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Publications - Stress and Develop Biology

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Zembek, P.; Danilecka, A.; Hoser, R.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Benicka, M.; Grech-Baran, M.; Rymaszewski, W.; Barymow-Filoniuk, I.; Morgiewicz, K.; Kwiatkowski, J.; Piechocki, M.; Poznanski, J.; Lee, J.; Hennig, J.; Krzymowska, M. Two Strategies of Pseudomonas syringae to Avoid Recognition of the HopQ1 Effector in Nicotiana Species Front Plant Sci 9, 978, (2018) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00978

Pseudomonas syringae employs a battery of type three secretion effectors to subvert plant immune responses. In turn, plants have developed receptors that recognize some of the bacterial effectors. Two strain-specific HopQ1 effector variants (for Hrp outer protein Q) from the pathovars phaseolicola 1448A (Pph) and tomato DC3000 (Pto) showed considerable differences in their ability to evoke disease symptoms in Nicotiana benthamiana. Surprisingly, the variants differ by only six amino acids located mostly in the N-terminal disordered region of HopQ1. We found that the presence of serine 87 and leucine 91 renders PtoHopQ1 susceptible to N-terminal processing by plant proteases. Substitutions at these two positions did not strongly affect PtoHopQ1 virulence properties in a susceptible host but they reduced bacterial growth and accelerated onset of cell death in a resistant host, suggesting that N-terminal mutations rendered PtoHopQ1 susceptible to processing in planta and, thus, represent a mechanism of recognition avoidance. Furthermore, we found that co-expression of HopR1, another effector encoded within the same gene cluster masks HopQ1 recognition in a strain-dependent manner. Together, these data suggest that HopQ1 is under high host-pathogen co-evolutionary selection pressure and P. syringae may have evolved differential effector processing or masking as two independent strategies to evade HopQ1 recognition, thus revealing another level of complexity in plant – microbe interactions.

Chen, C.; Masi, R. D.; Lintermann, R.; Wirthmueller, L. Nuclear Import of Arabidopsis Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase 2 Is Mediated by Importin-α and a Nuclear Localization Sequence Located Between the Predicted SAP Domains Front Plant Sci 9, 1581, (2018) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01581

Proteins of the Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase (PARP) family modify target proteins by covalent attachment of ADP-ribose moieties onto amino acid side chains. In Arabidopsis, PARP proteins contribute to repair of DNA lesions and modulate plant responses to various abiotic and biotic stressors. Arabidopsis PARP1 and PARP2 are nuclear proteins and given that their molecular weights exceed the diffusion limit of nuclear pore complexes, an active import mechanism into the nucleus is likely. Here we use confocal microscopy of fluorescent protein-tagged Arabidopsis PARP2 and PARP2 deletion constructs in combination with site-directed mutagenesis to identify a nuclear localization sequence in PARP2 that is required for nuclear import. We report that in co-immunoprecipitation assays PARP2 interacts with several isoforms of the importin-α group of nuclear transport adapters and that PARP2 binding to IMPORTIN-α2 is mediated by the identified nuclear localization sequence. Our results demonstrate that PARP2 is a cargo protein of the canonical importin-α/β nuclear import pathway.

Strehmel, N.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Mönchgesang, S.; Majovsky, P.; Krüger, S.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Stress-reated mitogen-activated protein kinases stimulate the accumulation of small molecules and proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana root exudates. Front Plant Sci 8 , 1292, (2017) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01292

A delicate balance in cellular signaling is required for plants to respond to microorganisms or to changes in their environment. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are one of the signaling modules that mediate transduction of extracellular microbial signals into appropriate cellular responses. Here, we employ a transgenic system that simulates activation of two pathogen/stress-responsive MAPKs to study release of metabolites and proteins into root exudates. The premise is based on our previous proteomics study that suggests upregulation of secretory processes in this transgenic system. An advantage of this experimental set-up is the direct focus on MAPK-regulated processes without the confounding complications of other signaling pathways activated by exposure to microbes or microbial molecules. Using non-targeted metabolomics and proteomics studies, we show that MAPK activation can indeed drive the appearance of dipeptides, defense-related metabolites and proteins in root apoplastic fluid. However, the relative levels of other compounds in the exudates were decreased. This points to a bidirectional control of metabolite and protein release into the apoplast. The putative roles for some of the identified apoplastic metabolites and proteins are discussed with respect to possible antimicrobial/defense or allelopathic properties. Overall, our findings demonstrate that sustained activation of MAPKs alters the composition of apoplastic root metabolites and proteins, presumably to influence the plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere. The reported metabolomics and proteomics data are available via Metabolights (Identifier: MTBLS441) and ProteomeXchange (Identifier: PXD006328), respectively.

