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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+.
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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.


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.

Gago-Zachert, S. Viroids, infectious long non-coding RNAs with autonomous replication. Virus Res. 212, 12–24, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.virusres.2015.08.018

Transcriptome deep-sequencing studies performed during the last years confirmed that the vast majority of the RNAs transcribed in higher organisms correspond to several types of non-coding RNAs including long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). The study of lncRNAs and the identification of their functions, is still an emerging field in plants but the characterization of some of them indicate that they play an important role in crucial regulatory processes like flowering regulation, and responses to abiotic stress and plant hormones. A second group of lncRNAs present in plants is formed by viroids, exogenous infectious subviral plant pathogens well known since many years. Viroids are composed of circular RNA genomes without protein-coding capacity and subvert enzymatic activities of their hosts to complete its own biological cycle. Different aspects of viroid biology and viroid-host interactions have been elucidated in the last years and some of them are the main topic of this review together with the analysis of the state-of-the-art about the growing field of endogenous lncRNAs in plants.


López-Carrasco, A., Gago-Zachert, S., Mileti, G., Minoia, S., Flores, R. & Delgado, S. The transcription initiation sites of eggplant latent viroid strands map within distinct motifs in their in vivo RNA conformations RNA Biology 13, 83-97, (2016) DOI: 10.1080/15476286.2015.1119365

Eggplant latent viroid (ELVd), like other members of family Avsunviroidae, replicates in plastids through a symmetric rolling-circle mechanism in which elongation of RNA strands is most likely catalyzed by a nuclear-encoded polymerase (NEP) translocated to plastids. Here we have addressed where NEP initiates transcription of viroid strands. Because this step is presumably directed by sequence/structural motifs, we have previously determined the conformation of the monomeric linear (+) and (−) RNAs of ELVd resulting from hammerhead-mediated self-cleavage. In silico predictions with 3 softwares led to similar bifurcated conformations for both ELVd strands. In vitro examination by non-denaturing PAGE showed that they migrate as prominent single bands, with the ELVd (+) RNA displaying a more compact conformation as revealed by its faster electrophoretic mobility. In vitro SHAPE analysis corroborated the ELVd conformations derived from thermodynamics-based predictions in silico. Moreover, sequence analysis of 94 full-length natural ELVd variants disclosed co-variations, and mutations converting canonical into wobble pairs or vice versa, which confirmed in vivo most of the stems predicted in silico and in vitro, and additionally helped to introduce minor structural refinements. Therefore, results from the 3 experimental approaches were essentially consistent among themselves. Application to RNA preparations from ELVd-infected tissue of RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends, combined with pretreatments to modify the 5′ ends of viroid strands, mapped the transcription initiation sites of ELVd (+) and (−) strands in vivo at different sequence/structural motifs, in contrast with the situation previously observed in 2 other members of the family Avsunviroidae.


Gasperini, D. & Acosta, I. F. and Farmer, E. E. Cotyledon Wounding of Arabidopsis Seedlings. Bio-protocol 6 (2), e1712, (2016)


Kowalski, A. M., Gooding, M., Ferrante, A., Slafer, G. A., Orford, S., Gasperini, D. & Griffiths, S. Agronomic assessment of the wheat semi-dwarfing gene Rht8 in contrasting nitrogen treatments and water regimes Field Crop Res 191, 150-160, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.02.026

Reduced height 8 (Rht8) is the main alternative to the GA-insensitive Rht alleles in hot and dry environments where it reduces plant height without yield penalty. The potential of Rht8 in northern-European wheat breeding remains unclear, since the close linkage with the photoperiod-insensitive allele Ppd-D1a is unfavourable in the relatively cool summers. In the present study, two near-isogenic lines (NILs) contrasting for the Rht8/tall allele from Mara in a UK-adapted and photoperiod-sensitive wheat variety were evaluated in trials with varying nitrogen fertiliser (N) treatments and water regimes across sites in the UK and Spain.

The Rht8 introgression was associated with a robust height reduction of 11% regardless of N treatment and water regime and the Rht8 NIL was more resistant to root-lodging at agronomically-relevant N levels than the tall NIL. In the UK with reduced solar radiation over the growing season than the site in Spain, the Rht8 NIL showed a 10% yield penalty at standard agronomic N levels due to concomitant reduction in grain number and spike number whereas grain weight and harvest index were not significantly different to the tall NIL. The yield penalty associated with the Rht8 introgression was overcome at low N and in irrigated conditions in the UK, and in the high-temperature site in Spain. Decreased spike length and constant spikelet number in the Rht8 NIL resulted in spike compaction of 15%, independent of N and water regime. The genetic interval of Rht8 overlaps with the compactum gene on 2DS, raising the possibility of the same causative gene. Further genetic dissection of these loci is required.


