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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Stenzel, I.; Ischebeck, T.; Quint, M.; Heilmann, I.; Variable regions of PI4P 5-kinases direct PtdIns(4,5)P2 toward alternative regulatory functions in tobacco pollen tubes Front. Plant Sci. 2, 114, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00114

The apical plasma membrane of pollen tubes contains different PI4P 5-kinases that all produce phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2] but exert distinct cellular effects. In the present example, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K5 or tobacco NtPIP5K6-1 caused growth defects previously attributed to increased pectin secretion. In contrast, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K2 caused apical tip swelling implicated in altering actin fine structure in the pollen tube apex. AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2 share identical domain structures. Domains required for correct membrane association of the enzymes were identified by systematic deletion of N-terminal domains and subsequent expression of fluorescence-tagged enzyme truncations in tobacco pollen tubes. A variable linker region (Lin) contained in all PI4P 5-kinase isoforms of subfamily B, but not conserved in sequence, was recognized to be necessary for correct subcellular localization of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2. Deletion of N-terminal domains including the Lin domain did not impair catalytic activity of recombinant AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 in vitro; however, the presence of the Lin domain was necessary for in vivo effects on pollen tube growth upon overexpression of truncated enzymes. Overexpression of catalytically inactive variants of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 did not influence pollen tube growth, indicating that PtdIns(4,5)P2 production rather than structural properties of PI4P 5-kinases was relevant for the manifestation of growth phenotypes. When Lin domains were swapped between NtPIP5K6-1 and AtPIP5K2 and the chimeric enzymes overexpressed in pollen tubes, the chimeras reciprocally gained the capabilities to invoke tip swelling or secretion phenotypes, respectively. The data indicate that the Lin domain directed the enzymes into different regulatory contexts, possibly contributing to channeling of PtdIns(4,5)P2 at the interface of secretion and actin cytoskeleton.

Stenzel, I.; Otto, M.; Delker, C.; Kirmse, N.; Schmidt, D.; Miersch, O.; Hause, B.; Wasternack, C.; ALLENE OXIDE CYCLASE (AOC) gene family members of Arabidopsis thaliana: tissue- and organ-specific promoter activities and in vivo heteromerization J. Exp. Bot. 63, 6125-6138, (2012) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers261

Jasmonates are important signals in plant stress responses and plant development. An essential step in the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid (JA) is catalysed by ALLENE OXIDE CYCLASE (AOC) which establishes the naturally occurring enantiomeric structure of jasmonates. In Arabidopsis thaliana, four genes encode four functional AOC polypeptides (AOC1, AOC2, AOC3, and AOC4) raising the question of functional redundancy or diversification. Analysis of transcript accumulation revealed an organ-specific expression pattern, whereas detailed inspection of transgenic lines expressing the GUS reporter gene under the control of individual AOC promoters showed partially redundant promoter activities during development: (i) In fully developed leaves, promoter activities of AOC1, AOC2, and AOC3 appeared throughout all leaf tissue, but AOC4 promoter activity was vascular bundle-specific; (ii) only AOC3 and AOC4 showed promoter activities in roots; and (iii) partially specific promoter activities were found for AOC1 and AOC4 in flower development. In situ hybridization of flower stalks confirmed the GUS activity data. Characterization of single and double AOC loss-of-function mutants further corroborates the hypothesis of functional redundancies among individual AOCs due to a lack of phenotypes indicative of JA deficiency (e.g. male sterility). To elucidate whether redundant AOC expression might contribute to regulation on AOC activity level, protein interaction studies using bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) were performed and showed that all AOCs can interact among each other. The data suggest a putative regulatory mechanism of temporal and spatial fine-tuning in JA formation by differential expression and via possible heteromerization of the four AOCs.

Goetz, S.; Hellwege, A.; Stenzel, I.; Kutter, C.; Hauptmann, V.; Forner, S.; McCaig, B.; Hause, G.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; Role of cis-12-Oxo-Phytodienoic Acid in Tomato Embryo Development Plant Physiol. 158, 1715-1727, (2012) DOI: 10.1104/pp.111.192658

