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Publications - Stress and Develop Biology

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Guerra, T.; Schilling, S.; Hake, K.; Gorzolka, K.; Sylvester, F.-P.; Conrads, B.; Westermann, B.; Romeis, T. Calcium‐dependent protein kinase 5 links calcium‐signaling with N‐Hydroxy‐L‐pipecolic acid‐ and SARD1‐dependent immune memory in systemic acquired resistance New Phytol 225, 310-325, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/nph.16147

Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) prepares infected plants for faster and stronger defense activation upon subsequent attacks. SAR requires an information relay from primary infection to distal tissue and the initiation and maintenance of a self‐maintaining phytohormone salicylic acid (SA)‐defense loop.In spatial and temporal resolution, we show that calcium‐dependent protein kinase CPK5 contributes to immunity and SAR. In local basal resistance, CPK5 functions upstream of SA synthesis, perception, and signaling. In systemic tissue, CPK5 signaling leads to accumulation of SAR‐inducing metabolite N‐hydroxy‐L‐pipecolic acid (NHP) and SAR marker genes, including Systemic Acquired Resistance Deficient 1 (SARD1)Plants of increased CPK5, but not CPK6, signaling display an ‘enhanced SAR’ phenotype towards a secondary bacterial infection. In the sard1‐1 background, CPK5‐mediated basal resistance is still mounted, but NHP concentration is reduced and enhanced SAR is lost.The biochemical analysis estimated CPK5 half maximal kinase activity for calcium, K50 [Ca2+], to be c. 100 nM, close to the cytoplasmic resting level. This low threshold uniquely qualifies CPK5 to decode subtle changes in calcium, a prerequisite to signal relay and onset and maintenance of priming at later time points in distal tissue. Our data explain why CPK5 functions as a hub in basal and systemic plant immunity.

Durian, G.; Sedaghatmehr, M.; Matallana-Ramirez, L. P.; Schilling, S. M.; Schaepe, S.; Guerra, T.; Herde, M.; Witte, C.-P.; Mueller-Roeber, B.; Schulze, W. X.; Balazadeh, S.; Romeis, T. Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase CPK1 Controls Cell Death by In Vivo Phosphorylation of Senescence Master Regulator ORE1 Plant Cell 32, 1610-1625, (2020) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.19.00810

Calcium-regulated protein kinases are key components of are key components of intracellular signaling in plants that mediate rapid stress-induced responses to changes in the environment. To identify in vivo phosphorylation substrates of CALCIUM-DEPENDENT PROTEIN KINASE1 (CPK1), we analyzed the conditional expression of constitutively active CPK1 in conjunction with in vivo phosphoproteomics. We identified Arabidopsis thaliana ORESARA1 (ORE1), the developmental master regulator of senescence, as a direct CPK1 phosphorylation substrate. CPK1 phosphorylates ORE1 at a hotspot within an intrinsically disordered region. This augments transcriptional activation by ORE1 of its downstream target gene BIFUNCTIONAL NUCLEASE1 (BFN1). Plants that overexpress ORE1, but not an ORE1 variant lacking the CPK1 phosphorylation hotspot, promote early senescence. Furthermore, ORE1 is required for enhanced cell death induced by CPK1 signaling. Our data validate the use of conditional expression of an active enzyme combined with phosphoproteomics to decipher specific kinase target proteins of low abundance, of transient phosphorylation, or in yet undescribed biological contexts. Here, we have identified that senescence is not just under molecular surveillance manifested by stringent gene regulatory control over ORE1. In addition, the decision to die is superimposed by an additional layer of control towards ORE1 via its post-translational modification linked to the calcium-regulatory network through CPK1.

Tabassum, N.; Eschen‐Lippold, L.; Athmer, B.; Baruah, M.; Brode, M.; Maldonado‐Bonilla, L. D.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Hause, G.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Phosphorylation‐dependent control of an RNA granule‐localized protein that fine‐tunes defence gene expression at a post‐transcriptional level Plant J 101, 1023-1039, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14573

Mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are key signalling modules of plant defence responses to pathogen‐associated molecular patterns (PAMPs, e.g. bacterial flg22 peptide). The Tandem Zinc Finger Protein 9 (TZF9) is an RNA‐binding protein that is phosphorylated by two PAMP‐responsive MAPKs, MPK3 and MPK6. We mapped the major phosphosites in TZF9 and showed their importance for controlling in vitro RNA‐binding activity, in vivo flg22‐induced rapid disappearance of TZF9‐labelled processing body‐like structures and TZF9 protein turnover. Microarray analysis showed a strong discordance between transcriptome (total mRNA) and translatome (polysome‐associated mRNA) in the tzf9 mutant, with more mRNAs associated to ribosomes in the absence of TZF9. This suggests that TZF9 may sequester and inhibit translation of subsets of mRNAs. Fittingly, TZF9 physically interacts with poly(A)‐binding protein 2 (PAB2), a hallmark constituent of stress granules – a site for stress‐induced translational stalling/arrest. TZF9 even promotes stress granule assembly in the absence of stress. Hence, MAPKs may control defence gene expression post‐transcriptionally through release from translation arrest within TZF9‐PAB2‐containing RNA granules or perturbing PAB2 functions in translation control (e.g. in the mRNA closed‐loop model of translation).

