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Drost, H.-G.; Gabel, A.; Domazet-Lošo, T.; Quint, M.; Grosse, I.; Capturing Evolutionary Signatures in Transcriptomes with myTAI bioRxiv (2016) DOI: 10.1101/051565

Combining transcriptome data of biological processes or response to stimuli with evolutionary information such as the phylogenetic conservation of genes or their sequence divergence rates enables the investigation of evolutionary constraints on these processes or responses. Such phylotranscriptomic analyses recently unraveled that mid-developmental transcriptomes of fly, fish, and cress were dominated by evolutionarily conserved genes and genes under negative selection and thus recapitulated the developmental hourglass on the transcriptomic level. Here, we present a protocol for performing phylotranscriptomic analyses on any biological process of interest. When applying this protocol, users are capable of detecting different evolutionary constraints acting on different stages of the biological process of interest in any species. For each step of the protocol, modular and easy-to-use open-source software tools are provided, which enable a broad range of scientists to apply phylotranscriptomic analyses to a wide spectrum of biological questions.

Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; OPDA-Ile – a new JA-Ile-independent signal? Plant Signal Behav. 11, e1253646, (2016) DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2016.1253646

Expression takes place for most of the jasmonic acid (JA)-induced genes in a COI1-dependent manner via perception of its conjugate JA-Ile in the SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor complex. There are, however, numerous genes and processes, which are preferentially induced COI1-independently by the precursor of JA, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA). After recent identification of the Ile-conjugate of OPDA, OPDA-Ile, biological activity of this compound could be unequivocally proven in terms of gene expression. Any interference of OPDA, JA, or JA-Ile in OPDA-Ile-induced gene expression could be excluded by using different genetic background. The data suggest individual signaling properties of OPDA-Ile. Future studies for analysis of an SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor-independent route of signaling are proposed.

Strehmel, N.; Mönchgesang, S.; Herklotz, S.; Krüger, S.; Ziegler, J.; Scheel, D.; Piriformospora indica Stimulates Root Metabolism of Arabidopsis thaliana Int. J. Mol. Sci. 17, 1091, (2016) DOI: 10.3390/ijms17071091

Piriformospora indica is a root-colonizing fungus, which interacts with a variety of plants including Arabidopsis thaliana. This interaction has been considered as mutualistic leading to growth promotion of the host. So far, only indolic glucosinolates and phytohormones have been identified as key players. In a comprehensive non-targeted metabolite profiling study, we analyzed Arabidopsis thaliana’s roots, root exudates, and leaves of inoculated and non-inoculated plants by ultra performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/(ESI)-QTOFMS) and gas chromatography/electron ionization quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC/EI-QMS), and identified further biomarkers. Among them, the concentration of nucleosides, dipeptides, oligolignols, and glucosinolate degradation products was affected in the exudates. In the root profiles, nearly all metabolite levels increased upon co-cultivation, like carbohydrates, organic acids, amino acids, glucosinolates, oligolignols, and flavonoids. In the leaf profiles, we detected by far less significant changes. We only observed an increased concentration of organic acids, carbohydrates, ascorbate, glucosinolates and hydroxycinnamic acids, and a decreased concentration of nitrogen-rich amino acids in inoculated plants. These findings contribute to the understanding of symbiotic interactions between plant roots and fungi of the order of Sebacinales and are a valid source for follow-up mechanistic studies, because these symbioses are particular and clearly different from interactions of roots with mycorrhizal fungi or dark septate endophytes

Otto, M.; Naumann, C.; Brandt, W.; Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; Activity Regulation by Heteromerization of Arabidopsis Allene Oxide Cyclase Family Members Plants 5, 3, (2016) DOI: 10.3390/plants5010003