Oxylipins including jasmonates are signaling compounds in plant growth, development, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) most mutants affected in jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis and signaling are male sterile, whereas the JA-insensitive tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) mutant jai1 is female sterile. The diminished seed formation in jai1 together with the ovule-specific accumulation of the JA biosynthesis enzyme allene oxide cyclase (AOC), which correlates with elevated levels of JAs, suggest a role of oxylipins in tomato flower/seed development. Here, we show that 35S::SlAOC-RNAi lines with strongly reduced AOC in ovules exhibited reduced seed set similarly to the jai1 plants. Investigation of embryo development of wild-type tomato plants showed preferential occurrence of AOC promoter activity and AOC protein accumulation in the developing seed coat and the embryo, whereas 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) was the dominant oxylipin occurring nearly exclusively in the seed coat tissues. The OPDA- and JA-deficient mutant spr2 was delayed in embryo development and showed an increased programmed cell death in the developing seed coat and endosperm. In contrast, the mutant acx1a, which accumulates preferentially OPDA and residual amount of JA, developed embryos similar to the wild type, suggesting a role of OPDA in embryo development. Activity of the residual amount of JA in the acx1a mutant is highly improbable since the known reproductive phenotype of the JA-insensitive mutant jai1 could be rescued by wound-induced formation of OPDA. These data suggest a role of OPDA or an OPDA-related compound for proper embryo development possibly by regulating carbohydrate supply and detoxification.

Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Proels, R.; Miersch, O.; Oka, M.; Roitsch, T.; Wasternack, C.; The AOC promoter of tomato is regulated by developmental and environmental stimuli Phytochemistry 69, 1859-1869, (2008) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.03.007

The allene oxide cyclase (AOC) catalyzes the formation of cis-(+)-12-oxophytodienoic acid, an intermediate in jasmonate biosynthesis and is encoded by a single copy gene in tomato. The full length AOC promoter isolated by genome walk contains 3600 bp. Transgenic tomato lines carrying a 1000 bp promoter fragment and the full length promoter, respectively, in front of the β-glucuronidase (GUS)-encoding uidA gene and several tobacco lines carrying the full length tomato AOC promoter before GUS were used to record organ- and tissue-specific promoter activities during development and in response to various stimuli. High promoter activities corresponding to immunocytochemically detected occurrence of the AOC protein were found in seeds and young seedlings and were confined to the root tip, hypocotyl and cotyledons of 3-d-old seedlings. In 10-d-old seedlings promoter activity appeared preferentially in the elongation zone. Fully developed tomato leaves were free of AOC promoter activity, but showed high activity upon wounding locally and systemically or upon treatment with JA, systemin or glucose. Tomato flowers showed high AOC promoter activities in ovules, sepals, anthers and pollen. Most of the promoter activity patterns found in tomato with the 1000 bp promoter fragment were also detected with the full length tomato AOC promoter in tobacco during development or in response to various stimuli. The data support a spatial and temporal regulation of JA biosynthesis during development and in response to environmental stimuli.

Miersch, O.; Neumerkel, J.; Dippe, M.; Stenzel, I.; Wasternack, C.; Hydroxylated jasmonates are commonly occurring metabolites of jasmonic acid and contribute to a partial switch-off in jasmonate signaling New Phytol. 177, 114-127, (2008) DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02252.x

In potato 12‐hydroxyjasmonic acid (12‐OH‐JA) is a tuber‐inducing compound. Here, it is demonstrated that 12‐OH‐JA, as well as its sulfated and glucosylated derivatives, are constituents of various organs of many plant species. All accumulate differentially and usually to much higher concentrations than jasmonic acid (JA).In wounded tomato leaves, 12‐OH‐JA and its sulfated, as well as glucosylated, derivative accumulate after JA, and their diminished accumulation in wounded leaves of the JA‐deficient mutants spr2 and acx1 and also a JA‐deficient 35S::AOCantisense line suggest their JA‐dependent formation.To elucidate how signaling properties of JA/JAME (jasmonic acid methyl ester) are affected by hydroxylation and sulfation, germination and root growth were recorded in the presence of the different jasmonates, indicating that 12‐OH‐JA and 12‐hydroxyjasmonic acid sulfate (12‐HSO4‐JA) were not bioactive. Expression analyses for 29 genes showed that expression of wound‐inducible genes such as those coding for PROTEINASE INHIBITOR2, POLYPHENOL OXIDASE, THREONINE DEAMINASE or ARGINASE was induced by JAME and less induced or even down‐regulated by 12‐OH‐JA and 12‐HSO4‐JA. Almost all genes coding for enzymes in JA biosynthesis were up‐regulated by JAME but down‐regulated by 12‐OH‐JA and 12‐HSO4‐JA.The data suggest that wound‐induced metabolic conversion of JA/JAME into 12‐OH‐JA alters expression pattern of genes including a switch off in JA signaling for a subset of genes.

