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Publications - Stress and Develop Biology

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Dobritzsch, M.; Lübken, T.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Gorzolka, K.; Blum, E.; Matern, A.; Marillonnet, S.; Böttcher, C.; Dräger, B.; Rosahl, S. MATE Transporter-Dependent Export of Hydroxycinnamic Acid Amides. Plant Cell 28, 583-596, (2016) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00706

The ability of Arabidopsis thaliana to successfully prevent colonization by Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum), depends on multilayered defense responses. To address the role of surface-localized secondary metabolites for entry control, droplets of a P. infestans zoospore suspension, incubated on Arabidopsis leaves, were subjected to untargeted metabolite profiling. The hydroxycinnamic acid amide coumaroylagmatine was among the metabolites secreted into the inoculum. In vitro assays revealed an inhibitory activity of coumaroylagmatine on P. infestans spore germination. Mutant analyses suggested a requirement of the p-coumaroyl-CoA:agmatine N4-p-coumaroyl transferase ACT for the biosynthesis and of the MATE transporter DTX18 for the extracellular accumulation of coumaroylagmatine. The host plant potato is not able to efficiently secrete coumaroylagmatine. This inability is overcome in transgenic potato plants expressing the two Arabidopsis genes ACT and DTX18. These plants secrete agmatine and putrescine conjugates to high levels, indicating that DTX18 is a hydroxycinnamic acid amide transporter with a distinct specificity. The export of hydroxycinnamic acid amides correlates with a decreased ability of P. infestans spores to germinate, suggesting a contribution of secreted antimicrobial compounds to pathogen defense at the leaf surface.

Eschen-Lippold, L.; Jiang, X.; Elmore, J. M.; Mackey, D.; Shan, L.; Coaker, G.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Bacterial AvrRpt2-like cysteine proteases block activation of the Arabidopsis mitogen-activated protein kinases, MPK4 and MPK11. Plant Physiol 171, 2223-2238, (2016) DOI: 10.1104/pp.16.00336

To establish infection, pathogens deliver effectors into host cells to target immune signalling components, including elements of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MPK) cascades. The virulence function of AvrRpt2, one of the first identified Pseudomonas syringae effectors, involves cleavage of the plant defence regulator, RIN4, and interference with plant auxin signalling. We show now that AvrRpt2 specifically suppresses flagellin-induced phosphorylation of Arabidopsis MPK4 and MPK11, but not MPK3 or MPK6. This inhibition requires the proteolytic activity of AvrRpt2, is associated with reduced expression of some plant defence genes, and correlates with enhanced pathogen infection in AvrRpt2-expressing transgenic plants. Diverse AvrRpt2-like homologs can be found in some phytopathogens, plant-associated and soil bacteria. Employing these putative bacterial AvrRpt2 homologs and inactive AvrRpt2 variants, we can uncouple the inhibition of MPK4/MPK11 activation from the cleavage of RIN4 and related members from the so-called NOI family, as well as from auxin signalling. Thus, this selective suppression of specific MAPKs is independent of the previously known AvrRpt2 targets and represents potentially a novel virulence function of AvrRpt2.

Brömme, T.; Schmitz, C.; Moszner, N.; Burtscher, P.; Strehmel, N.; Strehmel, B. Photochemical Oxidation of NIR Photosensitizers in the Presence of Radical Initiators and Their Prospective Use in Dental Applications ChemistrySelect 1, 524–532, (2016) DOI: 10.1002/slct.201600048

Photochemical oxidation of near infrared (NIR) photosensitizers in the presence of diaryl iodonium salts bearing either bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide or hexafluorophosphate was investigated by exposure with NIR LEDs emitting either at 790 nm, 830 nm, 850 nm or 870 nm. Four different cyanines with barbituryl group at the meso position exhibit similar absorption in the NIR. These photosensitizers initiate in combination with diaryliodonium salts radical photopolymerization of dental composites with the focus to cure large thicknesses. Furthermore, the mixture comprising the cyanine and the iodonium salt was used to generate brown color in dental composites on demand. This required to understand the mechanism of dye decomposition in more detail applying exposure kinetics and a coupling of Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) with mass spectrometry (MS) to analyze the photoproducts formed. Data showed cleavage of the polymethine chain at typical positions in case of the oxidized species. These were formed as result of electron transfer between the excited state of the photosensitizer and the iodonium salt. UPLC-MS experiments additionally indicated a certain sensitivity of the system upon adding of acids and radicals generated by thermal treatment of azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN). Thus, treatment of the photoinitiator composition led almost to the same products no matter the system was either exposed with NIR light or treated with acids or radicals generated by thermal decomposition of AIBN. These findings helped to understand the large curing depth of 14 mm upon NIR exposure at 850 nm and the brown color formed.

