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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Kopycki, J.; Wieduwild, E.; Kohlschmidt, J.; Brandt, W.; Stepanova, A.N.; Alonso, J.M.; Pedras, M.S.; Abel, S.; Grubb, C.D. Kinetic analysis of Arabidopsis glucosyltransferase UGT74B1 illustrates a general mechanism by which enzymes can escape product inhibition Biochem J 450, 37-46, (2013) DOI: 10.1042/BJ20121403

Plant genomes encode numerous small molecule glycosyltransferases which modulate the solubility, activity, immunogenicity and/or reactivity of hormones, xenobiotics and natural products. The products of these enzymes can accumulate to very high concentrations, yet somehow avoid inhibiting their own biosynthesis. Glucosyltransferase UGT74B1 (UDP-glycosyltransferase 74B1) catalyses the penultimate step in the core biosynthetic pathway of glucosinolates, a group of natural products with important functions in plant defence against pests and pathogens. We found that mutation of the highly conserved Ser284 to leucine [wei9-1 (weak ethylene insensitive)] caused only very mild morphological and metabolic phenotypes, in dramatic contrast with knockout mutants, indicating that steady state glucosinolate levels are actively regulated even in unchallenged plants. Analysis of the effects of the mutation via a structural modelling approach indicated that the affected serine interacts directly with UDP-glucose, but also predicted alterations in acceptor substrate affinity and the kcat value, sparking an interest in the kinetic behaviour of the wild-type enzyme. Initial velocity and inhibition studies revealed that UGT74B1 is not inhibited by its glycoside product. Together with the effects of the missense mutation, these findings are most consistent with a partial rapid equilibrium ordered mechanism. This model explains the lack of product inhibition observed both in vitro and in vivo, illustrating a general mechanism whereby enzymes can continue to function even at very high product/precursor ratios.

Poeschl, Y.; Delker, C.; Trenner, J.; Ullrich, K.; Quint, M. & Grosse, I. Optimized probe masking for comparative transcriptomics of closely related species.<!--[if gte mso 9]><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 21 false false false DE X-NONE X-NONE</xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normale Tabelle"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}</style> <![endif]--> PLOS ONE 8, e78497, (2013) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078497

Microarrays are commonly applied to study the transcriptome of specific species. However, many available microarrays arerestricted to model organisms, and the design of custom microarrays for other species is often not feasible. Hence,transcriptomics approaches of non-model organisms as well as comparative transcriptomics studies among two or morespecies often make use of cost-intensive RNAseq studies or, alternatively, by hybridizing transcripts of a query species to amicroarray of a closely related species. When analyzing these cross-species microarray expression data, differences in thetranscriptome of the query species can cause problems, such as the following: (i) lower hybridization accuracy of probes dueto mismatches or deletions, (ii) probes binding multiple transcripts of different genes, and (iii) probes binding transcripts ofnon-orthologous genes. So far, methods for (i) exist, but these neglect (ii) and (iii). Here, we propose an approach forcomparative transcriptomics addressing problems (i) to (iii), which retains only transcript-specific probes binding transcriptsof orthologous genes. We apply this approach to an Arabidopsis lyrata expression data set measured on a microarraydesigned for Arabidopsis thaliana, and compare it to two alternative approaches, a sequence-based approach and a genomicDNA hybridization-based approach. We investigate the number of retained probe sets, and we validate the resultingexpression responses by qRT-PCR. We find that the proposed approach combines the benefit of sequence-based stringencyand accuracy while allowing the expression analysis of much more genes than the alternative sequence-based approach. Asan added benefit, the proposed approach requires probes to detect transcripts of orthologous genes only, which provides asuperior base for biological interpretation of the measured expression responses.

Elleuch, A.; Chaâbene, Z.; Grubb, D.C.; Drira, N.; Mejdoub, H.; Khemakhem, B. Morphological and biochemical behavior of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) under copper stress Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 98, 46-53, (2013) DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.09.028

The effects of copper on germination and growth of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum  ) was investigated separately using different concentrations of CuSO4. The germination percentage and radical length had different responses to cupric ions: the root growth increased with increasing copper concentration up to 1 mM Cu+2Cu2+ and was inhibited thereafter. In contrast, the germination percentage was largely unaffected by concentrations of copper below 10 mM.The reduction in root growth may have been due to inhibition of hydrolytic enzymes such as amylase. Indeed, the average total amylolytic activity decreased from the first day of treatment with [Cu+2Cu2+] greater than 1 mM. Furthermore, copper affected various plant growth parameters. Copper accumulation was markedly higher in roots as compared to shoots. While both showed a gradual decrease in growth, this was more pronounced in roots than in leaves and in stems. Excess copper induced an increase in the rate of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and lipid peroxidation in all plant parts, indicating oxidative stress. This redox stress affected leaf chlorophyll and carotenoid content which decreased in response to augmented Cu levels. Additionally, the activities of proteins involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification were affected. Cu stress elevated the ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity more than two times at 10 mM CuSO4. In contrast, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) levels showed only minor variations, only at 1 mM Cu+2Cu2+. Likewise, total phenol and flavonoid contents were strongly induced by low concentrations of copper, consistent with the role of these potent antioxidants in scavenging ROS such as H2O2, but returned to control levels or below at high [Cu+2Cu2+]. Taken together, these results indicate a fundamental shift in the plant response to copper toxicity at low versus high concentrations.
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