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Ziegler, J.; Abel S. Analysis of amino acids by HPLC/electrospray negative ion tandem mass spectrometry using 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl) derivatization Amino Acids 46, 2799-2808, (2014) DOI: 10.1007/s00726-014-1837-5

A new method for the determination of amino acids is presented. It combines established methods for the derivatization of primary and secondary amino groups with 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl) with the subsequent amino acid specific detection of the derivatives by LC–ESI–MS/MS using multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). The derivatization proceeds within 5 min, and the resulting amino acid derivatives can be rapidly purified from matrix by solid-phase extraction (SPE) on HR-X resin and separated by reversed-phase HPLC. The Fmoc derivatives yield several amino acid specific fragment ions which opened the possibility to select amino acid specific MRM transitions. The method was applied to all 20 proteinogenic amino acids, and the quantification was performedusing l-norvaline as standard. A limit of detection as low as 1 fmol/μl with a linear range of up to 125 pmol/μl could be obtained. Intraday and interday precisions were lower than10 % relative standard deviations for most of the amino acids. Quantification usingl-norvaline as internal standard gave very similar results compared to the quantificationusing deuterated amino acid as internal standards. Using this protocol, it was possible to record the amino acid profiles of only a single root from Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings and to compare it with the amino acid profiles of 20 dissected root meristems (200 μm).

Ziegler, J.; Qwegwer, J.; Schubert, M.; Erickson, J.L.; Schattat, M.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Grubb, C.D.; Abel, S. Simultaneous analysis of apolar phytohormones and 1-aminocyclopropan-1-carboxylic acid by high performance liquid chromatography/electrospray negative ion tandem mass spectrometry via 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride derivatization J Chromatogr A 1362, 102-109, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2014.08.029

A strategy to detect and quantify the polar ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropan-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) along with the more apolar phytohormones abscisic acid (ABA), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), jasmonic acid (JA), jasmonic acid-isoleucine conjugate (JA-Ile), 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA), trans-zeatin, and trans-zeatin 9-riboside using a single extraction is presented. Solid phase resins commonly employed for extraction of phytohormones do not allow the recovery of ACC. We circumvent this problem by attaching an apolar group to ACC via derivatization with the amino group specific reagent 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl chloride (Fmoc-Cl). Derivatization in the methanolic crude extract does not modify other phytohormones. The derivatized ACC could be purified and detected together with the more apolar phytohormones using common solid phase extraction resins and reverse phase HPLC/electrospray negative ion tandem mass spectrometry. The limit of detection was in the low nanomolar range for all phytohormones, a sensitivity sufficient to accurately determine the phytohormone levels from less than 50 mg (fresh weight) of Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana tissues. Comparison with previously published phytohormone levels and the reported changes in phytohormone levels after stress treatments confirmed the accuracy of the method.

Grubb, C. D.; Zipp, B. J.; Kopycki, J.; Schubert, M.; Quint, M.; Lim, E.-K.; Bowles, D. J.; Pedras, M. S. C.; Abel, S. Comparative analysis of Arabidopsis UGT74 glucosyltransferases reveals a special role of UGT74C1 in glucosinolate biosynthesis Plant J. 79, 92–105, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12541

The study of glucosinolates and their regulation has provided a powerful framework for the exploration of fundamental questions about the function, evolution, and ecological significance of plant natural products, but uncertainties about their metabolism remain. Previous work has identified one thiohydroximate S-glucosyltransferase, UGT74B1, with an important role in the core pathway, but also made clear that this enzyme functions redundantly and cannot be the sole UDP-glucose dependent glucosyltransferase (UGT) in glucosinolate synthesis. Here, we present the results of a nearly comprehensive in vitro activity screen of recombinant Arabidopsis Family 1 UGTs, which implicate other members of the UGT74 clade as candidate glucosinolate biosynthetic enzymes. Systematic genetic analysis of this clade indicates that UGT74C1 plays a special role in the synthesis of aliphatic glucosinolates, a conclusion strongly supported by phylogenetic and gene expression analyses. Finally, the ability of UGT74C1 to complement phenotypes and chemotypes of the ugt74b1-2 knockout mutant and to express thiohydroximate UGT activity in planta provides conclusive evidence for UGT74C1 being an accessory enzyme in glucosinolate biosynthesis with a potential function during plant adaptation to environmental challenge.

