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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Books and chapters

Mielke, S.; Gasperini, D. Plant–Insect Bioassay for Testing Arabidopsis Resistance to the Generalist Herbivore Spodoptera littoralis (Champion, A. & Laplaze, L., eds.). Methods Mol Biol 2085, 69-78, (2020) ISBN: 978-1-0716-0142-6 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0142-6_5

Jasmonates are essential engineers of plant defense responses against many pests, including herbivorous insects. Herbivory induces the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and its bioactive conjugate jasmonoyl-l-isoleucine (JA-Ile), which then triggers a large transcriptional reprogramming to promote plant acclimation. The contribution of the JA pathway, including its components and regulators, to defense responses against insect herbivory can be evaluated by conducting bioassays with a wide range of host plants and insect pests. Here, we describe a detailed and reproducible protocol for testing feeding behavior of the generalist herbivore Spodoptera littoralis on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and hence infer the contribution of JA-mediated plant defense responses to a chewing insect.
Printed publications

Dallery, J.-F.; Zimmer, M.; Halder, V.; Suliman, M.; Pigné, S.; Le Goff, G.; Gianniou, D. D.; Trougakos, I. P.; Ouazzani, J.; Gasperini, D.; O'Connell, R. J. Inhibition of jasmonate-mediated plant defences by the fungal metabolite higginsianin B J Exp Bot (2020) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/eraa061

Infection of Arabidopsis thaliana by the ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum higginsianum is characterised by an early symptomless biotrophic phase followed by a destructive necrotrophic phase. The fungal genome contains 77 secondary metabolism-related biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), and their expression during the infection process is tightly regulated. Deleting CclA, a chromatin regulator involved in repression of some BGCs through H3K4 trimethylation, allowed overproduction of 3 families of terpenoids and isolation of 12 different molecules. These natural products were tested in combination with methyl jasmonate (MeJA), an elicitor of jasmonate responses, for their capacity to alter defence gene induction in Arabidopsis. Higginsianin B inhibited MeJA-triggered expression of the defence reporter VSP1p:GUS, suggesting it may block bioactive JA-Ile synthesis or signalling in planta. Using the JA-Ile sensor Jas9-VENUS, we found that higginsianin B, but not three other structurally-related molecules, suppressed JA-Ile signalling by preventing degradation of JAZ proteins, the repressors of JA responses. Higginsianin B likely blocks the 26S proteasome-dependent degradation of JAZ proteins because it inhibited chymotrypsin- and caspase-like protease activities. The inhibition of target degradation by higginsianin B also extended to auxin signalling, as higginsianin B treatment reduced IAA-dependent expression of DR5p:GUS. Overall, our data indicate that specific fungal secondary metabolites can act similarly to protein effectors to subvert plant immune and developmental responses.

Bassal, M.; Majovsky, P.; Thieme, D.; Herr, T.; Abukhalaf, M.; Ayash, M.; Al Shweiki, M. R.; Proksch, C.; Hmedat, A.; Ziegler, J.; Neumann, S.; Hoehenwarter, W. Reshaping of the Arabidopsis thaliana proteome landscape and co-regulation of proteins in development and immunity bioRxiv (2020) DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.09.978627

Proteome remodeling is a fundamental adaptive response and proteins in complex and functionally related proteins are often co-expressed. Using a deep sampling strategy we define Arabidopsis thaliana tissue core proteomes at around 10,000 proteins per tissue and absolutely quantify (copy numbers per cell) nearly 16,000 proteins throughout the plant lifecycle. A proteome wide survey of global post translational modification revealed amino acid exchanges pointing to potential conservation of translational infidelity in eukaryotes. Correlation analysis of protein abundance uncovered potentially new tissue and age specific roles of entire signaling modules regulating transcription in photosynthesis, seed development and senescence and abscission. Among others, the data suggest a potential function of RD26 and other NAC transcription factors in seed development related to desiccation tolerance as well as a possible function of Cysteine-rich Receptor-like Kinases (CRKs) as ROS sensors in senescence. All of the components of ribosome biogenesis factor (RBF) complexes were co-expressed tissue and age specifically indicating functional promiscuity in the assembly of these little described protein complexes in Arabidopsis. Treatment of seedlings with flg22 for 16 hours allowed us to characterize proteome architecture in basal immunity in detail. The results were complemented with parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) targeted proteomics, phytohormone, amino acid and transcript measurements. We obtained strong evidence of suppression of jasmonate (JA) and JA-Ile levels by deconjugation and hydroxylation via IAA-ALA RESISTANT3 (IAR3) and JASMONATE-INDUCED OXYGENASE 2 (JOX2) under the control of JASMONATE INSENSITIVE 1 (MYC2). This previously unknown regulatory switch is another part of the puzzle of the as yet understudied role of JA in pattern triggered immunity. The extensive coverage of the Arabidopsis proteome in various biological scenarios presents a rich resource to plant biologists that we make available to the community.

