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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Publications

Schulze, A.; Zimmer, M.; Mielke, S.; Stellmach, H.; Melnyk, C. W.; Hause, B.; Gasperini, D. Shoot-to-root translocation of the jasmonate precursor 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) coordinates plant growth responses following tissue damage bioRxiv (2019) DOI: 10.1101/517193

Multicellular organisms rely upon the movement of signaling molecules across cells, tissues and organs to communicate among distal sites. In plants, herbivorous insects, necrotrophic pathogens and mechanical wounding stimulate the activation of the jasmonate (JA) pathway, which in turn triggers the transcriptional changes necessary to protect plants against those challenges, often at the expense of growth. Although previous evidence indicated that JA species can translocate from damaged into distal sites, the identity of the mobile compound(s), the tissues through which they translocate and the consequences of their relocation remain unknown. Here, we demonstrated that endogenous JA species generated after shoot injury translocate to unharmed roots via the phloem vascular tissue in Arabidopsis thaliana. By wounding wild-type shoots of chimeric plants and by quantifying the relocating compounds from their JA-deficient roots, we uncovered that the JA-Ile precursor 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) is a mobile JA species. Our data also showed that OPDA is a primary mobile compound relocating to roots where, upon conversion to the bioactive hormone, it induces JA-mediated gene expression and root growth inhibition. Collectively, our findings reveal the existence of long-distance transport of endogenous OPDA which serves as a communication molecule to coordinate shoot-to-root responses, and highlight the importance of a controlled distribution of JA species among organs during plant stress acclimation.
Publications

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.
Books and chapters

Ziegler, J.; Hussain, H.; Neubert, R. H. H.; Abel, S. Sensitive and Selective Amino Acid Profiling of Minute Tissue Amounts by HPLC/Electrospray Negative Tandem Mass Spectrometry Using 9-Fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl (Fmoc-Cl) Derivatization (Alterman, M. A., ed.). Methods Mol Biol 2030, 365-379, (2019) ISBN: 978-1-4939-9639-1 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9639-1_27

A method for selective and sensitive quantification of amino acids is described. The combination of established derivatization procedures of secondary and primary amino groups with 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl) and subsequent detection of derivatized amino acids by LC-ESI-MS/MS using multiple reaction monitoring provides high selectivity. The attachment of an apolar moiety enables purification of derivatized amino acids from matrix by a single solid-phase extraction step, which increases sensitivity by reduced ion suppression during LC-ESI-MS/MS detection. Additionally, chromatography of all amino acids can be performed on reversed-phase HPLC columns using eluents without additives, which are known to cause significant decreases in signal to noise ratios. The method has been routinely applied for amino acid profiling of low amounts of liquids and tissues of various origins with a sample throughput of about 50–100 samples a day. In addition to a detailed description of the method, some representative examples are presented.
Publications

Berens, M. L.; Wolinska, K. W.; Spaepen, S.; Ziegler, J.; Nobori, T.; Nair, A.; Krüler, V.; Winkelmüller, T. M.; Wang, Y.; Mine, A.; Becker, D.; Garrido-Oter, R.; Schulze-Lefert, P.; Tsuda, K. Balancing trade-offs between biotic and abiotic stress responses through leaf age-dependent variation in stress hormone cross-talk Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 116, 2364-2373, (2019) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817233116

In nature, plants must respond to multiple stresses simultaneously, which likely demands cross-talk between stress-response pathways to minimize fitness costs. Here we provide genetic evidence that biotic and abiotic stress responses are differentially prioritized in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves of different ages to maintain growth and reproduction under combined biotic and abiotic stresses. Abiotic stresses, such as high salinity and drought, blunted immune responses in older rosette leaves through the phytohormone abscisic acid signaling, whereas this antagonistic effect was blocked in younger rosette leaves by PBS3, a signaling component of the defense phytohormone salicylic acid. Plants lacking PBS3 exhibited enhanced abiotic stress tolerance at the cost of decreased fitness under combined biotic and abiotic stresses. Together with this role, PBS3 is also indispensable for the establishment of salt stress- and leaf age-dependent phyllosphere bacterial communities. Collectively, our work reveals a mechanism that balances trade-offs upon conflicting stresses at the organism level and identifies a genetic intersection among plant immunity, leaf microbiota, and abiotic stress tolerance.
Publications

