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Ziegler, J.; Abel S. Analysis of amino acids by HPLC/electrospray negative ion tandem mass spectrometry using 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl) derivatization Amino Acids 46, 2799-2808, (2014) DOI: 10.1007/s00726-014-1837-5

A new method for the determination of amino acids is presented. It combines established methods for the derivatization of primary and secondary amino groups with 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl) with the subsequent amino acid specific detection of the derivatives by LC–ESI–MS/MS using multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). The derivatization proceeds within 5 min, and the resulting amino acid derivatives can be rapidly purified from matrix by solid-phase extraction (SPE) on HR-X resin and separated by reversed-phase HPLC. The Fmoc derivatives yield several amino acid specific fragment ions which opened the possibility to select amino acid specific MRM transitions. The method was applied to all 20 proteinogenic amino acids, and the quantification was performedusing l-norvaline as standard. A limit of detection as low as 1 fmol/μl with a linear range of up to 125 pmol/μl could be obtained. Intraday and interday precisions were lower than10 % relative standard deviations for most of the amino acids. Quantification usingl-norvaline as internal standard gave very similar results compared to the quantificationusing deuterated amino acid as internal standards. Using this protocol, it was possible to record the amino acid profiles of only a single root from Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings and to compare it with the amino acid profiles of 20 dissected root meristems (200 μm).

Bürstenbinder, K.; Savchenko, T.; Müller, J.; Adamson, A.W.; Stamm, G.; Kwong, R.; Zipp, B.J.; Dhurvas Chandrasekaran, D. & Abel, S. Arabidopsis calmodulin-binding protein IQ67-domain 1 localizes to microtubules and interacts with kinesin light chain-related protein-1 J Biol Chem 288, 1871-1882, (2013) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.396200

Calcium (Ca2+) is a key second messenger in eukaryotes and regulates diverse cellular processes, most notably via calmodulin (CaM). In Arabidopsis thaliana, IQD1 (IQ67 domain 1) is the founding member of the IQD family of putative CaM targets. The 33 predicted IQD proteins share a conserved domain of 67 amino acids that is characterized by a unique arrangement of multiple CaM recruitment motifs, including so-called IQ motifs. Whereas IQD1 has been implicated in the regulation of defense metabolism, the biochemical functions of IQD proteins remain to be elucidated. In this study we show that IQD1 binds to multiple Arabidopsis CaM and CaM-like (CML) proteins in vitro and in yeast two-hybrid interaction assays. CaM overlay assays revealed moderate affinity of IQD1 to CaM2 (Kd ∼ 0.6 μm). Deletion mapping of IQD1 demonstrated the importance of the IQ67 domain for CaM2 binding in vitro, which is corroborated by interaction of the shortest IQD member, IQD20, with Arabidopsis CaM/CMLs in yeast. A genetic screen of a cDNA library identified Arabidopsis kinesin light chain-related protein-1 (KLCR1) as an IQD1 interactor. The subcellular localization of GFP-tagged IQD1 proteins to microtubules and the cell nucleus in transiently and stably transformed plant tissues (tobacco leaves and Arabidopsis seedlings) suggests direct interaction of IQD1 and KLCR1 in planta that is supported by GFP∼IQD1-dependent recruitment of RFP∼KLCR1 and RFP∼CaM2 to microtubules. Collectively, the prospect arises that IQD1 and related proteins provide Ca2+/CaM-regulated scaffolds for facilitating cellular transport of specific cargo along microtubular tracks via kinesin motor proteins.

Abel, S. Phosphate sensing in root development Curr Opin Plant Biol 14, 303-309, (2011) DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.04.007

Phosphate (Pi) and its anhydrides constitute major nodes in metabolism. Thus, plant performance depends directly on Pi nutrition. Inadequate Pi availability in the rhizosphere is a common challenge to plants, which activate metabolic and developmental responses to maximize Pi usage and acquisition. The sensory mechanisms that monitor environmental Pi and transmit the nutritional signal to adjust root development have increasingly come into focus. Recent transcriptomic analyses and genetic approaches have highlighted complex antagonistic interactions between external Pi and Fe bioavailability and have implicated the stem cell niche as a target of Pi sensing to regulate root meristem activity.

Ziegler, J.; Brandt, W.; Geißler, R.; Facchini, P. J. Removal of Substrate Inhibition and Increase in Maximal Velocity in the Short Chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase Salutaridine Reductase Involved in Morphine Biosynthesis J Biol Chem 284, 26758-26767, (2009) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.030957

Salutaridine reductase (SalR, EC catalyzes the stereospecific reduction of salutaridine to 7(S)-salutaridinol in the biosynthesis of morphine. It belongs to a new, plant-specific class of short-chain dehydrogenases, which are characterized by their monomeric nature and increased length compared with related enzymes. Homology modeling and substrate docking suggested that additional amino acids form a novel -helical element, which is involved in substrate binding. Site-directed mutagenesis and subsequent studies on enzyme kinetics revealed the importance of three residues in this element for substrate binding. Further replacement of eight additional residues led to the characterization of the entire substrate binding pocket. In addition, a specific role in salutaridine binding by either hydrogen bond formation or hydrophobic interactions was assigned to each amino acid. Substrate docking alsorevealed an alternative mode for salutaridine binding, which could explain the strong substrate inhibition of SalR. An alternate arrangement of salutaridine in the enzyme was corroborated by the effect of various amino acid substitutions on substrate inhibition. In most cases, the complete removal of substrate inhibition was accompanied by a substantial loss in enzyme activity. However, some mutations greatly reduced substrate inhibition while maintaining or even increasing the maximal velocity. Based on these results, a double mutant of SalRwas created that exhibited the complete absence of substrate inhibition and higher activity compared with wild-type SalR.

