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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Wasternack, C.; Hause, B. Jasmonates: biosynthesis, perception, signal transduction and action in plant stress response, growth and development. An update to the 2007 review in <span>Annals of Botany</span> Annals of Botany 111, 1021-1058, (2013) DOI: 10.1093/aob/mct067

Background: Jasmonates are important regulators in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses as well as indevelopment. Synthesized from lipid-constituents, the initially formed jasmonic acid is converted to differentmetabolites including the conjugate with isoleucine. Important new components of jasmonate signalling includingits receptor were identified, providing deeper insight into the role of jasmonate signalling pathways in stressresponses and development.Scope: The present review is an update of the review on jasmonates published in this journal in 2007. New dataof the last five years are described with emphasis on metabolites of jasmonates, on jasmonate perception andsignalling, on cross-talk to other plant hormones and on jasmonate signalling in response to herbivores and pathogens,in symbiotic interactions, in flower development, in root growth and in light perception.Conclusions: The last few years have seen breakthroughs in the identification of JASMONATE ZIM DOMAIN(JAZ) proteins and their interactors such as transcription factors and co-repressors, and the crystallization of thejasmonate receptor as well as of the enzyme conjugating jasmonate to amino acids. Now, the complex nature ofnetworks of jasmonate signalling in stress responses and development including hormone cross-talk can beaddressed.

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.

Abel, S.; Bürstenbinder, K. & Müller, J. The emerging function of IQD proteins as scaffolds in cellular signaling and trafficking Plant Signal Behav 8, e24369, (2013) DOI: 10.4161/psb.24369

Calcium (Ca2+) signaling modules are essential for adjusting plant growth and performance to environmental constraints. Differential interactions between sensors of Ca2+ dynamics and their molecular targets are at the center of the transduction process. Calmodulin (CaM) and CaM-like (CML) proteins are principal Ca2+-sensors in plants that govern the activities of numerous downstream proteins with regulatory properties. The families of IQ67-Domain (IQD) proteins are a large class of plant-specific CaM/CML-targets (e.g., 33 members in A. thaliana) which share a unique domain of multiple varied CaM retention motifs in tandem orientation. Genetic studies in Arabidopsis and tomato revealed first roles for IQD proteins related to basal defense response and plant development. Molecular, biochemical and histochemical analysis of Arabidopsis IQD1 demonstrated association with microtubules as well as targeting to the cell nucleus and nucleolus. In vivo binding to CaM and kinesin light chain-related protein-1 (KLCR1) suggests a Ca2+-regulated scaffolding function of IQD1 in kinesin motor-dependent transport of multiprotein complexes. Furthermore, because IQD1 interacts in vitro with single-stranded nucleic acids, the prospect arises that IQD1 and other IQD family members facilitate cellular RNA localization as one mechanism to control and fine-tune gene expression and protein sorting.

Bürstenbinder, K.; Savchenko, T.; Müller, J.; Adamson, A.W.; Stamm, G.; Kwong, R.; Zipp, B.J.; Dhurvas Chandrasekaran, D. & Abel, S. Arabidopsis calmodulin-binding protein IQ67-domain 1 localizes to microtubules and interacts with kinesin light chain-related protein-1 J Biol Chem 288, 1871-1882, (2013) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.396200

Calcium (Ca2+) is a key second messenger in eukaryotes and regulates diverse cellular processes, most notably via calmodulin (CaM). In Arabidopsis thaliana, IQD1 (IQ67 domain 1) is the founding member of the IQD family of putative CaM targets. The 33 predicted IQD proteins share a conserved domain of 67 amino acids that is characterized by a unique arrangement of multiple CaM recruitment motifs, including so-called IQ motifs. Whereas IQD1 has been implicated in the regulation of defense metabolism, the biochemical functions of IQD proteins remain to be elucidated. In this study we show that IQD1 binds to multiple Arabidopsis CaM and CaM-like (CML) proteins in vitro and in yeast two-hybrid interaction assays. CaM overlay assays revealed moderate affinity of IQD1 to CaM2 (Kd ∼ 0.6 μm). Deletion mapping of IQD1 demonstrated the importance of the IQ67 domain for CaM2 binding in vitro, which is corroborated by interaction of the shortest IQD member, IQD20, with Arabidopsis CaM/CMLs in yeast. A genetic screen of a cDNA library identified Arabidopsis kinesin light chain-related protein-1 (KLCR1) as an IQD1 interactor. The subcellular localization of GFP-tagged IQD1 proteins to microtubules and the cell nucleus in transiently and stably transformed plant tissues (tobacco leaves and Arabidopsis seedlings) suggests direct interaction of IQD1 and KLCR1 in planta that is supported by GFP∼IQD1-dependent recruitment of RFP∼KLCR1 and RFP∼CaM2 to microtubules. Collectively, the prospect arises that IQD1 and related proteins provide Ca2+/CaM-regulated scaffolds for facilitating cellular transport of specific cargo along microtubular tracks via kinesin motor proteins.
Books and chapters

Wasternack, C. & Hause, B. Benno Parthier und die Jasmonatforschung in Halle Nova Acta Leopoldina, NF Supplementum 28, 29-38, (2013) ISBN: ISBN 978-3-8047-3209-4