    ANOVA, analysis of variance; Y, yield; HI, harvest index; GN, grain number (m−2); SS, spikelet number (spike−1); SN, spike number (m−2); HD, heading date; AN, anthesis; 12L, length of the second internode from the top; 13L, length of the third internode from the top; PAR, photosynthetically active radiation; R: FR, red: far-red light reflectance ratio; RCBD, randomised complete block design


Gasperini, D., Chauvin, A., Acosta, I.F., Kurenda, A., Stolz, S., Chétalat, A., Wolfender J.-L. & Farmer, E.E. Axial and Radial Oxylipin Transport. Plant Physiol. 169, 2244-2254, (2015) DOI: 10.1104/pp.15.01104


Gasperini, D., Chételat, A., Acosta, I.F., Goossens, J., Pauwels, L., Goossens, A., Dreos, R., Alonso, E. & Farmer, E.E. Multilayered Organization of Jasmonate Signalling in the Regulation of Root Growth PLoS Genet. 11 (6), e1005300, (2015) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005300

Physical damage can strongly affect plant growth, reducing the biomass of developing organs situated at a distance from wounds. These effects, previously studied in leaves, require the activation of jasmonate (JA) signalling. Using a novel assay involving repetitive cotyledon wounding in Arabidopsis seedlings, we uncovered a function of JA in suppressing cell division and elongation in roots. Regulatory JA signalling components were then manipulated to delineate their relative impacts on root growth. The new transcription factor mutant myc2-322B was isolated. In vitro transcription assays and whole-plant approaches revealed that myc2-322B is a dosage-dependent gain-of-function mutant that can amplify JA growth responses. Moreover, myc2-322B displayed extreme hypersensitivity to JA that totally suppressed root elongation. The mutation weakly reduced root growth in undamaged plants but, when the upstream negative regulator NINJA was genetically removed, myc2-322B powerfully repressed root growth through its effects on cell division and cell elongation. Furthermore, in a JA-deficient mutant background, ninja1 myc2-322B still repressed root elongation, indicating that it is possible to generate JA-responses in the absence of JA. We show that NINJA forms a broadly expressed regulatory layer that is required to inhibit JA signalling in the apex of roots grown under basal conditions. By contrast, MYC2, MYC3 and MYC4 displayed cell layer-specific localisations and MYC3 and MYC4 were expressed in mutually exclusive regions. In nature, growing roots are likely subjected to constant mechanical stress during soil penetration that could lead to JA production and subsequent detrimental effects on growth. Our data reveal how distinct negative regulatory layers, including both NINJA-dependent and -independent mechanisms, restrain JA responses to allow normal root growth. Mechanistic insights from this work underline the importance of mapping JA signalling components to specific cell types in order to understand and potentially engineer the growth reduction that follows physical damage.


Grubb, C. D., Zipp, B. J., Kopycki, J., Schubert, M., Quint, M., Lim, E.-K., Bowles, D. J., Pedras, M. S. C. & Abel, S. Comparative analysis of Arabidopsis UGT74 glucosyltransferases reveals a special role of UGT74C1 in glucosinolate biosynthesis Plant J. 79, 92–105, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12541

The study of glucosinolates and their regulation has provided a powerful framework for the exploration of fundamental questions about the function, evolution, and ecological significance of plant natural products, but uncertainties about their metabolism remain. Previous work has identified one thiohydroximate S-glucosyltransferase, UGT74B1, with an important role in the core pathway, but also made clear that this enzyme functions redundantly and cannot be the sole UDP-glucose dependent glucosyltransferase (UGT) in glucosinolate synthesis. Here, we present the results of a nearly comprehensive in vitro activity screen of recombinant Arabidopsis Family 1 UGTs, which implicate other members of the UGT74 clade as candidate glucosinolate biosynthetic enzymes. Systematic genetic analysis of this clade indicates that UGT74C1 plays a special role in the synthesis of aliphatic glucosinolates, a conclusion strongly supported by phylogenetic and gene expression analyses. Finally, the ability of UGT74C1 to complement phenotypes and chemotypes of the ugt74b1-2 knockout mutant and to express thiohydroximate UGT activity in planta provides conclusive evidence for UGT74C1 being an accessory enzyme in glucosinolate biosynthesis with a potential function during plant adaptation to environmental challenge.

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