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Mitra, D., Kumari, P., Quegwer, J., Klemm, S., Moeller, B., Poeschl, Y., Pflug, P., Stamm, G., Abel, S. & Bürstenbinder, K. Microtubule-associated protein IQ67 DOMAIN5 regulates interdigitation of leaf pavement cells in Arabidopsis thaliana bioRxiv (2018) DOI: 10.1101/268466

Plant microtubules form a highly dynamic intracellular network with important roles for regulating cell division, cell proliferation and cell morphology. Its organization and dynamics are coordinated by various microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) that integrate environmental and developmental stimuli to fine-tune and adjust cytoskeletal arrays. IQ67 DOMAIN (IQD) proteins recently emerged as a class of plant-specific MAPs with largely unknown functions. Here, using a reverse genetics approach, we characterize Arabidopsis IQD5 in terms of its expression domains, subcellular localization and biological functions. We show that IQD5 is expressed mostly in vegetative tissues, where it localizes to cortical microtubule arrays. Our phenotypic analysis of iqd5 loss-of-function lines reveals functions of IQD5 in pavement cell (PC) shape morphogenesis, as indicated by reduced interdigitation of neighboring cells in the leaf epidermis of iqd5 mutants. Histochemical analysis of cell wall composition further suggests reduced rates of cellulose deposition in anticlinal cell walls, which correlate with reduced asymmetric expansion. Lastly, we provide evidence for IQD5-dependent recruitment of calmodulin calcium sensors to cortical microtubule arrays. Our work thus identifies IQD5 as a novel player in PC shape regulation, and, for the first time, links calcium signaling to developmental processes that regulate multi-polar growth in PCs.

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 Signal Behav 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. 
Publikationen in Druck

Gantner, J., Ilse, T., Ordon, J., Kretschmer, C., Gruetzner, R., Loefke, C., Dagdas, Y., Buerstenbinder, K., Marillonnet, S. & Stuttmann, J. Peripheral infrastructure vectors and an extended set of plant parts for the modular cloning system.  bioRxiv (2017) DOI: 10.1101/237768

Standardized DNA assembly strategies facilitate the generation of multigene constructs from collections of building blocks in plant synthetic biology. A common syntax for hierarchical DNA assembly following the Golden Gate principle employing Type IIs restriction endonucleases was recently developed, and underlies the Modular Cloning and GoldenBraid systems. In these systems, transcriptional units and/or multigene constructs are assembled from libraries of standardized building blocks, also referred to as phytobricks, in several hierarchical levels and by iterative Golden Gate reactions. This combinatorial assembly strategy meets the increasingly complex demands in biotechnology and bioengineering, and also represents a cost-efficient and versatile alternative to previous molecular cloning techniques. For Modular Cloning, a collection of commonly used Plant Parts was previously released together with the Modular Cloning toolkit itself, which largely facilitated the adoption of this cloning system in the research community. Here, a collection of approximately 80 additional phytobricks is provided. These phytobricks comprise e.g. modules for inducible expression systems, different promoters or epitope tags, which will increase the versatility of Modular Cloning-based DNA assemblies. Furthermore, first instances of a "peripheral infrastructure" around Modular Cloning are presented: While available toolkits are designed for the assembly of plant transformation constructs, vectors were created to also use coding sequence-containing phytobricks directly in yeast two hybrid interaction or bacterial infection assays. Additionally, DNA modules and assembly strategies for connecting Modular Cloning with Gateway Cloning are presented, which may serve as an interface between available resources and newly adopted hierarchical assembly strategies. The presented material will be provided as a toolkit to the plant research community and will further enhance the usefulness and versatility of Modular Cloning.

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: 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. 


Möller B., Pöschl Y., Plötner R., Bürstenbinder K. PaCeQuant: A tool for high-throughput quantification of pavement cell shape characteristics. Plant Physiol. 175 (2), 988-1017, (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.

Müller, J., Toev, T., Heisters, M., Teller, J., Moore, K. L., Hause, G., Dinesh, D. C., Bürstenbinder, K. & Abel, S. Iron-Dependent Callose Deposition Adjusts Root Meristem Maintenance to Phosphate Availability Devel Cell 33, 216–230, (2015) DOI: org/10.1016/j.devcel.2015.02.007

Plant root development is informed by numerous edaphic cues. Phosphate (Pi) availability impacts the root system architecture by adjusting meristem activity. However, the sensory mechanisms monitoring external Pi status are elusive. Two functionally interacting Arabidopsis genes, LPR1 (ferroxidase) and PDR2 (P5-type ATPase), are key players in root Pi sensing, which is modified by iron (Fe) availability. We show that the LPR1-PDR2 module facilitates, upon Pi limitation, cell-specific apoplastic Fe and callose deposition in the meristem and elongation zone of primary roots. Expression of cell-wall-targeted LPR1 determines the sites of Fe accumulation as well as callose production, which interferes with symplastic communication in the stem cell niche, as demonstrated by impaired SHORT-ROOT movement. Antagonistic interactions of Pi and Fe availability control primary root growth via meristem-specific callose formation, likely triggered by LPR1-dependent redox signaling. Our results link callose-regulated cell-to-cell signaling in root meristems to the perception of an abiotic cue


