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Wasternack, C.; Sulfation switch in the shade Nat. Plants 6, 186-187, (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41477-020-0620-8

Plants adjust the balance between growth and defence using photoreceptors and jasmonates. Levels of active jasmonates are reduced in a phytochrome B-dependent manner by upregulation of a 12-hydroxyjasmonate sulfotransferase, leading to increase in shade avoidance and decrease in defence.

Wasternack, C.; Determination of sex by jasmonate J. Integr. Plant Biol. 62, 162-164, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12840


Anwer, M. U.; Davis, A.; Davis, S. J.; Quint, M.; Photoperiod sensing of the circadian clock is controlled by EARLY FLOWERING 3 and GIGANTEA Plant J. 101, 1397-1410, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14604

ELF3 and GI are two important components of the Arabidopsis circadian clock. They are not only essential for the oscillator function but are also pivotal in mediating light inputs to the oscillator. Lack of either results in a defective oscillator causing severely compromised output pathways, such as photoperiodic flowering and hypocotyl elongation. Although single loss of function mutants of ELF3 and GI have been well‐studied, their genetic interaction remains unclear. We generated an elf3 gi double mutant to study their genetic relationship in clock‐controlled growth and phase transition phenotypes. We found that ELF3 and GI repress growth differentially during the night and the day, respectively. Circadian clock assays revealed that ELF3 and GI are essential Zeitnehmers that enable the oscillator to synchronize the endogenous cellular mechanisms to external environmental signals. In their absence, the circadian oscillator fails to synchronize to the light‐dark cycles even under diurnal conditions. Consequently, clock‐mediated photoperiod‐responsive growth and development are completely lost in plants lacking both genes, suggesting that ELF3 and GI together convey photoperiod sensing to the central oscillator. Since ELF3 and GI are conserved across flowering plants and represent important breeding and domestication targets, our data highlight the possibility of developing photoperiod‐insensitive crops by adjusting the allelic combination of these two key genes.

Wasternack, C.; Feussner, I.; Multifunctional Enzymes in Oxylipin Metabolism ChemBioChem 9, 2373-2375, (2008) DOI: 10.1002/cbic.200800582

For the first time a member of the CYP74 enzyme subfamily (9‐AOS) from tomato has been shown by chemical and analytical approaches to catalyze multiple reactions. These multifunctional properties of 9‐AOS from the oxylipin‐forming lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway raise several new questions on lipid‐derived signaling.

Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Proels, R.; Miersch, O.; Oka, M.; Roitsch, T.; Wasternack, C.; The AOC promoter of tomato is regulated by developmental and environmental stimuli Phytochemistry 69, 1859-1869, (2008) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.03.007

The allene oxide cyclase (AOC) catalyzes the formation of cis-(+)-12-oxophytodienoic acid, an intermediate in jasmonate biosynthesis and is encoded by a single copy gene in tomato. The full length AOC promoter isolated by genome walk contains 3600 bp. Transgenic tomato lines carrying a 1000 bp promoter fragment and the full length promoter, respectively, in front of the β-glucuronidase (GUS)-encoding uidA gene and several tobacco lines carrying the full length tomato AOC promoter before GUS were used to record organ- and tissue-specific promoter activities during development and in response to various stimuli. High promoter activities corresponding to immunocytochemically detected occurrence of the AOC protein were found in seeds and young seedlings and were confined to the root tip, hypocotyl and cotyledons of 3-d-old seedlings. In 10-d-old seedlings promoter activity appeared preferentially in the elongation zone. Fully developed tomato leaves were free of AOC promoter activity, but showed high activity upon wounding locally and systemically or upon treatment with JA, systemin or glucose. Tomato flowers showed high AOC promoter activities in ovules, sepals, anthers and pollen. Most of the promoter activity patterns found in tomato with the 1000 bp promoter fragment were also detected with the full length tomato AOC promoter in tobacco during development or in response to various stimuli. The data support a spatial and temporal regulation of JA biosynthesis during development and in response to environmental stimuli.

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.

Miersch, O.; Neumerkel, J.; Dippe, M.; Stenzel, I.; Wasternack, C.; Hydroxylated jasmonates are commonly occurring metabolites of jasmonic acid and contribute to a partial switch-off in jasmonate signaling New Phytol. 177, 114-127, (2008) DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02252.x

In potato 12‐hydroxyjasmonic acid (12‐OH‐JA) is a tuber‐inducing compound. Here, it is demonstrated that 12‐OH‐JA, as well as its sulfated and glucosylated derivatives, are constituents of various organs of many plant species. All accumulate differentially and usually to much higher concentrations than jasmonic acid (JA).In wounded tomato leaves, 12‐OH‐JA and its sulfated, as well as glucosylated, derivative accumulate after JA, and their diminished accumulation in wounded leaves of the JA‐deficient mutants spr2 and acx1 and also a JA‐deficient 35S::AOCantisense line suggest their JA‐dependent formation.To elucidate how signaling properties of JA/JAME (jasmonic acid methyl ester) are affected by hydroxylation and sulfation, germination and root growth were recorded in the presence of the different jasmonates, indicating that 12‐OH‐JA and 12‐hydroxyjasmonic acid sulfate (12‐HSO4‐JA) were not bioactive. Expression analyses for 29 genes showed that expression of wound‐inducible genes such as those coding for PROTEINASE INHIBITOR2, POLYPHENOL OXIDASE, THREONINE DEAMINASE or ARGINASE was induced by JAME and less induced or even down‐regulated by 12‐OH‐JA and 12‐HSO4‐JA. Almost all genes coding for enzymes in JA biosynthesis were up‐regulated by JAME but down‐regulated by 12‐OH‐JA and 12‐HSO4‐JA.The data suggest that wound‐induced metabolic conversion of JA/JAME into 12‐OH‐JA alters expression pattern of genes including a switch off in JA signaling for a subset of genes.

