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Tissier, A.; Ziegler, J.; Vogt, T. Specialized Plant Metabolites: Diversity and Biosynthesis (Krauss, G.-J. & Nies, D. H., eds.). 14-37, (2015) ISBN: 978-3-527-31650-2 DOI: 10.1002/9783527686063.ch2

Plant secondary metabolites, also termed specialized plant metabolites, currently comprise more than 200 000 natural products that are all based on a few biosynthetic pathways and key primary metabolites. Some pathways like flavonoid and terpenoid biosynthesis are universally distributed in the plant kingdom, whereas others like alkaloid or cyanogenic glycoside biosynthesis are restricted to a limited set of taxa. Diversification is achieved by an array of mechanisms at the genetic and enzymatic level including gene duplications, substrate promiscuity of enzymes, cell‐specific regulatory systems, together with modularity and combinatorial aspects. Specialized metabolites reflect adaptations to a specific environment. The observed diversity illustrates the heterogeneity and multitude of ecological habitats and niches that plants have colonized so far and constitutes a reservoir of potential new metabolites that may provide adaptive advantage in the face of environmental changes. The code that connects the observed chemical diversity to this ecological diversity is largely unknown. One way to apprehend this diversity is to realize its tremendous plasticity and evolutionary potential. This chapter presents an overview of the most widespread and popular secondary metabolites, which provide a definite advantage to adapt to or to colonize a particular environment, making the boundary between the “primary” and the “secondary” old fashioned and blurry.

Fellenberg, C.; Ziegler, J.; Handrick, V.; Vogt, T. Polyamine homeostasis in wild type and phenolamide deficient Arabidopsis thaliana stamens Front Plant Sci 3, 180, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00180

Polyamines (PAs) like putrescine, spermidine, and spermine are ubiquitous polycationic molecules that occur in all living cells and have a role in a wide variety of biological processes. High amounts of spermidine conjugated to hydroxycinnamic acids are detected in the tryphine of Arabidopsis thaliana pollen grains. Tapetum localized spermidine hydroxycinnamic acid transferase (SHT) is essential for the biosynthesis of these anther specific tris-conjugated spermidine derivatives. Sht knockout lines show a strong reduction of hydroxycinnamic acid amides (HCAAs). The effect of HCAA-deficient anthers on the level of free PAs was measured by a new sensitive and reproducible method using 9-fluorenylmethyl chloroformate (FMOC) and fluorescence detection by HPLC. PA concentrations can be accurately determined even when very limited amounts of plant material, as in the case of A. thaliana stamens, are available. Analysis of free PAs in wild type stamens compared to sht deficient mutants and transcript levels of key PA biosynthetic genes revealed a highly controlled regulation of PA homeostasis in A. thaliana anthers.

Fellenberg, C.; Milkowski, C.; Hause, B.; Lange, P.; Böttcher, C.; Schmidt, J.; Vogt, T. Tapetum-specific location of a cation-dependent O-methyltransferase in Arabidopsis thaliana Plant J 56, 132-145, (2008) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03576.x

Cation- and S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent plant natural product methyltransferases are referred to as CCoAOMTs because of their preferred substrate, caffeoyl coenzyme A (CCoA). The enzymes are encoded by a small family of genes, some of which with a proven role in lignin monomer biosynthesis. In Arabidopsis thaliana individual members of this gene family are temporally and spatially regulated. The gene At1g67990 is specifically expressed in flower buds, and is not detected in any other organ, such as roots, leaves or stems. Several lines of evidence indicate that the At1g67990 transcript is located in the flower buds, whereas the corresponding CCoAOMT-like protein, termed AtTSM1, is located exclusively in the tapetum of developing stamen. Flowers of At1g67990 RNAi-suppressed plants are characterized by a distinct flower chemotype with severely reduced levels of the N ′,N ′′-bis-(5-hydroxyferuloyl)-N ′′′-sinapoylspermidine compensated for by N1,N5,N10-tris-(5-hydroxyferuloyl)spermidine derivative, which is characterized by the lack of a single methyl group in the sinapoyl moiety. This severe change is consistent with the observed product profile of AtTSM1 for aromatic phenylpropanoids. Heterologous expression of the recombinant protein shows the highest activity towards a series of caffeic acid esters, but 5-hydroxyferuloyl spermidine conjugates are also accepted substrates. The in vitro substrate specificity and the in vivo RNAi-mediated suppression data of the corresponding gene suggest a role of this cation-dependent CCoAOMT-like protein in the stamen/pollen development of A. thaliana.

Ziegler, J.; Vogt, T.; Miersch, O.; Strack, D. Concentration of dilute protein solutions prior to sodium dodecylsulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis Anal. Biochem 250, 257-260, (1997) DOI: 10.1006/abio.1997.2248

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