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Gago-Zachert, S.; Schuck, J.; Weinholdt, C.; Knoblich, M.; Pantaleo, V.; Grosse, I.; Gursinsky, T.; Behrens, S.-E.; Highly efficacious antiviral protection of plants by small interfering RNAs identified in vitro Nucleic Acids Res. 47, 9343-9357, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz678

In response to a viral infection, the plant’s RNA silencing machinery processes viral RNAs into a huge number of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). However, a very few of these siRNAs actually interfere with viral replication. A reliable approach to identify these immunologically effective siRNAs (esiRNAs) and to define the characteristics underlying their activity has not been available so far. Here, we develop a novel screening approach that enables a rapid functional identification of antiviral esiRNAs. Tests on the efficacy of such identified esiRNAs of a model virus achieved a virtual full protection of plants against a massive subsequent infection in transient applications. We find that the functionality of esiRNAs depends crucially on two properties: the binding affinity to Argonaute proteins and the ability to access the target RNA. The ability to rapidly identify functional esiRNAs could be of great benefit for all RNA silencing-based plant protection measures against viruses and other pathogens.

Ryan, P. T.; Ó’Maoiléidigh, D. S.; Drost, H.-G.; Kwaśniewska, K.; Gabel, A.; Grosse, I.; Graciet, E.; Quint, M.; Wellmer, F.; Patterns of gene expression during Arabidopsis flower development from the time of initiation to maturation BMC Genomics 16, 488, (2015) DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1699-6

BackgroundThe formation of flowers is one of the main model systems to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control developmental processes in plants. Although several studies have explored gene expression during flower development in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana on a genome-wide scale, a continuous series of expression data from the earliest floral stages until maturation has been lacking. Here, we used a floral induction system to close this information gap and to generate a reference dataset for stage-specific gene expression during flower formation.ResultsUsing a floral induction system, we collected floral buds at 14 different stages from the time of initiation until maturation. Using whole-genome microarray analysis, we identified 7,405 genes that exhibit rapid expression changes during flower development. These genes comprise many known floral regulators and we found that the expression profiles for these regulators match their known expression patterns, thus validating the dataset. We analyzed groups of co-expressed genes for over-represented cellular and developmental functions through Gene Ontology analysis and found that they could be assigned specific patterns of activities, which are in agreement with the progression of flower development. Furthermore, by mapping binding sites of floral organ identity factors onto our dataset, we were able to identify gene groups that are likely predominantly under control of these transcriptional regulators. We further found that the distribution of paralogs among groups of co-expressed genes varies considerably, with genes expressed predominantly at early and intermediate stages of flower development showing the highest proportion of such genes.ConclusionsOur results highlight and describe the dynamic expression changes undergone by a large number of genes during flower development. They further provide a comprehensive reference dataset for temporal gene expression during flower formation and we demonstrate that it can be used to integrate data from other genomics approaches such as genome-wide localization studies of transcription factor binding sites.

Wasternack, C.; Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Hause, G.; Kutter, C.; Maucher, H.; Neumerkel, J.; Feussner, I.; Miersch, O.; The wound response in tomato – Role of jasmonic acid J. Plant Physiol. 163, 297-306, (2006) DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2005.10.014

Plants respond to mechanical wounding or herbivore attack with a complex scenario of sequential, antagonistic or synergistic action of different signals leading to defense gene expression. Tomato plants were used as a model system since the peptide systemin and the lipid-derived jasmonic acid (JA) were recognized as essential signals in wound-induced gene expression. In this review recent data are discussed with emphasis on wound-signaling in tomato. The following aspects are covered: (i) systemin signaling, (ii) JA biosynthesis and action, (iii) orchestration of various signals such as JA, H2O2, NO, and salicylate, (iv) local and systemic response, and (v) amplification in wound signaling. The common occurrence of JA biosynthesis and systemin generation in the vascular bundles suggest JA as the systemic signal. Grafting experiments with JA-deficient, JA-insensitive and systemin-insensitive mutants strongly support this assumption.

Hause, B.; Vörös, K.; Kogel, K.-H.; Besser, K.; Wasternack, C.; A Jasmonate-responsive Lipoxygenase of Barley Leaves is Induced by Plant Activators but not by Pathogens J. Plant Physiol. 154, 459-462, (1999) DOI: 10.1016/S0176-1617(99)80283-1

Using the recently isolated eDNA clone LOX2 : Hv : 1 which codes for the most abundant jasmonateinducible lipoxygenase (LOX) in barley leaves (Vörös et al., 1998), we analysed the capability of different activators of systemic activated resistance (SAR) to induce the expression of that LOX. Upon treatment of barley leaves with salicylate, 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid and benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester, all these compounds were able to induce the expression of the LOX2 : Hv : 1 gene, whereas upon infection with the powdery mildew fungus (Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei) mRNA accumulation was not detectable in compatible or in incompatible interactions. The induction of the LOX2 : Hv : 1 protein by SAR activators and the expression of different sets of genes induced by jasmonate and salicylate, respectively, are discussed in relation to defense responses against pathogenic fungi.

