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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Publications

Ziegler, J.; Brandt, W.; Geißler, R.; Facchini, P. J. Removal of Substrate Inhibition and Increase in Maximal Velocity in the Short Chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase Salutaridine Reductase Involved in Morphine Biosynthesis J Biol Chem 284, 26758-26767, (2009) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.030957

Salutaridine reductase (SalR, EC 1.1.1.248) catalyzes the stereospecific reduction of salutaridine to 7(S)-salutaridinol in the biosynthesis of morphine. It belongs to a new, plant-specific class of short-chain dehydrogenases, which are characterized by their monomeric nature and increased length compared with related enzymes. Homology modeling and substrate docking suggested that additional amino acids form a novel -helical element, which is involved in substrate binding. Site-directed mutagenesis and subsequent studies on enzyme kinetics revealed the importance of three residues in this element for substrate binding. Further replacement of eight additional residues led to the characterization of the entire substrate binding pocket. In addition, a specific role in salutaridine binding by either hydrogen bond formation or hydrophobic interactions was assigned to each amino acid. Substrate docking alsorevealed an alternative mode for salutaridine binding, which could explain the strong substrate inhibition of SalR. An alternate arrangement of salutaridine in the enzyme was corroborated by the effect of various amino acid substitutions on substrate inhibition. In most cases, the complete removal of substrate inhibition was accompanied by a substantial loss in enzyme activity. However, some mutations greatly reduced substrate inhibition while maintaining or even increasing the maximal velocity. Based on these results, a double mutant of SalRwas created that exhibited the complete absence of substrate inhibition and higher activity compared with wild-type SalR.
Publications

Ticconi, C.A.; Lucero, R.D.; Sakhonwasee, S.; Adamson, A.W.; Creff, A.; Nussaume, L.; Desnos, T.; Abel, S. ER-resident proteins PDR2 and LPR1 mediate the developmental response of root meristems to phosphate availability Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (PNAS) 106, 14174-14179, (2009)

Inadequate availability of inorganic phosphate (Pi) in the rhizosphere is a common challenge to plants, which activate metabolic and developmental responses to maximize Pi acquisition. The sensory mechanisms that monitor environmental Pi status and regulate root growth via altered meristem activity are unknown. Here, we show that phosphate deficiency response 2 (PDR2) encodes the single P5-type ATPase of Arabidopsis thaliana. PDR2 functions in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and is required for proper expression of scarecrow (SCR), a key regulator of root patterning, and for stem-cell maintenance in Pi-deprived roots. We further show that the multicopper oxidase encoded by low phosphate root 1 (LPR1) is targeted to the ER and that LPR1 and PDR2 interact genetically. Because the expression domains of both genes overlap in the stem-cell niche and distal root meristem, we propose that PDR2 and LPR1 function together in an ER-resident pathway that adjusts root meristem activity to external Pi. Our data indicate that the Pi-conditional root phenotype of pdr2 is not caused by increased Fe availability in low Pi; however, Fe homeostasis modifies the developmental response of root meristems to Pi availability.
Publications

Ziegler, J.; Facchini, P.J.; Geißler, R.; Schmidt, J.; Ammer, C.; Kramell, R.; Voigtländer, S.; Gesell, A.; Pienkny, S.; Brandt, W. Evolution of morphine biosynthesis in opium poppy. Phytochemistry 70, 1696 - 1707, (2009) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.07.006

Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) are a group of nitrogen-containing plant secondary metabolites comprised of an estimated 2500 identified structures. In BIA metabolism, (S)-reticuline is a key branch-point intermediate that can be directed into several alkaloid subtypes with different structural skeleton configurations. The morphinan alkaloids are one subclass of BIAs produced in only a few plant species, most notably and abundantly in the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Comparative transcriptome analysis of opium poppy and several other Papaver species that do not accumulate morphinan alkaloids showed that known genes encoding BIA biosynthetic enzymes are expressed at higher levels in P. somniferum. Three unknown cDNAs that are co-ordinately expressed with several BIA biosynthetic genes were identified as enzymes in the pathway. One of these enzymes, salutaridine reductase (SalR), which is specific for the production of morphinan alkaloids, was isolated and heterologously overexpressed in its active form not only from P. somniferum, but also from Papaver species that do not produce morphinan alkaloids.SalR is a member of a class of short chain dehydrogenase/reductases (SDRs) that are active as monomers and possess an extended amino acid sequence compared with classical SDRs. Homology modelling and substrate docking revealed the substrate binding site for SalR. The amino acids residues conferring salutaridine binding were compared to several members of the SDR family from different plant species, which non-specifically reduce ( )-menthone to (+)-neomenthol. Previously, it was shown that some of these proteins are involved in plant defence. The recruitment of specific monomeric SDRs from monomeric SDRs involved in plant defence is discussed.
Publications