Jasmonates (JAs) are lipid-derived signals in plant stress responses and development. A crucial step in JA biosynthesis is catalyzed by allene oxide cyclase (AOC). Four genes encoding functional AOCs (AOC1, AOC2, AOC3 and AOC4) have been characterized for Arabidopsis thaliana in terms of organ- and tissue-specific expression, mutant phenotypes, promoter activities and initial in vivo protein interaction studies suggesting functional redundancy and diversification, including first hints at enzyme activity control by protein-protein interaction. Here, these analyses were extended by detailed analysis of recombinant proteins produced in Escherichia coli. Treatment of purified AOC2 with SDS at different temperatures, chemical cross-linking experiments and protein structure analysis by molecular modelling approaches were performed. Several salt bridges between monomers and a hydrophobic core within the AOC2 trimer were identified and functionally proven by site-directed mutagenesis. The data obtained showed that AOC2 acts as a trimer. Finally, AOC activity was determined in heteromers formed by pairwise combinations of the four AOC isoforms. The highest activities were found for heteromers containing AOC4 + AOC1 and AOC4 + AOC2, respectively. All data are in line with an enzyme activity control of all four AOCs by heteromerization, thereby supporting a putative fine-tuning in JA formation by various regulatory principles.

Floková, K.; Feussner, K.; Herrfurth, C.; Miersch, O.; Mik, V.; Tarkowská, D.; Strnad, M.; Feussner, I.; Wasternack, C.; Novák, O.; A previously undescribed jasmonate compound in flowering Arabidopsis thaliana – The identification of cis-(+)-OPDA-Ile Phytochemistry 122, 230-237, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.11.012

Jasmonates (JAs) are plant hormones that integrate external stress stimuli with physiological responses. (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile is the natural JA ligand of COI1, a component of a known JA receptor. The upstream JA biosynthetic precursor cis-(+)-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (cis-(+)-OPDA) has been reported to act independently of COI1 as an essential signal in several stress-induced and developmental processes. Wound-induced increases in the endogenous levels of JA/JA-Ile are accompanied by two to tenfold increases in the concentration of OPDA, but its means of perception and metabolism are unknown. To screen for putative OPDA metabolites, vegetative tissues of flowering Arabidopsis thaliana were extracted with 25% aqueous methanol (v/v), purified by single-step reversed-phase polymer-based solid-phase extraction, and analyzed by high throughput mass spectrometry. This enabled the detection and quantitation of a low abundant OPDA analog of the biologically active (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile in plant tissue samples. Levels of the newly identified compound and the related phytohormones JA, JA-Ile and cis-(+)-OPDA were monitored in wounded leaves of flowering Arabidopsis lines (Col-0 and Ws) and compared to the levels observed in Arabidopsis mutants deficient in the biosynthesis of JA (dde2-2, opr3) and JA-Ile (jar1). The observed cis-(+)-OPDA-Ile levels varied widely, raising questions concerning its role in Arabidopsis stress responses.

Drost, H.-G.; Bellstädt, J.; Ó'Maoiléidigh, D. S.; Silva, A. T.; Gabel, A.; Weinholdt, C.; Ryan, P. T.; Dekkers, B. J. W.; Bentsink, L.; Hilhorst, H. W. M.; Ligterink, W.; Wellmer, F.; Grosse, I.; Quint, M.; Post-embryonic Hourglass Patterns Mark Ontogenetic Transitions in Plant Development Mol. Biol. Evol. 33, 1158-1163, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw039

The historic developmental hourglass concept depicts the convergence of animal embryos to a common form during the phylotypic period. Recently, it has been shown that a transcriptomic hourglass is associated with this morphological pattern, consistent with the idea of underlying selective constraints due to intense molecular interactions during body plan establishment. Although plants do not exhibit a morphological hourglass during embryogenesis, a transcriptomic hourglass has nevertheless been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we investigated whether plant hourglass patterns are also found postembryonically. We found that the two main phase changes during the life cycle of Arabidopsis, from embryonic to vegetative and from vegetative to reproductive development, are associated with transcriptomic hourglass patterns. In contrast, flower development, a process dominated by organ formation, is not. This suggests that plant hourglass patterns are decoupled from organogenesis and body plan establishment. Instead, they may reflect general transitions through organizational checkpoints.

