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Publications - Molecular Signal Processing

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Mielke, S.; Gasperini, D. Interplay between Plant Cell Walls and Jasmonate Production Plant Cell Physiol 60, 2629-2637, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcz119

Plant cell walls are sophisticated carbohydrate-rich structures representing the immediate contact surface with the extracellular environment, often serving as the first barrier against biotic and abiotic stresses. Notably, a variety of perturbations in plant cell walls result in upregulated jasmonate (JA) production, a phytohormone with essential roles in defense and growth responses. Hence, cell wall-derived signals can initiate intracellular JA-mediated responses and the elucidation of the underlying signaling pathways could provide novel insights into cell wall maintenance and remodeling, as well as advance our understanding on how is JA biosynthesis initiated. This Mini Review will describe current knowledge about cell wall-derived damage signals and their effects on JA biosynthesis, as well as provide future perspectives.
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.

Wasternack, C.; Hause, B. The missing link in jasmonic acid biosynthesis Nat Plants 5, 776-777, (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41477-019-0492-y

Jasmonic acid biosynthesis starts in chloroplasts and is finalized in peroxisomes. The required export of a crucial intermediate out of the chloroplast is now shown to be mediated by a protein from the outer envelope called JASSY.

Ried, M. K.; Banhara, A.; Hwu, F.-Y.; Binder, A.; Gust, A. A.; Höfle, C.; Hückelhoven, R.; Nürnberger, T.; Parniske, M. A set of Arabidopsis genes involved in the accommodation of the downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis PLOS Pathog 15, e1007747, (2019) DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007747

The intracellular accommodation structures formed by plant cells to host arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi and biotrophic hyphal pathogens are cytologically similar. Therefore we investigated whether these interactions build on an overlapping genetic framework. In legumes, the malectin-like domain leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase SYMRK, the cation channel POLLUX and members of the nuclear pore NUP107-160 subcomplex are essential for symbiotic signal transduction and arbuscular mycorrhiza development. We identified members of these three groups in Arabidopsis thaliana and explored their impact on the interaction with the oomycete downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa). We report that mutations in the corresponding genes reduced the reproductive success of Hpa as determined by sporangiophore and spore counts. We discovered that a developmental transition of haustorial shape occurred significantly earlier and at higher frequency in the mutants. Analysis of the multiplication of extracellular bacterial pathogens, Hpa-induced cell death or callose accumulation, as well as Hpa- or flg22-induced defence marker gene expression, did not reveal any traces of constitutive or exacerbated defence responses. These findings point towards an overlap between the plant genetic toolboxes involved in the interaction with biotrophic intracellular hyphal symbionts and pathogens in terms of the gene families involved.

Girardin, A.; Wang, T.; Ding, Y.; Keller, J.; Buendia, L.; Gaston, M.; Ribeyre, C.; Gasciolli, V.; Auriac, M.-C.; Vernié, T.; Bendahmane, A.; Ried, M. K.; Parniske, M.; Morel, P.; Vandenbussche, M.; Schorderet, M.; Reinhardt, D.; Delaux, P.-M.; Bono, J.-J.; Lefebvre, B. LCO Receptors Involved in Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Are Functional for Rhizobia Perception in Legumes Curr Biol 29, 4249-4259.e5, (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.11.038

Bacterial lipo-chitooligosaccharides (LCOs) are key mediators of the nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis (RNS) in legumes. The isolation of LCOs from arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi suggested that LCOs are also signaling molecules in arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM). However, the corresponding plant receptors have remained uncharacterized. Here we show that petunia and tomato mutants in the LysM receptor-like kinases LYK10 are impaired in AM formation. Petunia and tomato LYK10 proteins have a high affinity for LCOs (Kd in the nM range) comparable to that previously reported for a legume LCO receptor essential for the RNS. Interestingly, the tomato and petunia LYK10 promoters, when introduced into a legume, were active in nodules similarly to the promoter of the legume orthologous gene. Moreover, tomato and petunia LYK10 coding sequences restored nodulation in legumes mutated in their orthologs. This combination of genetic and biochemical data clearly pinpoints Solanaceous LYK10 as part of an ancestral LCO perception system involved in AM establishment, which has been directly recruited during evolution of the RNS in legumes.