Pienkny, S.; Brandt, W.; Schmidt, J.; Kramell, R.; Ziegler, J. Functional characterization of a novel benzylisoquinoline O-methyltransferase suggests its involvement in papaverine biosynthesis in opium poppy (<span>Papaver somniferum L.</span>) The Plant Journal 60, 56 - 67, (2009)

The benzylisoquinoline alkaloids are a highly diverse group of about 2500 compounds which accumulate in a species-specific manner. Despite the numerous compounds which could be identified, the biosynthetic pathways and the participating enzymes or cDNAs could be characterized only for a few selected members, whereas the biosynthesis of the majority of the compounds is still largely unknown. In an attempt to characterize additional biosynthetic steps at the molecular level, integration of alkaloid and transcript profiling across Papaver species was performed. This analysis showed high expression of an expressed sequence tag (EST) of unknown function only in Papaver somniferum varieties. After full-length cloning of the open reading frame and sequence analysis, this EST could be classified as a member of the class II type O-methyltransferase protein family. It was related to O-methyltransferases from benzylisoquinoline biosynthesis, and the amino acid sequence showed 68% identical residues to norcoclaurine 6-O-methyltransferase. However, rather than methylating norcoclaurine, the recombinant protein methylated norreticuline at position seven with a Km of 44 lM using S-adenosyl-L-methionine as a cofactor. Of all substrates tested, only norreticuline was converted.Even minor changes in the benzylisoquinoline backbone were not tolerated by the enzyme. Accordingly, the enzyme was named norreticuline 7–O-methyltransferase (N7OMT). This enzyme represents a novel Omethyltransferase in benzylisoquinoline metabolism. Expression analysis showed slightly increased expression of N7OMT in P. somniferum varieties containing papaverine, suggesting its involvement in the partially unknown biosynthesis of this pharmaceutically important compound.
Publications

Quint, M.; Barkawi, L.S.; Fan, K.T.; Cohen, J.D.; Gray, W.M. Arabidopsis IAR4 modulates auxin response by regulating auxin homeostasis Plant Physiol 150, 748-758, (2009)

In a screen for enhancers of tir1-1 auxin resistance, we identified two novel alleles of the putative mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase E1α-subunit, IAA-Alanine Resistant4 (IAR4). In addition to enhancing the auxin response defects of tir1-1, iar4 single mutants exhibit numerous auxin-related phenotypes including auxin-resistant root growth and reduced lateral root development, as well as defects in primary root growth, root hair initiation, and root hair elongation. Remarkably, all of these iar4 mutant phenotypes were rescued when endogenous indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) levels were increased by growth at high temperature or overexpression of the YUCCA1 IAA biosynthetic enzyme, suggesting that iar4 mutations may alter IAA homeostasis rather than auxin response. Consistent with this possibility, iar4 mutants exhibit increased Aux/IAA stability compared to wild type under basal conditions, but not in response to an auxin treatment. Measurements of free IAA levels detected no significant difference between iar4-3 and wild-type controls. However, we consistently observed significantly higher levels of IAA-amino acid conjugates in the iar4-3 mutant. Furthermore, using stable isotope-labeled IAA precursors, we observed a significant increase in the relative utilization of the Trp-independent IAA biosynthetic pathway in iar4-3. We therefore suggest that the auxin phenotypes of iar4 mutants are the result of altered IAA homeostasis.
Publications

