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Stenzel, I., Ischebeck, T., Quint, M. & Heilmann, I. Variable regions of PI4P 5-kinases direct PtdIns(4,5)P2 towards alternative regulatory functions in tobacco pollen tubes Front. Plant Sci 2, 114, (2012)

The apical plasma membrane of pollen tubes contains different PI4P 5-kinases that all produce phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2] but exert distinct cellular effects. In the present example, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K5 or tobacco NtPIP5K6-1 caused growth defects previously attributed to increased pectin secretion. In contrast, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K2 caused apical tip swelling implicated in altering actin fine structure in the pollen tube apex. AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2 share identical domain structures. Domains required for correct membrane association of the enzymes were identified by systematic deletion of N-terminal domains and subsequent expression of fluorescence-tagged enzyme truncations in tobacco pollen tubes. A variable linker region (Lin) contained in all PI4P 5-kinase isoforms of subfamily B, but not conserved in sequence, was recognized to be necessary for correct subcellular localization of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2. Deletion of N-terminal domains including the Lin domain did not impair catalytic activity of recombinant AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 in vitro; however, the presence of the Lin domain was necessary for in vivo effects on pollen tube growth upon overexpression of truncated enzymes. Overexpression of catalytically inactive variants of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 did not influence pollen tube growth, indicating that PtdIns(4,5)P2 production rather than structural properties of PI4P 5-kinases was relevant for the manifestation of growth phenotypes. When Lin domains were swapped between NtPIP5K6-1 and AtPIP5K2 and the chimeric enzymes overexpressed in pollen tubes, the chimeras reciprocally gained the capabilities to invoke tip swelling or secretion phenotypes, respectively. The data indicate that the Lin domain directed the enzymes into different regulatory contexts, possibly contributing to channeling of PtdIns(4,5)P2 at the interface of secretion and actin cytoskeleton.


Janitza, P., Ullrich, K.K. & Quint, M. Towards a comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of mitogen-activated protein kinases in the plant kingdom Front. Plant Sci 3, 1-11, (2012)

The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is a three-tier signaling cascade that transmits cellular information from the plasma membrane to the cytoplasm where it triggers downstream responses. The MAPKs represent the last step in this cascade and are activated when both tyrosine and threonine residues in a conserved TxY motif are phosphorylated by MAPK kinases, which in turn are themselves activated by phosphorylation by MAPK kinase kinases. To understand the molecular evolution of MAPKs in the plant kingdom, we systematically conducted a Hidden-Markov-Model based screen to identify MAPKs in 13 completely sequenced plant genomes. In this analysis, we included green algae, bryophytes, lycophytes, and several mono- and dicotyledonous species covering >800 million years of evolution. The phylogenetic relationships of the 204 identified MAPKs based on Bayesian inference facilitated the retraction of the sequence of emergence of the four major clades that are characterized by the presence of a TDY or TEY-A/TEY-B/TEY-C type kinase activation loop. We present evidence that after the split of TDY- and TEY-type MAPKs, initially the TEY-C clade emerged. This was followed by the TEY-B clade in early land plants until the TEY-A clade finally emerged in flowering plants. In addition to these well characterized clades, we identified another highly conserved clade of 45 MAPK-likes, members of which were previously described as MHKs. In agreement with their essential functions, molecular population genetic analysis of MAPK genes in Arabidopsis thaliana accessions reveal that purifying selection drove the evolution of the MAPK family, implying strong functional constraints on MAPK genes. Closely related MAPKs most likely subfunctionalized, a process in which differential transcriptional regulation of duplicates may be involved.

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