Niemeyer, M.; Moreno Castillo, E.; Ihling, C. H.; Iacobucci, C.; Wilde, V.; Hellmuth, A.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Samodelov, S. L.; Zurbriggen, M. D.; Kastritis, P. L.; Sinz, A.; Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A. Flexibility of intrinsically disordered degrons in AUX/IAA proteins reinforces auxin receptor assemblies bioRxiv (2019) DOI: 10.1101/787770

Cullin RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligases SCFTIR1/AFB1-5 and their ubiquitylation targets, AUX/IAAs, sense auxin concentrations in the nucleus. TIR1 binds a surface-exposed degron in AUX/IAAs promoting their ubiquitylation and rapid auxin-regulated proteasomal degradation. Here, we resolved TIR1·auxin·IAA7 and TIR1·auxin·IAA12 complex topology, and show that flexible intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in the degron′s vicinity, cooperatively position AUX/IAAs on TIR1. The AUX/IAA PB1 interaction domain also assists in non-native contacts, affecting AUX/IAA dynamic interaction states. Our results establish a role for IDRs in modulating auxin receptor assemblies. By securing AUX/IAAs on two opposite surfaces of TIR1, IDR diversity supports locally tailored positioning for targeted ubiquitylation and might provide conformational flexibility for adopting a multiplicity of functional states. We postulate IDRs in distinct members of the AUX/IAA family to be an adaptive signature for protein interaction and initiation region for proteasome recruitment.

Ried, M. K.; Wild, R.; Zhu, J.; Broger, L.; Harmel, R. K.; Hothorn, L. A.; Fiedler, D.; Hothorn, M. Inositol pyrophosphates promote the interaction of SPX domains with the coiled-coil motif of PHR transcription factors to regulate plant phosphate homeostasis bioRxiv (2019) DOI: 10.1101/2019.12.13.875393

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient taken up by organisms in the form of inorganic phosphate (Pi). Eukaryotes have evolved sophisticated Pi sensing and signalling cascades, enabling them to maintain cellular Pi concentrations. Pi homeostasis is regulated by inositol pyrophosphate signalling molecules (PP-InsPs), which are sensed by SPX-domain containing proteins. In plants, PP-InsP bound SPX receptors inactivate Myb coiled-coil (MYB-CC) Pi starvation response transcription factors (PHRs) by an unknown mechanism. Here we report that a InsP8 – SPX complex targets the plant-unique CC domain of PHRs. Crystal structures of the CC domain reveal an unusual four-stranded anti-parallel arrangement. Interface mutations in the CC domain yield monomeric PHR1, which is no longer able to bind DNA with high affinity. Mutation of conserved basic residues located at the surface of the CC domain disrupt interaction with the SPX receptor in vitro and in planta, resulting in constitutive Pi starvation responses. Together, our findings suggest that InsP8 regulates plant Pi homeostasis by controlling the oligomeric state and hence the promoter binding capability of PHRs via their SPX receptors.

Jablonická, V.; Ziegler, J.; Vatehová, Z.; Lišková, D.; Heilmann, I.; Obložinský, M.; Heilmann, M. Inhibition of phospholipases influences the metabolism of wound-induced benzylisoquinoline alkaloids in Papaver somniferum L. J Plant Physiol 223, 1-8, (2018) DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2018.01.007

Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) are important secondary plant metabolites and include medicinally relevant drugs, such as morphine or codeine. As the de novo synthesis of BIA backbones is (still) unfeasible, to date the opium poppy plant Papaver somniferum L. represents the main source of BIAs. The formation of BIAs is induced in poppy plants by stress conditions, such as wounding or salt treatment; however, the details about regulatory processes controlling BIA formation in opium poppy are not well studied. Environmental stresses, such as wounding or salinization, are transduced in plants by phospholipid-based signaling pathways, which involve different classes of phospholipases. Here we investigate whether pharmacological inhibition of phospholipase A2 (PLA2, inhibited by aristolochic acid (AA)) or phospholipase D (PLD; inhibited by 5-fluoro-2-indolyl des-chlorohalopemide (FIPI)) in poppy plants influences wound-induced BIA accumulation and the expression of key biosynthetic genes. We show that inhibition of PLA2 results in increased morphinan biosynthesis concomitant with reduced production of BIAs of the papaverine branch, whereas inhibition of PLD results in increased production of BIAs of the noscapine branch. The data suggest that phospholipid-dependent signaling pathways contribute to the activation of morphine biosynthesis at the expense of the production of other BIAs in poppy plants. A better understanding of the effectors and the principles of regulation of alkaloid biosynthesis might be the basis for the future genetic modification of opium poppy to optimize BIA production.

Gantner, J.; Ordon, J.; Ilse, T.; Kretschmer, C.; Gruetzner, R.; Löfke, C.; Dagdas, Y.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Marillonnet, S.; Stuttmann, J. Peripheral infrastructure vectors and an extended set of plant parts for the Modular Cloning system PLoS ONE 13, e0197185, (2018) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197185

Standardized DNA assembly strategies facilitate the generation of multigene constructs from collections of building blocks in plant synthetic biology. A common syntax for hierarchical DNA assembly following the Golden Gate principle employing Type IIs restriction endonucleases was recently developed, and underlies the Modular Cloning and GoldenBraid systems. In these systems, transcriptional units and/or multigene constructs are assembled from libraries of standardized building blocks, also referred to as phytobricks, in several hierarchical levels and by iterative Golden Gate reactions. Here, a toolkit containing further modules for the novel DNA assembly standards was developed. Intended for use with Modular Cloning, most modules are also compatible with GoldenBraid. Firstly, a collection of approximately 80 additional phytobricks is provided, comprising e.g. modules for inducible expression systems, promoters or epitope tags. Furthermore, DNA modules were developed for connecting Modular Cloning and Gateway cloning, either for toggling between systems or for standardized Gateway destination vector assembly. Finally, first instances of a “peripheral infrastructure” around Modular Cloning are presented: While available toolkits are designed for the assembly of plant transformation constructs, vectors were created to also use coding sequence-containing phytobricks directly in yeast two hybrid interaction or bacterial infection assays. The presented material will further enhance versatility of hierarchical DNA assembly strategies.

Bagchi, R.; Melnyk, C. W.; Christ, G.; Winkler, M.; Kirchsteiner, K.; Salehin, M.; Mergner, J.; Niemeyer, M.; Schwechheimer, C.; Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A.; Estelle, M. The Arabidopsis ALF4 protein is a regulator of SCF E3 ligases. EMBO J 37, 255-268, (2018) DOI: 10.15252/embj.201797159

The cullin-RING E3 ligases (CRLs) regulate diverse cellular processes in all eukaryotes. CRL activity is controlled by several proteins or protein complexes, including NEDD8, CAND1, and the CSN. Recently, a mammalian protein called Glomulin (GLMN) was shown to inhibit CRLs by binding to the RING BOX (RBX1) subunit and preventing binding to the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme. Here, we show that Arabidopsis ABERRANT LATERAL ROOT FORMATION4 (ALF4) is an ortholog of GLMN. The alf4 mutant exhibits a phenotype that suggests defects in plant hormone response. We show that ALF4 binds to RBX1 and inhibits the activity of SCFTIR1, an E3 ligase responsible for degradation of the Aux/IAA transcriptional repressors. In vivo, the alf4 mutation destabilizes the CUL1 subunit of the SCF. Reduced CUL1 levels are associated with increased levels of the Aux/IAA proteins as well as the DELLA repressors, substrate of SCFSLY1. We propose that the alf4 phenotype is partly due to increased levels of the Aux/IAA and DELLA proteins.
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