Vandenborre, G.; Miersch, O.; Hause, B.; Smagghe, G.; Wasternack, C.; Van Damme, E.J.M. <span>Spodoptera Littoralis</span> Induced Lectin Expression in Tobacco Plant Cell Physiol 50, 1142-1155, (2009) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcp065

The induced defense response in plants towards herbivores is mainly regulated by jasmonates and leads to the accumulation of so-called jasmonate-induced proteins. Recently, a jasmonate (JA) inducible lectin called Nicotiana tabacum agglutinin or NICTABA was discovered in tobacco( N. tabacum cv Samsun) leaves. Tobacco plants also accumulate the lectin after insect attack by caterpillars. To study the functional role of NICTABA, the accumulation of the JA precursor 12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA), JA as well as different JA metabolites were analyzed in tobacco leaves after herbivory by larvae of the cotton leafworm ( Spodoptera littoralis ) and correlated with NICTABA accumulation. It was shown that OPDA, JA as well as its methyl ester can trigger NICTABA accumulation. However, hydroxylation of JA and its subsequent sulfation and glucosylation results in inactive compounds that have lost the capacity to induce NICTABA gene expression. The expression profi le of NICTABA after caterpillar feeding was recorded in local as well as in systemic leaves, and compared to the expression of several genes encodingdefense proteins, and genes encoding a tobacco systemin and the allene oxide cyclase, an enzyme in JA biosynthesis. Furthermore, the accumulation of NICTABA was quantified after S. littoralis herbivory and immunofl uorescence microscopy was used to study the localization of NICTABA in the tobacco leaf.
Publications

Mugford, S.G.; Yoshimoto, N.; Reichelt, M.; Wirtz, M.; Hill, L.; Mugford, S.T.; Nakazato, Y.; Noji, M.; Takahashi, H.; Kramell, R.; Gigolashvili, T.; Flügge, U.-I.; Wasternack, C.; Gershenzon, J.; Hell, R.; Saito, K.; Kopriva, S. Disruption of Adenosine-5'-Phosphosulfate Kinase in <span>Arabidopsis</span> Reduces Levels of Sulfated Secondary Metabolites Plant Cell 21, 910-927, (2009)

Plants can metabolize sulfate by two pathways, which branch at the level of adenosine 59-phosphosulfate (APS). APS can be reduced to sulfide and incorporated into Cys in the primary sulfate assimilation pathway or phosphorylated by APS kinase to 39-phosphoadenosine 59-phosphosulfate, which is the activated sulfate form for sulfation reactions. To assess to what extent APS kinase regulates accumulation of sulfated compounds, we analyzed the corresponding gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana. Analysis of T-DNA insertion knockout lines for each of the four isoforms did not reveal any phenotypical alterations. However, when all six combinations of double mutants were compared, the apk1 apk2 plants were significantly smaller than wild-type plants. The levels of glucosinolates, a major class of sulfated secondary metabolites, and the sulfated 12-hydroxyjasmonate were reduced approximately fivefold in apk1 apk2 plants. Although auxin levels were increased in the apk1 apk2 mutants, as is the case for most plants with compromised glucosinolate synthesis, typical high auxin phenotypes were not observed. The reduction in glucosinolates resulted in increased transcript levels for genes involved in glucosinolate biosynthesis and accumulation of desulfated precursors. It also led to great alterations in sulfur metabolism: the levels of sulfate and thiols increased in the apk1 apk2 plants. The data indicate that the APK1 and APK2 isoforms of APS kinase play a major role in the synthesis of secondary sulfated metabolites and are required for normalgrowth rates.
Publications

Clarke, S.M.; Cristescu, S.M.; Miersch, O.; Harren, F.J.M.; Wasternack, C.; Mur, L.A.J. Jasmonates act with salicylic acid to confer basal thermotolerance in <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i> New Phytol 182, 175-187, (2009)

