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Schilling, S.; Wasternack, C.; Demuth, H.-U.; Glutaminyl cyclases from animals and plants: a case of functionally convergent protein evolution Biol. Chem. 389, (2008) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2008.111

Several mammalian peptide hormones and proteins from plant and animal origin contain an N-terminal pyroglutamic acid (pGlu) residue. Frequently, the moiety is important in exerting biological function in either mediating interaction with receptors or stabilizing against N-terminal degradation. Glutaminyl cyclases (QCs) were isolated from different plants and animals catalyzing pGlu formation. The recent resolution of the 3D structures of Carica papaya and human QCs clearly supports different evolutionary origins of the proteins, which is also reflected by different enzymatic mechanisms. The broad substrate specificity is revealed by the heterogeneity of physiological substrates of plant and animal QCs, including cytokines, matrix proteins and pathogenesis-related proteins. Moreover, recent evidence also suggests human QC as a catalyst of pGlu formation at the N-terminus of amyloid peptides, which contribute to Alzheimer's disease. Obviously, owing to its biophysical properties, the function of pGlu in plant and animal proteins is very similar in terms of stabilizing or mediating protein and peptide structure. It is possible that the requirement for catalysis of pGlu formation under physiological conditions may have triggered separate evolution of QCs in plants and animals.

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.

Delker, C.; Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Miersch, O.; Feussner, I.; Wasternack, C.; Jasmonate Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana - Enzymes, Products, Regulation Plant Biol. 8, 297-306, (2006) DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-923935

Among the plant hormones jasmonic acid and related derivatives are known to mediate stress responses and several developmental processes. Biosynthesis, regulation, and metabolism of jasmonic acid in Arabidopsis thaliana are reviewed, including properties of mutants of jasmonate biosynthesis. The individual signalling properties of several jasmonates are described.

Schilling, S.; Manhart, S.; Hoffmann, T.; Ludwig, H.-H.; Wasternack, C.; Demuth, H.-U.; Substrate Specificity of Glutaminyl Cyclases from Plants and Animals Biol. Chem. 384, 1583-1592, (2003) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2003.175

Glutaminyl cyclases (QC) catalyze the intramolecular cyclization of N-terminal glutamine residues of peptides and proteins. For a comparison of the substrate specificity of human and papaya QC enzymes, a novel continuous assay was established by adapting an existing discontinuous method. Specificity constants (kcat/Km) of dipeptides and dipeptide surrogates were higher for plant QC, whereas the selectivity for oligopeptides was similar for both enzymes. However, only the specificity constants of mammalian QC were dependent on size and composition of the substrates. Specificity constants of both enzymes were equally pH-dependent in the acidic pH-region, revealing a pKa value identical to the pKa of the substrate, suggesting similarities in the substrate conversion mode. Accordingly, both QCs converted the L-?homoglutaminyl residue in the peptide H-?homoGln-Phe-Lys-Arg-Leu-Ala-NH2 and the glutaminyl residues of the branched peptide H-Gln-Lys(Gln)-Arg-Leu-Ala-NH2 as well as the partially cyclized peptide H-Gln-cyclo( N?-Lys-Arg-Pro-Ala-Gly-Phe). In contrast, only QC from C. papaya was able to cyclize a methylated glutamine residue, while this compound did not even inhibit human QC-catalysis, suggesting distinct substrate recognition pattern. The conversion of the potential physiological substrates gastrin, neurotensin and [GlN1]-fertilization promoting peptide indicates that human QC may play a key role in posttranslational modification of most if not all pGlu-containing hormones.

