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Sreenivasulu, N.; Radchuk, V.; Alawady, A.; Borisjuk, L.; Weier, D.; Staroske, N.; Fuchs, J.; Miersch, O.; Strickert, M.; Usadel, B.; Wobus, U.; Grimm, B.; Weber, H.; Weschke, W.; De-regulation of abscisic acid contents causes abnormal endosperm development in the barley mutant seg8 Plant J. 64, 589-603, (2010) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04350.x

Grain development of the maternal effect shrunken endosperm mutant seg8 was analysed by comprehensive molecular, biochemical and histological methods. The most obvious finding was de‐regulation of ABA levels, which were lower compared to wild‐type during the pre‐storage phase but higher during the transition from cell division/differentiation to accumulation of storage products. Ploidy levels and ABA amounts were inversely correlated in the developing endosperms of both mutant and wild‐type, suggesting an influence of ABA on cell‐cycle regulation. The low ABA levels found in seg8 grains between anthesis and beginning endosperm cellularization may result from a gene dosage effect in the syncytial endosperm that causes impaired transfer of ABA synthesized in vegetative tissues into filial grain parts. Increased ABA levels during the transition phase are accompanied by higher chlorophyll and carotenoid/xanthophyll contents. The data suggest a disturbed ABA‐releasing biosynthetic pathway. This is indicated by up‐regulation of expression of the geranylgeranyl reductase (GGR) gene, which may be induced by ABA deficiency during the pre‐storage phase. Abnormal cellularization/differentiation of the developing seg8 endosperm and reduced accumulation of starch are phenotypic characteristics that reflect these disturbances. The present study did not reveal the primary gene defect causing the seg8 phenotype, but presents new insights into the maternal/filial relationships regulating barley endosperm development.

Leon-Reyes, A.; Van der Does, D.; De Lange, E. S.; Delker, C.; Wasternack, C.; Van Wees, S. C. M.; Ritsema, T.; Pieterse, C. M. J.; Salicylate-mediated suppression of jasmonate-responsive gene expression in Arabidopsis is targeted downstream of the jasmonate biosynthesis pathway Planta 232, 1423-1432, (2010) DOI: 10.1007/s00425-010-1265-z

Jasmonates (JAs) and salicylic acid (SA) are plant hormones that play pivotal roles in the regulation of induced defenses against microbial pathogens and insect herbivores. Their signaling pathways cross-communicate providing the plant with a regulatory potential to finely tune its defense response to the attacker(s) encountered. In Arabidopsis thaliana, SA strongly antagonizes the jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway, resulting in the downregulation of a large set of JA-responsive genes, including the marker genes PDF1.2 and VSP2. Induction of JA-responsive marker gene expression by different JA derivatives was equally sensitive to SA-mediated suppression. Activation of genes encoding key enzymes in the JA biosynthesis pathway, such as LOX2, AOS, AOC2, and OPR3 was also repressed by SA, suggesting that the JA biosynthesis pathway may be a target for SA-mediated antagonism. To test this, we made use of the mutant aos/dde2, which is completely blocked in its ability to produce JAs because of a mutation in the ALLENE OXIDE SYNTHASE gene. Mutant aos/dde2 plants did not express the JA-responsive marker genes PDF1.2 or VSP2 in response to infection with the necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola or the herbivorous insect Pieris rapae. Bypassing JA biosynthesis by exogenous application of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) rescued this JA-responsive phenotype in aos/dde2. Application of SA suppressed MeJA-induced PDF1.2 expression to the same level in the aos/dde2 mutant as in wild-type Col-0 plants, indicating that SA-mediated suppression of JA-responsive gene expression is targeted at a position downstream of the JA biosynthesis pathway.