Dekkers, B.J.W.; Pearce, S.; van Bolderen-Veldkamp, R.P.; Marshall, A.; Widera, P.; Gilbert, J.; Drost, H.-G.; Basseli, G.W.; Müller, K.; King, J.R.; Wood, A.T.A.; Grosse, I.; Quint, M.; Krasnogor, N.; Leubner-Metzger, G.; Holdsworth, M.J. & Bentsink, L. Transcriptional Dynamics of Two Seed Compartments with Opposing Roles in Arabidopsis Seed Germination Plant Physiol 163, 205-215, (2013) DOI: 10.1104/pp.113.223511

Seed germination is a critical stage in the plant life cycle and the first step toward successful plant establishment. Therefore, understandinggermination is of important ecological and agronomical relevance. Previous research revealed that different seed compartments (testa,endosperm, and embryo) control germination, but little is known about the underlying spatial and temporal transcriptome changes thatlead to seed germination. We analyzed genome-wide expression in germinating Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seedswith both temporaland spatial detail and provide Web-accessible visualizations of the data reported (vseed.nottingham.ac.uk). We show the potential of this highresolutiondata set for the construction ofmeaningful coexpression networks, which provide insight into the genetic control of germination.The data set reveals two transcriptional phases during germination that are separated by testa rupture. The first phase is marked by largetranscriptome changes as the seed switches from a dry, quiescent state to a hydrated and active state. At the end of this first transcriptionalphase, the number of differentially expressed genes between consecutive time points drops. This increases again at testa rupture, the start ofthe second transcriptional phase. Transcriptome data indicate a role for mechano-induced signaling at this stage and subsequently highlightthe fates of the endosperm and radicle: senescence and growth, respectively. Finally, using a phylotranscriptomic approach, we show thatexpression levels of evolutionarily young genes drop during the first transcriptional phase and increase during the second phase.Evolutionarily old genes show an opposite pattern, suggesting a more conserved transcriptome prior to the completion of germination.

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.

Acosta, I. F.; Gasperini, D.; Chételat, A.; Stolz, S.; Santuari, L.; Farmer, E. E. Role of NINJA in root jasmonate signaling Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110, 15473-15478, (2013) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1307910110

Wound responses in plants have to be coordinated between organs so that locally reduced growth in a wounded tissue is balanced by appropriate growth elsewhere in the body. We used a JASMONATE ZIM DOMAIN 10 (JAZ10) reporter to screen for mutants affected in the organ-specific activation of jasmonate (JA) signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Wounding one cotyledon activated the reporter in both aerial and root tissues, and this was either disrupted or restricted to certain organs in mutant alleles of core components of the JA pathway including COI1, OPR3, and JAR1. In contrast, three other mutants showed constitutive activation of the reporter in the roots and hypocotyls of unwounded seedlings. All three lines harbored mutations in Novel Interactor of JAZ (NINJA), which encodes part of a repressor complex that negatively regulates JA signaling. These ninja mutants displayed shorter roots mimicking JA-mediated growth inhibition, and this was due to reduced cell elongation. Remarkably, this phenotype and the constitutive JAZ10 expression were still observed in backgrounds lacking the ability to synthesize JA or the key transcriptional activator MYC2. Therefore, JA-like responses can be recapitulated in specific tissues without changing a plant’s ability to make or perceive JA, and MYC2 either has no role or is not the only derepressed transcription factor in ninja mutants. Our results show that the role of NINJA in the root is to repress JA signaling and allow normal cell elongation. Furthermore, the regulation of the JA pathway differs between roots and aerial tissues at all levels, from JA biosynthesis to transcriptional activation.

Poeschl, Y.; Delker, C.; Trenner, J.; Ullrich, K.; Quint, M. & Grosse, I. Optimized Probe Masking for Comparative Transcriptomics of Closely Related Species 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.

Navarro-Quezada, A.; Schumann, N.; Quint, M. Plant F-Box protein evolution is determined by lineage-specific timing of major gene family expansion waves PLoS One 8, e68672, (2013) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068672

F-box proteins (FBPs) represent one of the largest and fastest evolving gene/protein families in the plant kingdom. The FBP superfamily can be divided in several subfamilies characterized by different C-terminal protein-protein interaction domains that recruit targets for proteasomal degradation. Hence, a clear picture of their phylogeny and molecular evolution is of special interest for the general understanding of evolutionary histories of multi-domain and/or large protein families in plants. In an effort to further understand the molecular evolution of F-box family proteins, we asked whether the largest subfamily in Arabidopsis thaliana, which carries a C-terminal F-box associated domain (FBA proteins) shares evolutionary patterns and signatures of selection with other FBPs. To address this question, we applied phylogenetic and molecular evolution analyses in combination with the evaluation of transcriptional profiles. Based on the 2219 FBA proteins we de novo identified in 34 completely sequenced plant genomes, we compared their evolutionary patterns to a previously analyzed large subfamily carrying C-terminal kelch repeats. We found that these two large FBP subfamilies generally tend to evolve by massive waves of duplication, followed by sequence conservation of the F-box domain and sequence diversification of the target recruiting domain. We conclude that the earlier in evolutionary time a major wave of expansion occurred, the more pronounced these selection signatures are. As a consequence, when performing cross species comparisons among FBP subfamilies, significant differences will be observed in the selective signatures of protein-protein interaction domains. Depending on the species, the investigated subfamilies comprise up to 45% of the complete superfamily, indicating that other subfamilies possibly follow similar modes of evolution.
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