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Abel, S. Phosphate scouting by root tips. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 39, 168-177, (2017) DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.04.016

Chemistry assigns phosphate (Pi) dominant roles in metabolism; however, it also renders the macronutrient a genuinely limiting factor of plant productivity. Pi bioavailability is restricted by low Pi mobility in soil and antagonized by metallic toxicities, which force roots to actively seek and selectively acquire the vital element. During the past few years, a first conceptual outline has emerged of the sensory mechanisms at root tips, which monitor external Pi and transmit the edaphic cue to inform root development. This review highlights new aspects of the Pi acquisition strategy of Arabidopsis roots, as well as a framework of local Pi sensing in the context of antagonistic interactions between Pi and its major associated metallic cations, Fe3+ and Al3+.
Publikationen in Druck

Krägeloh, T., Cavalleri, J. M. V., Ziegler, J., Sander, J., Terhardt, M., Breves, G. & Cehak, A. Identification of hypoglycin a binding adsorbents as potential preventive measures in co-grazers of atypical myopathy affected horses. Equine Vet J. (2017) DOI: 10.1111/evj.12723



Intestinal absorption of hypoglycin A (HGA) and its metabolism are considered major prerequisites for atypical myopathy (AM). The increasing incidence and the high mortality rate of AM urgently necessitate new therapeutic and/or preventative approaches.


To identify a substance for oral administration capable of binding HGA in the intestinal lumen and effectively reducing the intestinal absorption of the toxin.

Study design

Experimental in vitro study.


Substances commonly used in equine practice (activated charcoal composition, di-tri-octahedral smectite, mineral oil and activated charcoal) were tested for their binding capacity for HGA using an in vitro incubation method. The substance most effective in binding HGA was subsequently tested for its potential to reduce intestinal HGA absorption. Jejunal tissues of 6 horses were incubated in Ussing chambers to determine mucosal uptake, tissue accumulation, and serosal release of HGA in the presence and absence of the target substance. Potential intestinal metabolism in methylenecyclopropyl acetic acid (MCPA)-conjugates was investigated by analysing their concentrations in samples from the Ussing chambers.


Activated charcoal composition and activated charcoal were identified as potent HGA binding substances with dose and pH dependent binding capacity. There was no evidence of intestinal HGA metabolism.

Main limitations

Binding capacity of adsorbents was tested in vitro using aqueous solutions, and in vivo factors such as transit time and composition of intestinal content, may affect adsorption capacity after oral administration.


For the first time, this study identifies substances capable of reducing HGA intestinal absorption. This might have major implications as a preventive measure in cograzers of AM affected horses but also in horses at an early stage of intoxication.


Liu, S., Ziegler, J., Zeier, J., Birkenbihl, R. P. & Somssich, I. E. Botrytis cinerea B05.10 promotes disease development in Arabidopsis by suppressing WRKY33-mediated host immunity. Plant, Cell Environ. 40(10), 2189-2206, (2017) DOI: 10.1111/pce.13022

The large WRKY transcription factor family is mainly involved in regulating plant immune responses. Arabidopsis WRKY33 is a key transcriptional regulator of hormonal and metabolic processes towards Botrytis cinerea strain 2100 infection and is essential for resistance. In contrast to B. cinerea strain 2100, the strain B05.10 is virulent on wild-type (WT) Col-0 Arabidopsis plants highlighting the genetic diversity within this pathogen species. We analysed how early WRKY33-dependent responses are affected upon infection with strain B05.10 and found that most of these responses were strongly dampened during this interaction. Ectopic expression of WRKY33 resulted in complete resistance towards this strain indicating that virulence of B05.10, at least partly, depends on suppressing WRKY33 expression/protein accumulation. As a consequence, the expression levels of direct WRKY33 target genes, including those involved in the biosynthesis of camalexin, were also reduced upon infection. Concomitantly, elevated levels of the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) were observed. Molecular and genetic studies revealed that ABA negatively influences defence to B05.10 and effects jasmonic acid/ethylene (JA/ET) and salicylic acid (SA) levels. Susceptibility/resistance was determined by the antagonistic effect of ABA on JA, and this crosstalk required suppressing WRKY33 functions at early infection stages. This indicates that B. cinerea B05.10 promotes disease by suppressing WRKY33-mediated host defences.
Bücher und Buchkapitel

White, M. D., Klecker, M., Hopkinson, R. J., Weits, D. A., Mueller, C., Naumann, C., O’Neill, R., Wickens, J., Yang, J., Brooks-Bartlett, J. C., Garman, E. F., Grossmann, T. N., Dissmeyer, N. & Flashman, E. Plant cysteine oxidases are dioxygenases that directly enable arginyl transferase-catalysed arginylation of N-end rule targets Nature Commun 8, 14690, (2017) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14690

