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Serag, A.; Baky, M. H.; Döll, S.; Farag, M. A. UHPLC-MS metabolome based classification of umbelliferous fruit taxa: a prospect for phyto-equivalency of its different accessions and in response to roasting RSC Adv 10, 76-85, (2020) DOI: 10.1039/C9RA07841J

Herbs of the Umbelliferae family are popular spices valued worldwide for their many nutritional and health benefits. Herein, five chief umbelliferous fruits viz., cumin, fennel, anise, coriander and caraway were assessed for its secondary metabolites diversity along with compositional changes incurring upon roasting as analyzed via ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to photodiode array and electrospray ionization mass detectors UHPLC-qToF/MS. A total of 186 metabolites were annotated, according to metabolomics society guidelines, belonging mainly to flavonoids, fatty acids and phenolic acids. Multivariate models viz., PCA, HCA and OPLS-DA were further employed to assess fruits' heterogeneity in an untargeted manner and determine mechanistic changes in bioactive makeup post roasting viz., glycosidic cleavage, lipid degradation and Maillard reaction. Finally, the fruits' antioxidant activity showed decline upon roasting and in correlation with its total phenolic content. This study presents the first complete map of umbelliferous fruit metabolome, compositional differences and its roasting effect.

Vieira, S.; Sikorski, J.; Dietz, S.; Herz, K.; Schrumpf, M.; Bruelheide, H.; Scheel, D.; Friedrich, M. W.; Overmann, J. Drivers of the composition of active rhizosphere bacterial communities in temperate grasslands ISME J (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0543-4

The active bacterial rhizobiomes and root exudate profiles of phytometers of six plant species growing in central European temperate grassland communities were investigated in three regions located up to 700 km apart, across diverse edaphic conditions and along a strong land use gradient. The recruitment process from bulk soil communities was identified as the major direct driver of the composition of active rhizosphere bacterial communities. Unexpectedly, the effect of soil properties, particularly soil texture, water content, and soil type, strongly dominated over plant properties and the composition of polar root exudates of the primary metabolism. While plant species-specific selection of bacteria was minor, the RNA-based composition of active rhizosphere bacteria substantially differed between rhizosphere and bulk soil. Although other variables could additionally be responsible for the consistent enrichment of particular bacteria in the rhizosphere, distinct bacterial OTUs were linked to the presence of specific polar root exudates independent of individual plant species. Our study also identified numerous previously unknown taxa that are correlated with rhizosphere dynamics and hence represent suitable targets for future manipulations of the plant rhizobiome.
Books and chapters

Jozefowicz, A. M.; Döll, S.; Mock, H.-P. Proteomic Approaches to Identify Proteins Responsive to Cold Stress (Hincha, D. K. & Zuther, E., eds.). Methods Mol Biol 2156, 161-170, (2020) ISBN: 978-1-0716-0660-5 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0660-5_12

Changing environmental conditions greatly affect the accumulation of many proteins; therefore, the analysis of alterations in the proteome is essential to understand the plant response to abiotic stress. Proteomics provides a platform for the identification and quantification of plant proteins responsive to cold stress and taking part in cold acclimation. Here, we describe the preparation of proteins for LC-MS measurement to monitor the changes of protein patterns during cold treatment in Arabidopsis thaliana. In our protocol, proteins are precipitated using TCA/acetone, quantified with 2D Quant Kit and digested with trypsin using a filter-based method and analyzed using an LC-MS approach. The acquired results can be further applied for label-free protein quantification.

Dietz, S.; Herz, K.; Gorzolka, K.; Jandt, U.; Bruelheide, H.; Scheel, D. Root exudate composition of grass and forb species in natural grasslands Sci Rep 10, 10691, (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-54309-5

Plants exude a diverse cocktail of metabolites into the soil as response to exogenous and endogenous factors. So far, root exudates have mainly been studied under artificial conditions due to methodological difficulties. In this study, each five perennial grass and forb species were investigated for polar and semi-polar metabolites in exudates under field conditions. Metabolite collection and untargeted profiling approaches combined with a novel classification method allowed the designation of 182 metabolites. The composition of exuded polar metabolites depended mainly on the local environment, especially soil conditions, whereas the pattern of semi-polar metabolites was primarily affected by the species identity. The profiles of both polar and semi-polar metabolites differed between growth forms, with grass species being generally more similar to each other and more responsive to the abiotic environment than forb species. This study demonstrated the feasibility of investigating exudates under field conditions and to identify the driving factors of exudate composition.