Ziegler, J., Qwegwer, J., Schubert, M., Erickson, J.L., Schattat, M., Bürstenbinder, K., Grubb, C.D. & Abel, S. Simultaneous analysis of apolar phytohormones and 1-aminocyclopropan-1-carboxylic acid by high performance liquid chromatography/electrospray negative ion tandem mass spectrometry via 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride derivatization J Chromatogr A 1362, 102-109, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2014.08.029

A strategy to detect and quantify the polar ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropan-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) along with the more apolar phytohormones abscisic acid (ABA), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), jasmonic acid (JA), jasmonic acid-isoleucine conjugate (JA-Ile), 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA), trans-zeatin, and trans-zeatin 9-riboside using a single extraction is presented. Solid phase resins commonly employed for extraction of phytohormones do not allow the recovery of ACC. We circumvent this problem by attaching an apolar group to ACC via derivatization with the amino group specific reagent 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl). Derivatization in the methanolic crude extract does not modify other phytohormones. The derivatized ACC could be purified and detected together with the more apolar phytohormones using common solid phase extraction resins and reverse phase HPLC/electrospray negative ion tandem mass spectrometry. The limit of detection was in the low nanomolar range for all phytohormones, a sensitivity sufficient to accurately determine the phytohormone levels from less than 50 mg (fresh weight) of Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana tissues. Comparison with previously published phytohormone levels and the reported changes in phytohormone levels after stress treatments confirmed the accuracy of the method.


Abel, S. & Bürstenbinder, K. & Müller, J. The emerging function of IQD proteins as scaffolds in cellular signaling and trafficking Plant Signal Behav 8, e24369, (2013) DOI: 10.4161/psb.24369

Calcium (Ca2+) signaling modules are essential for adjusting plant growth and performance to environmental constraints. Differential interactions between sensors of Ca2+ dynamics and their molecular targets are at the center of the transduction process. Calmodulin (CaM) and CaM-like (CML) proteins are principal Ca2+-sensors in plants that govern the activities of numerous downstream proteins with regulatory properties. The families of IQ67-Domain (IQD) proteins are a large class of plant-specific CaM/CML-targets (e.g., 33 members in A. thaliana) which share a unique domain of multiple varied CaM retention motifs in tandem orientation. Genetic studies in Arabidopsis and tomato revealed first roles for IQD proteins related to basal defense response and plant development. Molecular, biochemical and histochemical analysis of Arabidopsis IQD1 demonstrated association with microtubules as well as targeting to the cell nucleus and nucleolus. In vivo binding to CaM and kinesin light chain-related protein-1 (KLCR1) suggests a Ca2+-regulated scaffolding function of IQD1 in kinesin motor-dependent transport of multiprotein complexes. Furthermore, because IQD1 interacts in vitro with single-stranded nucleic acids, the prospect arises that IQD1 and other IQD family members facilitate cellular RNA localization as one mechanism to control and fine-tune gene expression and protein sorting.


Bürstenbinder, K., Savchenko, T., Müller, J., Adamson, A.W., Stamm, G., Kwong, R., Zipp, B.J. & Dhurvas Chandrasekaran, D. & Abel, S. Arabidopsis calmodulin-binding protein IQ67-domain 1 localizes to microtubules and interacts with kinesin light chain-related protein-1 J Biol Chem 288, 1871-1882, (2013) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.396200

Calcium (Ca2+) is a key second messenger in eukaryotes and regulates diverse cellular processes, most notably via calmodulin (CaM). In Arabidopsis thaliana, IQD1 (IQ67 domain 1) is the founding member of the IQD family of putative CaM targets. The 33 predicted IQD proteins share a conserved domain of 67 amino acids that is characterized by a unique arrangement of multiple CaM recruitment motifs, including so-called IQ motifs. Whereas IQD1 has been implicated in the regulation of defense metabolism, the biochemical functions of IQD proteins remain to be elucidated. In this study we show that IQD1 binds to multiple Arabidopsis CaM and CaM-like (CML) proteins in vitro and in yeast two-hybrid interaction assays. CaM overlay assays revealed moderate affinity of IQD1 to CaM2 (Kd ∼ 0.6 μm). Deletion mapping of IQD1 demonstrated the importance of the IQ67 domain for CaM2 binding in vitro, which is corroborated by interaction of the shortest IQD member, IQD20, with Arabidopsis CaM/CMLs in yeast. A genetic screen of a cDNA library identified Arabidopsis kinesin light chain-related protein-1 (KLCR1) as an IQD1 interactor. The subcellular localization of GFP-tagged IQD1 proteins to microtubules and the cell nucleus in transiently and stably transformed plant tissues (tobacco leaves and Arabidopsis seedlings) suggests direct interaction of IQD1 and KLCR1 in planta that is supported by GFP∼IQD1-dependent recruitment of RFP∼KLCR1 and RFP∼CaM2 to microtubules. Collectively, the prospect arises that IQD1 and related proteins provide Ca2+/CaM-regulated scaffolds for facilitating cellular transport of specific cargo along microtubular tracks via kinesin motor proteins.

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