Bachmann, A.; Hause, B.; Maucher, H.; Garbe, E.; Vörös, K.; Weichert, H.; Wasternack, C.; Feussner, I.; Jasmonate-Induced Lipid Peroxidation in Barley Leaves Initiated by Distinct 13-LOX Forms of Chloroplasts Biol. Chem. 383, 1645-1657, (2002) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2002.185

In addition to a previously characterized 13-lipoxygenase of 100 kDa encoded by LOX2:Hv:1 [Vörös et al., Eur. J. Biochem. 251 (1998), 36 44], two fulllength cDNAs (LOX2:Hv:2, LOX2:Hv:3) were isolated from barley leaves (Hordeum vulgare cv. Salome) and characterized. Both of them encode 13-lipoxygenases with putative target sequences for chloroplast import. Immunogold labeling revealed preferential, if not exclusive, localization of lipoxygenase proteins in the stroma. The ultrastructure of the chloroplast was dramatically altered following methyl jasmonate treatment, indicated by a loss of thylakoid membranes, decreased number of stacks and appearance of numerous osmiophilic globuli. The three 13-lipoxygenases are differentially expressed during treatment with jasmonate, salicylate, glucose or sorbitol. Metabolite profiling of free linolenic acid and free linoleic acid, the substrates of lipoxygenases, in water floated or jasmonatetreated leaves revealed preferential accumulation of linolenic acid. Remarkable amounts of free 9- as well as 13-hydroperoxy linolenic acid were found. In addition, metabolites of these hydroperoxides, such as the hydroxy derivatives and the respective aldehydes, appeared following methyl jasmonate treatment. These findings were substantiated by metabolite profiling of isolated chloroplasts, and subfractions including the envelope, the stroma and the thylakoids, indicating a preferential occurrence of lipoxygenasederived products in the stroma and in the envelope. These data revealed jasmonateinduced activation of the hydroperoxide lyase and reductase branch within the lipoxygenase pathway and suggest differential activity of the three 13-lipoxygenases under different stress conditions.

Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Octadecanoid and Jasmonate Signaling in Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) Leaves: Endogenous Jasmonates Do Not Induce Jasmonate Biosynthesis Biol. Chem. 381, 715-722, (2000) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2000.092

Jasmonates and their precursors, the octadecanoids, are signals in stress-induced alteration of gene expression. Several mRNAs coding for enzymes of jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis are up-regulated upon JA treatment or endogenous increase of the JA level. Here we investigated the positive feedback of endogenous JA on JA formation, as well as its β-oxidation steps. JA-responsive gene expression was recorded in terms of proteinase inhibitor2 (pin2) mRNA accumulation. JA formed upon treatment of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Moneymaker) leaves with JA derivatives carrying different lengths of the carboxylic acid side chain was quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The data revealed that β-oxidation of the side chain occurs up to a butyric acid moiety. The amount of JA formed from side-chain modified JA derivatives correlated with pin2-mRNA accumulation. JA derivatives with a carboxylic side chain of 3, 5 or 7 carbon atoms were unable to form JA and to express on pin2, whereas evennumbered derivatives were active.After treatment of tomato leaves with (10-2H)-(–)-12-oxophytoenoic acid, (4-2H)-(–)-JA and its methyl ester were formed and could be quantified separately from the endogenously nonlabeled JA pool by GC-MS analysis via isotopic discrimination. The level of 8 nmol per g fresh weight JA and its methyl ester originated exclusively from labeled 12-oxophytoenic acid. This and further data indicate that endogenous synthesis of the JA precursor 12-oxophytodienoic acid, as well as of JA and its methyl ester, are not induced in tomato leaves, suggesting that positive feedback in JA biosynthesis does not function in vivo.

Hause, B.; Hertel, S. C.; Klaus, D.; Wasternack, C.; Cultivar-Specific Expression of the Jasmonate-Induced Protein of 23 kDa (JIP-23) Occurs in Hordeum vulgare L. by Jasmonates but not During Seed Germination Plant Biol. 1, 83-89, (1999) DOI: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.1999.tb00712.x

Treatment of barley leaf segments with jasmonic acid methyl ester (JM) leads to the accumulation of a set of newly formed abundant proteins. Among them, the most abun dant protein exhibits a molecular mass of 23 kDa (JIP‐23). Here, data are presented on the occurrence and expression of the lIP‐23 genes in different cultivars of Hordeum vulgare . Southern blot analysis of 80 cultivars revealed the occurrence of 2 to 4 genes coding for JIP‐23 in all cultivars. By means of Northern blot and immunoblot analysis it is shown that some cultivars lack the ex pression of jip‐23 upon treatment of primary leaves with JM as well as upon stress performed by incubation with 1 M sorbitol solution. During germination, however, all tested cultivars ex hibited developmental expression of jip‐23 . The results are dis cussed in terms of possible functions of JIP‐23 in barley.