Delker, C.; Sonntag, L.; Geo, V. J.; Janitza, P.; Ibañez, C.; Ziermann, H.; Peterson, T.; Denk, K.; Mull, S.; Ziegler, J.; Davis, S. J.; Schneeberger, K.; Quint, M. The DET1-COP1-HY5 Pathway Constitutes a Multipurpose Signaling Module Regulating Plant Photomorphogenesis and Thermomorphogenesis Cell Rep 9, 1983–1989, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.11.043

Developmental plasticity enables plants to respond to elevated ambient temperatures by adapting their shoot architecture. On the cellular level, the basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) coordinates this response by activating hormonal modules that in turn regulate growth. In addition to an unknown temperature-sensing mechanism, it is currently not understood how temperature regulates PIF4 activity. Using a forward genetic approach in Arabidopsis thaliana, we present extensive genetic evidence demonstrating that the DE-ETIOLATED 1 (DET1)-CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 (COP1)-ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5)-dependent photomorphogenesis pathway transcriptionally regulates PIF4 to coordinate seedling growth in response to elevated temperature. Our findings demonstrate that two of the most prevalent environmental cues, light and temperature, share a much larger set of signaling components than previously assumed. Similar to the toolbox concept in animal embryonic patterning, multipurpose signaling modules might have evolved in plants to translate various environmental stimuli into adaptational growth processes

Farmer, E.E.; Gasperini, D.; Acosta, I.F. The squeeze cell hypothesis for the activation of jasmonate synthesis in response to wounding New Phytol. 204, 282-288, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/nph.12897


Wasternack, C. Perception, signaling and cross-talk of jasmonates and the seminal contributions of the Daoxin Xie´s lab and the Chuanyou Li´s lab Plant Cell Rep 33, 707-718, (2014) DOI: 10.1007/s00299-014-1608-5

Jasmonates (JAs) are lipid-derived signals in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses and in development. The most active JA compound is (+)-7-iso-JA-Ile, a JA conjugate with isoleucine. Biosynthesis, metabolism and key components of perception and signal transduction have been identified and numerous JA-induced gene expression data collected. For JA-Ile perception, the SCFCOI1–JAZ co-receptor complex has been identified and crystalized. Activators such as MYC2 and repressors such as JAZs including their targets were found. Involvement of JA-Ile in response to herbivores and pathogens and in root growth inhibition is among the most studied aspects of JA-Ile signaling. There are an increasing number of examples, where JA-Ile shows cross-talk with other plant hormones. Seminal contributions in JA/JA-Ile research were given by Daoxin Xie’s lab and Chuanyou Li’s lab, both in Beijing. Here, characterization was done regarding components of the JA-Ile receptor, such as COI1 (JAI1) and SCF, regarding activators (MYCs, MYBs) and repressors (JAV1, bHLH IIId’s) of JA-regulated gene expression, as well as regarding components of auxin biosynthesis and action, such as the transcription factor PLETHORA active in the root stem cell niche. This overview reflects the work of both labs in the light of our present knowledge on biosynthesis, perception and signal transduction of JA/JA-Ile and its cross-talk to other hormones.

