics. Indeed, stable overexpression of select IQD proteins in Arabidopsis altered cellular MT orientation, cell shape, and organ morphology. Because IQDs share biochemical properties with scaffold proteins, we propose that IQD families provide an assortment of platform proteins for integrating CaM-dependent Ca2+ signaling at multiple cellular sites to regulate cell function, shape, and growth. 

Printed publications

Wasternack, C. & Strnad, M. Jasmonates are signals in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites — Pathways, transcription factors and applied aspects — A brief review. New Biotechnol. (2017) DOI: org/10.1016/j.nbt.2017.09.007

Jasmonates (JAs) are signals in plant stress responses and development. One of the first observed and prominent responses to JAs is the induction of biosynthesis of different groups of secondary compounds. Among them are nicotine, isoquinolines, glucosinolates, anthocyanins, benzophenanthridine alkaloids, artemisinin, and terpenoid indole alkaloids (TIAs), such as vinblastine. This brief review describes modes of action of JAs in the biosynthesis of anthocyanins, nicotine, TIAs, glucosinolates and artemisinin. After introducing JA biosynthesis, the central role of the SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor complex in JA perception and MYB-type and MYC-type transcription factors is described. Brief comments are provided on primary metabolites as precursors of secondary compounds. Pathways for the biosynthesis of anthocyanin, nicotine, TIAs, glucosinolates and artemisinin are described with an emphasis on JA-dependent transcription factors, which activate or repress the expression of essential genes encoding enzymes in the biosynthesis of these secondary compounds. Applied aspects are discussed using the biotechnological formation of artemisinin as an example of JA-induced biosynthesis of secondary compounds in plant cell factories.
Publications

López-Carrasco, A., Ballesteros, C., Sentandreu, V., Delgado, S. Gago-Zachert, S. Flores, R. & Sanjuán, R. Different rates of spontaneous mutation of chloroplastic and nuclear viroids as determined by high-fidelity ultra-deep sequencing.  PLoS Pathog 13(9), e1006547, (2017) DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006547

Mutation rates vary by orders of magnitude across biological systems, being higher for simpler genomes. The simplest known genomes correspond to viroids, subviral plant replicons constituted by circular non-coding RNAs of few hundred bases. Previous work has revealed an extremely high mutation rate for chrysanthemum chlorotic mottle viroid, a chloroplast-replicating viroid. However, whether this is a general feature of viroids remains unclear. Here, we have used high-fidelity ultra-deep sequencing to determine the mutation rate in a common host (eggplant) of two viroids, each representative of one family: the chloroplastic eggplant latent viroid (ELVd, Avsunviroidae) and the nuclear potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd, Pospiviroidae). This revealed higher mutation frequencies in ELVd than in PSTVd, as well as marked differences in the types of mutations produced. Rates of spontaneous mutation, quantified in vivo using the lethal mutation method, ranged from 1/1000 to 1/800 for ELVd and from 1/7000 to 1/3800 for PSTVd depending on sequencing run. These results suggest that extremely high mutability is a common feature of chloroplastic viroids, whereas the mutation rates of PSTVd and potentially other nuclear viroids appear significantly lower and closer to those of some RNA viruses.
Publications

Möller B., Pöschl Y., Plötner R., Bürstenbinder K. PaCeQuant: A tool for high-throughput quantification of pavement cell shape characteristics. Plant Physiol. 175 (2), (2017) DOI: .org/10.1104/pp.17.00961

Pavement cells (PCs) are the most frequently occurring cell type in the leaf epidermis and play important roles in leaf growth and function. In many plant species, PCs form highly complex jigsaw puzzle shaped cells with interlocking lobes. Understanding of their development is of high interest for plant science research because of their importance for leaf growth and hence for plant fitness and crop yield. Studies of PC development, however, are limited because robust methods are lacking that enable automatic segmentation and quantification of PC shape parameters suitable to reflect their cellular complexity. Here, we present our new ImageJ-based tool, PaCeQuant, which provides a fully automatic image analysis workflow for PC shape quantification. PaCeQuant automatically detects cell boundaries of PCs from confocal input images, and enables manual correction of automatic segmentation results or direct import of manually segmented cells. PaCeQuant simultaneously extracts 27 shape features that include global, contour-based, skeleton-based and PC-specific object descriptors. In addition, we included a method for classification and analysis of lobes at two-cell-junctions and three-cell-junctions, respectively. We provide an R script for graphical visualization and statistical analysis. We validated PaCeQuant by extensive comparative analysis to manual segmentation and existing quantification tools, and demonstrated its usability to analyze PC shape characteristics during development and between different genotypes. PaCeQuant thus provides a platform for robust, efficient and reproducible quantitative analysis of PC shape characteristics that can easily be applied to study PC development in large data sets.
Publications

Winkler, M., Niemeyer, M., Hellmuth, A., Janitza, P., Christ, G., Samodelov, S. L., Wilde, V., Majovsky, P., Trujillo, M., Zurbriggen, M. D., Hoehenwarter, W., Quint, M. & Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A. Variation in auxin sensing guides AUX/IAA transcriptional repressor ubiquitylation and destruction. Nature Commun. 8, 15706, (2017) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15706

Auxin is a small molecule morphogen that bridges SCFTIR1/AFB-AUX/IAA co-receptor interactions leading to ubiquitylation and proteasome-dependent degradation of AUX/IAA transcriptional repressors. Here, we systematically dissect auxin sensing by SCFTIR1-IAA6 and SCFTIR1-IAA19 co-receptor complexes, and assess IAA6/IAA19 ubiquitylation in vitro and IAA6/IAA19 degradation in vivo. We show that TIR1-IAA19 and TIR1-IAA6 have distinct auxin affinities that correlate with ubiquitylation and turnover dynamics of the AUX/IAA. We establish a system to track AUX/IAA ubiquitylation in IAA6 and IAA19 in vitro and show that it occurs in flexible hotspots in degron-flanking regions adorned with specific Lys residues. We propose that this signature is exploited during auxin-mediated SCFTIR1-AUX/IAA interactions. We present evidence for an evolving AUX/IAA repertoire, typified by the IAA6/IAA19 ohnologues, that discriminates the range of auxin concentrations found in plants. We postulate that the intrinsic flexibility of AUX/IAAs might bias their ubiquitylation and destruction kinetics enabling specific auxin responses.
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