Kienow, L.; Schneider, K.; Bartsch, M.; Stuible, H.-P.; Weng, H.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Kombrink, E.; Jasmonates meet fatty acids: functional analysis of a new acyl-coenzyme A synthetase family from Arabidopsis thaliana J. Exp. Bot. 59, 403-419, (2008) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erm325

Arabidopsis thaliana contains a large number of genes encoding carboxylic acid-activating enzymes, including long-chain fatty acyl-CoA synthetase (LACS), 4-coumarate:CoA ligases (4CL), and proteins closely related to 4CLs with unknown activities. The function of these 4CL-like proteins was systematically explored by applying an extensive substrate screen, and it was uncovered that activation of fatty acids is the common feature of all active members of this protein family, thereby defining a new group of fatty acyl-CoA synthetase, which is distinct from the known LACS family. Significantly, four family members also displayed activity towards different biosynthetic precursors of jasmonic acid (JA), including 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA), dinor-OPDA, 3-oxo-2(2′-[Z]-pentenyl)cyclopentane-1-octanoic acid (OPC-8), and OPC-6. Detailed analysis of in vitro properties uncovered significant differences in substrate specificity for individual enzymes, but only one protein (At1g20510) showed OPC-8:CoA ligase activity. Its in vivo function was analysed by transcript and jasmonate profiling of Arabidopsis insertion mutants for the gene. OPC-8:CoA ligase expression was activated in response to wounding or infection in the wild type but was undetectable in the mutants, which also exhibited OPC-8 accumulation and reduced levels of JA. In addition, the developmental, tissue- and cell-type specific expression pattern of the gene, and regulatory properties of its promoter were monitored by analysing promoter::GUS reporter lines. Collectively, the results demonstrate that OPC-8:CoA ligase catalyses an essential step in JA biosynthesis by initiating the β-oxidative chain shortening of the carboxylic acid side chain of its precursors, and, in accordance with this function, the protein is localized in peroxisomes.

Gao, X.; Stumpe, M.; Feussner, I.; Kolomiets, M.; A novel plastidial lipoxygenase of maize (Zea mays) ZmLOX6 encodes for a fatty acid hydroperoxide lyase and is uniquely regulated by phytohormones and pathogen infection Planta 227, 491-503, (2008) DOI: 10.1007/s00425-007-0634-8

Lipoxygenases (LOXs) are members of a large enzyme family that catalyze oxygenation of free polyunsaturated fatty acids into diverse hydroperoxide compounds, collectively called oxylipins. Although LOXs have been well studied in dicot species, reports of the genes encoding these enzymes are scarce for monocots, especially maize. Herein, we reported the cloning, characterization and molecular functional analysis of a novel maize LOX gene, ZmLOX6. The ZmLOX6 nucleotide sequence encodes a deduced translation product of 892 amino acids. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ZmLOX6 is distantly related to previously reported 9- or 13-LOXs from maize and other plant species, including rice and Arabidopsis. Although sequence prediction suggested cytoplasmic localization of this protein, ZmLOX6 protein has been reportedly isolated from mesophyll cell chloroplasts, emphasizing the unique features of this protein. Plastidial localization was confirmed by chloroplast uptake experiments with the in vitro translated protein. Analysis of recombinant protein revealed that ZmLOX6 has lost fatty acid hydroperoxide forming activity but 13-LOX-derived fatty acid hydroperoxides were cleaved into odd-chain ω-oxo fatty acids and as yet not identified C5-compound. In line with its reported abundance in mesophyll cells, ZmLOX6 was predominantly expressed in leaf tissue. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that ZmLOX6 was induced by jasmonic acid, but repressed by abscisic acid, salicylic acid and ethylene and was not responsive to wounding or insects. Further, this gene was strongly induced by the fungal pathogen Cochliobolus carbonum during compatible interactions, suggesting that ZmLOX6 may contribute to susceptibility to this pathogen. The potential involvement of ZmLOX6 in maize interactions with pathogens is discussed.

Brüx, A.; Liu, T.-Y.; Krebs, M.; Stierhof, Y.-D.; Lohmann, J. U.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Schumacher, K.; Reduced V-ATPase Activity in the trans-Golgi Network Causes Oxylipin-Dependent Hypocotyl Growth Inhibition in Arabidopsis Plant Cell 20, 1088-1100, (2008) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.108.058362

Regulated cell expansion allows plants to adapt their morphogenesis to prevailing environmental conditions. Cell expansion is driven by turgor pressure created by osmotic water uptake and is restricted by the extensibility of the cell wall, which in turn is regulated by the synthesis, incorporation, and cross-linking of new cell wall components. The vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) could provide a way to coordinately regulate turgor pressure and cell wall synthesis, as it energizes the secondary active transport of solutes across the tonoplast and also has an important function in the trans-Golgi network (TGN), which affects synthesis and trafficking of cell wall components. We have previously shown that det3, a mutant with reduced V-ATPase activity, has a severe defect in cell expansion. However, it was not clear if this is caused by a defect in turgor pressure or in cell wall synthesis. Here, we show that inhibition of the tonoplast-localized V-ATPase subunit isoform VHA-a3 does not impair cell expansion. By contrast, inhibition of the TGN-localized isoform VHA-a1 is sufficient to restrict cell expansion. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the reduced hypocotyl cell expansion in det3 is conditional and due to active, hormone-mediated growth inhibition caused by a cell wall defect.
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