Stephani, M.; Picchianti, L.; Gajic, A.; Beveridge, R.; Skarwan, E.; Sanchez de Medina Hernandez, V.; Mohseni, A.; Clavel, M.; Zeng, Y.; Naumann, C.; Matuszkiewicz, M.; Turco, E.; Loefke, C.; Li, B.; Durnberger, G.; Schutzbier, M.; Chen, H. T.; Abdrakhmanov, A.; Savova, A.; Chia, K.-S.; Djamei, A.; Schaffner, I.; Abel, S.; Jiang, L.; Mechtler, K.; Ikeda, F.; Martens, S.; Clausen, T.; Dagdas, Y. A cross-kingdom conserved ER-phagy receptor maintains endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis during stress bioRxiv (2020) DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.18.995316

Eukaryotes have evolved various quality control mechanisms to promote proteostasis in the ER. Selective removal of certain ER domains via autophagy (termed as ER-phagy) has emerged as a major quality control mechanism. However, the degree to which ER-phagy is employed by other branches of ER-quality control remains largely elusive. Here, we identify a cytosolic protein, C53, that is specifically recruited to autophagosomes during ER-stress, in both plant and mammalian cells. C53 interacts with ATG8 via a distinct binding epitope, featuring a shuffled ATG8 interacting motif (sAIM). C53 senses proteotoxic stress in the ER lumen by forming a tripartite receptor complex with the ER-associated ufmylation ligase UFL1 and its membrane adaptor DDRGK1. The C53/UFL1/DDRGK1 receptor complex is activated by stalled ribosomes and induces the degradation of internal or passenger proteins in the ER. Consistently, the C53 receptor complex and ufmylation mutants are highly susceptible to ER stress. Thus, C53 forms an ancient quality control pathway that bridges selective autophagy with ribosome-associated quality control at the ER.

Wasternack, C. Sulfation switch in the shade Nat Plants 6, 186-187, (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41477-020-0620-8

Plants adjust the balance between growth and defence using photoreceptors and jasmonates. Levels of active jasmonates are reduced in a phytochrome B-dependent manner by upregulation of a 12-hydroxyjasmonate sulfotransferase, leading to increase in shade avoidance and decrease in defence.

Schulze, A.; Zimmer, M.; Mielke, S.; Stellmach, H.; Melnyk, C. W.; Hause, B.; Gasperini, D. Wound-Induced Shoot-to-Root Relocation of JA-Ile Precursors Coordinates Arabidopsis Growth Mol Plant 12, 1383-1394, (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.molp.2019.05.013

Multicellular organisms rely on the movement of signaling molecules across cells, tissues, and organs to communicate among distal sites. In plants, localized leaf damage activates jasmonic acid (JA)-dependent transcriptional reprogramming in both harmed and unharmed tissues. Although it has been indicated that JA species can translocate from damaged into distal sites, the identity of the mobile compound(s), the tissues through which they translocate, and the effect of their relocation remain unknown. Here, we found that following shoot wounding, the relocation of endogenous jasmonates through the phloem is essential to initiate JA signaling and stunt growth in unharmed roots of Arabidopsis thaliana. By employing grafting experiments and hormone profiling, we uncovered that the hormone precursor cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) and its derivatives, but not the bioactive JA-Ile conjugate, translocate from wounded shoots into undamaged roots. Upon root relocation, the mobile precursors cooperatively regulated JA responses through their conversion into JA-Ile and JA signaling activation. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the existence of long-distance translocation of endogenous OPDA and its derivatives, which serve as mobile molecules to coordinate shoot-to-root responses, and highlight the importance of a controlled redistribution of hormone precursors among organs during plant stress acclimation.