Ranf, S.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Challenges in the identification of microbe-associated molecular patterns in plant and animal innate immunity: a case study with bacterial lipopolysaccharide Mol Plant Pathol. 17, 1165–1169 , (2016) DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12452

Books and chapters

Faden, F.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Dissmeyer, N. Normalized Quantitative Western Blotting Based on Standardized Fluorescent Labeling (Lois, L. M. & Matthiesen, R., eds.). Methods Mol Biol 1450, 247-258, (2016) ISBN: 978-1-4939-3759-2 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3759-2_20

Western blot (WB) analysis is the most widely used method to monitor expression of proteins of interest in protein extracts of high complexity derived from diverse experimental setups. WB allows the rapid and specific detection of a target protein, such as non-tagged endogenous proteins as well as protein–epitope tag fusions depending on the availability of specific antibodies. To generate quantitative data from independent samples within one experiment and to allow accurate inter-experimental quantification, a reliable and reproducible method to standardize and normalize WB data is indispensable. To date, it is a standard procedure to normalize individual bands of immunodetected proteins of interest from a WB lane to other individual bands of so-called housekeeping proteins of the same sample lane. These are usually detected by an independent antibody or colorimetric detection and do not reflect the real total protein of a sample. Housekeeping proteins—assumed to be constitutively expressed mostly independent of developmental and environmental states—can greatly differ in their expression under these various conditions. Therefore, they actually do not represent a reliable reference to normalize the target protein’s abundance to the total amount of protein contained in each lane of a blot.Here, we demonstrate the Smart Protein Layers (SPL) technology, a combination of fluorescent standards and a stain-free fluorescence-based visualization of total protein in gels and after transfer via WB. SPL allows a rapid and highly sensitive protein visualization and quantification with a sensitivity comparable to conventional silver staining with a 1000-fold higher dynamic range. For normalization, standardization and quantification of protein gels and WBs, a sample-dependent bi-fluorescent standard reagent is applied and, for accurate quantification of data derived from different experiments, a second calibration standard is used. Together, the precise quantification of protein expression by lane-to-lane, gel-to-gel, and blot-to-blot comparisons is facilitated especially with respect to experiments in the area of proteostasis dealing with highly variable protein levels and involving protein degradation mutants and treatments modulating protein abundance.
Books and chapters

Trempel, F.; Ranf, S.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Quantitative Analysis of Microbe-Associated Molecular Pattern (MAMP)-Induced Ca2+ Transients in Plants (Duque, P., ed.). Methods Mol Biol 1398, 331-344, (2016) ISBN: 978-1-4939-3356-3 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3356-3_27

Ca2+ is a secondary messenger involved in early signaling events triggered in response to a plethora of biotic and abiotic stimuli. In plants, environmental cues that induce cytosolic Ca2+ elevation include touch, reactive oxygen species, cold shock, and salt or osmotic stress. Furthermore, Ca2+ signaling has been implicated in early stages of plant–microbe interactions of both symbiotic and antagonistic nature. A long-standing hypothesis is that there is information encoded in the Ca2+ signals (so-called Ca2+ signatures) to enable plants to differentiate between these stimuli and to trigger the appropriate cellular response. Qualitative and quantitative measurements of Ca2+ signals are therefore needed to dissect the responses of plants to their environment. Luminescence produced by the Ca2+ probe aequorin upon Ca2+ binding is a widely used method for the detection of Ca2+ transients and other changes in Ca2+ concentrations in cells or organelles of plant cells. In this chapter, using microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), such as the bacterial-derived flg22 or elf18 peptides as stimuli, a protocol for the quantitative measurements of Ca2+ fluxes in apoaequorin-expressing seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana in 96-well format is described.

Trempel, F.; Kajiura, H.; Ranf, S.; Grimmer, J.; Westphal, L.; Zipfel, C.; Scheel, D.; Fujiyama, K.; Lee, J. Altered glycosylation of exported proteins, including surface immune receptors, compromises calcium and downstream signaling responses to microbe-associated molecular patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana BMC Plant Biol 16, 31, (2016) DOI: 10.1186/s12870-016-0718-3