Halim, V. A.; Altmann, S.; Ellinger, D.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Miersch, O.; Scheel, D.; Rosahl, S.; PAMP-induced defense responses in potato require both salicylic acid and jasmonic acid Plant J. 57, 230-242, (2009) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03688.x

To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogen‐associated molecular pattern (PAMP)‐induced defense responses in potato (Solanum tuberosum ), the role of the signaling compounds salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) was analyzed. Pep‐13, a PAMP from Phytophthora , induces the accumulation of SA, JA and hydrogen peroxide, as well as the activation of defense genes and hypersensitive‐like cell death. We have previously shown that SA is required for Pep‐13‐induced defense responses. To assess the importance of JA, RNA interference constructs targeted at the JA biosynthetic genes, allene oxide cyclase and 12‐oxophytodienoic acid reductase, were expressed in transgenic potato plants. In addition, expression of the F‐box protein COI1 was reduced by RNA interference. Plants expressing the RNA interference constructs failed to accumulate the respective transcripts in response to wounding or Pep‐13 treatment, neither did they contain significant amounts of JA after elicitation. In response to infiltration of Pep‐13, the transgenic plants exhibited a highly reduced accumulation of reactive oxygen species as well as reduced hypersensitive cell death. The ability of the JA‐deficient plants to accumulate SA suggests that SA accumulation is independent or upstream of JA accumulation. These data show that PAMP responses in potato require both SA and JA and that, in contrast to Arabidopsis, these compounds act in the same signal transduction pathway. Despite their inability to fully respond to PAMP treatment, the transgenic RNA interference plants are not altered in their basal defense against Phytophthora infestans .

Delker, C.; Raschke, A.; Quint, M.; Auxin dynamics: the dazzling complexity of a small molecule’s message Planta 227, 929-941, (2008) DOI: 10.1007/s00425-008-0710-8

The phytohormone auxin is a potent regulator of plant development. Since its discovery in the beginning of the twentieth century many aspects of auxin biology have been extensively studied, ranging from biosynthesis and metabolism to the elucidation of molecular components of downstream signaling. With the identification of the F-box protein TIR1 as an auxin receptor a major breakthrough in understanding auxin signaling has been achieved and recent modeling approaches have shed light on the putative mechanisms underlying the establishment of auxin gradients and maxima essential for many auxin-regulated processes. Here, we review these and other recent advances in unraveling the entanglement of biosynthesis, polar transport and cellular signaling events that allow small auxinic molecules to facilitate their complex regulatory action.

Ziegler, J.; Voigtländer, S.; Schmidt, J.; Kramell, R.; Miersch, O.; Ammer, C.; Gesell, A.; Kutchan, T. M.; Comparative transcript and alkaloid profiling in Papaver species identifies a short chain dehydrogenase/reductase involved in morphine biosynthesis Plant J. 48, 177-192, (2006) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2006.02860.x

Plants of the order Ranunculales, especially members of the species Papaver , accumulate a large variety of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids with about 2500 structures, but only the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum ) and Papaver setigerum are able to produce the analgesic and narcotic morphine and the antitussive codeine. In this study, we investigated the molecular basis for this exceptional biosynthetic capability by comparison of alkaloid profiles with gene expression profiles between 16 different Papaver species. Out of 2000 expressed sequence tags obtained from P. somniferum , 69 show increased expression in morphinan alkaloid‐containing species. One of these cDNAs, exhibiting an expression pattern very similar to previously isolated cDNAs coding for enzymes in benzylisoquinoline biosynthesis, showed the highest amino acid identity to reductases in menthol biosynthesis. After overexpression, the protein encoded by this cDNA reduced the keto group of salutaridine yielding salutaridinol, an intermediate in morphine biosynthesis. The stereoisomer 7‐epi ‐salutaridinol was not formed. Based on its similarities to a previously purified protein from P. somniferum with respect to the high substrate specificity, molecular mass and kinetic data, the recombinant protein was identified as salutaridine reductase (SalR; EC Unlike codeinone reductase, an enzyme acting later in the pathway that catalyses the reduction of a keto group and which belongs to the family of the aldo‐keto reductases, the cDNA identified in this study as SalR belongs to the family of short chain dehydrogenases/reductases and is related to reductases in monoterpene metabolism.