Bellstaedt, J.; Trenner, J.; Lippmann, R.; Poeschl, Y.; Zhang, X.; Friml, J.; Quint, M.; Delker, C. A Mobile Auxin Signal Connects Temperature Sensing in Cotyledons with Growth Responses in Hypocotyls Plant Physiol 180, 757-766, (2019) DOI: 10.1104/pp.18.01377

Plants have a remarkable capacity to adjust their growth and development to elevated ambient temperatures. Increased elongation growth of roots, hypocotyls, and petioles in warm temperatures are hallmarks of seedling thermomorphogenesis. In the last decade, significant progress has been made to identify the molecular signaling components regulating these growth responses. Increased ambient temperature utilizes diverse components of the light sensing and signal transduction network to trigger growth adjustments. However, it remains unknown whether temperature sensing and responses are universal processes that occur uniformly in all plant organs. Alternatively, temperature sensing may be confined to specific tissues or organs, which would require a systemic signal that mediates responses in distal parts of the plant. Here, we show that Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seedlings show organ-specific transcriptome responses to elevated temperatures and that thermomorphogenesis involves both autonomous and organ-interdependent temperature sensing and signaling. Seedling roots can sense and respond to temperature in a shoot-independent manner, whereas shoot temperature responses require both local and systemic processes. The induction of cell elongation in hypocotyls requires temperature sensing in cotyledons, followed by the generation of a mobile auxin signal. Subsequently, auxin travels to the hypocotyl, where it triggers local brassinosteroid-induced cell elongation in seedling stems, which depends upon a distinct, permissive temperature sensor in the hypocotyl.

Ronzan, M.; Piacentini, D.; Fattorini, L.; Federica, D. R.; Caboni, E.; Eiche, E.; Ziegler, J.; Hause, B.; Riemann, M.; Betti, C.; Altamura, M. M.; Falasca, G. Auxin-jasmonate crosstalk in Oryza sativa L. root system formation after cadmium and/or arsenic exposure Environ Exp Bot 165, 59-69, (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2019.05.013

Soil pollutants may affect root growth through interactions among phytohormones like auxin and jasmonates. Rice is frequently grown in paddy fields contaminated by cadmium and arsenic, but the effects of these pollutants on jasmonates/auxin crosstalk during adventitious and lateral roots formation are widely unknown. Therefore, seedlings of Oryza sativa cv. Nihonmasari and of the jasmonate-biosynthetic mutant coleoptile photomorphogenesis2 were exposed to cadmium and/or arsenic, and/or jasmonic acid methyl ester, and then analysed through morphological, histochemical, biochemical and molecular approaches.In both genotypes, arsenic and cadmium accumulated in roots more than shoots. In the roots, arsenic levels were more than twice higher than cadmium levels, either when arsenic was applied alone, or combined with cadmium. Pollutants reduced lateral root density in the wild -type in every treatment condition, but jasmonic acid methyl ester increased it when combined with each pollutant. Interestingly, exposure to cadmium and/or arsenic did not change lateral root density in the mutant. The transcript levels of OsASA2 and OsYUCCA2, auxin biosynthetic genes, increased in the wild-type and mutant roots when pollutants and jasmonic acid methyl ester were applied alone. Auxin (indole-3-acetic acid) levels transiently increased in the roots with cadmium and/or arsenic in the wild-type more than in the mutant. Arsenic and cadmium, when applied alone, induced fluctuations in bioactive jasmonate contents in wild-type roots, but not in the mutant. Auxin distribution was evaluated in roots of OsDR5::GUS seedlings exposed or not to jasmonic acid methyl ester added or not with cadmium and/or arsenic. The DR5::GUS signal in lateral roots was reduced by arsenic, cadmium, and jasmonic acid methyl ester. Lipid peroxidation, evaluated as malondialdehyde levels, was higher in the mutant than in the wild-type, and increased particularly in As presence, in both genotypes.Altogether, the results show that an auxin/jasmonate interaction affects rice root system development in the presence of cadmium and/or arsenic, even if exogenous jasmonic acid methyl ester only slightly mitigates pollutants toxicity.
Books and chapters

Möller, B.; Bürstenbinder, K. Semi-Automatic Cell Segmentation from Noisy Image Data for Quantification of Microtubule Organization on Single Cell Level 199-203, (2019) ISBN: 978-1-5386-3640-4 DOI: 10.1109/ISBI.2019.8759145

The structure of the microtubule cytoskeleton provides valuable information related to morphogenesis of cells. The cytoskeleton organizes into diverse patterns that vary in cells of different types and tissues, but also within a single tissue. To assess differences in cytoskeleton organization methods are needed that quantify cytoskeleton patterns within a complete cell and which are suitable for large data sets. A major bottleneck in most approaches, however, is a lack of techniques for automatic extraction of cell contours. Here, we present a semi-automatic pipeline for cell segmentation and quantification of microtubule organization. Automatic methods are applied to extract major parts of the contours and a handy image editor is provided to manually add missing information efficiently. Experimental results prove that our approach yields high-quality contour data with minimal user intervention and serves a suitable basis for subsequent quantitative studies.
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