Kramell, R.; Miersch, O.; Schneider, G.; Wasternack, C.; Liquid chromatography of jasmonic acid amine conjugates Chromatographia 49, 42-46, (1999) DOI: 10.1007/BF02467185

Racemic jasmonic acid (3R,7R/3S,7S)-(±)-JA) was chemically conjugated with different biogenic amines originating from aliphatic and aromatic α-amino acids by decarboxylation. The resulting isomeric compounds were subjected to reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and to HPLC on the chiral stationary phases Chiralpak AS and Nucleodex β-PM. Under reversed-phase conditions, all the homologous amine derivatives tested could be separated from each other except the JA-conjugates containing 2-phenyl-ethylamine and 3-methylbutylamine. On both chiral supports the (3R,7R)-(−)-JA conjugates eluted earlier than those of the enantiomeric counterpart (3S,7S)-(+)-JA. On Chiralpak AS all the isomers studied could be separated to baseline with a mobile phase containingn-hexane and 2-propanol. The calculated resolution factors were between 1.80 and 4.17. The pairs of isomers were also chromatographed on the cyclodextrin stationary phase Nucleodex β-PM with methanol-triethylammonium acetate buffer as mobile phase. Under these conditions resolution factors were between 0.74 and 1.29. The individual isomers were chiroptically characterized by measurement of their circular dichroism.

Wasternack, C.; Ortel, B.; Miersch, O.; Kramell, R.; Beale, M.; Greulich, F.; Feussner, I.; Hause, B.; Krumm, T.; Boland, W.; Parthier, B.; Diversity in octadecanoid-induced gene expression of tomato J. Plant Physiol. 152, 345-352, (1998) DOI: 10.1016/S0176-1617(98)80149-1

In tomato plants wounding leads to up-regulation of various plant defense genes via jasmonates (Ryan, 1992; Bergey et al., 1996). Using this model system of jasmonic acid (JA) signalling, we analyzed activity of octadecanoids to express JA-responsive genes. Leaf treatments were performed with naturally occurring octadecanoids and their molecular mimics such as coronatine or indanone conjugates. JA responses were recorded in terms of up- or down-regulation of various genes by analyzing transcript accumulation, and at least partially in vitro translation products and polypeptide pattern of leaf extracts. The data suggest: (i) 12-Oxo-phytodienoic acid and other intermediates of the octadecanoid pathway has to be ß-oxidized to give a JA response, (ii) Octadecanoids which can not be ß-oxidized are inactive, (iii) JA, its methyl ester (JM), and its amino acid conjugates are most active signals in tomato leaves leading to up regulation of mainly wound-inducible genes and down-regulation of mainly <house-keeping> genes, (iv) Some compounds carrying a JA/JM- or JA amino acid conjugate-like structure induce/repress only a subset of genes suggesting diversity of JA signalling.

Ratajczak, R.; Feussner, I.; Hause, B.; Böhm, A.; Parthier, B.; Wasternack, C.; Alteration of V-type H+-ATPase during methyljasmonate-induced senescence in barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Salome) J. Plant Physiol. 152, 199-206, (1998) DOI: 10.1016/S0176-1617(98)80133-8

In barley leaves, the application of (−)-jasmonic acid or its methyl ester (JAME) induces a senescencelike phenotype. This is accompanied by the synthesis of abundant proteins, so-called jasmonate-induced proteins (JlPs). Here, we show that modifications of vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) subunits are jasmo-nate inducible. Using immunofluorescence analysis, we demonstrate that V-ATPase of barley leaves is exclusively located at the tonoplast also upon JAME treatment. Total ATP-hydrolysis activity of microsomal fractions increased by a factor of 10 during 72 h of JAME-treatment, while Bafilomycin Ai-sensitive ATP-hydrolysis activity, which is usually referred to V-ATPase activity, increased by a factor of about 2 in tono-plast-enriched membrane fractions. Moreover, due to JAME treatment there was a pronounced increase in ATP-hydrolysis activity at pH 6.2. This activity was not affected by inhibitors of P-, F-, or V-ATPases. However, biochemical analysis of partially purified V-ATPase suggests, that this activity might be due at least in part to the V-ATPase. JAME-treatment seems to change biochemical properties of the V-ATPase, i.e. a shift of the pH optimum of activity to a more acidic pH and a decrease in Bafilomycin A1 sensitivity. This is accompanied by the appearance of several additional forms of V-ATPase subunits which might represent either different isoforms or post-translationally modified proteins. We suggest that these changes in properties of the V-ATPase, which is involved in house-keeping and stress responses, may be due to JAME-induced senescence to overcome concomitant changes of the vacuolar membrane.

