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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Jayaweera, T.; Siriwardana, C.; Dharmasiri, S.; Quint, M.; Gray, W. M.; Dharmasiri, N. Alternative Splicing of Arabidopsis IBR5 Pre-mRNA Generates Two IBR5 Isoforms with Distinct and Overlapping Functions PLoS ONE 9, e102301, (2014) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102301

The INDOLE-3-BUTYRIC ACID RESPONSE5 (IBR5) gene encodes a dual specificity phosphatase that regulates plant auxinresponses. IBR5 has been predicted to generate two transcripts through alternative splicing, but alternative splicing of IBR5has not been confirmed experimentally. The previously characterized ibr5-1 null mutant exhibits many auxin related defectssuch as auxin insensitive primary root growth, defective vascular development, short stature and reduced lateral rootdevelopment. However, whether all these defects are caused by the lack of phosphatase activity is not clear. Here wedescribe two new auxin insensitive IBR5 alleles, ibr5-4, a catalytic site mutant, and ibr5-5, a splice site mutant.Characterization of these new mutants indicates that IBR5 is post-transcriptionally regulated to generate two transcripts,AT2G04550.1 and AT2G04550.3, and consequently two IBR5 isoforms, IBR5.1 and IBR5.3. The IBR5.1 isoform exhibitsphosphatase catalytic activity that is required for both proper degradation of Aux/IAA proteins and auxin-induced geneexpression. These two processes are independently regulated by IBR5.1. Comparison of new mutant alleles with ibr5-1indicates that all three mutant alleles share many phenotypes. However, each allele also confers distinct defects implicatingIBR5 isoform specific functions. Some of these functions are independent of IBR5.1 catalytic activity. Additionally, analysis ofthese new mutant alleles suggests that IBR5 may link ABP1 and SCFTIR1/AFBs auxin signaling pathways.

Flores, R.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Serra, P.; Sanjuán, R.; Elena, S. F. Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World? Annual Rev Microbiol 68, 395 - 414, (2014) DOI: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091313-103416

Because RNA can be a carrier of genetic information and a biocatalyst, there is a consensus that it emerged before DNA and proteins, which eventually assumed these roles and relegated RNA to intermediate functions. If such a scenario—the so-called RNA world—existed, we might hope to find its relics in our present world. The properties of viroids that make them candidates for being survivors of the RNA world include those expected for primitive RNA replicons: (a) small size imposed by error-prone replication, (b) high G+ C content to increase replication fidelity, (c) circular structure for assuring complete replication without genomic tags, (d) structural periodicity for modular assembly into enlarged genomes, (e) lack of protein-coding ability consistent with a ribosome-free habitat, and (f) replication mediated in some by ribozymes, the fingerprint of the RNA world. With the advent of DNA and proteins, those protoviroids lost some abilities and became the plant parasites we now know.

Floková, K.; Tarkowská, D.; Miersch, O.; Strnad, M.; Wasternack, C.; Novak, O. UHPLC-MS/MS based target profiling of stress-induced phytohormones Phytochemistry 105, 147-157, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.05.015

Stress-induced changes in phytohormone metabolite profiles have rapid effects on plant metabolic activity and growth. The jasmonates (JAs) are a group of fatty acid-derived stress response regulators with roles in numerous developmental processes. To elucidate their dual regulatory effects, which overlap with those of other important defence-signalling plant hormones such as salicylic acid (SA), abscisic acid (ABA) and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), we have developed a highly efficient single-step clean-up procedure for their enrichment from complex plant matrices that enables their sensitive quantitative analysis using hyphenated mass spectrometry technique. The rapid extraction of minute quantities of plant material (less than 20 mg fresh weight, FW) into cold 10% methanol followed by one-step reversed-phase polymer-based solid phase extraction significantly reduced matrix effects and increased the recovery of labile JA analytes. This extraction and purification protocol was paired with a highly sensitive and validated ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) method and used to simultaneously profile sixteen stress-induced phytohormones in minute plant material samples, including endogenous JA, several of its biosynthetic precursors and derivatives, as well as SA, ABA and IAA.

Farmer, E. E.; Gasperini, D.; Acosta, I. F. The squeeze cell hypothesis for the activation of jasmonate synthesis in response to wounding New Phytol 204, 282-288, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/nph.12897

Jasmonates are lipid mediators that control defence gene expression in response to wounding and other environmental stresses. These small molecules can accumulate at distances up to several cm from sites of damage and this is likely to involve cell‐to‐cell jasmonate transport. Also, and independently of jasmonate synthesis, transport and perception, different long‐distance wound signals that stimulate distal jasmonate synthesis are propagated at apparent speeds of several cm min–1 to tissues distal to wounds in a mechanism that involves clade 3 GLUTAMATE RECEPTOR‐LIKE (GLR) genes. A search for jasmonate synthesis enzymes that might decode these signals revealed LOX6, a lipoxygenase that is necessary for much of the rapid accumulation of jasmonic acid at sites distal to wounds. Intriguingly, the LOX6 promoter is expressed in a distinct niche of cells that are adjacent to mature xylem vessels, a location that would make these contact cells sensitive to the release of xylem water column tension upon wounding. We propose a model in which rapid axial changes in xylem hydrostatic pressure caused by wounding travel through the vasculature and lead to slower, radially dispersed pressure changes that act in a clade 3 GLR‐dependent mechanism to promote distal jasmonate synthesis.