Sreenivasulu, N.; Radchuk, V.; Strickert, M.; Miersch, O.; Weschke, W.; Wobus, U.; Gene expression patterns reveal tissue-specific signaling networks controlling programmed cell death and ABA- regulated maturation in developing barley seeds Plant J. 47, 310-327, (2006) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2006.02789.x

Gene expression patterns covering over 10 000 seed‐expressed sequences were analyzed by macroarray technology in maternal tissue (mainly pericarp) and filial endosperm and embryo during barley seed development from anthesis until late maturation. Defined sets of genes showing distinct expression patterns characterized both tissue type and major developmental phases. The analysis focused on regulatory networks involved in programmed cell death (PCD) and abscisic acid (ABA)‐mediated maturation. These processes were similar in the different tissues, but typically involved the expression of alternative members of a common gene family. The analysis of co‐expressed gene sets and the identification of cis regulatory elements in orthologous rice gene ‘promoter’ regions suggest that PCD in the pericarp is mediated by distinct classes of proteases and is under the hormonal control of both jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene via ethylene‐responsive element binding protein (EREBP) transcription factors (TFs). On the other hand, PCD in endosperm apparently involves only the ethylene pathway, but employs distinct gene family members from those active in the pericarp, and a different set of proteases and TFs. JA biosynthetic genes are hardly activated. Accordingly, JA levels are high in the pericarp but low in the endosperm during middle and late developmental stages. Similarly, genes acting in the deduced ABA biosynthetic pathway and signaling network differ between endosperm and embryo. ABA in the endosperm appears to exert an influence over storage product synthesis via SNF1 kinase. In the embryo, ABA seems to influence the acquisition of desiccation tolerance via ABA response element binding factors, but the data also suggest the existence of an ABA‐independent but interactive pathway acting via the dehydration‐responsive element binding (DREB) 2A TF.

Meixner, C.; Ludwig-Müller, J.; Miersch, O.; Gresshoff, P.; Staehelin, C.; Vierheilig, H.; Lack of mycorrhizal autoregulation and phytohormonal changes in the supernodulating soybean mutant nts1007 Planta 222, 709-715, (2005) DOI: 10.1007/s00425-005-0003-4

Autoregulatory mechanisms have been reported in the rhizobial and the mycorrhizal symbiosis. Autoregulation means that already existing nodules or an existing root colonization by an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus systemically suppress subsequent nodule formation/root colonization in other parts of the root system. Mutants of some legumes lost their ability to autoregulate the nodule number and thus display a supernodulating phenotype. On studying the effect of pre-inoculation of one side of a split-root system with an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus on subsequent mycorrhization in the second side of the split-root system of a wild-type soybean (Glycine max L.) cv. Bragg and its supernodulating mutant nts1007, we observed a clear suppressional effect in the wild-type, whereas further root colonization in the split-root system of the mutant nts1007 was not suppressed. These data strongly indicate that the mechanisms involved in supernodulation also affect mycorrhization and support the hypothesis that the autoregulation in the rhizobial and the mycorrhizal symbiosis is controlled in a similar manner. The accumulation patterns of the plant hormones IAA, ABA and Jasmonic acid (JA) in non-inoculated control plants and split-root systems of inoculated plants with one mycorrhizal side of the split-root system and one non-mycorrhizal side, indicate an involvement of IAA in the autoregulation of mycorrhization. Mycorrhizal colonization of soybeans also resulted in a strong induction of ABA and JA levels, but on the basis of our data the role of these two phytohormones in mycorrhizal autoregulation is questionable.

