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Publications - Stress and Develop Biology

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Teh, O.-K.; Lee, C.-W.; Ditengou, F. A.; Klecker, T.; Furlan, G.; Zietz, M.; Hause, G.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Lee, J.; Ott, T.; Trujillo, M. Phosphorylation of the exocyst subunit Exo70B2 contributes to the regulation of its function BioRxiv (2018) DOI: 10.1101/266171

The exocyst is a conserved hetero-octameric complex mediating early tethering during exocytosis. Its Exo70 subunit plays a critical role as a spatiotemporal regulator by mediating numerous protein and lipid interactions. However, a molecular understanding of the exocyst function remains challenging. We show that Exo70B2 locates to dynamic foci at the plasma membrane and transits through a BFA-sensitive compartment, reflecting its canonical function in secretion. However, treatment with the salicylic acid (SA) defence hormone analogue Benzothiadiazole (BTH), or the immunogenic peptide flg22, induced Exo70B2 transport into the vacuole. We uncovered two ATG8-interacting motifs (AIMs) located in the C-terminal domain (C-domain) of Exo70B2 that mediate its recruitment into the vacuole. Moreover, we also show that Exo70B2 is phosphorylated near the AIMs and mimicking phosphorylation enhanced ATG8 interaction. Finally, Exo70B2 phosphonull lines were hypersensitive to BTH and more resistant to avirulent bacteria which induce SA production. Our results suggests a molecular mechanism in which phosphorylation of Exo70B2 by MPK3 functions in a feed-back system linking cellular signalling to the secretory pathway.

Clemens, S. Developing tools for phytoremediation: towards a molecular understanding of plant metal tolerance and accumulation Int. J. Occup. Med. Environm. Health 14, 235-239, (2001)

Certain plant species and genotypes are able to accumulate large quantities of heavy metals in their shoots. Based on this trait the concept of phytoremediation was developed, i.e. the use of metal hyperaccumulating plants for the cleansing of contaminated soils and water. In order to more efficiently use this capacity, an engineering of plants might be needed. However, very little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. Our work is focussing on the identification and characterization of plant genes involved in plant metal uptake, tolerance and accumulation. Phytochelatins are small glutathione-derived metal-binding peptides which are part of the plant metal detoxification system. Genes encoding phytochelatin synthases have been cloned and are now being studied with regard to their regulation, biochemistry and biotechnological potential. Another project aimes at the dissection of metal responses in the metallophyte Arabidopsis halleri. This plant, a close relative to the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, is Cd hypertolerant and Zn hyperaccumulating. It grows, for instance, on medieval mining sites in the Harz mountains in Germany and in many other metal-contaminated sites in Central Europe. We have isolated metal-regulated genes from A. halleri and molecularly analyzed interesting candidate genes with regard to their function and involvement in metal accumulation and tolerance.
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