Kramell, R.; Schneider, G.; Miersch, O.; Chiral separation of amide conjugates of jasmonic acid by liquid chromatography Chromatographia 45, 104-108, (1997) DOI: 10.1007/BF02505545

Synthetic amide conjugates of (−)-jasmonic acid and its (+)-enantiomer were resolved by means of chiral liquid chromatography. The diastereomeric pairs prepared by chemical reaction of (±)-jasmonic acid with a series of (S)- or (R)-amino acids and with some (S)-amino acid alcohols were completely separated on Chiralpak AS using a mixture of n-hexane/2-propanal as mobile phase. The retention data indicate that the (−)-jasmonic acid conjugates eluted faster than those of the (+)-enantiomer, independent on the configuration of the bound amino acid. Likewise, enantiomeric derivatives of (±)-jasmonic acid and non-chiral amino acids were completely separated on the chiral stationary phase and showed the same elution sequence. The resolution factors,Rs, were found to range between 1.13 and 6.64. The separated compounds were chiropatically analyzed by measurement of the circular dichroism.

Hause, B.; Kogel, K.-H.; Parthier, B.; Wasternack, C.; In barley leaf cells, jasmonates do not act as a signal during compatible or incompatible interactions with the powdery mildew fungus (Erysiphe graminis f. sp. hordei) J. Plant Physiol. 150, 127-132, (1997) DOI: 10.1016/S0176-1617(97)80191-5

We have studied a possible function of jasmonates as mediators in the host-pathogen interaction of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with the powdery mildew fungus Egh (Erysiphe graminis f. sp. hordei). Previous findings from whole-leaf extracts demonstrated that (i) extracts from infected barley leaves did not contain enhanced levels of jasmonates, (ii) transcripts of jasmonate-inducible genes were not expressed upon infection, and (iii) exogenous application of jasmonates did not induce resistance to Egh (Kogel et al., 1995). Nevertheless, the question arises whether or not jasmonates are involved in the interaction of barley with the powdery mildew fungus at the local site of infection. Using an immunocytological approach the analysis of leaf cross-sections from a susceptible barley cultivar and its near-isogenic mlo5-resistant line revealed no accumulation of JIP-23, the most abundant jasmonate inducible protein, neither in epidermal cells attacked by the pathogen nor in adjacent mesophyll cells. As a positive control, cross-sections from methyl jasmonate-treated leaf segments showed a strong signal for JIP-23 accumulation. Because the presence of the jasmonate-inducible protein is highly indicative for an already low threshold level of endogenous jasmonate (Lehmann et al., 1995), the lack of JIP-23 accumulation at the sites of attempted fungal infection clearly demonstrates the absence of enhanced levels of jasmonates. This excludes even a local rise of jasmonate confined to those single cells penetrated (Mlo genotype) or attacked (mlo5 genotype) by the fungus.

Ward, J. L.; Gaskin, P.; Beale, M. H.; Sessions, R.; Koda, Y.; Wasternack, C.; Molecular modelling, synthesis and biological activity of methyl 3-methyljasmonate and related derivatives Tetrahedron 53, 8181-8194, (1997) DOI: 10.1016/S0040-4020(97)00485-7

Methyl 3-methyljasmonate was synthesised from methyl jasmonate via methyl 3,7-dehydrojasmonate. Molecular modelling predicted an increase in the proportion of cis-orientated side-chains for equilibrated 3-methyl-substituted jasmonate. The synthetic 3-methyljasmonate was shown by gc-ms analysis to equilibrate to a 2:1 ratio of isomers, which appeared from the NMR spectra to comprise mainly the cis-isomer. Surprisingly, both 3,7-dehydro- and 3-methyl-derivatives were inactive in four well established jasmonate bioassays. Methyl-2-methyljasmonate was synthesised and also found to be inactive. Methyl 4,5-dehydrojasmonate was prepared, via the 5-diazo derivative. Both of these compounds have low activity. Our results are discussed with reference to previous knowledge of jasmonate structure-activity relationships and indicate that there are stringent steric demands in jasmonate-receptor interactions.
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