Danon, A.; Miersch, O.; Felix, G.; op den Camp, R. G. L.; Apel, K.; Concurrent activation of cell death-regulating signaling pathways by singlet oxygen in Arabidopsis thaliana Plant J. 41, 68-80, (2005) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02276.x

Upon a dark/light shift the conditional flu mutant of Arabidopsis starts to generate singlet oxygen (1O2), a non‐radical reactive oxygen species that is restricted to the plastid compartment. Immediately after the shift, plants stop growing and develop necrotic lesions. We have established a protoplast system, which allows detection and characterization of the death response in flu induced by the release of 1O2. Vitamin B6 that quenches 1O2 in fungi was able to protect flu protoplasts from cell death. Blocking ethylene production was sufficient to partially inhibit the death reaction. Similarly, flu mutant seedlings expressing transgenic NahG were partially protected from the death provoked by the release of 1O2, indicating a requirement for salicylic acid (SA) in this process, whereas in cells depleted of both, ethylene and SA, the extent of cell death was reduced to the wild‐type level. The flu mutant was also crossed with the jasmonic acid (JA)‐depleted mutant opr3 , and with the JA, OPDA and dinor OPDA (dnOPDA)‐depleted dde2‐2 mutant. Analysis of the resulting double mutants revealed that in contrast to the JA‐induced suppression of H2O2/superoxide‐dependent cell death reported earlier, JA promotes singlet oxygen‐mediated cell death in flu , whereas other oxylipins such as OPDA and dnOPDA antagonize this death‐inducing activity of JA.

Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Maucher, H.; Pitzschke, A.; Miersch, O.; Ziegler, J.; Ryan, C. A.; Wasternack, C.; Allene oxide cyclase dependence of the wound response and vascular bundle-specific generation of jasmonates in tomato - amplification in wound signalling Plant J. 33, 577-589, (2003) DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-313X.2003.01647.x

The allene oxide cyclase (AOC)‐catalyzed step in jasmonate (JA) biosynthesis is important in the wound response of tomato. As shown by treatments with systemin and its inactive analog, and by analysis of 35S::prosysteminsense and 35S::prosysteminantisense plants, the AOC seems to be activated by systemin (and JA) leading to elevated formation of JA. Data are presented on the local wound response following activation of AOC and generation of JA, both in vascular bundles. The tissue‐specific occurrence of AOC protein and generation of JA is kept upon wounding or other stresses, but is compromised in 35S::AOCsense plants, whereas 35S::AOCantisense plants exhibited residual AOC expression, a less than 10% rise in JA, and no detectable expression of wound response genes. The (i) activation of systemin‐dependent AOC and JA biosynthesis occurring only upon substrate generation, (ii) the tissue‐specific occurrence of AOC in vascular bundles, where the prosystemin gene is expressed, and (iii) the tissue‐specific generation of JA suggest an amplification in the wound response of tomato leaves allowing local and rapid defense responses.

Nibbe, M.; Hilpert, B.; Wasternack, C.; Miersch, O.; Apel, K.; Cell death and salicylate- and jasmonate-dependent stress responses in Arabidopsis are controlled by single cet genes Planta 216, 120-128, (2002) DOI: 10.1007/s00425-002-0907-1

The jasmonic acid (JA)-dependent regulation of the Thi2.1 gene had previously been exploited for setting up a genetic screen for the isolation of signal transduction mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. that constitutively express the thionin gene. Several cet mutants had been isolated which showed a constitutive expression of the thionin gene. These cet mutants, except for one, also showed spontaneous leaf cell necrosis and were up-regulated in the expression of the PR1 gene, reactions often associated with the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) pathway. Four of these cet mutants, cet1, cet2, cet3 and cet4.1 were crossed with the fad triple and coi1 mutants that are blocked at two steps within the JA-dependent signaling pathway, and with transgenic NahG plants that are deficient in salicylic acid (SA) and are unable to activate SAR. Analysis of the various double-mutant lines revealed that the four cet genes act within a signaling cascade at or prior to branch points from which not only JA-dependent signals but also SA-dependent signaling and cell death pathways diverge.
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