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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Publications

ten Hoopen, P.; Hunger, A.; Muller, A.; Hause, B.; Kramell, R.; Wasternack, C.; Rosahl, S.; Conrad, U.; Immunomodulation of jasmonate to manipulate the wound response J. Exp. Bot. 58, 2525-2535, (2007) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erm122

Jasmonates are signals in plant stress responses and development. The exact mode of their action is still controversial. To modulate jasmonate levels intracellularly as well as compartment-specifically, transgenic Nicotiana tabacum plants expressing single-chain antibodies selected against the naturally occurring (3R,7R)-enantiomer of jasmonic acid (JA) were created in the cytosol and the endoplasmic reticulum. Consequently, the expression of anti-JA antibodies in planta caused JA-deficient phenotypes such as insensitivity of germinating transgenic seedlings towards methyl jasmonate and the loss of wound-induced gene expression. Results presented here suggest an essential role for cytosolic JA in the wound response of tobacco plants. The findings support the view that substrate availability takes part in regulating JA biosynthesis upon wounding. Moreover, high JA levels observed in immunomodulated plants in response to wounding suggest that tobacco plants are able to perceive a reduced level of physiologically active JA and attempt to compensate for this by increased JA accumulation.
Publications

Tan, X.; Calderon-Villalobos, L. I. A.; Sharon, M.; Zheng, C.; Robinson, C. V.; Estelle, M.; Zheng, N.; Mechanism of auxin perception by the TIR1 ubiquitin ligase Nature 446, 640-645, (2007) DOI: 10.1038/nature05731

Auxin is a pivotal plant hormone that controls many aspects of plant growth and development. Perceived by a small family of F-box proteins including transport inhibitor response 1 (TIR1), auxin regulates gene expression by promoting SCF ubiquitin-ligase-catalysed degradation of the Aux/IAA transcription repressors, but how the TIR1 F-box protein senses and becomes activated by auxin remains unclear. Here we present the crystal structures of the Arabidopsis TIR1–ASK1 complex, free and in complexes with three different auxin compounds and an Aux/IAA substrate peptide. These structures show that the leucine-rich repeat domain of TIR1 contains an unexpected inositol hexakisphosphate co-factor and recognizes auxin and the Aux/IAA polypeptide substrate through a single surface pocket. Anchored to the base of the TIR1 pocket, auxin binds to a partially promiscuous site, which can also accommodate various auxin analogues. Docked on top of auxin, the Aux/IAA substrate peptide occupies the rest of the TIR1 pocket and completely encloses the hormone-binding site. By filling in a hydrophobic cavity at the protein interface, auxin enhances the TIR1–substrate interactions by acting as a ‘molecular glue’. Our results establish the first structural model of a plant hormone receptor.
Publications

Schwager, K. M.; Calderon-Villalobos, L. I. A.; Dohmann, E. M.; Willige, B. C.; Knierer, S.; Nill, C.; Schwechheimer, C.; Characterization of the VIER F-BOX PROTEINE Genes from Arabidopsis Reveals Their Importance for Plant Growth and Development Plant Cell 19, 1163-1178, (2007) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.105.040675

E3 ubiquitin ligases (E3s) target proteins for degradation by the 26S proteasome. In SKP1/CDC53/F-box protein–type E3s, substrate specificity is conferred by the interchangeable F-box protein subunit. The vast majority of the 694 F-box proteins encoded by the Arabidopsis thaliana genome remain to be understood. We characterize the VIER F-BOX PROTEINE (VFB; German for FOUR F-BOX PROTEINS) genes from Arabidopsis that belong to subfamily C of the Arabidopsis F-box protein superfamily. This subfamily also includes the F-box proteins TRANSPORT INHIBITOR RESPONSE1 (TIR1)/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX (AFB) proteins and EIN3 BINDING F-BOX proteins, which regulate auxin and ethylene responses, respectively. We show that loss of VFB function causes delayed plant growth and reduced lateral root formation. We find that the expression of a number of auxin-responsive genes and the activity of DR5:β-glucuronidase, a reporter for auxin reponse, are reduced in the vfb mutants. This finding correlates with an increase in the abundance of an AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID repressor. However, we also find that auxin responses are not affected in the vfb mutants and that a representative VFB family member, VFB2, cannot functionally complement the tir1-1 mutant. We therefore exclude the possibility that VFBs are functional orthologs of TIR1/AFB proteins.
Publications

Schilling, S.; Stenzel, I.; von Bohlen, A.; Wermann, M.; Schulz, K.; Demuth, H.-U.; Wasternack, C.; Isolation and characterization of the glutaminyl cyclases from Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana: implications for physiological functions Biol. Chem. 388, 145-153, (2007) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2007.016

