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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).

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


Westphal, L.; Strehmel, N.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Bauer, N.; Westermann, B.; Rosahl, S.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. pH effects on plant calcium fluxes: lessons from acidification-mediated calcium elevation induced by the γ-glutamyl-leucine dipeptide identified from Phytophthora infestans Sci Rep 9, 4733, (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-41276-0

Cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]cyt) elevation is an early signaling response upon exposure to pathogen-derived molecules (so-called microbe-associated molecular patterns, MAMPs) and has been successfully used as a quantitative read-out in genetic screens to identify MAMP receptors or their associated components. Here, we isolated and identified by mass spectrometry the dipeptide γ-Glu-Leu as a component of a Phytophthora infestans mycelium extract that induces [Ca2+]cyt elevation. Treatment of Arabidopsis seedlings with synthetic γ-Glu-Leu revealed stimulatory effects on defense signaling, including a weak enhancement of the expression of some MAMP-inducible genes or affecting the refractory period to a second MAMP elicitation. However, γ-Glu-Leu is not a classical MAMP since pH adjustment abolished these activities and importantly, the observed effects of γ-Glu-Leu could be recapitulated by mimicking extracellular acidification. Thus, although γ-Glu-Leu can act as a direct agonist of calcium sensing receptors in animal systems, the Ca2+-mobilizing activity in plants reported here is due to acidification. Low pH also shapes the Ca2+ signature of well-studied MAMPs (e.g. flg22) or excitatory amino acids such as glutamate. Overall, this work serves as a cautionary reminder that in defense signaling studies where Ca2+ flux measurements are concerned, it is important to monitor and consider the effects of pH.

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.

Menzel, W.; Stenzel, I.; Helbig, L.; Krishnamoorthy, P.; Neumann, S.; Eschen‐Lippold, L.; Heilmann, M.; Lee, J.; Heilmann, I. A PAMP‐triggered MAPK cascade inhibits phosphatidylinositol 4,5‐bisphosphate production by PIP5K6 in Arabidopsis thaliana New Phytol 224, 833-847, (2019) DOI: 10.1111/nph.16069

The phosphoinositide kinase PIP5K6 has recently been identified as a target for the mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) MPK6. Phosphorylation of PIP5K6 inhibited the production of phosphatidylinositol 4,5‐bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P2), impacting membrane trafficking and cell expansion in pollen tubes. Here, we analyzed whether MPK6 regulated PIP5K6 in vegetative Arabidopsis cells in response to the pathogen‐associated molecular pattern (PAMP) flg22.Promoter‐β‐glucuronidase analyses and quantitative real‐time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction data show PIP5K6 expressed throughout Arabidopsis tissues. Upon flg22 treatment of transgenic protoplasts, the PIP5K6 protein was phosphorylated, and this modification was reduced for a PIP5K6 variant lacking MPK6‐targeted residues, or in protoplasts from mpk6 mutants.Upon flg22 treatment of Arabidopsis plants, phosphoinositide levels mildly decreased and a fluorescent reporter for PtdIns(4,5)P2 displayed reduced plasma membrane association, contrasting with phosphoinositide increases reported for abiotic stress responses. Flg22 treatment and chemical induction of the upstream MAPK kinase, MKK5, decreased phosphatidylinositol 4‐phosphate 5‐kinase activity in mesophyll protoplasts, indicating that the flg22‐activated MAPK cascade limited PtdIns(4,5)P2 production. PIP5K6 expression or PIP5K6 protein abundance changed only marginally upon flg22 treatment, consistent with post‐translational control of PIP5K6 activity. PtdIns(4,5)P2‐dependent endocytosis of FM 4‐64, PIN2 and the NADPH‐oxidase RbohD were reduced upon flg22 treatment or MKK5 induction. Reduced RbohD‐endocytosis was correlated with enhanced ROS production.We conclude that MPK6‐mediated phosphorylation of PIP5K6 limits the production of a functional PtdIns(4,5)P2 pool upon PAMP perception.

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.

Goslin, K.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Naumann, C.; Linster, E.; Sorel, M.; Klecker, M.; de Marchi, R.; Kind, A.; Wirtz, M.; Lee, J.; Dissmeyer, N.; Graciet, E. Differential N-end Rule Degradation of RIN4/NOI Fragments Generated by the AvrRpt2 Effector Protease Plant Physiol 180, 2272-2289, (2019) DOI: 10.1104/pp.19.00251

In plants, the protein RPM1-INTERACTING PROTEIN4 (RIN4) is a central regulator of both pattern-triggered immunity and effector-triggered immunity. RIN4 is targeted by several effectors, including the Pseudomonas syringae protease effector AvrRpt2. Cleavage of RIN4 by AvrRpt2 generates potentially unstable RIN4 fragments, whose degradation leads to the activation of the resistance protein RESISTANT TO P. SYRINGAE2. Hence, identifying the determinants of RIN4 degradation is key to understanding RESISTANT TO P. SYRINGAE2–mediated effector-triggered immunity, as well as virulence functions of AvrRpt2. In addition to RIN4, AvrRpt2 cleaves host proteins from the nitrate-induced (NOI) domain family. Although cleavage of NOI domain proteins by AvrRpt2 may contribute to pattern-triggered immunity regulation, the (in)stability of these proteolytic fragments and the determinants regulating their stability remain unexamined. Notably, a common feature of RIN4, and of many NOI domain protein fragments generated by AvrRpt2 cleavage, is the exposure of a new N-terminal residue that is destabilizing according to the N-end rule. Using antibodies raised against endogenous RIN4, we show that the destabilization of AvrRpt2-cleaved RIN4 fragments is independent of the N-end rule pathway (recently renamed the N-degron pathway). By contrast, several NOI domain protein fragments are genuine substrates of the N-degron pathway. The discovery of this set of substrates considerably expands the number of known proteins targeted for degradation by this ubiquitin-dependent pathway in plants. These results advance our current understanding of the role of AvrRpt2 in promoting bacterial virulence.
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