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Dallery, J.-F.; Zimmer, M.; Halder, V.; Suliman, M.; Pigné, S.; Le Goff, G.; Gianniou, D. D.; Trougakos, I. P.; Ouazzani, J.; Gasperini, D.; O'Connell, R. J. Inhibition of jasmonate-mediated plant defences by the fungal metabolite higginsianin B J Exp Bot 71, 2910-2921, (2020) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/eraa061

Infection of Arabidopsis thaliana by the ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum higginsianum is characterised by an early symptomless biotrophic phase followed by a destructive necrotrophic phase. The fungal genome contains 77 secondary metabolism-related biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), and their expression during the infection process is tightly regulated. Deleting CclA, a chromatin regulator involved in repression of some BGCs through H3K4 trimethylation, allowed overproduction of 3 families of terpenoids and isolation of 12 different molecules. These natural products were tested in combination with methyl jasmonate (MeJA), an elicitor of jasmonate responses, for their capacity to alter defence gene induction in Arabidopsis. Higginsianin B inhibited MeJA-triggered expression of the defence reporter VSP1p:GUS, suggesting it may block bioactive JA-Ile synthesis or signalling in planta. Using the JA-Ile sensor Jas9-VENUS, we found that higginsianin B, but not three other structurally-related molecules, suppressed JA-Ile signalling by preventing degradation of JAZ proteins, the repressors of JA responses. Higginsianin B likely blocks the 26S proteasome-dependent degradation of JAZ proteins because it inhibited chymotrypsin- and caspase-like protease activities. The inhibition of target degradation by higginsianin B also extended to auxin signalling, as higginsianin B treatment reduced IAA-dependent expression of DR5p:GUS. Overall, our data indicate that specific fungal secondary metabolites can act similarly to protein effectors to subvert plant immune and developmental responses.
Bücher und Buchkapitel

Mielke, S.; Gasperini, D. Plant–Insect Bioassay for Testing Arabidopsis Resistance to the Generalist Herbivore Spodoptera littoralis (Champion, A. & Laplaze, L., eds.). Methods Mol Biol 2085, 69-78, (2020) ISBN: 978-1-0716-0142-6 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0142-6_5

Jasmonates are essential engineers of plant defense responses against many pests, including herbivorous insects. Herbivory induces the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and its bioactive conjugate jasmonoyl-l-isoleucine (JA-Ile), which then triggers a large transcriptional reprogramming to promote plant acclimation. The contribution of the JA pathway, including its components and regulators, to defense responses against insect herbivory can be evaluated by conducting bioassays with a wide range of host plants and insect pests. Here, we describe a detailed and reproducible protocol for testing feeding behavior of the generalist herbivore Spodoptera littoralis on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and hence infer the contribution of JA-mediated plant defense responses to a chewing insect.

Bochnia, M.; Sander, J.; Ziegler, J.; Terhardt, M.; Sander, S.; Janzen, N.; Cavalleri, J.-M. V.; Zuraw, A.; Wensch-Dorendorf, M.; Zeyner, A. Detection of MCPG metabolites in horses with atypical myopathy PLOS ONE 14, e0211698, (2019) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211698

Atypical myopathy (AM) in horses is caused by ingestion of seeds of the Acer species (Sapindaceae family). Methylenecyclopropylacetyl-CoA (MCPA-CoA), derived from hypoglycin A (HGA), is currently the only active toxin in Acer pseudoplatanus or Acer negundo seeds related to AM outbreaks. However, seeds or arils of various Sapindaceae (e.g., ackee, lychee, mamoncillo, longan fruit) also contain methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which is a structural analogue of HGA that can cause hypoglycaemic encephalopathy in humans. The active poison formed from MCPG is methylenecyclopropylformyl-CoA (MCPF-CoA). MCPF-CoA and MCPA-CoA strongly inhibit enzymes that participate in β-oxidation and energy production from fat. The aim of our study was to investigate if MCPG is involved in Acer seed poisoning in horses. MCPG, as well as glycine and carnitine conjugates (MCPF-glycine, MCPF-carnitine), were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry of serum and urine from horses that had ingested Acer pseudoplatanus seeds and developed typical AM symptoms. The results were compared to those of healthy control horses. For comparison, HGA and its glycine and carnitine derivatives were also measured. Additionally, to assess the degree of enzyme inhibition of β-oxidation, several acyl glycines and acyl carnitines were included in the analysis. In addition to HGA and the specific toxic metabolites (MCPA-carnitine and MCPA-glycine), MCPG, MCPF-glycine and MCPF-carnitine were detected in the serum and urine of affected horses. Strong inhibition of β-oxidation was demonstrated by elevated concentrations of all acyl glycines and carnitines, but the highest correlations were observed between MCPF-carnitine and isobutyryl-carnitine (r = 0.93) as well as between MCPA- (and MCPF-) glycine and valeryl-glycine with r = 0.96 (and r = 0.87). As shown here, for biochemical analysis of atypical myopathy of horses, it is necessary to take MCPG and the corresponding metabolites into consideration.

