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Publikationen - Molekulare Signalverarbeitung

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Terrile, M.C., París, R., Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Iglesias, M.J., Lamattina, L., Estelle, M. & Casalongué, C.A. Nitric oxide influences auxin signaling through S-nitrosylation of the Arabidopsis TRANSPORT INHIBITOR RESPONSE 1 auxin receptor. Plant J 70, 492-500, (2012) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04885.x.

Previous studies have demonstrated that auxin (indole-3-acetic acid) and nitric oxide (NO) are plant growth regulators that coordinate several plant physiological responses determining root architecture. Nonetheless, the way in which these factors interact to affect these growth and developmental processes is not well understood. The Arabidopsis thaliana F-box proteins TRANSPORT INHIBITOR RESPONSE 1/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX (TIR1/AFB) are auxin receptors that mediate degradation of AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (Aux/IAA) repressors to induce auxin-regulated responses. A broad spectrum of NO-mediated protein modifications are known in eukaryotic cells. Here, we provide evidence that NO donors increase auxin-dependent gene expression while NO depletion blocks Aux/IAA protein degradation. NO also enhances TIR1-Aux/IAA interaction as evidenced by pull-down and two-hybrid assays. In addition, we provide evidence for NO-mediated modulation of auxin signaling through S-nitrosylation of the TIR1 auxin receptor. S-nitrosylation of cysteine is a redox-based post-translational modification that contributes to the complexity of the cellular proteome. We show that TIR1 C140 is a critical residue for TIR1Aux/IAA interaction and TIR1 function. These results suggest that TIR1 S-nitrosylation enhances TIR1Aux/IAA interaction, facilitating Aux/IAA degradation and subsequently promoting activation of gene expression. Our findings underline the importance of NO in phytohormone signaling pathways.


Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Lee, S., De Oliveira, C., Ivetac, A., Brandt, W., Armitage, L., Sheard, LB., Tan, X., Parry, G., Mao, H., Zheng, N., Napier, R., Kepinski, S. & Estelle, M. A combinatorial TIR1/AFB-Aux/IAA co-receptor system for differential sensing of auxin. Nat. Chem. Biol 8, 477-485, (2012) DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.926

The plant hormone auxin regulates virtually every aspect of plant growth and development. Auxin acts by binding the F-box protein transport inhibitor response 1 (TIR1) and promotes the degradation of the AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (Aux/IAA) transcriptional repressors. Here we show that efficient auxin binding requires assembly of an auxin co-receptor complex consisting of TIR1 and an Aux/IAA protein. Heterologous experiments in yeast and quantitative IAA binding assays using purified proteins showed that different combinations of TIR1 and Aux/IAA proteins form co-receptor complexes with a wide range of auxin-binding affinities. Auxin affinity seems to be largely determined by the Aux/IAA. As there are 6 TIR1/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX proteins (AFBs) and 29 Aux/IAA proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana, combinatorial interactions may result in many co-receptors with distinct auxin-sensing properties. We also demonstrate that the AFB5Aux/IAA co-receptor selectively binds the auxinic herbicide picloram. This co-receptor system broadens the effective concentration range of the hormone and may contribute to the complexity of auxin response.


Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Tan, X., Zheng, N. & Estelle, M. Auxin perception - structural insights CSH Perspect. Biol 2(7), (2010)

The identity of the auxin receptor(s) and the mechanism of auxin perception has been a subject of intense interest since the discovery of auxin almost a century ago. The development of genetic approaches to the study of plant hormone signaling led to the discovery that auxin acts by promoting degradation of transcriptional repressors called Aux/IAA proteins. This process requires a ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) called SCFTIR1 and related SCF complexes. Surprisingly, auxin works by directly binding to TIR1, the F-box protein subunit of this SCF. Structural studies demonstrate that auxin acts like a molecular glue, to stabilize the interaction between TIR1 and the Aux/IAA substrate. These exciting results solve an old problem in plant biology and reveal new mechanisms for E3 regulation and hormone perception.


Santner, A., Calderón Villalobos, L.I. & Estelle, M. Plant hormones are versatile chemical regulators of plant growth Nat. Chem. Biol 5(5), 301-307, (2009)

The plant hormones are a structurally unrelated collection of small molecules derived from various essential metabolic pathways. These compounds are important regulators of plant growth and mediate responses to both biotic and abiotic stresses. During the last ten years there have been many exciting advances in our understanding of plant hormone biology, including new discoveries in the areas of hormone biosynthesis, transport, perception and response. Receptors for many of the major hormones have now been identified, providing new opportunities to study the chemical specificity of hormone signaling. These studies also reveal a surprisingly important role for the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in hormone signaling. In addition, recent work confirms that hormone signaling interacts at multiple levels during plant growth and development. In the future, a major challenge will be to understand how the information conveyed by these simple compounds is integrated during plant growth.