Song, S.; Qi, T.; Wasternack, C.; Xie, D. Jasmonate signaling and crosstalk with gibberellin and ethylene Curr Opin Plant Biol. 21 , 112-119, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2014.07.005

The phytohormone jasmonate (JA) plays essential roles in plant growth, development and defense. In response to the JA signal, the CORONATINE INSENSITIVE 1 (COI1)-based SCF complexes recruit JASMONATE ZIM-domain (JAZ) repressors for ubiquitination and degradation, and subsequently regulate their downstream signaling components essential for various JA responses. Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the JA signaling pathway and its crosstalk with other phytohormone pathways during the past two decades. Recent studies have revealed that a variety of positive and negative regulators act as targets of JAZs to control distinctive JA responses, and that JAZs and these regulators function as crucial interfaces to mediate synergy and antagonism between JA and other phytohormones. Owing to different regulatory players in JA perception and JA signaling, a fine-tuning of JA-dependent processes in plant growth, development and defense is achieved. In this review, we will summarize the latest progresses in JA signaling and its crosstalk with gibberellin and ethylene.

Maldonado-Bonilla, L.D.; Eschen-Lippold, L.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Tabassum, N.; Bauer, N.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. The Arabidopsis tandem zinc finger 9 protein binds RNA and mediates pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immune responses Plant Cell Physiol. 55, 412-425, (2014) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pct175

Recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) induces multiple defense mechanisms to limit pathogen growth. Here, we show that the Arabidopsis thaliana tandem zinc finger protein 9 (TZF9) is phosphorylated by PAMP-responsive mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and is required to trigger a full PAMP-triggered immune response. Analysis of a tzf9 mutant revealed attenuation in specific PAMP-triggered reactions such as reactive oxygen species accumulation, MAPK activation and, partially, the expression of several PAMP-responsive genes. In accordance with these weaker PAMP-triggered responses, tzf9 mutant plants exhibit enhanced susceptibility to virulent Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Visualization of TZF9 localization by fusion to green fluorescent protein revealed cytoplasmic foci that co-localize with marker proteins of processing bodies (P-bodies). This localization pattern is affected by inhibitor treatments that limit mRNA availability (such as cycloheximide or actinomycin D) or block nuclear export (leptomycin B). Coupled with its ability to bind the ribohomopolymers poly(rU) and poly(rG), these results suggest involvement of TZF9 in post-transcriptional regulation, such as mRNA processing or storage pathways, to regulate plant innate immunity. 

Jayaweera, T.; Siriwardana, C.; Dharmasiri, S.; Quint, M.; Gray, W. M.; Dharmasiri, N. Alternative Splicing of Arabidopsis IBR5 Pre-mRNA Generates Two IBR5 Isoforms with Distinct and Overlapping Functions PLoS ONE 9, e102301, (2014) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102301

The INDOLE-3-BUTYRIC ACID RESPONSE5 (IBR5) gene encodes a dual specificity phosphatase that regulates plant auxinresponses. IBR5 has been predicted to generate two transcripts through alternative splicing, but alternative splicing of IBR5has not been confirmed experimentally. The previously characterized ibr5-1 null mutant exhibits many auxin related defectssuch as auxin insensitive primary root growth, defective vascular development, short stature and reduced lateral rootdevelopment. However, whether all these defects are caused by the lack of phosphatase activity is not clear. Here wedescribe two new auxin insensitive IBR5 alleles, ibr5-4, a catalytic site mutant, and ibr5-5, a splice site mutant.Characterization of these new mutants indicates that IBR5 is post-transcriptionally regulated to generate two transcripts,AT2G04550.1 and AT2G04550.3, and consequently two IBR5 isoforms, IBR5.1 and IBR5.3. The IBR5.1 isoform exhibitsphosphatase catalytic activity that is required for both proper degradation of Aux/IAA proteins and auxin-induced geneexpression. These two processes are independently regulated by IBR5.1. Comparison of new mutant alleles with ibr5-1indicates that all three mutant alleles share many phenotypes. However, each allele also confers distinct defects implicatingIBR5 isoform specific functions. Some of these functions are independent of IBR5.1 catalytic activity. Additionally, analysis ofthese new mutant alleles suggests that IBR5 may link ABP1 and SCFTIR1/AFBs auxin signaling pathways.

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.
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