Wang, W.; Liu, N.; Gao, C.; Cai, H.; Romeis, T.; Tang, D. The Arabidopsis exocyst subunits EXO70B1 and EXO70B2 regulate FLS2 homeostasis at the plasma membrane New Phytol 227, 529-544, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/nph.16515

The plasma membrane (PM)‐localized receptor kinase FLAGELLIN SENSING 2 (FLS2) recognizes bacterial flagellin or its immunogenic epitope flg22, and initiates microbe‐associated molecular pattern‐triggered immunity, which inhibits infection by bacterial pathogens. The localization, abundance and activity of FLS2 are under dynamic control.Here, we demonstrate that Arabidopsis thaliana EXO70B1, a subunit of the exocyst complex, plays a critical role in FLS2 signaling that is independent of the truncated Toll/interleukin‐1 receptor‐nucleotide binding sequence protein TIR‐NBS2 (TN2). In the exo70B1‐3 mutant, the abundance of FLS2 protein at the PM is diminished, consistent with the impaired flg22 response of this mutant. EXO70B1‐GFP plants showed increased FLS2 accumulation at the PM and therefore enhanced FLS2 signaling.The EXO70B1‐mediated trafficking of FLS2 to the PM is partially independent of the PENETRATION 1 (PEN1)‐containing secretory pathway. In addition, EXO70B1 interacts with EXO70B2, a close homolog of EXO70B1, and both proteins associate with FLS2 and contribute to the accumulation of FLS2 at the PM.Taken together, our data suggest that the exocyst complex subunits EXO70B1 and EXO70B2 regulate the trafficking of FLS2 to the PM, which represents a new layer of regulation of FLS2 function in plant immunity.

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.
Printed publications

Schulz, P.; Piepenburg, K.; Lintermann, R.; Herde, M.; Schöttler, M. A.; Schmidt, L. K.; Ruf, S.; Kudla, J.; Romeis, T.; Bock, R. Improving plant drought tolerance and growth under water limitation through combinatorial engineering of signaling networks Plant Biotechnol J (2020) DOI: 10.1111/pbi.13441

Agriculture is by far the biggest water consumer on our planet, accounting for 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals. Climate change and a growing world population increase pressure on agriculture to use water more efficiently (‘more crop per drop’). Water‐use efficiency (WUE) and drought tolerance of crops are complex traits that are determined by many physiological processes whose interplay is not well understood. Here we describe a combinatorial engineering approach to optimize signaling networks involved in the control of stress tolerance. Screening a large population of combinatorially transformed plant lines, we identified a combination of calcium‐dependent protein kinase genes that confers enhanced drought stress tolerance and improved growth under water‐limiting conditions. Targeted introduction of this gene combination into plants increased plant survival under drought and enhanced growth under water‐limited conditions. Our work provides an efficient strategy for engineering complex signaling networks to improve plant performance under adverse environmental conditions, which does not depend on prior understanding of network function.

Vainonen, J. P.; Shapiguzov, A.; Krasensky-Wrzaczek, J.; De Masi, R.; Gossens, R.; Danciu, I.; Battchikova, N.; Jonak, C.; Wirthmueller, L.; Wrzaczek, M.; Kangasjärvi, J. Arabidopsis Poly(ADP-ribose)-binding protein RCD1 interacts with Photoregulatory Protein Kinases in nuclear bodies bioRxiv (2020) DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.02.184937

Continuous reprograming of gene expression in response to environmental signals in plants is achieved through signaling hub proteins that integrate external stimuli and transcriptional responses. RADICAL-INDUCED CELL DEATH1 (RCD1) functions as a nuclear hub protein, which interacts with a variety of transcription factors with its C-terminal RST domain and thereby acts as a co-regulator of numerous plant stress reactions. Here a previously function for RCD1 as a novel plant PAR reader protein is shown; RCD1 functions as a scaffold protein, which recruits transcription factors to specific locations inside the nucleus in PAR-dependent manner. The N-terminal WWE- and PARP-like domains of RCD1 bind poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) and determine its localization to nuclear bodies (NBs), which is prevented by chemical inhibition of PAR synthesis. RCD1 also binds and recruits Photoregulatory Protein Kinases (PPKs) to NBs. The PPKs, which have been associated with circadian clock, abscisic acid, and light signaling pathways, phosphorylate RCD1 at multiple sites in the intrinsically disordered region between the WWE- and PARP-like-domains, which affects the stability and function of RCD1 in the nucleus. Phosphorylation of RCD1 by PPKs provides a mechanism where turnover of a PAR-binding transcriptional co-regulator is controlled by nuclear phosphorylation signaling pathways.
Printed publications

Trempel, F.; Eschen‐Lippold, L.; Bauer, N.; Ranf, S.; Westphal, L.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. A mutation in Asparagine‐Linked Glycosylation 12 (ALG12) leads to receptor misglycosylation and attenuated responses to multiple microbial elicitors FEBS Lett (2020) DOI: 10.1002/1873-3468.13850

Changes in cellular calcium levels are one of the earliest signalling events in plants exposed to pathogens or other exogenous factors. In a genetic screen, we identified an Arabidopsis thaliana ‘changed calcium elevation 1 ’ (cce1 ) mutant with attenuated calcium response to the bacterial flagellin flg22 peptide and several other elicitors. Whole genome re‐sequencing revealed a mutation in ALG12 (Asparagine‐Linked Glycosylation 12 ) that encodes the mannosyltransferase responsible for adding the eighth mannose residue in an α‐1,6 linkage to the dolichol‐PP‐oligosaccharide N ‐glycosylation glycan tree precursors. While properly targeted to the plasma membrane, misglycosylation of several receptors in the cce1 background suggests that N ‐glycosylation is required for proper functioning of client proteins.
Printed publications

Wirthmueller, L.; Romeis, T. Sp(l)icing up PepR signalling Nat Plants (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41477-020-0708-1

Alternative splicing provides a fundamental and ubiquitous mechanism of gene regulation. Stimuli-induced retention of introns introduces novel proteoforms with altered signalling output: full-length CPK28 blocks immune signalling, while a truncated variant, lacking calcium responsiveness, promotes it.

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.
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