Parry, G., Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Prigge, M., Peret, B., Dharmasiri, S., Itoh, H., Lechner, E., Gray, W.M., Bennett, M. & Estelle, M. Complex regulation of the TIR/AFB family of auxin receptors PNAS USA 106(52), 22540-22545, (2009)

Auxin regulates most aspects of plant growth and development. The hormone is perceived by the TIR1/AFB family of F-box proteins acting in concert with the Aux/IAA transcriptional repressors. Arabidopsis plants that lack members of the TIR1/AFB family are auxin resistant and display a variety of growth defects. However, little is known about the functional differences between individual members of the family. Phylogenetic studies reveal that the TIR1/AFB proteins are conserved across land plant lineages and fall into four clades. Three of these subgroups emerged before separation of angiosperms and gymnosperms whereas the last emerged before the monocot-eudicot split. This evolutionary history suggests that the members of each clade have distinct functions. To explore this possibility in Arabidopsis, we have analyzed a range of mutant genotypes, generated promoter swap transgenic lines, and performed in vitro binding assays between individual TIR1/AFB and Aux/IAA proteins. Our results indicate that the TIR1/AFB proteins have distinct biochemical activities and that TIR1 and AFB2 are the dominant auxin receptors in the seedling root. Further, we demonstrate that TIR1, AFB2, and AFB3, but not AFB1 exhibit significant posttranscriptional regulation. The microRNA miR393 is expressed in a pattern complementary to that of the auxin receptors and appears to regulate TIR1/AFB expression. However our data suggest that this regulation is complex. Our results suggest that differences between members of the auxin receptor family may contribute to the complexity of auxin response.


Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Nill, C., Marrocco, K., Kretsch, T. & Schwechheimer, C. The evolutionarily conserved Arabidopsis thaliana F-box protein AtFBP7 is required for efficient translation during temperature stress Gene 392(1-2), 106-116, (2007)

In eukaryotes, E3 ubiquitin ligases (E3s) mediate the ubiquitylation of proteins that are destined for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. In SKP1/CDC53/F-box protein (SCF)-type E3 complexes, the interchangeable F-box protein confers specificity to the E3 ligase through direct physical interactions with the degradation substrate. The vast majority of the approximately 700 F-box proteins from the plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana remain to be characterized. Here, we investigate the previously uncharacterized and evolutionarily conserved Arabidopsis F-box protein 7 (AtFBP7), which is encoded by a unique gene in Arabidopsis (At1g21760). Several apparent fbp7 loss-of-function alleles do not have an obvious phenotype. AtFBP7 is ubiquitously expressed and its expression is induced after cold and heat stress. When following up on a reported co-purification of the eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF-2) with YLR097c, the apparent budding yeast orthologue of AtFBP7, we discovered a general defect in protein biosynthesis after cold and heat stress in fbp7 mutants. Thus, our findings suggest that AtFBP7 is required for protein synthesis during temperature stress.


Tan, X., Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Sharon, M., Zheng, C., Robinson, C.V., Estelle, M. & Zheng, N. Mechanism of auxin perception by the TIR1 ubiquitin ligase Nature 446(7136), 640-645, (2007)


Auxin is a pivotal plant hormone that controls many aspects of plant growth and development. Perceived by a small family of F-box proteins including transport inhibitor response 1 (TIR1), auxin regulates gene expression by promoting SCF ubiquitin-ligase-catalysed degradation of the Aux/IAA transcription repressors, but how the TIR1 F-box protein senses and becomes activated by auxin remains unclear. Here we present the crystal structures of the

TIR1–ASK1 complex, free and in complexes with three different auxin compounds and an Aux/IAA substrate peptide. These structures show that the leucine-rich repeat domain of TIR1 contains an unexpected inositol hexakisphosphate co-factor and recognizes auxin and the Aux/IAA polypeptide substrate through a single surface pocket. Anchored to the base of the TIR1 pocket, auxin binds to a partially promiscuous site, which can also accommodate various auxin analogues. Docked on top of auxin, the Aux/IAA substrate peptide occupies the rest of the TIR1 pocket and completely encloses the hormone-binding site. By filling in a hydrophobic cavity at the protein interface, auxin enhances the TIR1–substrate interactions by acting as a ‘molecular glue’. Our results establish the first structural model of a plant hormone receptor.