Ruttkies, C.; Schymanski, E. L.; Strehmel, N.; Hollender, J.; Neumann, S.; Williams, A. J.; Krauss, M. Supporting non-target identification by adding hydrogen deuterium exchange MS/MS capabilities to MetFrag Anal Bioanal Chem 411, 4683-4700, (2019) DOI: 10.1007/s00216-019-01885-0

Liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) is increasingly popular for the non-targeted exploration of complex samples, where tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is used to characterize the structure of unknown compounds. However, mass spectra do not always contain sufficient information to unequivocally identify the correct structure. This study investigated how much additional information can be gained using hydrogen deuterium exchange (HDX) experiments. The exchange of “easily exchangeable” hydrogen atoms (connected to heteroatoms), with predominantly [M+D]+ ions in positive mode and [M-D]− in negative mode was observed. To enable high-throughput processing, new scoring terms were incorporated into the in silico fragmenter MetFrag. These were initially developed on small datasets and then tested on 762 compounds of environmental interest. Pairs of spectra (normal and deuterated) were found for 593 of these substances (506 positive mode, 155 negative mode spectra). The new scoring terms resulted in 29 additional correct identifications (78 vs 49) for positive mode and an increase in top 10 rankings from 80 to 106 in negative mode. Compounds with dual functionality (polar head group, long apolar tail) exhibited dramatic retention time (RT) shifts of up to several minutes, compared with an average 0.04 min RT shift. For a smaller dataset of 80 metabolites, top 10 rankings improved from 13 to 24 (positive mode, 57 spectra) and from 14 to 31 (negative mode, 63 spectra) when including HDX information. The results of standard measurements were confirmed using targets and tentatively identified surfactant species in an environmental sample collected from the river Danube near Novi Sad (Serbia). The changes to MetFrag have been integrated into the command line version available at http://c-ruttkies.github.io/MetFrag and all resulting spectra and compounds are available in online resources and in the Electronic Supplementary Material (ESM).

Dietz, S.; Herz, K.; Döll, S.; Haider, S.; Jandt, U.; Bruelheide, H.; Scheel, D. Semi‐polar root exudates in natural grassland communities Ecol Evol 9, 5526-5541, (2019) DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5043

In the rhizosphere, plants are exposed to a multitude of different biotic and abiotic factors, to which they respond by exuding a wide range of secondary root metabolites. So far, it has been unknown to which degree root exudate composition is species‐specific and is affected by land use, the local impact and local neighborhood under field conditions. In this study, root exudates of 10 common grassland species were analyzed, each five of forbs and grasses, in the German Biodiversity Exploratories using a combined phytometer and untargeted liquid chromatography‐mass spectrometry (LC‐MS) approach. Redundancy analysis and hierarchical clustering revealed a large set of semi‐polar metabolites common to all species in addition to species‐specific metabolites. Chemical richness and exudate composition revealed that forbs, such as Plantago lanceolata and Galium species, exuded more species‐specific metabolites than grasses. Grasses instead were primarily affected by environmental conditions. In both forbs and grasses, plant functional traits had only a minor impact on plant root exudation patterns. Overall, our results demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining and untargeted profiling of semi‐polar metabolites under field condition and allow a deeper view in the exudation of plants in a natural grassland community.

Herz, K.; Dietz, S.; Gorzolka, K.; Haider, S.; Jandt, U.; Scheel, D.; Bruelheide, H. Correction: Linking root exudates to functional plant traits PLOS ONE 14, e0213965, (2019) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213965


Matern, A.; Böttcher, C.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Westermann, B.; Smolka, U.; Döll, S.; Trempel, F.; Aryal, B.; Scheel, D.; Geisler, M.; Rosahl, S. A substrate of the ABC transporter PEN3 stimulates bacterial flagellin (flg22)-induced callose deposition in Arabidopsis thaliana J Biol Chem 294, 6857-6870, (2019) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.007676