Schilling, S.; Stenzel, I.; von Bohlen, A.; Wermann, M.; Schulz, K.; Demuth, H.-U.; Wasternack, C.; Isolation and characterization of the glutaminyl cyclases from Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana: implications for physiological functions Biol. Chem. 388, 145-153, (2007) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2007.016

Glutaminyl cyclases (QCs) catalyze the formation of pyroglutamic acid at the N-terminus of several peptides and proteins. On the basis of the amino acid sequence of Carica papaya QC, we identified cDNAs of the putative counterparts from Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana. Upon expression of the corresponding cDNAs from both plants via the secretory pathway of Pichia pastoris, two active QC proteins were isolated. The specificity of the purified proteins was assessed using various substrates with different amino acid composition and length. Highest specificities were observed with substrates possessing large hydrophobic residues adjacent to the N-terminal glutamine and for fluorogenic dipeptide surrogates. However, compared to Carica papaya QC, the specificity constants were approximately one order of magnitude lower for most of the QC substrates analyzed. The QCs also catalyzed the conversion of N-terminal glutamic acid to pyroglutamic acid, but with approximately 105- to 106-fold lower specificity. The ubiquitous distribution of plant QCs prompted a search for potential substrates in plants. Based on database entries, numerous proteins, e.g., pathogenesis-related proteins, were found that carry a pyroglutamate residue at the N-terminus, suggesting QC involvement. The putative relevance of QCs and pyroglutamic acid for plant defense reactions is discussed.
Books and chapters

Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; Stenzel, I.; Goetz, S.; Feussner, I.; Miersch, O.; Jasmonate signaling in tomato – The input of tissue-specific occurrence of allene oxide cyclase and JA metabolites (Benning C., Ollrogge, J.). 107-111, (2007)


Wasternack, C.; Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Hause, G.; Kutter, C.; Maucher, H.; Neumerkel, J.; Feussner, I.; Miersch, O.; The wound response in tomato – Role of jasmonic acid J. Plant Physiol. 163, 297-306, (2006) DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2005.10.014

Plants respond to mechanical wounding or herbivore attack with a complex scenario of sequential, antagonistic or synergistic action of different signals leading to defense gene expression. Tomato plants were used as a model system since the peptide systemin and the lipid-derived jasmonic acid (JA) were recognized as essential signals in wound-induced gene expression. In this review recent data are discussed with emphasis on wound-signaling in tomato. The following aspects are covered: (i) systemin signaling, (ii) JA biosynthesis and action, (iii) orchestration of various signals such as JA, H2O2, NO, and salicylate, (iv) local and systemic response, and (v) amplification in wound signaling. The common occurrence of JA biosynthesis and systemin generation in the vascular bundles suggest JA as the systemic signal. Grafting experiments with JA-deficient, JA-insensitive and systemin-insensitive mutants strongly support this assumption.

Delker, C.; Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Miersch, O.; Feussner, I.; Wasternack, C.; Jasmonate Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana - Enzymes, Products, Regulation Plant Biol. 8, 297-306, (2006) DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-923935

Among the plant hormones jasmonic acid and related derivatives are known to mediate stress responses and several developmental processes. Biosynthesis, regulation, and metabolism of jasmonic acid in Arabidopsis thaliana are reviewed, including properties of mutants of jasmonate biosynthesis. The individual signalling properties of several jasmonates are described.

Isayenkov, S.; Mrosk, C.; Stenzel, I.; Strack, D.; Hause, B.; Suppression of Allene Oxide Cyclase in Hairy Roots of Medicago truncatula Reduces Jasmonate Levels and the Degree of Mycorrhization with Glomus intraradices Plant Physiol. 139, 1401-1410, (2005) DOI: 10.1104/pp.105.069054

During the symbiotic interaction between Medicago truncatula and the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Glomus intraradices, an endogenous increase in jasmonic acid (JA) occurs. Two full-length cDNAs coding for the JA-biosynthetic enzyme allene oxide cyclase (AOC) from M. truncatula, designated as MtAOC1 and MtAOC2, were cloned and characterized. The AOC protein was localized in plastids and found to occur constitutively in all vascular tissues of M. truncatula. In leaves and roots, MtAOCs are expressed upon JA application. Enhanced expression was also observed during mycorrhization with G. intraradices. A partial suppression of MtAOC expression was achieved in roots following transformation with Agrobacterium rhizogenes harboring the MtAOC1 cDNA in the antisense direction under control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. In comparison to samples transformed with 35S∷uidA, roots with suppressed MtAOC1 expression exhibited lower JA levels and a remarkable delay in the process of colonization with G. intraradices. Both the mycorrhization rate, quantified by fungal rRNA, and the arbuscule formation, analyzed by the expression level of the AM-specific gene MtPT4, were affected. Staining of fungal material in roots with suppressed MtAOC1 revealed a decreased number of arbuscules, but these did not exhibit an altered structure. Our results indicate a crucial role for JA in the establishment of AM symbiosis.
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