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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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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.

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.

Anwer, M. U.; Davis, A.; Davis, S. J.; Quint, M. Photoperiod sensing of the circadian clock is controlled by EARLY FLOWERING 3 and GIGANTEA Plant J 101, 1397-1410, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14604

ELF3 and GI are two important components of the Arabidopsis circadian clock. They are not only essential for the oscillator function but are also pivotal in mediating light inputs to the oscillator. Lack of either results in a defective oscillator causing severely compromised output pathways, such as photoperiodic flowering and hypocotyl elongation. Although single loss of function mutants of ELF3 and GI have been well‐studied, their genetic interaction remains unclear. We generated an elf3 gi double mutant to study their genetic relationship in clock‐controlled growth and phase transition phenotypes. We found that ELF3 and GI repress growth differentially during the night and the day, respectively. Circadian clock assays revealed that ELF3 and GI are essential Zeitnehmers that enable the oscillator to synchronize the endogenous cellular mechanisms to external environmental signals. In their absence, the circadian oscillator fails to synchronize to the light‐dark cycles even under diurnal conditions. Consequently, clock‐mediated photoperiod‐responsive growth and development are completely lost in plants lacking both genes, suggesting that ELF3 and GI together convey photoperiod sensing to the central oscillator. Since ELF3 and GI are conserved across flowering plants and represent important breeding and domestication targets, our data highlight the possibility of developing photoperiod‐insensitive crops by adjusting the allelic combination of these two key genes.

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.

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 71, 2910-2921, (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.

Serra, P.; Carbonell, A.; Navarro, B.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Li, S.; Di Serio, F.; Flores, R. Symptomatic plant viroid infections in phytopathogenic fungi: A request for a critical reassessment Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 117, 10126-10128, (2020) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1922249117


Niemeyer, M.; Moreno Castillo, E.; Ihling, C. H.; Iacobucci, C.; Wilde, V.; Hellmuth, A.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Samodelov, S. L.; Zurbriggen, M. D.; Kastritis, P. L.; Sinz, A.; Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A. Flexibility of intrinsically disordered degrons in AUX/IAA proteins reinforces auxin co-receptor assemblies Nat Commun 11, 2277, (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16147-2

Cullin RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligases SCFTIR1/AFB1-5 and their AUX/IAA targets perceive the phytohormone auxin. The F-box protein TIR1 binds a surface-exposed degron in AUX/IAAs promoting their ubiquitylation and rapid auxin-regulated proteasomal degradation. Here, by adopting biochemical, structural proteomics and in vivo approaches we unveil how flexibility in AUX/IAAs and regions in TIR1 affect their conformational ensemble allowing surface accessibility of degrons. We resolve TIR1·auxin·IAA7 and TIR1·auxin·IAA12 complex topology, and show that flexible intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in the degron’s vicinity, cooperatively position AUX/IAAs on TIR1. We identify essential residues at the TIR1 N- and C-termini, which provide non-native interaction interfaces with IDRs and the folded PB1 domain of AUX/IAAs. We thereby establish a role for IDRs in modulating auxin receptor assemblies. By securing AUX/IAAs on two opposite surfaces of TIR1, IDR diversity supports locally tailored positioning for targeted ubiquitylation, and might provide conformational flexibility for a multiplicity of functional states.

Zang, J.; Klemm, S.; Pain, C.; Duckney, P.; Bao, Z.; Stamm, G.; Kriechbaumer, V.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Hussey, P. J.; Wang, P. A Novel Plant Actin-Microtubule Bridging Complex Regulates Cytoskeletal and ER Structure at Endoplasmic Reticulum-Plasma Membrane Contact Sites (EPCS) SSRN Electronic Journal (2020) DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3581370

In plants, the cortical ER network is connected to the plasma membrane through the ER-PM contact sites (EPCS), whose structures are maintained by EPCS resident proteins and the cytoskeleton. Strong co-alignment between EPCS and the cytoskeleton is observed in plants, but little is known of how the cytoskeleton is maintained and regulated at the EPCS. Here we have used a yeast-two-hybrid screen and subsequent in vivo interaction studies in plants by FRET-FLIM analysis, to identify two microtubule binding proteins, KLCR1 (Kinesin Light Chain Related protein 1) and IQD2 (IQ67-Domain 2) that interact with the actin binding protein NET3C and form a component of plant EPCS, that mediates the link between the actin and microtubule networks. The NET3C-KLCR1-IQD2 module, acting as an actin-microtubule bridging complex, has a direct influence on ER morphology. Their loss of function mutants, net3a/NET3C RNAi, 0klcr1 or iqd2, exhibit defects in pavement cell morphology which we suggest is linked to the disorganization of both actin filaments and microtubules. In conclusion, our results reveal a novel cytoskeletal associated complex, which is essential for the maintenance and organization of both cytoskeletal structure and ER morphology at the EPCS, and for normal plant cell morphogenesis.
Printed publications

Poeschl, Y.; Möller, B.; Müller, L.; Bürstenbinder, K. User-friendly assessment of pavement cell shape features with PaCeQuant: Novel functions and tools Methods Cell Biol (2020) DOI: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2020.04.010

Leaf epidermis pavement cells develop complex jigsaw puzzle-like shapes in many plant species, including the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Due to their complex morphology, pavement cells have become a popular model system to study shape formation and coordination of growth in the context of mechanically coupled cells at the tissue level. To facilitate robust assessment and analysis of pavement cell shape characteristics in a high-throughput fashion, we have developed PaCeQuant and a collection of supplemental tools. The ImageJ-based MiToBo plugin PaCeQuant supports fully automatic segmentation of cell contours from microscopy images and the extraction of 28 shape features for each detected cell. These features now also include the Largest Empty Circle criterion as a proxy for mechanical stress. In addition, PaCeQuant provides a set of eight features for individual lobes, including the categorization as type I and type II lobes at two- and three-cell junctions, respectively. The segmentation and feature extraction results of PaCeQuant depend on the quality of input images. To allow for corrections in case of local segmentation errors, the LabelImageEditor is provided for user-friendly manual postprocessing of segmentation results. For statistical analysis and visualization, PaCeQuant is supplemented with the R package PaCeQuantAna, which provides statistical analysis functions and supports the generation of publication-ready plots in ready-to-use R workflows. In addition, we recently released the FeatureColorMapper tool which overlays feature values over cell regions for user-friendly visual exploration of selected features in a set of analyzed cells.
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