Crop yield loss due to flooding is a threat to food security. Submergence-induced hypoxia in plants results in stabilization of group VII ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTORs (ERF-VIIs), which aid survival under these adverse conditions. ERF-VII stability is controlled by the N-end rule pathway, which proposes that ERF-VII N-terminal cysteine oxidation in normoxia enables arginylation followed by proteasomal degradation. The PLANT CYSTEINE OXIDASEs (PCOs) have been identified as catalysts of this oxidation. ERF-VII stabilization in hypoxia presumably arises from reduced PCO activity. We directly demonstrate that PCO dioxygenase activity produces Cys-sulfinic acid at the N terminus of an ERF-VII peptide, which then undergoes efficient arginylation by an arginyl transferase (ATE1). This provides molecular evidence of N-terminal Cys-sulfinic acid formation and arginylation by N-end rule pathway components, and a substrate of ATE1 in plants. The PCOs and ATE1 may be viable intervention targets to stabilize N-end rule substrates, including ERF-VIIs, to enhance submergence tolerance in agriculture.

Dong, H., Dumenil, J., Lu, F.-H., Na, L., Vanhaeren, H., Naumann, C., Klecker, M., Prior, R., Smith, C., McKenzie, N., Saalbach, G., Chen, L., Xia, T., Gonzalez, N., Seguela, M., Inze, D., Dissmeyer, N., Li, Y. & Bevan, M. W. Ubiquitylation activates a peptidase that promotes cleavage and destabilization of its activating E3 ligases and diverse growth regulatory proteins to limit cell proliferation in Arabidopsis Gen. Dev 31, 197-208, (2017) DOI: 10.1101/gad.292235.116

The characteristic shapes and sizes of organs are established by cell proliferation patterns and final cell sizes, but the underlying molecular mechanisms coordinating these are poorly understood. Here we characterize a ubiquitin-activated peptidase called DA1 that limits the duration of cell proliferation during organ growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. The peptidase is activated by two RING E3 ligases, Big Brother (BB) and DA2, which are subsequently cleaved by the activated peptidase and destabilized. In the case of BB, cleavage leads to destabilization by the RING E3 ligase PROTEOLYSIS 1 (PRT1) of the N-end rule pathway. DA1 peptidase activity also cleaves the deubiquitylase UBP15, which promotes cell proliferation, and the transcription factors TEOSINTE BRANCED 1/CYCLOIDEA/PCF 15 (TCP15) and TCP22, which promote cell proliferation and repress endoreduplication. We propose that DA1 peptidase activity regulates the duration of cell proliferation and the transition to endoreduplication and differentiation during organ formation in plants by coordinating the destabilization of regulatory proteins. 

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.

Balzergue, C., Dartevelle, T., Godon, C., Laugier, E., Meisrimler, C., Teulon, J.-M., Creff, A., Bissler, M., Brouchoud, C., Hagège, A., Müller, J., Chiarenza, S., Javot, H., Becuwe-Linka, N., David, P., Péret, B., Delannoy, E., Thibaud, M.-C., Armengaud, J., Abel, S., Pellequer, J.-L., Nussaume, L. & Desnos, T.  Low phosphate activates STOP1-ALMT1 to rapidly inhibit root cell elongation. Nat. Commun. 8, 15300, (2017) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15300

Environmental cues profoundly modulate cell proliferation and cell elongation to inform and direct plant growth and development. External phosphate (Pi) limitation inhibits primary root growth in many plant species. However, the underlying Pi sensory mechanisms are unknown. Here we genetically uncouple two Pi sensing pathways in the root apex of Arabidopsis thaliana. First, the rapid inhibition of cell elongation in the transition zone is controlled by transcription factor STOP1, by its direct target, ALMT1, encoding a malate channel, and by ferroxidase LPR1, which together mediate Fe and peroxidase-dependent cell wall stiffening. Second, during the subsequent slow inhibition of cell proliferation in the apical meristem, which is mediated by LPR1-dependent, but largely STOP1–ALMT1-independent, Fe and callose accumulate in the stem cell niche, leading to meristem reduction. Our work uncovers STOP1 and ALMT1 as a signalling pathway of low Pi availability and exuded malate as an unexpected apoplastic inhibitor of root cell wall expansion.

