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Publikationen - Stoffwechsel- und Zellbiologie

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Janik, K., Mithöfer, A., Raffeiner, M., Stellmach, H., Hause, B. & Schlink, K. An effector of apple proliferation phytoplasma targets TCP transcription factors—a generalized virulence strategy of phytoplasma? Mol Plant Pathol 18, 435-442, (2017) DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12409

The plant pathogen Candidatus Phytoplasma mali (P. mali) is the causative agent of apple proliferation, a disease of increasing importance in apple-growing areas within Europe. Despite its economic importance, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of disease manifestation within apple trees. In this study, we identified two TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED/CYCLOIDEA/PROLIFERATING CELL FACTOR) transcription factors of Malus x domestica as binding partners of the P. mali SAP11-like effector ATP_00189. Phytohormone analyses revealed an effect of P. mali infection on jasmonates, salicylic acid and abscisic acid levels, showing that P. mali affects phytohormonal levels in apple trees, which is in line with the functions of the effector assumed from its binding to TCP transcription factors. To our knowledge, this is the first characterization of the molecular targets of a P. mali effector and thus provides the basis to better understand symptom development and disease progress during apple proliferation. As SAP11 homologues are found in several Phytoplasma species infecting a broad range of different plants, SAP11-like proteins seem to be key players in phytoplasmal infection.
Publikationen in Druck

Bilova, T., Paudel, G., Shilyaev, N., Schmidt, R., Brauch, D., Tarakhovskaya, E., Milrud, S., Smolikova, G., Tissier, A., Vogt, T., Sinz, A., Brandt, W., Birkemeyer, C., Wessjohann, L. A. & Frolov, A. Global proteomic analysis of advanced glycation end products in the Arabidopsis proteome provides evidence for age-related glycation hotspots. J Biol Chem. (2017) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M117.794537

Glycation is a post-translational modification resulting from the interaction of protein amino and guanidino groups with carbonyl compounds. Initially, amino groups react with reducing carbohydrates, yielding Amadori and Heyns compounds. Their further degradation results in formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), also originating from α-dicarbonyl products of monosaccharide autoxidation and primary metabolism. In mammals, AGEs are continuously formed during the life of the organism, and accumulate in tissues, being well-known markers of ageing, impacting age-related tissue stiffing and atherosclerotic changes. However, the role of AGEs in age-related molecular alterations in plants is still unknown. To fill this gap, we present here a comprehensive study of the age-related changes in the Arabidopsis thaliana glycated proteome, including the proteins affected and specific glycation sites therein. We also consider the qualitative and quantitative changes in glycation patterns in terms of the general metabolic background, pathways of AGE formation, and the status of plant anti-oxidative/anti-glycative defense. Although the patterns of glycated proteins were only minimally influenced by plant age, the abundances of 96 AGE sites in 71 proteins were significantly affected in an age-dependent manner and clearly indicated the existence of age-related glycation hotspots in the plant proteome. Homology modeling revealed glutamyl and aspartyl residues in close proximity (less than 5 Å) to these sites in 3 ageing-specific and 8 differentially glycated proteins, four of which were modified in catalytic domains. Thus, the sites of glycation hotspots might be defined by protein structure that indicates, at least partly, site-specific character of glycation. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD006434 
Publikationen in Druck

Balcke, G., Bennewitz, S., Bergau, N., Athmer, B., Henning, A., Majovsky, P., Jiménez-Gómez, J. M., Hoehenwarter, W. & Tissier, A. F Multi-Omics of tomato glandular trichomes reveals distinct features of central carbon metabolism supporting high productivity of specialized metabolites Plant Cell 29 , 960-983, (2017) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.17.00060