Glutaminyl cyclases (QCs) catalyze the formation of pyroglutamic acid at the N-terminus of several peptides and proteins. On the basis of the amino acid sequence of Carica papaya QC, we identified cDNAs of the putative counterparts from Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana. Upon expression of the corresponding cDNAs from both plants via the secretory pathway of Pichia pastoris, two active QC proteins were isolated. The specificity of the purified proteins was assessed using various substrates with different amino acid composition and length. Highest specificities were observed with substrates possessing large hydrophobic residues adjacent to the N-terminal glutamine and for fluorogenic dipeptide surrogates. However, compared to Carica papaya QC, the specificity constants were approximately one order of magnitude lower for most of the QC substrates analyzed. The QCs also catalyzed the conversion of N-terminal glutamic acid to pyroglutamic acid, but with approximately 105- to 106-fold lower specificity. The ubiquitous distribution of plant QCs prompted a search for potential substrates in plants. Based on database entries, numerous proteins, e.g., pathogenesis-related proteins, were found that carry a pyroglutamate residue at the N-terminus, suggesting QC involvement. The putative relevance of QCs and pyroglutamic acid for plant defense reactions is discussed.
Publications

Pedranzani, H.; Sierra-de-Grado, R.; Vigliocco, A.; Miersch, O.; Abdala, G.; Cold and water stresses produce changes in endogenous jasmonates in two populations of Pinus pinaster Ait Plant Growth Regul. 52, 111-116, (2007) DOI: 10.1007/s10725-007-9166-2

There is considerable evidence suggesting that jasmonates (JAs) play a role in plant resistance against abiotic stress. It is well known that in Angiosperms JAs are involved in the defense response, however there is little information about their role in Gymnosperms. Our proposal was to study the involvement of JAs in Pinus pinaster Ait. reaction to cold and water stress, and to compare the response of two populations of different provenances (Gredos and Bajo Tiétar) to these stresses. We detected 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA), jasmonic acid (JA), and the hydroxylates 11-hydroxyjasmonate and 12-hydroxyjasmonate in foliage and shoots of P. pinaster plants. The response of the Gredos population to cold stress differed from that of Bajo Tiétar. Gredos plants showed a lower JA-basal level than Bajo Tiétar; under cold stress JA increased twofold at 72 h, while it decreased in Bajo Tiétar plants. The hydroxylates slightly increased in both populations due to cold stress treatment. Under water stress, plants from Gredos showed a remarkable JA-increase; thus the JA-response was much more prominent under water stress than under cold stress. In contrast, no change was found in JA-level in Bajo Tiétar plants under water stress. The level of JA-precursor, OPDA, was very low in control plants from Gredos and Bajo Tiétar. Under water stress OPDA increased only in plants from Bajo Tiétar. Therefore, we inform here of a different JAs-accumulation pattern after the stress treatment in P. pinaster from two provenances, and suggest a possible correlation with adaptations to diverse ecological conditions.
Publications

Lannoo, N.; Vandenborre, G.; Miersch, O.; Smagghe, G.; Wasternack, C.; Peumans, W. J.; Van Damme, E. J. M.; The Jasmonate-Induced Expression of the Nicotiana tabacum Leaf Lectin Plant Cell Physiol. 48, 1207-1218, (2007) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcm090

Previous experiments with tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Samsun NN) plants revealed that jasmonic acid methyl ester (JAME) induces the expression of a cytoplasmic/nuclear lectin in leaf cells and provided the first evidence that jasmonates affect the expression of carbohydrate-binding proteins in plant cells. To corroborate the induced accumulation of relatively large amounts of a cytoplasmic/nuclear lectin, a detailed study was performed on the induction of the lectin in both intact tobacco plants and excised leaves. Experiments with different stress factors demonstrated that the lectin is exclusively induced by exogeneously applied jasmonic acid and JAME, and to a lesser extent by insect herbivory. The lectin concentration depends on leaf age and the position of the tissue in the leaf. JAME acts systemically in intact plants but very locally in excised leaves. Kinetic analyses indicated that the lectin is synthesized within 12 h exposure time to JAME, reaching a maximum after 60 h. After removal of JAME, the lectin progressively disappears from the leaf tissue. The JAME-induced accumulation of an abundant nuclear/cytoplasmic lectin is discussed in view of the possible role of this lectin in the plant.
Publications

Guranowski, A.; Miersch, O.; Staswick, P. E.; Suza, W.; Wasternack, C.; Substrate specificity and products of side-reactions catalyzed by jasmonate:amino acid synthetase (JAR1) FEBS Lett. 581, 815-820, (2007) DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2007.01.049