Ried, M. K.; Antolín-Llovera, M.; Parniske, M. Spontaneous symbiotic reprogramming of plant roots triggered by receptor-like kinases eLife 3, e03891, (2014) DOI: 10.7554/eLife.03891

Symbiosis Receptor-like Kinase (SYMRK) is indispensable for the development of phosphate-acquiring arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) as well as nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis, but the mechanisms that discriminate between the two distinct symbiotic developmental fates have been enigmatic. In this study, we show that upon ectopic expression, the receptor-like kinase genes Nod Factor Receptor 1 (NFR1), NFR5, and SYMRK initiate spontaneous nodule organogenesis and nodulation-related gene expression in the absence of rhizobia. Furthermore, overexpressed NFR1 or NFR5 associated with endogenous SYMRK in roots of the legume Lotus japonicus. Epistasis tests revealed that the dominant active SYMRK allele initiates signalling independently of either the NFR1 or NFR5 gene and upstream of a set of genes required for the generation or decoding of calcium-spiking in both symbioses. Only SYMRK but not NFR overexpression triggered the expression of AM-related genes, indicating that the receptors play a key role in the decision between AM- or root nodule symbiosis-development.

Antolín-Llovera, M.; Ried, M. K.; Parniske, M. Cleavage of the SYMBIOSIS RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE Ectodomain Promotes Complex Formation with Nod Factor Receptor 5 Curr Biol 24, 422-427, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.053

Plants form root symbioses with fungi and bacteria to improve their nutrient supply. SYMBIOSIS RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE (SYMRK) is required for phosphate-acquiring arbuscular mycorrhiza, as well as for the nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis of legumes [1] and actinorhizal plants [2, 3], but its precise function was completely unclear. Here we show that the extracytoplasmic region of SYMRK, which comprises three leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) and a malectin-like domain (MLD) related to a carbohydrate-binding protein from Xenopus laevis [4], is cleaved to release the MLD in the absence of symbiotic stimulation. A conserved sequence motif—GDPC—that connects the MLD to the LRRs is required for MLD release. We discovered that Nod factor receptor 5 (NFR5) [5, 6, 7, 8] forms a complex with the SYMRK version that remains after MLD release (SYMRK-ΔMLD). SYMRK-ΔMLD outcompeted full-length SYMRK for NFR5 interaction, indicating that the MLD negatively interferes with complex formation. SYMRK-ΔMLD is present at lower amounts than MLD, suggesting rapid degradation after MLD release. A deletion of the entire extracytoplasmic region increased protein abundance, suggesting that the LRR region promotes degradation. Curiously, this deletion led to excessive infection thread formation, highlighting the importance of fine-tuned regulation of SYMRK by its ectodomain.

Antolín-Llovera, M.; Petutsching, E. K.; Ried, M. K.; Lipka, V.; Nürnberger, T.; Robatzek, S.; Parniske, M. Knowing your friends and foes - plant receptor-like kinases as initiators of symbiosis or defence New Phytol 204, 791-802, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/nph.13117

The decision between defence and symbiosis signalling in plants involves alternative and modular plasma membrane‐localized receptor complexes. A critical step in their activation is ligand‐induced homo‐ or hetero‐oligomerization of leucine‐rich repeat (LRR)‐ and/or lysin motif (LysM) receptor‐like kinases (RLKs). In defence signalling, receptor complexes form upon binding of pathogen‐associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), including the bacterial flagellin‐derived peptide flg22, or chitin. Similar mechanisms are likely to operate during the perception of microbial symbiont‐derived (lipo)‐chitooligosaccharides. The structurally related chitin‐oligomer ligands chitooctaose and chitotetraose trigger defence and symbiosis signalling, respectively, and their discrimination involves closely related, if not identical, LysM‐RLKs. This illustrates the demand for and the challenges imposed on decision mechanisms that ensure appropriate signal initiation. Appropriate signalling critically depends on abundance and localization of RLKs at the cell surface. This is regulated by internalization, which also provides a mechanism for the removal of activated signalling RLKs. Abundance of the malectin‐like domain (MLD)‐LRR‐RLK Symbiosis Receptor‐like Kinase (SYMRK) is additionally controlled by cleavage of its modular ectodomain, which generates a truncated and rapidly degraded RLK fragment. This review explores LRR‐ and LysM‐mediated signalling, the involvement of MLD‐LRR‐RLKs in symbiosis and defence, and the role of endocytosis in RLK function.