Quint, M.; Gray, W.M. Auxin signaling Curr Opin Plant Biol 9, 448-453, (2006) DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2006.07.006

Auxin regulates a host of plant developmental and physiological processes, including embryogenesis, vascular differentiation, organogenesis, tropic growth, and root and shoot architecture. Genetic and biochemical studies carried out over the past decade have revealed that much of this regulation involves the SCFTIR1/AFB-mediated proteolysis of the Aux/IAA family of transcriptional regulators. With the recent finding that the TRANSPORT INHIBITOR RESPONSE1 (TIR1)/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX (AFB) proteins also function as auxin receptors, a potentially complete, and surprisingly simple, signaling pathway from perception to transcriptional response is now before us. However, understanding how this seemingly simple pathway controls the myriad of specific auxin responses remains a daunting challenge, and compelling evidence exists for SCFTIR1/AFB-independent auxin signaling pathways.

Abel, S.; Savchenko, T.; Levy, M. Genome-wide comparative analysis of the <em>IQD</em> gene families in <em>Arabidopsis thaliana</em> and Oryza sativa BMC Evolutionary Biology 5, 72 (1-25), (2005)

We identified and analyzed 33 and 29 IQD1-like genes in Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, respectively. The encoded IQD proteins contain a plant-specific domain of 67 conserved amino acid residues, referred to as the IQ67 domain, which is characterized by a unique and repetitive arrangement of three different calmodulin recruitment motifs, known as the IQ, 1-5-10, and 1-8-14 motifs. We demonstrated calmodulin binding for IQD20, the smallest IQD protein in Arabidopsis, which consists of a C-terminal IQ67 domain and a short N-terminal extension. A striking feature of IQD proteins is the high isoelectric point (~10.3) and frequency of serine residues (~11%). We compared the Arabidopsis and rice IQD gene families in terms of gene structure, chromosome location, predicted protein properties and motifs, phylogenetic relationships, and evolutionary history. The existence of an IQD-like gene in bryophytes suggests that IQD proteins are an ancient family of calmodulin-binding proteins and arose during the early evolution of land plants. Comparative phylogenetic analyses indicate that the major IQD gene lineages originated before the monocot-eudicot divergence. The extant IQD loci in Arabidopsis primarily resulted from segmental duplication and reflect preferential retention of paralogous genes, which is characteristic for proteins with regulatory functions. Interaction of IQD1 and IQD20 with calmodulin and the presence of predicted calmodulin binding sites in all IQD family members suggest that IQD proteins are a new class of calmodulin targets. The basic isoelectric point of IQD proteins and their frequently predicted nuclear localization suggest that IQD proteins link calcium signaling pathways to the regulation of gene expression. Our comparative genomics analysis of IQD genes and encoded proteins in two model plant species provides the first step towards the functional dissection of this emerging family of putative calmodulin targets.

Li, G.; Goyal, G.S.; Abel, S.; Quiros, C.F. Inheritance of three major genes involved in the synthesis of aliphatic glucosinolates in <em>Brassica oleracea</em> J Amer Soc Hort Sci 126, 427 - 431, (2001)


Abel, S.; Nguyen, M.D.; Theologis, A. The PS-IAA4/5-like family of early auxin-inducible mRNAs in Arabidopsis thaliana Journal of Biological Chemistry 270, 19093-19099, (1995)

1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase is the key regulatory enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of the plant hormone ethylene. The enzyme is encoded by a divergent multigene family in Arabidopsis thaliana, comprising at least five genes, ACS1-5 (Liang, X., Abel, S., Keller, J. A., Shen, N. F., and Theologis, A.(1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 89, 11046-11050). In etiolated seedlings, ACS4 is specifically induced by indoleacetic acid (IAA). The response to IAA is rapid (within 25 min) and insensitive to protein synthesis inhibition, suggesting that the ACS4 gene expression is a primary response to IAA. The ACS4 mRNA accumulation displays a biphasic dose-response curve which is optimal at 10 μM of IAA. However, IAA concentrations as low as 100 nM are sufficient to enhance the basal level of ACS4 mRNA. The expression of ACS4 is defective in the Arabidopsis auxin-resistant mutant lines axr1-12, axr2-1, and aux1-7. ACS4 mRNA levels are severely reduced in axr1-12 and axr2-1 but are only 1.5-fold lower in aux1-7. IAA inducibility is abolished in axr2-1. The ACS4 gene was isolated and structurally characterized. The promoter contains four sequence motifs reminiscent of functionally defined auxin-responsive cis-elements in the early auxin-inducible genes PS-IAA4/5 from pea and GH3 from soybean. Conceptual translation of the coding region predicts a protein with a molecular mass of 53,795 Da and a theoretical isoelectric point of 8.2. The ACS4 polypeptide contains the 11 invariant amino acid residues conserved between aminotransferases and ACC synthases from various plant species. An ACS4 cDNA was generated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and the authenticity was confirmed by expression of ACC synthase activity in Escherichia coli.
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