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Publikation

Elleuch, A.; Chaâbene, Z.; Grubb, D.C.; Drira, N.; Mejdoub, H.; Khemakhem, B. Morphological and biochemical behavior of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) under copper stress Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 98, 46-53, (2013) DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.09.028

The effects of copper on germination and growth of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum  ) was investigated separately using different concentrations of CuSO4. The germination percentage and radical length had different responses to cupric ions: the root growth increased with increasing copper concentration up to 1 mM Cu+2Cu2+ and was inhibited thereafter. In contrast, the germination percentage was largely unaffected by concentrations of copper below 10 mM.The reduction in root growth may have been due to inhibition of hydrolytic enzymes such as amylase. Indeed, the average total amylolytic activity decreased from the first day of treatment with [Cu+2Cu2+] greater than 1 mM. Furthermore, copper affected various plant growth parameters. Copper accumulation was markedly higher in roots as compared to shoots. While both showed a gradual decrease in growth, this was more pronounced in roots than in leaves and in stems. Excess copper induced an increase in the rate of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and lipid peroxidation in all plant parts, indicating oxidative stress. This redox stress affected leaf chlorophyll and carotenoid content which decreased in response to augmented Cu levels. Additionally, the activities of proteins involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification were affected. Cu stress elevated the ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity more than two times at 10 mM CuSO4. In contrast, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) levels showed only minor variations, only at 1 mM Cu+2Cu2+. Likewise, total phenol and flavonoid contents were strongly induced by low concentrations of copper, consistent with the role of these potent antioxidants in scavenging ROS such as H2O2, but returned to control levels or below at high [Cu+2Cu2+]. Taken together, these results indicate a fundamental shift in the plant response to copper toxicity at low versus high concentrations.
Publikation

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

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.
Publikation

Janitza, P.; Ullrich, K.K.; Quint, M. Towards a comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of mitogen-activated protein kinases in the plant kingdom Front. Plant Sci 3, 1-11, (2012)

The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is a three-tier signaling cascade that transmits cellular information from the plasma membrane to the cytoplasm where it triggers downstream responses. The MAPKs represent the last step in this cascade and are activated when both tyrosine and threonine residues in a conserved TxY motif are phosphorylated by MAPK kinases, which in turn are themselves activated by phosphorylation by MAPK kinase kinases. To understand the molecular evolution of MAPKs in the plant kingdom, we systematically conducted a Hidden-Markov-Model based screen to identify MAPKs in 13 completely sequenced plant genomes. In this analysis, we included green algae, bryophytes, lycophytes, and several mono- and dicotyledonous species covering >800 million years of evolution. The phylogenetic relationships of the 204 identified MAPKs based on Bayesian inference facilitated the retraction of the sequence of emergence of the four major clades that are characterized by the presence of a TDY or TEY-A/TEY-B/TEY-C type kinase activation loop. We present evidence that after the split of TDY- and TEY-type MAPKs, initially the TEY-C clade emerged. This was followed by the TEY-B clade in early land plants until the TEY-A clade finally emerged in flowering plants. In addition to these well characterized clades, we identified another highly conserved clade of 45 MAPK-likes, members of which were previously described as MHKs. In agreement with their essential functions, molecular population genetic analysis of MAPK genes in Arabidopsis thaliana accessions reveal that purifying selection drove the evolution of the MAPK family, implying strong functional constraints on MAPK genes. Closely related MAPKs most likely subfunctionalized, a process in which differential transcriptional regulation of duplicates may be involved.
Publikation

Stenzel, I.; Ischebeck, T.; Quint, M.; Heilmann, I. Variable regions of PI4P 5-kinases direct PtdIns(4,5)P2 towards alternative regulatory functions in tobacco pollen tubes Front. Plant Sci 2, 114, (2012)

The apical plasma membrane of pollen tubes contains different PI4P 5-kinases that all produce phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2] but exert distinct cellular effects. In the present example, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K5 or tobacco NtPIP5K6-1 caused growth defects previously attributed to increased pectin secretion. In contrast, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K2 caused apical tip swelling implicated in altering actin fine structure in the pollen tube apex. AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2 share identical domain structures. Domains required for correct membrane association of the enzymes were identified by systematic deletion of N-terminal domains and subsequent expression of fluorescence-tagged enzyme truncations in tobacco pollen tubes. A variable linker region (Lin) contained in all PI4P 5-kinase isoforms of subfamily B, but not conserved in sequence, was recognized to be necessary for correct subcellular localization of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2. Deletion of N-terminal domains including the Lin domain did not impair catalytic activity of recombinant AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 in vitro; however, the presence of the Lin domain was necessary for in vivo effects on pollen tube growth upon overexpression of truncated enzymes. Overexpression of catalytically inactive variants of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 did not influence pollen tube growth, indicating that PtdIns(4,5)P2 production rather than structural properties of PI4P 5-kinases was relevant for the manifestation of growth phenotypes. When Lin domains were swapped between NtPIP5K6-1 and AtPIP5K2 and the chimeric enzymes overexpressed in pollen tubes, the chimeras reciprocally gained the capabilities to invoke tip swelling or secretion phenotypes, respectively. The data indicate that the Lin domain directed the enzymes into different regulatory contexts, possibly contributing to channeling of PtdIns(4,5)P2 at the interface of secretion and actin cytoskeleton.
Publikation

Quint, M.; Gray, W.M. Auxin signaling Curr Opin Plant Biol 9, 448-453, (2006)

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.
Publikation

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.
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