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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Abel, S.; Ballas, N.; Wong, L-M.; Theologis, A. DNA elements responsive to auxin Bio Essays 18(8), 647-654, (1996)

Genes induced by the plant hormone auxin are probably involved in the execution of vital cellular functions and developmental processes. Experimental approaches designed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of auxin action have focused on auxin perception, genetic dissection of the signaling apparatus and specific gene activation. Auxin-responsive promoter elements of early genes provide molecular tools for probing auxin signaling in reverse. Functional analysis of several auxin-specific promoters of unrelated early genes suggests combinatorial utilization of both conserved and variable elements. These elements are arranged into autonomous domains and the combination of such modules generates uniquely composed promoters. Modular promoters allow for auxin-mediated transcriptional responses to be revealed in a tissue- and development-specific manner.

Wang, Q.; Grubb, C.D.; Abel, S. Direct analysis of single leaf disks for chemopreventive glucosinolates Phytochem Anal 13, 152 - 157, (2002) DOI: 10.1002/pca.636

Natural isothiocyanates, produced during plant tissue damage from methionine-derived glucosinolates, are potent inducers of mammalian phase 2 detoxification enzymes such as quinone reductase (QR). A greatly simplified bioassay for glucosinolates based on induction and colorimetric detection of QR activity in murine hepatoma cells is described. It is demonstrated that excised leaf disks of Arabidopsis thaliana (ecotype Columbia) can directly and reproducibly substitute for cell-free leaf extracts as inducers of murine QR, which reduces sample preparation to a minimum and maximizes throughput. A comparison of 1 and 3 mm diameter leaf disks indicated that QR inducer potency was proportional to disk circumference (extent of tissue damage) rather than to area. When compared to the QR inducer potency of the corresponding amount of extract, 1 mm leaf disks were equally effective, whereas 3 mm disks were 70% as potent. The QR inducer potency of leaf disks correlated positively with the content of methionine-derived glucosinolates, as shown by the analysis of wild-type plants and mutant lines with lower or higher glucosinolate content. Thus, the microtitre plate-based assay of single leaf disks provides a robust and inexpensive visual method for rapidly screening large numbers of plants in mapping populations or mutant collections and may be applicable to other glucosinolate-producing species.

Chutia, R.; Abel, S.; Ziegler, J. Iron and Phosphate Deficiency Regulators Concertedly Control Coumarin Profiles in Arabidopsis thaliana Roots During Iron, Phosphate, and Combined Deficiencies Front Plant Sci 10, 113, (2019) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00113

Plants face varying nutrient conditions, to which they have to adapt to. Adaptive responses are nutrient-specific and strategies to ensure supply and homeostasis for one nutrient might be opposite to another one, as shown for phosphate (Pi) and iron (Fe) deficiency responses, where many genes are regulated in an opposing manner. This was also observed on the metabolite levels. Whereas root and exudate levels of catechol-type coumarins, phenylpropanoid-derived 2-benzopyranones, which facilitate Fe acquisition, are elevated after Fe deficiency, they are decreased after Pi deficiency. Exposing plants to combined Pi and Fe deficiency showed that the generation of coumarin profiles in Arabidopsis thaliana roots by Pi deficiency considerably depends on the availability of Fe. Similarly, the effect of Fe deficiency on coumarin profiles is different at low compared to high Pi availability. These findings suggest a fine-tuning of coumarin profiles, which depends on Fe and Pi availability. T-DNA insertion lines exhibiting aberrant expression of genes involved in the regulation of Pi starvation responses (PHO1, PHR1, bHLH32, PHL1, SPX1) and Fe starvation responses (BRUTUS, PYE, bHLH104, FIT) were used to analyze the regulation of the generation of coumarin profiles in Arabidopsis thaliana roots by Pi, Fe, and combined Pi and Fe deficiency. The analysis revealed a role of several Fe-deficiency response regulators in the regulation of Fe and of Pi deficiency-induced coumarin profiles as well as for Pi deficiency response regulators in the regulation of Pi and of Fe deficiency-induced coumarin profiles. Additionally, the regulation of Fe deficiency-induced coumarin profiles by Fe deficiency response regulators is influenced by Pi availability. Conversely, regulation of Pi deficiency-induced coumarin profiles by Pi deficiency response regulators is modified by Fe availability.
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