Mönchgesang, S.; Strehmel, N.; Trutschel, D.; Westphal, L.; Neumann, S.; Scheel, D. Plant-to-plant variability in root metabolite profiles of 19 <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i> accessions is substance-class-dependent Inter J Mol Sci 17, (2016) DOI: 10.3390/ijms17091565

Natural variation of secondary metabolism between different accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) has been studied extensively. In this study, we extended the natural variation approach by including biological variability (plant-to-plant variability) and analysed root metabolic patterns as well as their variability between plants and naturally occurring accessions. To screen 19 accessions of A. thaliana, comprehensive non-targeted metabolite profiling of single plant root extracts was performed using ultra performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/ESI-QTOF-MS) and gas chromatography/electron ionization quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC/EI-QMS). Linear mixed models were applied to dissect the total observed variance. All metabolic profiles pointed towards a larger plant-to-plant variability than natural variation between accessions and variance of experimental batches. Ratios of plant-to-plant to total variability were high and distinct for certain secondary metabolites. None of the investigated accessions displayed a specifically high or low biological variability for these substance classes. This study provides recommendations for future natural variation analyses of glucosinolates, flavonoids, and phenylpropanoids and also reference data for additional substance classes.

Sheikh, A. H.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Pecher, P.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Sinha, A. K.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Regulation of WRKY46 Transcription Factor Function by Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases in Arabidopsis thaliana Front Plant Sci 7, 61, (2016) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00061

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are central signaling pathways activated in plants after sensing internal developmental and external stress cues. Knowledge about the downstream substrate proteins of MAPKs is still limited in plants. We screened Arabidopsis WRKY transcription factors as potential targets downstream of MAPKs, and concentrated on characterizing WRKY46 as a substrate of the MAPK, MPK3. Mass spectrometry revealed in vitro phosphorylation of WRKY46 at amino acid position S168 by MPK3. However, mutagenesis studies showed that a second phosphosite, S250, can also be phosphorylated. Elicitation with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), such as the bacterial flagellin-derived flg22 peptide led to in vivo destabilization of WRKY46 in Arabidopsis protoplasts. Mutation of either phosphorylation site reduced the PAMP-induced degradation of WRKY46. Furthermore, the protein for the double phosphosite mutant is expressed at higher levels compared to wild-type proteins or single phosphosite mutants. In line with its nuclear localization and predicted function as a transcriptional activator, overexpression of WRKY46 in protoplasts raised basal plant defense as reflected by the increase in promoter activity of the PAMP-responsive gene, NHL10, in a MAPK-dependent manner. Thus, MAPK-mediated regulation of WRKY46 is a mechanism to control plant defense.

Lee, J.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Lassowskat, I.; Böttcher, C.; Scheel, D. Cellular reprogramming through mitogen-activated protein kinases Front Plant Sci 6, 940, (2015) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00940

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are conserved eukaryote signaling modules where MAPKs, as the final kinases in the cascade, phosphorylate protein substrates to regulate cellular processes. While some progress in the identification of MAPK substrates has been made in plants, the knowledge on the spectrum of substrates and their mechanistic action is still fragmentary. In this focused review, we discuss the biological implications of the data in our original paper (Sustained mitogen-activated protein kinase activation reprograms defense metabolism and phosphoprotein profile in Arabidopsis thaliana; Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 554) in the context of related research. In our work, we mimicked in vivo activation of two stress-activated MAPKs, MPK3 and MPK6, through transgenic manipulation of Arabidopsis thaliana and used phosphoproteomics analysis to identify potential novel MAPK substrates. Here, we plotted the identified putative MAPK substrates (and downstream phosphoproteins) as a global protein clustering network. Based on a highly stringent selection confidence level, the core networks highlighted a MAPK-induced cellular reprogramming at multiple levels of gene and protein expression—including transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational, post-translational (such as protein modification, folding, and degradation) steps, and also protein re-compartmentalization. Additionally, the increase in putative substrates/phosphoproteins of energy metabolism and various secondary metabolite biosynthesis pathways coincides with the observed accumulation of defense antimicrobial substances as detected by metabolome analysis. Furthermore, detection of protein networks in phospholipid or redox elements suggests activation of downstream signaling events. Taken in context with other studies, MAPKs are key regulators that reprogram cellular events to orchestrate defense signaling in eukaryotes.

Wirthmueller, L.; Roth, C.; Banfield, M. J.; Wiermer, M. Hop-on hop-off: importin-α-guided tours to the nucleus in innate immune signaling Front Plant Sci 4, 149, (2013) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00149

Nuclear translocation of immune regulatory proteins and signal transducers is an essential process in animal and plant defense signaling against pathogenic microbes. Import of proteins containing a nuclear localization signal (NLS) into the nucleus is mediated by nuclear transport receptors termed importins, typically dimers of a cargo-binding α-subunit and a β-subunit that mediates translocation through the nuclear pore complex. Here, we review recent reports of importin-α cargo specificity and mutant phenotypes in plant- and animal–microbe interactions. Using homology modeling of the NLS-binding cleft of nine predicted Arabidopsis α-importins and analyses of their gene expression patterns, we discuss functional redundancy and specialization within this transport receptor family. In addition, we consider how pathogen effector proteins that promote infection by manipulating host cell nuclear processes might compete with endogenous cargo proteins for nuclear uptake.