Glandular trichomes are metabolic cell factories with the capacity to produce large quantities of secondary metabolites. Little is known about the connection between central carbon metabolism and metabolic productivity for secondary metabolites in glandular trichomes. To address this gap in our knowledge, we performed comparative metabolomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and 13C-labeling of type VI glandular trichomes and leaves from a cultivated (Solanum lycopersicum LA4024) and a wild (Solanum habrochaites LA1777) tomato accession. Specific features of glandular trichomes that drive the formation of secondary metabolites could be identified. Tomato type VI trichomes are photosynthetic but acquire their carbon essentially from leaf sucrose. The energy and reducing power from photosynthesis are used to support the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, while the comparatively reduced Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle activity may be involved in recycling metabolic CO2. Glandular trichomes cope with oxidative stress by producing high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, oxylipins, and glutathione. Finally, distinct mechanisms are present in glandular trichomes to increase the supply of precursors for the isoprenoid pathways. Particularly, the citrate-malate shuttle supplies cytosolic acetyl CoA and plastidic glycolysis and malic enzyme support the formation of plastidic pyruvate. A model is proposed on how glandular trichomes achieve high metabolic productivity. 

Frolov, A., Bilova, T., Paudel, G., Berger, R., Balcke, G. U., Birkemeyer, C. & Wessjohann, L. A. Early responses of mature Arabidopsis thaliana plants to reduced water potential in the agar-based polyethylene glycol infusion drought model. J Plant Physiol. 208, 70-83, (2017) DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2016.09.013

Drought is one of the most important environmental stressors resulting in increasing losses of crop plant productivity all over the world. Therefore, development of new approaches to increase the stress tolerance of crop plants is strongly desired. This requires precise and adequate modeling of drought stress. As this type of stress manifests itself as a steady decrease in the substrate water potential (ψw), agar plates infused with polyethylene glycol (PEG) are the perfect experimental tool: they are easy in preparation and provide a constantly reduced ψw, which is not possible in soil models. However, currently, this model is applicable only to seedlings and cannot be used for evaluation of stress responses in mature plants, which are obviously the most appropriate objects for drought tolerance research. To overcome this limitation, here we introduce a PEG-based agar infusion model suitable for 6–8-week-old A. thaliana plants, and characterize, to the best of our knowledge for the first time, the early drought stress responses of adult plants grown on PEG-infused agar. We describe essential alterations in the primary metabolome (sugars and related compounds, amino acids and polyamines) accompanied by qualitative and quantitative changes in protein patterns: up to 87 unique stress-related proteins were annotated under drought stress conditions, whereas further 84 proteins showed a change in abundance. The obtained proteome patterns differed slightly from those reported for seedlings and soil-based models.

Publikationen in Druck

Bjornson, M., Balcke, G. U., Xiao, Y., de Souza, A., Wang, J.-Z., , Zhabinskaya, D., Tagkopoulos, I., Tissier, A. & Dehesh, K. Integrated omics analyses of retrograde signaling mutant delineate interrelated stress-response strata.  Plant J. (2017) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.13547

To maintain homeostasis in the face of intrinsic and extrinsic insults, cells have evolved elaborate quality control networks to resolve damage at multiple levels. Interorganellar communication is a key requirement for this maintenance, however the underlying mechanisms of this communication have remained an enigma. Here we integrate the outcome of transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomics analyses of genotypes including ceh1, a mutant with constitutively elevated levels of both the stress-specific plastidial retrograde signaling metabolite methyl-erythritol cyclodiphosphate (MEcPP) and the defense hormone salicylic acid (SA), as well as the high MEcPP but SA deficient genotype ceh1/eds16, along with corresponding controls. Integration of multi-omic analyses enabled us to delineate the function of MEcPP from SA, and expose the compartmentalized role of this retrograde signaling metabolite in induction of distinct but interdependent signaling cascades instrumental in adaptive responses. Specifically, here we identify strata of MEcPP-sensitive stress-response cascades, among which we focus on selected pathways including organelle-specific regulation of jasmonate biosynthesis; simultaneous induction of synthesis and breakdown of SA; and MEcPP-mediated alteration of cellular redox status in particular glutathione redox balance. Collectively, these integrated multi-omic analyses provided a vehicle to gain an in-depth knowledge of genome-metabolism interactions, and to further probe the extent of these interactions and delineate their functional contributions. Through this approach we were able to pinpoint stress-mediated transcriptional and metabolic signatures and identify the downstream processes modulated by the independent or overlapping functions of MEcPP and SA in adaptive responses.