The cpr5-1 Arabidopsis thaliana mutant exhibits constitutive activation of salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET) signalling pathways and displays enhanced tolerance of heat stress (HS). cpr5-1 crossed with jar1-1 (a JA-amino acid synthetase) was compromised in basal thermotolerance, as were the mutants opr3 (mutated in OPDA reductase3) and coi1-1 (affected in an E3 ubiquitin ligase F-box; a key JA-signalling component). In addition, heating wild-type Arabidopsis led to the accumulation of a range of jasmonates: JA, 12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA) and a JA-isoleucine (JA-Ile) conjugate. Exogenous application of methyl jasmonate protected wild-type Arabidopsis from HS. Ethylene was rapidly produced during HS, with levels being modulated by both JA and SA. By contrast, the ethylene mutant ein2-1 conferred greater thermotolerance. These data suggest that JA acts with SA, conferring basal thermotolerance while ET may act to promote cell death.
Publications

Weigelt, K.; Küster, H.; Rutten, T.; Fait, A.; Fernie, A.R.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Emery, R.J.N.; Desel, C.; Hosein, F.; Müller, M.; Saalbach, I.; Weber, H. ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase-deficient pea embryos reveal specific transcriptional and metabolic changes of carbon-nitrogen metabolism and stress responses Plant Physiol 149, 395-411, (2009)

We present a comprehensive analysis of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGP)-repressed pea (Pisum sativum) seeds using transcript and metabolite profiling to monitor the effects that reduced carbon flow into starch has on carbon-nitrogen metabolism and related pathways. Changed patterns of transcripts and metabolites suggest that AGP repression causes sugar accumulation and stimulates carbohydrate oxidation via glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle, and mitochondrial respiration. Enhanced provision of precursors such as acetyl-coenzyme A and organic acids apparently support other pathways and activate amino acid and storage protein biosynthesis as well as pathways fed by cytosolic acetyl-coenzyme A, such as cysteine biosynthesis and fatty acid elongation/metabolism. As a consequence, the resulting higher nitrogen (N) demand depletes transient N storage pools, specifically asparagine and arginine, and leads to N limitation. Moreover, increased sugar accumulation appears to stimulate cytokinin-mediated cell proliferation pathways. In addition, the deregulation of starch biosynthesis resulted in indirect changes, such as increased mitochondrial metabolism and osmotic stress. The combined effect of these changes is an enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species coupled with an up-regulation of energy-dissipating, reactive oxygen species protection, and defense genes. Transcriptional activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways and oxylipin synthesis indicates an additional activation of stress signaling pathways. AGP-repressed embryos contain higher levels of jasmonate derivatives; however, this increase is preferentially in nonactive forms. The results suggest that, although metabolic/osmotic alterations in iAGP pea seeds result in multiple stress responses, pea seeds have effective mechanisms to circumvent stress signaling under conditions in which excessive stress responses and/or cellular damage could prematurely initiate senescence or apoptosis.
Publications

Halim, V.A.; Altmann, S.; Ellinger, D.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Miersch, O.; Scheel, D.; Rosahl, S. PAMP-induced defense responses in potato require both salicylic acid and jasmonic acid Plant Journal 57, 230 - 242, (2009) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03688.x

To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-induced defense responses in potato (Solanum tuberosum), the role of the signaling compounds salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) was analyzed. Pep-13, a PAMP from Phytophthora, induces the accumulation of SA, JA and hydrogen peroxide, as well as the activation of defense genes and hypersensitive-like cell death. We have previously shown that SA is required for Pep-13-induced defense responses. To assess the importance of JA, RNA interference constructs targeted at the JA biosynthetic genes, allene oxide cyclase and 12- oxophytodienoic acid reductase, were expressed in transgenic potato plants. In addition, expression of the F-box protein COI1 was reduced by RNA interference. Plants expressing the RNA interference constructs failed to accumulate the respective transcripts in response to wounding or Pep-13 treatment, neither did they contain significant amounts of JA after elicitation. In response to infiltration of Pep-13, the transgenic plants exhibited a highly reduced accumulation of reactive oxygen species as well as reduced hypersensitive cell death. The ability of the JA-deficient plants to accumulate SA suggests that SA accumulation is independent or upstream of JA accumulation. These data show that PAMP responses in potato require both SA and JA and that, in contrast to Arabidopsis, these compounds act in the same signal transduction pathway. Despite their inability to fully respond to PAMP treatment, the transgenic RNA interference plants are not altered in their basal defense against Phytophthora infestans.
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