Heidrich, K.; Tsuda, K.; Blanvillain-Baufumé, S.; Wirthmueller, L.; Bautor, J.; Parker, J. E. Arabidopsis TNL-WRKY domain receptor RRS1 contributes to temperature-conditioned RPS4 auto-immunity Front Plant Sci 4, 403, (2013) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00403

In plant effector-triggered immunity (ETI), intracellular nucleotide binding-leucine rich repeat (NLR) receptors are activated by specific pathogen effectors. The ArabidopsisTIR (Toll-Interleukin-1 receptor domain)-NLR (denoted TNL) gene pair, RPS4 and RRS1, confers resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato (Pst) strain DC3000 expressing the Type III-secreted effector, AvrRps4. Nuclear accumulation of AvrRps4, RPS4, and the TNL resistance regulator EDS1 is necessary for ETI. RRS1 possesses a C-terminal “WRKY” transcription factor DNA binding domain suggesting that important RPS4/RRS1 recognition and/or resistance signaling events occur at the nuclear chromatin. In Arabidopsis accession Ws-0, the RPS4Ws/RRS1Ws allelic pair governs resistance to Pst/AvrRps4 accompanied by host programed cell death (pcd). In accession Col-0, RPS4Col/RRS1Col effectively limits Pst/AvrRps4 growth without pcd. Constitutive expression of HA-StrepII tagged RPS4Col (in a 35S:RPS4-HS line) confers temperature-conditioned EDS1-dependent auto-immunity. Here we show that a high (28°C, non-permissive) to moderate (19°C, permissive) temperature shift of 35S:RPS4-HS plants can be used to follow defense-related transcriptional dynamics without a pathogen effector trigger. By comparing responses of 35S:RPS4-HS with 35S:RPS4-HSrrs1-11 and 35S:RPS4-HSeds1-2 mutants, we establish that RPS4Col auto-immunity depends entirely on EDS1 and partially on RRS1Col. Examination of gene expression microarray data over 24 h after temperature shift reveals a mainly quantitative RRS1Col contribution to up- or down-regulation of a small subset of RPS4Col-reprogramed, EDS1-dependent genes. We find significant over-representation of WRKY transcription factor binding W-box cis-elements within the promoters of these genes. Our data show that RRS1Col contributes to temperature-conditioned RPS4Col auto-immunity and are consistent with activated RPS4Col engaging RRS1Col for resistance signaling.

Wirthmueller, L.; Banfield, M. J. mADP-RTs: versatile virulence factors from bacterial pathogens of plants and mammals Front Plant Sci 3, 142, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00142

Mono ADP-ribosyltransferases (mADP-RTs) are a family of enzymes that cleave NAD+ and covalently attach the ADP-ribosyl moiety to target proteins. mADP-RTs are well established as important virulence factors of bacteria that infect mammals. Cholera toxin, pertussis toxin, and diphtheria toxin are three of the best-known examples of mADP-RTs. They modify host target proteins in order to promote infection and/or killing of the host cell. Despite low sequence similarity at the primary amino acid level, mADP-RTs share a conserved core catalytic fold and structural biology has made important contributions to elucidating how mADP-RTs modify mammalian host targets. Recently, mADP-RTs were shown to be present in plant pathogenic bacteria, suggesting that mADP-RTs are also important virulence factors of plant pathogens. Crystal structures of plant pathogenic bacterial mADP-RTs are also now available. Here we review the structure/function of mADP-RTs from pathogens of mammals and plants, highlighting both commonalities and differences.

Frerigmann, H.; Böttcher, C.; Baatout, D.; Gigolashvili, T. Glucosinolates are produced in trichomes of Arabidopsis thaliana Front Plant Sci 3, 242, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00242

Glucosinolates (GS) are important plant secondary metabolites in plant resistance to herbivores, bacteria, and fungi, which have been shown to be accumulating in different organs and tissue types at varying concentrations. There are more than 200 GS species found in order Brassicales and presence of these compounds is well documented on organ-specific but not on cell-specific level. We used UPLC/ESI-QTOF-MS to measure the presence of GS and qRT-PCR to analyse the expression of GS biosynthetic and regulatory genes in isolated Arabidopsis thaliana trichomes. Trichomes of Arabidopsis are shown to synthesize chemoprotective aliphatic glucosinolates (AGS) and indolic glucosinolates (IGS), which are known for their biological activities against fungi, bacterial pathogens, or herbivores. UPLC/ESI-QTOF-MS analysis of various IGS mutants reveal increased or decreased levels of IGS in trichomes of gain- and loss-of-function mutants correspondingly. Using pMYB51/HIG1-uidA and pMYB28/PMG1/HAG1-uidA reporter plants we demonstrate that production of these important compounds is activated in trichomes of leaves or inflorescences in response to wounding. Since trichomes represent the first interface in plant-environment interactions, the possible role of GS containing trichomes in plant defense or signaling is discussed.
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