Dreher, D., Yadav, H., Zander, S. & Hause, B. Is there genetic variation in mycorrhization of Medicago truncatula?  PeerJ 5, e3713, (2017) DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3713

Differences in the plant’s response among ecotypes or accessions are often used to identify molecular markers for the respective process. In order to analyze genetic diversity of Medicago truncatula in respect to interaction with the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Rhizophagus irregularis, mycorrhizal colonization was evaluated in 32 lines of the nested core collection representing the genetic diversity of the SARDI collection. All studied lines and the reference line Jemalong A17 were inoculated with R. irregularis and the mycorrhization rate was determined at three time points after inoculation. There were, however, no reliable and consistent differences in mycorrhization rates among all lines. To circumvent possible overlay of potential differences by use of the highly effective inoculum, native sandy soil was used in an independent experiment. Here, significant differences in mycorrhization rates among few of the lines were detectable, but the overall high variability in the mycorrhization rate hindered clear conclusions. To narrow down the number of lines to be tested in more detail, root system architecture (RSA) of in vitro-grown seedlings of all lines under two different phosphate (Pi) supply condition was determined in terms of primary root length and number of lateral roots. Under high Pi supply (100 µM), only minor differences were observed, whereas in response to Pi-limitation (3 µM) several lines exhibited a drastically changed number of lateral roots. Five lines showing the highest alterations or deviations in RSA were selected and inoculated with R. irregularis using two different Pi-fertilization regimes with either 13 mM or 3 mM Pi. Mycorrhization rate of these lines was checked in detail by molecular markers, such as transcript levels of RiTubulin and MtPT4. Under high phosphate supply, the ecotypes L000368 and L000555 exhibited slightly increased fungal colonization and more functional arbuscules, respectively. To address the question, whether capability for mycorrhizal colonization might be correlated to general invasion by microorganisms, selected lines were checked for infection by the root rot causing pathogen, Aphanoymces euteiches. The mycorrhizal colonization phenotype, however, did not correlate with the resistance phenotype upon infection with two strains of A. euteiches as L000368 showed partial resistance and L000555 exhibited high susceptibility as determined by quantification of A. euteiches rRNA within infected roots. Although there is genetic diversity in respect to pathogen infection, genetic diversity in mycorrhizal colonization of M. truncatula is rather low and it will be rather difficult to use it as a trait to access genetic markers. 

Scheler, U., Brandt, W., Porzel, A., Rothe, K., Manzano, D., Božić, D., Papaefthimiou, D., Balcke, G. U., Henning, A., Lohse, S., Marillonnet, S., Kanellis, A. K., Ferrer, A. & Tissier, A. Elucidation of the biosynthesis of carnosic acid and its reconstitution in yeast Nat Commun 7, 12942, (2016) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12942

Rosemary extracts containing the phenolic diterpenes carnosic acid and its derivative carnosol are approved food additives used in an increasingly wide range of products to enhance shelf-life, thanks to their high anti-oxidant activity. We describe here the elucidation of the complete biosynthetic pathway of carnosic acid and its reconstitution in yeast cells. Cytochrome P450 oxygenases (CYP76AH22-24) from Rosmarinus officinalis and Salvia fruticosa already characterized as ferruginol synthases are also able to produce 11-hydroxyferruginol. Modelling-based mutagenesis of three amino acids in the related ferruginol synthase (CYP76AH1) from S. miltiorrhiza is sufficient to convert it to a 11-hydroxyferruginol synthase (HFS). The three sequential C20 oxidations for the conversion of 11-hydroxyferruginol to carnosic acid are catalysed by the related CYP76AK6-8. The availability of the genes for the biosynthesis of carnosic acid opens opportunities for the metabolic engineering of phenolic diterpenes, a class of compounds with potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour activities.