Grubb, C. D.; Zipp, B. J.; Kopycki, J.; Schubert, M.; Quint, M.; Lim, E.-K.; Bowles, D. J.; Pedras, M. S. C.; Abel, S. Comparative analysis of Arabidopsis UGT74 glucosyltransferases reveals a special role of UGT74C1 in glucosinolate biosynthesis Plant J. 79, 92–105, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12541

The study of glucosinolates and their regulation has provided a powerful framework for the exploration of fundamental questions about the function, evolution, and ecological significance of plant natural products, but uncertainties about their metabolism remain. Previous work has identified one thiohydroximate S-glucosyltransferase, UGT74B1, with an important role in the core pathway, but also made clear that this enzyme functions redundantly and cannot be the sole UDP-glucose dependent glucosyltransferase (UGT) in glucosinolate synthesis. Here, we present the results of a nearly comprehensive in vitro activity screen of recombinant Arabidopsis Family 1 UGTs, which implicate other members of the UGT74 clade as candidate glucosinolate biosynthetic enzymes. Systematic genetic analysis of this clade indicates that UGT74C1 plays a special role in the synthesis of aliphatic glucosinolates, a conclusion strongly supported by phylogenetic and gene expression analyses. Finally, the ability of UGT74C1 to complement phenotypes and chemotypes of the ugt74b1-2 knockout mutant and to express thiohydroximate UGT activity in planta provides conclusive evidence for UGT74C1 being an accessory enzyme in glucosinolate biosynthesis with a potential function during plant adaptation to environmental challenge.

Müller, J.; Toev, T.; Heisters, M.; Teller, J.; Moore, K. L.; Hause, G.; Dinesh, D. C.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Abel, S. Iron-Dependent Callose Deposition Adjusts Root Meristem Maintenance to Phosphate Availability Devel Cell 33, 216–230, (2015) DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.02.007

Plant root development is informed by numerous edaphic cues. Phosphate (Pi) availability impacts the root system architecture by adjusting meristem activity. However, the sensory mechanisms monitoring external Pi status are elusive. Two functionally interacting Arabidopsis genes, LPR1 (ferroxidase) and PDR2 (P5-type ATPase), are key players in root Pi sensing, which is modified by iron (Fe) availability. We show that the LPR1-PDR2 module facilitates, upon Pi limitation, cell-specific apoplastic Fe and callose deposition in the meristem and elongation zone of primary roots. Expression of cell-wall-targeted LPR1 determines the sites of Fe accumulation as well as callose production, which interferes with symplastic communication in the stem cell niche, as demonstrated by impaired SHORT-ROOT movement. Antagonistic interactions of Pi and Fe availability control primary root growth via meristem-specific callose formation, likely triggered by LPR1-dependent redox signaling. Our results link callose-regulated cell-to-cell signaling in root meristems to the perception of an abiotic cue

Dinesh, D. C.; Kovermann, M.; Gopalswamy, M.; Hellmuth, A.; Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A.; Lilie, H.; Balbach, J.; Abel, S. Solution structure of the PsIAA4 oligomerization domain reveals interaction modes for transcription factors in early auxin response PNAS 112, 6230-6235, (2015) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1424077112

The plant hormone auxin activates primary response genes by facilitating proteolytic removal of AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (AUX/IAA)-inducible repressors, which directly bind to transcriptional AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORS (ARF). Most AUX/IAA and ARF proteins share highly conserved C-termini mediating homotypic and heterotypic interactions within and between both protein families. The high-resolution NMR structure of C-terminal domains III and IV of the AUX/IAA protein PsIAA4 from pea (Pisum sativum) revealed a globular ubiquitin-like β-grasp fold with homologies to the Phox and Bem1p (PB1) domain. The PB1 domain of wild-type PsIAA4 features two distinct surface patches of oppositely charged amino acid residues, mediating front-to-back multimerization via electrostatic interactions. Mutations of conserved basic or acidic residues on either face suppressed PsIAA4 PB1 homo-oligomerization in vitro and confirmed directional interaction of full-length PsIAA4 in vivo (yeast two-hybrid system). Mixing of oppositely mutated PsIAA4 PB1 monomers enabled NMR mapping of the negatively charged interface of the reconstituted PsIAA4 PB1 homodimer variant, whose stoichiometry (1:1) and equilibrium binding constant (KD ∼6.4 μM) were determined by isothermal titration calorimetry. In silico protein–protein docking studies based on NMR and yeast interaction data derived a model of the PsIAA4 PB1 homodimer, which is comparable with other PB1 domain dimers, but indicated considerable differences between the homodimeric interfaces of AUX/IAA and ARF PB1 domains. Our study provides an impetus for elucidating the molecular determinants that confer specificity to complex protein–protein interaction circuits between members of the two central families of transcription factors important to the regulation of auxin-responsive gene expression.
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