BackgroundCalcium, as a second messenger, transduces extracellular signals into cellular reactions. A rise in cytosolic calcium concentration is one of the first plant responses after exposure to microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). We reported previously the isolation of Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with a “changed calcium elevation” (cce) response to flg22, a 22-amino-acid MAMP derived from bacterial flagellin.ResultsHere, we characterized the cce2 mutant and its weaker allelic mutant, cce3. Besides flg22, the mutants respond with a reduced calcium elevation to several other MAMPs and a plant endogenous peptide that is proteolytically processed from pre-pro-proteins during wounding. Downstream defense-related events such flg22-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, accumulation of reactive oxygen species and growth arrest are also attenuated in cce2/cce3. By genetic mapping, next-generation sequencing and allelism assay, CCE2/CCE3 was identified to be ALG3 (Asparagine-linked glycosylation 3). This encodes the α-1,3-mannosyltransferase responsible for the first step of core oligosaccharide Glc3Man9GlcNAc2 glycan assembly on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) luminal side. Complementation assays and glycan analysis in yeast alg3 mutant confirmed the reduced enzymatic function of the proteins encoded by the cce2/cce3 alleles – leading to accumulation of M5ER, the immature five mannose-containing oligosaccharide structure found in the ER. Proper protein glycosylation is required for ER/Golgi processing and trafficking of membrane proteins to the plasma membrane. Endoglycosidase H-insensitivity of flg22 receptor, FLS2, in the cce2/cce3 mutants suggests altered glycan structures in the receptor.ConclusionProper glycosylation of MAMP receptors (or other exported proteins) is required for optimal responses to MAMPs and is important for immune signaling of host plants.

Eschen-Lippold, L.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Teaching an old dog new tricks: Suppressing activation of specific mitogen-activated kinases as a potential virulence function of the bacterial AvrRpt2 effector protein Plant Signal Behav 11, e1257456, (2016) DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2016.1257456

AvrRpt2 is one of the first Pseudomonas syringae effector proteins demonstrated to be delivered into host cells. It suppresses plant immunity by modulating auxin signaling and cleavage of the membrane-localized defense regulator RIN4. We recently uncovered a novel potential virulence function of AvrRpt2, where it specifically blocked activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, MPK4 and MPK11, but not of MPK3 and MPK6. Putative AvrRpt2 homologs from different phytopathogens and plant-associated bacteria showed distinct activities with respect to MPK4/11 activation suppression and RIN4 cleavage. Apart from differences in sequence similarity, 3 of the analyzed homologs were apparently “truncated.” To examine the role of the AvrRpt2 N-terminus, we modeled the structures of these AvrRpt2 homologs and performed deletion and domain swap experiments. Our results strengthen the finding that RIN4 cleavage is irrelevant for the ability to suppress defense-related MPK4/11 activation and indicate that full protease activity or cleavage specificity is affected by the N-terminus.

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.

Chen, S.; Wirthmueller, L.; Stauber, J.; Lory, N.; Holtkotte, X.; Leson, L.; Schenkel, C.; Ahmad, M.; Hoecker, U. The functional divergence between SPA1 and SPA2 in Arabidopsis photomorphogenesis maps primarily to the respective N-terminal kinase-like domain BMC Plant Biol 16, 165, (2016) DOI: 10.1186/s12870-016-0854-9

BackgroundPlants have evolved complex mechanisms to adapt growth and development to the light environment. The COP1/SPA complex is a key repressor of photomorphogenesis in dark-grown Arabidopsis plants and acts as an E3 ubiquitin ligase to ubiquitinate transcription factors involved in the light response. In the light, COP1/SPA activity is inhibited by photoreceptors, thereby allowing accumulation of these transcription factors and a subsequent light response. Previous results have shown that the four members of the SPA family exhibit partially divergent functions. In particular, SPA1 and SPA2 strongly differ in their responsiveness to light, while they have indistinguishable activities in darkness. The much higher light-responsiveness of SPA2 is partially explained by the much stronger light-induced degradation of SPA2 when compared to SPA1. Here, we have conducted SPA1/SPA2 domain swap experiments to identify the protein domain(s) responsible for the functional divergence between SPA1 and SPA2.ResultsWe have individually swapped the three domains between SPA1 and SPA2 - the N-terminal kinase-like domain, the coiled-coil domain and the WD-repeat domain - and expressed them in spa mutant Arabidopsis plants. The phenotypes of transgenic seedlings show that the respective N-terminal kinase-like domain is primarily responsible for the respective light-responsiveness of SPA1 and SPA2. Furthermore, the most divergent part of the N-terminal domain was sufficient to confer a SPA1- or SPA2-like activity to the respective SPA protein. The stronger light-induced degradation of SPA2 when compared to SPA1 was also primarily conferred by the SPA2 N-terminal domain. At last, the different affinities of SPA1 and SPA2 for cryptochrome 2 are defined by the N-terminal domain of the respective SPA protein. In contrast, both SPA1 and SPA2 similarly interacted with COP1 in light-grown seedlings.ConclusionsOur results show that the distinct activities and protein stabilities of SPA1 and SPA2 in light-grown seedlings are primarily encoded by their N-terminal kinase-like domains. Similarly, the different affinities of SPA1 and SPA2 for cry2 are explained by their respective N-terminal domain. Hence, after a duplication event during evolution, the N-terminal domains of SPA1 and SPA2 underwent subfunctionalization, possibly to allow optimal adaptation of growth and development to a changing light environment.
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