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Niemeyer, M.; Moreno Castillo, E.; Ihling, C. H.; Iacobucci, C.; Wilde, V.; Hellmuth, A.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Samodelov, S. L.; Zurbriggen, M. D.; Kastritis, P. L.; Sinz, A.; Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A. Flexibility of intrinsically disordered degrons in AUX/IAA proteins reinforces auxin co-receptor assemblies Nat Commun 11, 2277, (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16147-2

Cullin RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligases SCFTIR1/AFB1-5 and their AUX/IAA targets perceive the phytohormone auxin. The F-box protein TIR1 binds a surface-exposed degron in AUX/IAAs promoting their ubiquitylation and rapid auxin-regulated proteasomal degradation. Here, by adopting biochemical, structural proteomics and in vivo approaches we unveil how flexibility in AUX/IAAs and regions in TIR1 affect their conformational ensemble allowing surface accessibility of degrons. We resolve TIR1·auxin·IAA7 and TIR1·auxin·IAA12 complex topology, and show that flexible intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in the degron’s vicinity, cooperatively position AUX/IAAs on TIR1. We identify essential residues at the TIR1 N- and C-termini, which provide non-native interaction interfaces with IDRs and the folded PB1 domain of AUX/IAAs. We thereby establish a role for IDRs in modulating auxin receptor assemblies. By securing AUX/IAAs on two opposite surfaces of TIR1, IDR diversity supports locally tailored positioning for targeted ubiquitylation, and might provide conformational flexibility for a multiplicity of functional states.

Balzergue, C.; Dartevelle, T.; Godon, C.; Laugier, E.; Meisrimler, C.; Teulon, J.-M.; Creff, A.; Bissler, M.; Brouchoud, C.; Hagège, A.; Müller, J.; Chiarenza, S.; Javot, H.; Becuwe-Linka, N.; David, P.; Péret, B.; Delannoy, E.; Thibaud, M.-C.; Armengaud, J.; Abel, S.; Pellequer, J.-L.; Nussaume, L.; Desnos, T. Low phosphate activates STOP1-ALMT1 to rapidly inhibit root cell elongation Nat Commun 8, 15300, (2017) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15300

Environmental cues profoundly modulate cell proliferation and cell elongation to inform and direct plant growth and development. External phosphate (Pi) limitation inhibits primary root growth in many plant species. However, the underlying Pi sensory mechanisms are unknown. Here we genetically uncouple two Pi sensing pathways in the root apex of Arabidopsis thaliana. First, the rapid inhibition of cell elongation in the transition zone is controlled by transcription factor STOP1, by its direct target, ALMT1, encoding a malate channel, and by ferroxidase LPR1, which together mediate Fe and peroxidase-dependent cell wall stiffening. Second, during the subsequent slow inhibition of cell proliferation in the apical meristem, which is mediated by LPR1-dependent, but largely STOP1–ALMT1-independent, Fe and callose accumulate in the stem cell niche, leading to meristem reduction. Our work uncovers STOP1 and ALMT1 as a signalling pathway of low Pi availability and exuded malate as an unexpected apoplastic inhibitor of root cell wall expansion.

Flores, R.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Serra, P.; Sanjuán, R.; Elena, S. F. Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World? Annual Rev Microbiol 68, 395 - 414, (2014) DOI: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091313-103416

Because RNA can be a carrier of genetic information and a biocatalyst, there is a consensus that it emerged before DNA and proteins, which eventually assumed these roles and relegated RNA to intermediate functions. If such a scenario—the so-called RNA world—existed, we might hope to find its relics in our present world. The properties of viroids that make them candidates for being survivors of the RNA world include those expected for primitive RNA replicons: (a) small size imposed by error-prone replication, (b) high G+ C content to increase replication fidelity, (c) circular structure for assuring complete replication without genomic tags, (d) structural periodicity for modular assembly into enlarged genomes, (e) lack of protein-coding ability consistent with a ribosome-free habitat, and (f) replication mediated in some by ribozymes, the fingerprint of the RNA world. With the advent of DNA and proteins, those protoviroids lost some abilities and became the plant parasites we now know.

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)

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