Ziegler, J., Schmidt, S., Chutia, R., Müller, J., Böttcher, C., Strehmel, N., Scheel, D. & Abel, S. Non-targeted profiling of semi-polar metabolites in Arabidopsis root exudates uncovers a role for coumarin secretion and lignification during the local response to phosphate limitation. J. Exp. Bot. 67, 1421-1432, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erv539

Plants have evolved two major strategies to cope with phosphate (Pi) limitation. The systemic response, mainly comprising increased Pi uptake and metabolic adjustments for more efficient Pi use, and the local response, enabling plants to explore Pi-rich soil patches by reorganization of the root system architecture. Unlike previous reports, this study focused on root exudation controlled by the local response to Pi deficiency. To approach this, a hydroponic system separating the local and systemic responses was developed. Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes exhibiting distinct sensitivities to Pi deficiency could be clearly distinguished by their root exudate composition as determined by non-targeted reversed-phase ultraperformance liquid chromatography electrospray ionization quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry metabolite profiling. Compared with wild-type plants or insensitive low phosphate root 1 and 2 (lpr1 lpr2) double mutant plants, the hypersensitive phosphate deficiency response 2 (pdr2) mutant exhibited a reduced number of differential features in root exudates after Pi starvation, suggesting the involvement of PDR2-encoded P5-type ATPase in root exudation. Identification and analysis of coumarins revealed common and antagonistic regulatory pathways between Pi and Fe deficiency-induced coumarin secretion. The accumulation of oligolignols in root exudates after Pi deficiency was inversely correlated with Pi starvation-induced lignification at the root tips. The strongest oligolignol accumulation in root exudates was observed for the insensitive lpr1 lpr2 double mutant, which was accompanied by the absence of Pi deficiency-induced lignin deposition, suggesting a role of LPR ferroxidases in lignin polymerization during Pi starvation. 


Strehmel, N., Mönchgesang,S., Herklotz, S., Krüger, S., Ziegler, J. & Scheel, D. Piriformospora indica Stimulates Root Metabolism of Arabidopsis thaliana. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 17, 1091, (2016) DOI: 10.3390/ijms17071091

Piriformospora indica is a root-colonizing fungus, which interacts with a variety of plants including Arabidopsis thaliana. This interaction has been considered as mutualistic leading to growth promotion of the host. So far, only indolic glucosinolates and phytohormones have been identified as key players. In a comprehensive non-targeted metabolite profiling study, we analyzed Arabidopsis thaliana’s roots, root exudates, and leaves of inoculated and non-inoculated plants by ultra performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/(ESI)-QTOFMS) and gas chromatography/electron ionization quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC/EI-QMS), and identified further biomarkers. Among them, the concentration of nucleosides, dipeptides, oligolignols, and glucosinolate degradation products was affected in the exudates. In the root profiles, nearly all metabolite levels increased upon co-cultivation, like carbohydrates, organic acids, amino acids, glucosinolates, oligolignols, and flavonoids. In the leaf profiles, we detected by far less significant changes. We only observed an increased concentration of organic acids, carbohydrates, ascorbate, glucosinolates and hydroxycinnamic acids, and a decreased concentration of nitrogen-rich amino acids in inoculated plants. These findings contribute to the understanding of symbiotic interactions between plant roots and fungi of the order of Sebacinales and are a valid source for follow-up mechanistic studies, because these symbioses are particular and clearly different from interactions of roots with mycorrhizal fungi or dark septate endophytes 


Hoehenwarter, W., Mönchgesang, S., Neumann, S., Majovsky, P., Abel, S. & Müller, J. Comparative expression profiling reveals a role of the root apoplast in local phosphate response BMC Plant Biol. 16 , 106, (2016) DOI: 10.1186/s12870-016-0790-8

Plant adaptation to limited phosphate availability comprises a wide range of responses to conserve and remobilize internal phosphate sources and to enhance phosphate acquisition. Vigorous restructuring of root system architecture provides a developmental strategy for topsoil exploration and phosphate scavenging. Changes in external phosphate availability are locally sensed at root tips and adjust root growth by modulating cell expansion and cell division. The functionally interacting Arabidopsis genes, LOW PHOSPHATE RESPONSE 1 and 2 (LPR1/LPR2) and PHOSPHATE DEFICIENCY RESPONSE 2 (PDR2), are key components of root phosphate sensing. We recently demonstrated that the LOW PHOSPHATE RESPONSE 1 - PHOSPHATE DEFICIENCY RESPONSE 2 (LPR1-PDR2) module mediates apoplastic deposition of ferric iron (Fe3+) in the growing root tip during phosphate limitation. Iron deposition coincides with sites of reactive oxygen species generation and triggers cell wall thickening and callose accumulation, which interfere with cell-to-cell communication and inhibit root growth.

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