Jasmonate:amino acid synthetase (JAR1) is involved in the function of jasmonic acid (JA) as a plant hormone. It catalyzes the synthesis of several JA‐amido conjugates, the most important of which appears to be JA‐Ile. Structurally, JAR1 is a member of the firefly luciferase superfamily that comprises enzymes that adenylate various organic acids. This study analyzed the substrate specificity of recombinant JAR1 and determined whether it catalyzes the synthesis of mono‐ and dinucleoside polyphosphates, which are side‐reaction products of many enzymes forming acyl ∼ adenylates. Among different oxylipins tested as mixed stereoisomers for substrate activity with JAR1, the highest rate of conversion to Ile‐conjugates was observed for (±)‐JA and 9,10‐dihydro‐JA, while the rate of conjugation with 12‐hydroxy‐JA and OPC‐4 (3‐oxo‐2‐(2Z ‐pentenyl)cyclopentane‐1‐butyric acid) was only about 1–2% that for (±)‐JA. Of the two stereoisomers of JA, (−)‐JA and (+)‐JA, rate of synthesis of the former was about 100‐fold faster than for (+)‐JA. Finally, we have demonstrated that (1) in the presence of ATP, Mg2+, (−)‐JA and tripolyphosphate the ligase produces adenosine 5′‐tetraphosphate (p4A); (2) addition of isoleucine to that mixture halts the p4A synthesis; (3) the enzyme produces neither diadenosine triphosphate (Ap3A) nor diadenosine tetraphosphate (Ap4A) and (4) Ap4A cannot substitute ATP as a source of adenylate in the complete reaction that yields JA‐Ile.
Publications

Flores, R.; Navarro, B.; Gago, S.; De la Peña, M.; Chrysanthemum Chlorotic Mottle Viroid: a System for Reverse Genetics in the Family Avsunviroidae (Hammerhead Viroids) Plant Viruses 1, 27-32, (2007)

Viroids are small single-stranded circular RNAs able to infect plants. Chrysanthemum chlorotic mottle was one of the first viroid diseases reported, but identification and characterization of the causing RNA was delayed by its low accumulation in vivo. Chrysanthemum chlorotic mottle viroid (CChMVd) (398-401 nt) adopts a branched conformation instead of the rod-like secondary structure characteristic of most viroids. The natural sequence variability and the effects of artificial mutants support that the branched conformation is physiologically relevant and additionally stabilized by a kissing-loop interaction critical for RNA in vitro folding and in vivo viability. CChMVd shares structural similarities with peach latent mosaic viroid, with which forms the genus Pelamoviroid within the family Avsunviroidae. CChMVd adopts hammerhead structures that catalyze self-cleavage of the oligomeric strands of both polarities resulting from replication through a symmetric rolling-circle mechanism. The two CChMVd hammerheads display peculiarities: the plus has an extra A close to the central conserved core, and the minus an unsually long helix II. There are non-symptomatic strains (CChMVd-NS) that protect against challenge inoculation with severe strains (CChMVd-S). Introduction by site-directed mutagenesis of one of the CChMVd-NS specific mutations (UUUC?GAAA) is sufficient to change the symptomatic phenotype into non-symptomatic without altering the viroid titer. This pathogenicity determinant maps at a tetraloop of the CChMVd branched conformation. Co-inoculations with typical CChMVd-S and -NS variants showed that the infected plants remain symptomless only when the latter was in more than a 100-fold excess, indicating the higher fitness of the S variant. RNA silencing could mediate the observed cross-protection.
Publications

Fester, T.; Lohse, S.; Halfmann, K.; “Chromoplast” development in arbuscular mycorrhizal roots Phytochemistry 68, 92-100, (2007) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.09.034

The accumulation of apocarotenoids in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) roots suggests a dramatic reorganization of the plastids responsible for the biosynthesis of these compounds. This review describes the cytological and biochemical characterization of this phenomenon. The results presented suggest that plastids are key organelles for the establishment of the symbiotic interface of the AM symbiosis. In addition, a complex interplay of various plant cell components during the different functional phases of this interface is suggested. Arbuscule degradation appears to be of particular interest, as it correlates with the formation of the most extensive plastid structures and with apocarotenoid accumulation.
Publications

Eschen-Lippold, L.; Rothe, G.; Stumpe, M.; Göbel, C.; Feussner, I.; Rosahl, S.; Reduction of divinyl ether-containing polyunsaturated fatty acids in transgenic potato plants Phytochemistry 68, 797-801, (2007) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.12.010

Oxygenated polyunsaturated fatty acids synthesized via the lipoxygenase pathway play a role in plant responses to pathogen attack. In solanaceous plants, the preferential stimulation of the 9-lipoxygenase pathway in response to pathogen infection leads to the formation of the divinyl ether-containing polyunsaturated fatty acids colneleic and colnelenic acid, as well as hydroxy and trihydroxy polyunsaturated fatty acids. To functionally assess the role of divinyl ethers, transgenic potato plants were generated which express an RNA interference construct directed against the pathogen-inducible 9-divinyl ether synthase. Efficient reduction of 9-divinyl ether synthase transcript accumulation correlated with reduced levels of colneleic and colnelenic acid. However, in response to infection with virulent Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease, no significant differences in pathogen biomass could be detected suggesting that the levels of antimicrobial divinyl ethers are not critical for defense against Phytophthora infestans in a compatible interaction.
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