Arnold, M. D.; Gruber, C.; Floková, K.; Miersch, O.; Strnad, M.; Novák, O.; Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; The Recently Identified Isoleucine Conjugate of cis-12-Oxo-Phytodienoic Acid Is Partially Active in cis-12-Oxo-Phytodienoic Acid-Specific Gene Expression of Arabidopsis thaliana PLOS ONE 11, e0162829, (2016) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162829

Oxylipins of the jasmonate family are active as signals in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses as well as in development. Jasmonic acid (JA), its precursor cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) and the isoleucine conjugate of JA (JA-Ile) are the most prominent members. OPDA and JA-Ile have individual signalling properties in several processes and differ in their pattern of gene expression. JA-Ile, but not OPDA, is perceived by the SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor complex. There are, however, numerous processes and genes specifically induced by OPDA. The recently identified OPDA-Ile suggests that OPDA specific responses might be mediated upon formation of OPDA-Ile. Here, we tested OPDA-Ile-induced gene expression in wild type and JA-deficient, JA-insensitive and JA-Ile-deficient mutant background. Tests on putative conversion of OPDA-Ile during treatments revealed only negligible conversion. Expression of two OPDA-inducible genes, GRX480 and ZAT10, by OPDA-Ile could be detected in a JA-independent manner in Arabidopsis seedlings but less in flowering plants. The data suggest a bioactivity in planta of OPDA-Ile.

Monostori, T.; Schulze, J.; Sharma, V. K.; Maucher, H.; Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; Novel plasmid vectors for homologous transformation of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with JIP23 cDNA in sense and antisense orientation Cereal Res. Commun. 31, 17-24, (2003) DOI: 10.1007/BF03543245

The most abundant jasmonate-induced protein (JIP) in barley leaves is a 23 kDa protein (JIP23). Its function, however, is unknown. In order to analyze its function by homologous transformation, new plasmid vectors have been constructed. They carry the cDNA coding for JIP23 in sense or antisense orientation under the control of the Ubi-1-promoter as well as the pat resistance gene under the control of the 35S promoter. Barley mesophyll protoplasts were transiently transformed with the sense constructs. PAT activity and immunological detection of JIP23 could be achieved in transformed protoplasts but not in untransformed protoplasts indicating that the construct was active. Thus, these new vectors are suitable for stable transformation of barley. Carrying a multiple cloning site (MCS), these vectors can be used now in a wide range of transformation of barley.

Hause, B.; Stenzel, I.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Occurrence of the allene oxide cyclase in different organs and tissues of Arabidopsis thaliana Phytochemistry 64, 971-980, (2003) DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9422(03)00447-3

Occurrence of an essential enzyme in jasmonate (JA) biosynthesis, the allene oxide cyclase, (AOC) was analyzed in different developmental stages and various organs of Arabidopsis thaliana plants by immuno blot analysis and immunocytological approaches. Levels of AOC and of the two preceding enzymes in JA biosynthesis increased during seedling development accompanied by increased levels of JA and 12-oxophytodienoic acid levels after 4 and 8 weeks. Most tissues including all vascular bundles and that of flower buds contain AOC protein. Flowers shortly before opening, however, contain AOC protein preferentially in ovules, stigma cells and vascular bundles, whereas in anthers and pollen AOC could not be detected. The putative roles of AOC and JA in development are discussed.The allene oxide cyclase (AOC) is an important enzyme in jasmonate biosynthesis. Levels and occurrence of AOC in different organs and tissues are altered during development of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Hause, B.; Hause, G.; Kutter, C.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Enzymes of Jasmonate Biosynthesis Occur in Tomato Sieve Elements Plant Cell Physiol. 44, 643-648, (2003) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcg072

The allene oxide cyclase (AOC) is a plastid-located enzyme in the biosynthesis of the signaling compound jasmonic acid (JA). In tomato, AOC occurs specifically in ovules and vascular bundles [Hause et al. (2000)PlantJ. 24; 113]. Immunocytological analysis of longitudinal sections of petioles and flower stalks revealed the occurrence of AOC in companion cells (CC) and sieve elements (SE). Electron microscopic analysis led to the conclusion that the AOC-containing structures of SE are plastids. AOC was not detected in SE of 35S::AOCantisense plants. The enzymes preceding AOC in JA biosynthesis, the allene oxide synthase (AOS) and the lipoxygenase, were also detected in SE. In situ hybridization showed that the SE are free of AOC-mRNA suggesting AOC protein traffic from CC to SE via plasmodesmata. A control by in situ hybridization of AOS mRNA coding for a protein with a size above the exclusion limit of plasmodesmata indicated mRNA in CC and SE. The data suggest that SE carry the capacity to form 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, the unique precursor of JA. Together with preferential generation of JA in vascular bundles [Stenzel et al. (2003)Plant J. 33: 577], the data support a role of JA in systemic wound signaling.
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