Hussain, H.; Ziegler, J.; Mrestani, Y.; Neubert, R. H. H. Studies of the Corneocytary Pathway Across the Stratum Corneum. Part I: Diffusion of Amino Acids Into the Isolated Corneocytes Pharmazie 74, 340-344, (2019) DOI: 10.1691/ph.2019.8098

Amino acids (AAs), important constituents of natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) of the skin are decreased in diseased conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. No study so far investigated the uptake of AAs into isolated corneocytes (COR). The present study was performed using 19 AAs, including taurine (TAU), to measure their amount diffused into the COR and binding of these AAs to keratin. Incubation of alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamine, glutamic acid, histidine, proline, serine and TAU with the isolated COR showed uptake after 24 h of 51.6, 95.4, 98.6, 94.1, 95.6, 90.1, 94.6, 72.9 and 57.8 %, respectively, into the COR but no binding with keratin. Uptake of TAU was validated by time dependent in-vitro diffusion models 'without COR and 'with COR'. The time dependent curve fitting showed that in in-vitro diffusion model 'without COR' there was no change in the total concentration of TAU until 72 hours, while in diffusion model 'with COR' the total conc. decreased to 37.8 % after 72 hours. The Pearson's correlation coefficient 'r' between the conc. curves of both in-vitro diffusion models was -0.54 that was an evidence of significant amount of TAU uptake by the COR. AAs as part of the NMFs have a great potential to be diffused into the COR. This property of the AAs can be employed in further dermatological research on diseased or aged skin conditions with NMFs deficiency.
Publications

Gago-Zachert, S.; Schuck, J.; Weinholdt, C.; Knoblich, M.; Pantaleo, V.; Grosse, I.; Gursinsky, T.; Behrens, S.-E. Highly efficacious antiviral protection of plants by small interfering RNAs identified in vitro Nucleic Acids Res 47, 9343-9357, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz678

In response to a viral infection, the plant’s RNA silencing machinery processes viral RNAs into a huge number of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). However, a very few of these siRNAs actually interfere with viral replication. A reliable approach to identify these immunologically effective siRNAs (esiRNAs) and to define the characteristics underlying their activity has not been available so far. Here, we develop a novel screening approach that enables a rapid functional identification of antiviral esiRNAs. Tests on the efficacy of such identified esiRNAs of a model virus achieved a virtual full protection of plants against a massive subsequent infection in transient applications. We find that the functionality of esiRNAs depends crucially on two properties: the binding affinity to Argonaute proteins and the ability to access the target RNA. The ability to rapidly identify functional esiRNAs could be of great benefit for all RNA silencing-based plant protection measures against viruses and other pathogens.
Publications

Naumann, C.; Müller, J.; Sakhonwasee, S.; Wieghaus, A.; Hause, G.; Heisters, M.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Abel, S. The Local Phosphate Deficiency Response Activates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Dependent Autophagy Plant Physiol 179, 460-476, (2019) DOI: 10.1104/pp.18.01379

Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is often a limiting plant nutrient. In members of the Brassicaceae family, such as Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), Pi deprivation reshapes root system architecture to favor topsoil foraging. It does so by inhibiting primary root extension and stimulating lateral root formation. Root growth inhibition from phosphate (Pi) deficiency is triggered by iron-stimulated, apoplastic reactive oxygen species generation and cell wall modifications, which impair cell-to-cell communication and meristem maintenance. These processes require LOW PHOSPHATE RESPONSE1 (LPR1), a cell wall-targeted ferroxidase, and PHOSPHATE DEFICIENCY RESPONSE2 (PDR2), the single endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident P5-type ATPase (AtP5A), which is thought to control LPR1 secretion or activity. Autophagy is a conserved process involving the vacuolar degradation of cellular components. While the function of autophagy is well established under nutrient starvation (C, N, or S), it remains to be explored under Pi deprivation. Because AtP5A/PDR2 likely functions in the ER stress response, we analyzed the effect of Pi limitation on autophagy. Our comparative study of mutants defective in the local Pi deficiency response, ER stress response, and autophagy demonstrated that ER stress-dependent autophagy is rapidly activated as part of the developmental root response to Pi limitation and requires the genetic PDR2-LPR1 module. We conclude that Pi-dependent activation of autophagy in the root apex is a consequence of local Pi sensing and the associated ER stress response, rather than a means for systemic recycling of the macronutrient.
Publications

Wasternack, C. New Light on Local and Systemic Wound Signaling Trends Plant Sci 24, 102-105, (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2018.11.009

Electric signaling and Ca2+ waves were discussed to occur in systemic wound responses. Two new overlapping scenarios were identified: (i) membrane depolarization in two special cell types followed by an increase in systemic cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]cyt), and (ii) glutamate sensed by GLUTAMATE RECEPTOR LIKE proteins and followed by Ca2+-based defense in distal leaves.
Publications

Kölling, M.; Kumari, P.; Bürstenbinder, K. Calcium- and calmodulin-regulated microtubule-associated proteins as signal-integration hubs at the plasma membrane–cytoskeleton nexus J Exp Bot 70, 387-396, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ery397

Plant growth and development are a genetically predetermined series of events but can change dramatically in response to environmental stimuli, involving perpetual pattern formation and reprogramming of development. The rate of growth is determined by cell division and subsequent cell expansion, which are restricted and controlled by the cell wall–plasma membrane–cytoskeleton continuum, and are coordinated by intricate networks that facilitate intra- and intercellular communication. An essential role in cellular signaling is played by calcium ions, which act as universal second messengers that transduce, integrate, and multiply incoming signals during numerous plant growth processes, in part by regulation of the microtubule cytoskeleton. In this review, we highlight recent advances in the understanding of calcium-mediated regulation of microtubule-associated proteins, their function at the microtubule cytoskeleton, and their potential role as hubs in crosstalk with other signaling pathways.
Publications

Mitra, D.; Klemm, S.; Kumari, P.; Quegwer, J.; Möller, B.; Poeschl, Y.; Pflug, P.; Stamm, G.; Abel, S.; Bürstenbinder, K. Microtubule-associated protein IQ67 DOMAIN5 regulates morphogenesis of leaf pavement cells in Arabidopsis thaliana J Exp Bot 70, 529-543, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ery395

Plant microtubules form a highly dynamic intracellular network with important roles for regulating cell division, cell proliferation and cell morphology. Its organization and dynamics are coordinated by various microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) that integrate environmental and developmental stimuli to fine-tune and adjust cytoskeletal arrays. IQ67 DOMAIN (IQD) proteins recently emerged as a class of plant-specific MAPs with largely unknown functions. Here, using a reverse genetics approach, we characterize Arabidopsis IQD5 in terms of its expression domains, subcellular localization and biological functions. We show that IQD5 is expressed mostly in vegetative tissues, where it localizes to cortical microtubule arrays. Our phenotypic analysis of iqd5 loss-of-function lines reveals functions of IQD5 in pavement cell (PC) shape morphogenesis. Histochemical analysis of cell wall composition further suggests reduced rates of cellulose deposition in anticlinal cell walls, which correlate with reduced anisotropic expansion. Lastly, we demonstrate IQD5-dependent recruitment of calmodulin calcium sensors to cortical microtubule arrays and provide first evidence for important roles of calcium in regulation of PC morphogenesis. Our work thus identifies IQD5 as a novel player in PC shape regulation, and, for the first time, links calcium signaling to developmental processes that regulate anisotropic growth in PCs.
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