Vörös, K.; Feussner, I.; Kühn, H.; Lee, J.; Graner, A.; Löbler, M.; Parthier, B.; Wasternack, C.; Characterization of a methyljasmonate-inducible lipoxygenase from barley (Hordeum vulgare cv. Salome) leaves Eur. J. Biochem. 251, 36-44, (1998) DOI: 10.1046/j.1432-1327.1998.2510036.x

We found three methyl jasmonate−induced lipoxygenases with molecular masses of 92 kDa, 98 kDa, and 100 kDa (LOX‐92, ‐98 and ‐100) [Feussner, I., Hause, B., Vörös, K., Parthier, B. & Wasternack, C. (1995) Plant J. 7 , 949−957]. At least two of them (LOX‐92 and LOX‐100), were shown to be localized within chloroplasts of barley leaves. Here, we describe the isolation of a cDNA (3073 bp) coding for LOX‐100, a protein of 936 amino acid residues and a molecular mass of 106 kDa. By sequence comparison this lipoxygenase could be identified as LOX2‐type lipoxygenase and was therefore designated LOX2 : Hv : 1 . The recombinant lipoxygenase was expressed in Escherichia coli and characterized as linoleate 13‐LOX and arachidonate 15‐LOX, respectively. The enzyme exhibited a pH optimum around pH 7.0 and a moderate substrate preference for linoleic acid. The gene was transiently expressed after exogenous application of jasmonic acid methyl ester with a maximum between 12 h and 18 h. Its expression was not affected by exogenous application of abscisic acid. Also a rise of endogenous jasmonic acid resulting from sorbitol stress did not induce LOX2 : Hv : 1 , suggesting a separate signalling pathway compared with other jasmonate‐induced proteins of barley. The properties of LOX2 : Hv : 1 are discussed in relation to its possible involvement in jasmonic acid biosynthesis and other LOX forms of barley identified so far.

Kogel, K.-H.; Ortel, B.; Jarosch, B.; Atzorn, R.; Schiffer, R.; Wasternack, C.; Resistance in barley against the powdery mildew fungus (Erysiphe graminis f.sp.hordei) is not associated with enhanced levels of endogenous jasmonates Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 101, 319-332, (1995) DOI: 10.1007/BF01874788

Onset of acquired resistance of barley (Hordeum vulgare) chemically induced by 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid (DCINA) correlated with the accumulation of mRNA homologous to cDNA pHvJ256 which codes for a soluble leaf-thionin with a Mr. of 6 kDa [Wasternacket al., 1994a]. In the present work, we extend this finding by showing that the thionin transcript also accumulated following treatment of barley with the resistance-inducing compounds 3,5-dichlorosalicylic acid (DCSA), salicylic acid (SA), and an extract fromBacillus subtilis. The polypeptide showed antifungal activity against the biotrophic cereal pathogensErysiphe graminis f.sp.hordei andPuccinia graminis f.sp.tritici which may indicate a possible role in the mechanism of acquired resistance in barley. A thionin transcript hybridizing to pHvJ256 accumulated also in response to application of jasmonates, or treatments that elevated endogenous amounts of the plant growth substance, pointing to the possibility that signaling mediating defense responses in barley involves jasmonates. However, a topical spray application of jasmonic acid (JA) or jasmonate methyl ester (JM) did not protect barley leaves against infection byE. graminis. Performing a kinetic analysis by an enzyme immunoassay specific for (−)-JA, (−)-JM, and its amino acid conjugates, accumulation of jasmonates was detected in osmotically stressed barley but not at the onset of chemically induced or genetically based resistance governed by the powdery mildew resistance genesMlg, Mla 12, ormlo 5. Furthermore, the jasmonate-inducible proteins JIP-23 and JIP-60 were strongly induced following JM- but not DCINA-treatment or inoculation withE. graminis. Hence, in barley, no indications were found in favour for the previously proposed model of a lipid-based signaling pathway via jasmonates mediating expression of resistance in plants against pathogens.
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