Schwager, K.M., Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Dohmann, E.M., Willige, B.C., Knierer, S., Nill, C. & Schwechheimer, C. Characterization of the VIER F-BOX PROTEINE genes from Arabidopsis reveals their importance for plant growth and development Plant Cell 19(4), 1163-1178, (2007)

E3 ubiquitin ligases (E3s) target proteins for degradation by the 26S proteasome. In SKP1/CDC53/F-box proteintype E3s, substrate specificity is conferred by the interchangeable F-box protein subunit. The vast majority of the 694 F-box proteins encoded by the Arabidopsis thaliana genome remain to be understood. We characterize the VIER F-BOX PROTEINE (VFB; German for FOUR F-BOX PROTEINS) genes from Arabidopsis that belong to subfamily C of the Arabidopsis F-box protein superfamily. This subfamily also includes the F-box proteins TRANSPORT INHIBITOR RESPONSE1 (TIR1)/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX (AFB) proteins and EIN3 BINDING F-BOX proteins, which regulate auxin and ethylene responses, respectively. We show that loss of VFB function causes delayed plant growth and reduced lateral root formation. We find that the expression of a number of auxin-responsive genes and the activity of DR5:ß-glucuronidase, a reporter for auxin reponse, are reduced in the vfb mutants. This finding correlates with an increase in the abundance of an AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID repressor. However, we also find that auxin responses are not affected in the vfb mutants and that a representative VFB family member, VFB2, cannot functionally complement the tir1-1 mutant. We therefore exclude the possibility that VFBs are functional orthologs of TIR1/AFB proteins.


Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Kuhnle, C., Li, H., Rosso, M., Weisshaar, B. & Schwechheimer, C. LucTrap vectors are tools to generate luciferase fusions for the quantification of transcript and protein abundance in vivo Plant Physiol 141(1), 3-14, (2006)

Proper plant growth and development strongly rely on the plant's ability to respond dynamically to signals and cues from the intra- and extracellular environment. Whereas many of these responses require specific changes at the level of gene expression, in recent years it has become increasingly clear that many plant responses are at least in part also controlled at the level of protein turnover. It is a challenge for signal transduction research to understand how distinct incoming signals are integrated to generate specific changes at the transcript or protein level. The activity of luciferase (LUC) reporters can be detected in nondestructive qualitative and quantitative assays in vivo. Therefore,z LUC reporters are particularly well suited for the detection of changes at the transcript and protein level. To the best of our knowledge, the number of plant transformation vectors for LUC fusions is very limited. In this article, we describe the LucTrap plant transformation vectors that allow generation of targeted and random transcriptional and translational fusions with the modified firefly LUC reporter LUC+. We demonstrate that LucTrap-based fusions can be used to monitor rapid changes in gene expression and protein abundance in vivo.


Calderón Villalobos, L.I., Kuhnle, C., Dohmann, E.M., Li, H., Bevan, M. & Schwechheimer, C. The evolutionarily conserved TOUGH protein is required for proper development of Arabidopsis thaliana Plant Cell 17,9, 24873-2485, (2005)

In this study, we characterize the evolutionarily conserved TOUGH (TGH) protein as a novel regulator required for Arabidopsis thaliana development. We initially identified TGH as a yeast two-hybrid system interactor of the transcription initiation factor TATA-box binding protein 2. TGH has apparent orthologs in all eukaryotic model organisms with the exception of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. TGH contains domains with strong similarity to G-patch and SWAP domains, protein domains that are characteristic of RNA binding and processing proteins. Furthermore, TGH colocalizes with the splicing regulator SRp34 to subnuclear particles. We therefore propose that TGH plays a role in RNA binding or processing. Arabidopsis tgh mutants display developmental defects, including reduced plant height, polycotyly, and reduced vascularization. We found TGH expression to be increased in the amp1-1 mutant, which is similar to tgh mutants with respect to polycotyly and defects in vascular development. Interestingly, we observed a strong genetic interaction between TGH and AMP1 in that tgh-1 amp1-1 double mutants are extremely dwarfed and severely affected in plant development in general and vascular development in particular when compared with the single mutants.

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