Paudel, G., Bilova, T., Schmidt, R., Greifenhagen, U., Berger, R., Tarakhovskaya, E., Stöckhardt, S., Balcke, G. U., Humbeck, K., Brandt, W., Sinz, A., Vogt, T., Birkemeyer, C., Wessjohann, L. & Frolov, A Osmotic stress is accompanied by protein glycation in Arabidopsis thaliana J. Exp. Bot. 67, 6283-6295, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erw395

Among the environmental alterations accompanying oncoming climate changes, drought is the most important factor influencing crop plant productivity. In plants, water deficit ultimately results in the development of oxidative stress and accumulation of osmolytes (e.g. amino acids and carbohydrates) in all tissues. Up-regulation of sugar biosynthesis in parallel to the increasing overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) might enhance protein glycation, i.e. interaction of carbonyl compounds, reducing sugars and α-dicarbonyls with lysyl and arginyl side-chains yielding early (Amadori and Heyns compounds) and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). Although the constitutive plant protein glycation patterns were characterized recently, the effects of environmental stress on AGE formation are unknown so far. To fill this gap, we present here a comprehensive in-depth study of the changes in Arabidopsis thaliana advanced glycated proteome related to osmotic stress. A 3 d application of osmotic stress revealed 31 stress-specifically and 12 differentially AGE-modified proteins, representing altogether 56 advanced glycation sites. Based on proteomic and metabolomic results, in combination with biochemical, enzymatic and gene expression analysis, we propose monosaccharide autoxidation as the main stress-related glycation mechanism, and glyoxal as the major glycation agent in plants subjected to drought. 


Treutler, H., Tsugawa, H., Porzel, A., Gorzolka, K., Tissier, A., Neumann, S. & Balcke, G. U. Discovering regulated metabolite families in untargeted metabolomics studies. Anal Chem 88, 8082-8090, (2016) DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b01569

The identification of metabolites by mass spectrometry constitutes a major bottleneck which considerably limits the throughput of metabolomics studies in biomedical or plant research. Here, we present a novel approach to analyze metabolomics data from untargeted, data-independent LC-MS/MS measurements. By integrated analysis of MS1 abundances and MS/MS spectra, the identification of regulated metabolite families is achieved. This approach offers a global view on metabolic regulation in comparative metabolomics. We implemented our approach in the web application “MetFamily”, which is freely available at http://msbi.ipb-halle.de/MetFamily/. MetFamily provides a dynamic link between the patterns based on MS1-signal intensity and the corresponding structural similarity at the MS/MS level. Structurally related metabolites are annotated as metabolite families based on a hierarchical cluster analysis of measured MS/MS spectra. Joint examination with principal component analysis of MS1 patterns, where this annotation 


Dobritzsch, M., Lübken, T., Eschen-Lippold, L., Gorzolka, K., Blum, E., Matern, A., Marillonnet, S., Böttcher, C., Dräger, B. & Rosahl, S. MATE Transporter-Dependent Export of Hydroxycinnamic Acid Amides. Plant Cell 28, 583-596, (2016) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00706

The ability of Arabidopsis thaliana to successfully prevent colonization by Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum), depends on multilayered defense responses. To address the role of surface-localized secondary metabolites for entry control, droplets of a P. infestans zoospore suspension, incubated on Arabidopsis leaves, were subjected to untargeted metabolite profiling. The hydroxycinnamic acid amide coumaroylagmatine was among the metabolites secreted into the inoculum. In vitro assays revealed an inhibitory activity of coumaroylagmatine on P. infestans spore germination. Mutant analyses suggested a requirement of the p-coumaroyl-CoA:agmatine N4-p-coumaroyl transferase ACT for the biosynthesis and of the MATE transporter DTX18 for the extracellular accumulation of coumaroylagmatine. The host plant potato is not able to efficiently secrete coumaroylagmatine. This inability is overcome in transgenic potato plants expressing the two Arabidopsis genes ACT and DTX18. These plants secrete agmatine and putrescine conjugates to high levels, indicating that DTX18 is a hydroxycinnamic acid amide transporter with a distinct specificity. The export of hydroxycinnamic acid amides correlates with a decreased ability of P. infestans spores to germinate, suggesting a contribution of secreted antimicrobial compounds to pathogen defense at the leaf surface.

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