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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.

Calderon-Villalobos, L. I.; Tan, X.; Zheng, N.; Estelle, M. Auxin Perception—Structural Insights Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2, a005546, (2010) DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a005546

The identity of the auxin receptor(s) and the mechanism of auxin perception has been a subject of intense interest since the discovery of auxin almost a century ago. The development of genetic approaches to the study of plant hormone signaling led to the discovery that auxin acts by promoting degradation of transcriptional repressors called Aux/IAA proteins. This process requires a ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) called SCFTIR1 and related SCF complexes. Surprisingly, auxin works by directly binding to TIR1, the F-box protein subunit of this SCF. Structural studies demonstrate that auxin acts like a molecular glue, to stabilize the interaction between TIR1 and the Aux/IAA substrate. These exciting results solve an old problem in plant biology and reveal new mechanisms for E3 regulation and hormone perception.

Abel, S.; Theologis, A. Odyssey of Auxin Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2, a004572, (2010) DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a004572

The history of plant biology is inexorably intertwined with the conception and discovery of auxin, followed by the many decades of research to comprehend its action during growth and development. Growth responses to auxin are complex and require the coordination of auxin production, transport, and perception. In this overview of past auxin research, we limit our discourse to the mechanism of auxin action. We attempt to trace the almost epic voyage from the birth of the hormonal concept in plants to the recent crystallographic studies that resolved the TIR1-auxin receptor complex, the first structural model of a plant hormone receptor. The century-long endeavor is a beautiful illustration of the power of scientific reasoning and human intuition, but it also brings to light the fact that decisive progress is made when new technologies emerge and disciplines unite.

Schilling, S.; Hoffmann, T.; Wermann, M.; Heiser, U.; Wasternack, C.; Demuth, H.-U. Continuous spectrometric assays for glutaminyl cyclase activity Analytical Biochemistry 303, 49-56, (2002)


Feussner, I.; Fritz, I.G.; Hause, B.; Ullrich, W.R.; Wasternack, C. Induction of a new lipoxygenase form in cucumber leaves by salicylic acid or 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid Bot. Acta 110, 101-108, (1997) DOI: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.1997.tb00616.x

Changes in lipoxygenase (LOX) protein pattern and/or activity were investigated in relation to acquired resistance of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) leaves against two powdery mildews, Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlecht) Salmon and Erysiphe cichoracearum DC et Merat. Acquired resistance was established by spraying leaves with salicylic acid (SA) or 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) and estimated in whole plants by infested leaf area compared to control plants. SA was more effective than INA. According to Western blots, untreated cucumber leaves contained a 97 kDa LOX form, which remained unchanged for up to 48 h after pathogen inoculation. Upon treatment with SA alone for 24 h or with INA plus pathogen, an additional 95 kDa LOX form appeared which had an isoelectric point in the alkaline range. For the induction of this form, a threshold concentration of 1 mM SA was required, higher SA concentrations did not change LOX-95 expression which remained similar between 24 h and 96 h but further increased upon mildew inoculation. Phloem exudates contained only the LOX-97 form, in intercellular washing fluid no LOX was detected. dichloroisonicotinic localization revealed LOX protein in the cytosol of the mesophyll cells without differences between the forms.
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