Nonhost resistance of Arabidopsis thaliana against Phytophthora infestans, a filamentous eukaryotic microbe and the causal agent of potato late blight, is based on a multilayered defense system. Arabidopsis thaliana controls pathogen entry through the penetration-resistance genes PEN2 and PEN3, encoding an atypical myrosinase and an ABC transporter, respectively, required for synthesis and export of unknown indole compounds. To identify pathogen-elicited leaf surface metabolites and further unravel nonhost resistance in Arabidopsis, we performed untargeted metabolite profiling by incubating a P. infestans zoospore suspension on leaves of WT or pen3 mutant Arabidopsis plants. Among the plant-secreted metabolites, 4-methoxyindol-3-yl-methanol and S-(4-methoxy-indol-3-yl-methyl) cysteine were detected in spore suspensions recollected from WT plants, but at reduced levels from the pen3 mutant plants. In both whole-cell and microsome-based assays, 4-methoxyindol-3-yl-methanol was transported in a PEN3-dependent manner, suggesting that this compound is a PEN3 substrate. The syntheses of both compounds were dependent on functional PEN2 and phytochelatin synthase 1. None of these compounds inhibited mycelial growth of P. infestans in vitro. Of note, exogenous application of 4-methoxyindol-3-yl methanol slightly elevated cytosolic Ca2+ levels and enhanced callose deposition in hydathodes of seedlings treated with a bacterial pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), flagellin (flg22). Loss of flg22-induced callose deposition in leaves of pen3 seedlings was partially reverted by the addition of 4-methoxyindol-3-yl methanol. In conclusion, we have identified a specific indole compound that is a substrate for PEN3 and contributes to the plant defense response against microbial pathogens.
Books and chapters

Doell, S.; Arens, N.; Mock, H. Liquid Chromatography and Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry of Plants: Techniques and Applications (Meyers, R. A., ed.). (2019) ISBN: 9780470027318 DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9912.pub2

Mass spectrometry coupled with LC (liquid chromatography) separation has developed into a technique routinely applied for targeted as well as for nontargeted analysis of complex biological samples, not only in plant biochemistry. Earlier on, LC‐MS (liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry) was mostly part of the efforts for identification of one or few unknown metabolites of interest as part of a phytochemical study. As a major strategy, unknown compounds had to be purified in sufficient quantities. The purified fractions were then subjected to LC‐MS/MS as part of the structural elucidation, mostly complemented by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) analysis. With the advance of mass spectrometry instrumentation, LC‐MS is now widely applied for analysis of crude plant extracts and large numbers (100s to 1000s) of samples. It has become an essential part of metabolomic studies (see Metabolomics), aiming at the comprehensive coverage of the metabolite profiles of cells, tissues, or organs. Owing to the huge chemical diversity of small molecules, conditions for the extraction will restrict the subfraction of the metabolome, which can be actually analyzed. The conditions for LC have to be adjusted to allow good separation of the particular metabolites from the respective extract. Major consideration will be the selection of an appropriate column and suitable eluents, the establishment of gradient profiles, temperature conditions, and so on.

Nietzschmann, L.; Gorzolka, K.; Smolka, U.; Matern, A.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Scheel, D.; Rosahl, S. Early Pep-13-induced immune responses are SERK3A/B-dependent in potato Sci Rep 9, 18380, (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-54944-y

Potato plants treated with the pathogen-associated molecular pattern Pep-13 mount salicylic acid- and jasmonic acid-dependent defense responses, leading to enhanced resistance against Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease. Recognition of Pep-13 is assumed to occur by binding to a yet unknown plasma membrane-localized receptor kinase. The potato genes annotated to encode the co-receptor BAK1, StSERK3A and StSERK3B, are activated in response to Pep-13 treatment. Transgenic RNAi-potato plants with reduced expression of both SERK3A and SERK3B were generated. In response to Pep-13 treatment, the formation of reactive oxygen species and MAP kinase activation, observed in wild type plants, is highly reduced in StSERK3A/B-RNAi plants, suggesting that StSERK3A/B are required for perception of Pep-13 in potato. In contrast, defense gene expression is induced by Pep-13 in both control and StSERK3A/B-depleted plants. Altered morphology of StSERK3A/B-RNAi plants correlates with major shifts in metabolism, as determined by untargeted metabolite profiling. Enhanced levels of hydroxycinnamic acid amides, typical phytoalexins of potato, in StSERK3A/B-RNAi plants are accompanied by significantly decreased levels of flavonoids and steroidal glycoalkaloids. Thus, altered metabolism in StSERK3A/B-RNAi plants correlates with the ability of StSERK3A/B-depleted plants to mount defense, despite highly decreased early immune responses.
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