Schulze, A.; Zimmer, M.; Mielke, S.; Stellmach, H.; Melnyk, C. W.; Hause, B.; Gasperini, D. Wound-Induced Shoot-to-Root Relocation of JA-Ile Precursors Coordinates Arabidopsis Growth Mol Plant 12, 1383-1394, (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.molp.2019.05.013

Multicellular organisms rely on the movement of signaling molecules across cells, tissues, and organs to communicate among distal sites. In plants, localized leaf damage activates jasmonic acid (JA)-dependent transcriptional reprogramming in both harmed and unharmed tissues. Although it has been indicated that JA species can translocate from damaged into distal sites, the identity of the mobile compound(s), the tissues through which they translocate, and the effect of their relocation remain unknown. Here, we found that following shoot wounding, the relocation of endogenous jasmonates through the phloem is essential to initiate JA signaling and stunt growth in unharmed roots of Arabidopsis thaliana. By employing grafting experiments and hormone profiling, we uncovered that the hormone precursor cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) and its derivatives, but not the bioactive JA-Ile conjugate, translocate from wounded shoots into undamaged roots. Upon root relocation, the mobile precursors cooperatively regulated JA responses through their conversion into JA-Ile and JA signaling activation. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the existence of long-distance translocation of endogenous OPDA and its derivatives, which serve as mobile molecules to coordinate shoot-to-root responses, and highlight the importance of a controlled redistribution of hormone precursors among organs during plant stress acclimation.

Mielke, S.; Gasperini, D. Interplay between Plant Cell Walls and Jasmonate Production Plant Cell Physiol 60, 2629-2637, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcz119

Plant cell walls are sophisticated carbohydrate-rich structures representing the immediate contact surface with the extracellular environment, often serving as the first barrier against biotic and abiotic stresses. Notably, a variety of perturbations in plant cell walls result in upregulated jasmonate (JA) production, a phytohormone with essential roles in defense and growth responses. Hence, cell wall-derived signals can initiate intracellular JA-mediated responses and the elucidation of the underlying signaling pathways could provide novel insights into cell wall maintenance and remodeling, as well as advance our understanding on how is JA biosynthesis initiated. This Mini Review will describe current knowledge about cell wall-derived damage signals and their effects on JA biosynthesis, as well as provide future perspectives.

Bochnia, M.; Scheidemann, W.; Ziegler, J.; Sander, J.; Vollstedt, S.; Glatter, M.; Janzen, N.; Terhardt, M.; Zeyner, A. Predictive value of hypoglycin A and methylencyclopropylacetic acid conjugates in a horse with atypical myopathy in comparison to its cograzing partners Equine Vet Educ 30, 24-28, (2018) DOI: 10.1111/eve.12596

Hypoglycin A (HGA) was detected in blood and urine of a horse suffering from atypical myopathy (AM; Day 2, serum, 8290 μg/l; urine: Day 1, 574, Day 2, 742 μg/l) and in its cograzing partners with a high variability (46–1570 μg/l serum). Over the period of disease, the level of the toxic metabolites (methylencyclopropylacetic acid [MCPA]-conjugates) increased in body fluids of the AM horse (MCPA-carnitine: Day 2, 0.246, Day 3, 0.581 μmol/l serum; MCPA-carnitine: Day 2, 0.621, Day 3, 0.884 μmol/mmol creatinine in urine) and HGA decreased rapidly (Day 3, 2430 μg/l serum). In cograzing horses MCPA-conjugates were not detected. HGA in seeds ranged from 268 to 367 μg/g. Although HGA was present in body fluids of healthy cograzing horses, MCPA-conjugates were not detectable, in contrast to the AM horse. Therefore, increasing concentrations of MCPA-conjugates are supposed to be linked with the onset of AM and both parameters seem to indicate the clinical stage of disease. However, detection of HGA in body fluids of cograzing horses might be a promising step in preventing the disease.

Kowalski, A. M.; Gooding, M.; Ferrante, A.; Slafer, G. A.; Orford, S.; Gasperini, D.; Griffiths, S. Agronomic assessment of the wheat semi-dwarfing gene Rht8 in contrasting nitrogen treatments and water regimes Field Crops Res 191, 150-160, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2016.02.026

Reduced height 8 (Rht8) is the main alternative to the GA-insensitive Rht alleles in hot and dry environments where it reduces plant height without yield penalty. The potential of Rht8 in northern-European wheat breeding remains unclear, since the close linkage with the photoperiod-insensitive allele Ppd-D1a is unfavourable in the relatively cool summers. In the present study, two near-isogenic lines (NILs) contrasting for the Rht8/tall allele from Mara in a UK-adapted and photoperiod-sensitive wheat variety were evaluated in trials with varying nitrogen fertiliser (N) treatments and water regimes across sites in the UK and Spain.The Rht8 introgression was associated with a robust height reduction of 11% regardless of N treatment and water regime and the Rht8 NIL was more resistant to root-lodging at agronomically-relevant N levels than the tall NIL. In the UK with reduced solar radiation over the growing season than the site in Spain, the Rht8 NIL showed a 10% yield penalty at standard agronomic N levels due to concomitant reduction in grain number and spike number whereas grain weight and harvest index were not significantly different to the tall NIL. The yield penalty associated with the Rht8 introgression was overcome at low N and in irrigated conditions in the UK, and in the high-temperature site in Spain. Decreased spike length and constant spikelet number in the Rht8 NIL resulted in spike compaction of 15%, independent of N and water regime. The genetic interval of Rht8 overlaps with the compactum gene on 2DS, raising the possibility of the same causative gene. Further genetic dissection of these loci is required.

Gasperini, D.; Acosta, I. F.; Farmer, E. E. Cotyledon Wounding of Arabidopsis Seedlings Bio Protoc 6, e1712, (2016) DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.1712

Damage to plant organs through both biotic and abiotic injury is very common in nature. Arabidopsis thaliana 5-day-old (5-do) seedlings represent an excellent system in which to study plant responses to mechanical wounding, both at the site of the damage and in distal unharmed tissues. Seedlings of wild type, transgenic or mutant lines subjected to single or repetitive cotyledon wounding can be used to quantify morphological alterations (e.g., root length, Gasperini et al., 2015), analyze the dynamics of reporter genes in vivo (Larrieu et al., 2015; Gasperini et al., 2015), follow transcriptional changes by quantitative RT-PCR (Acosta et al., 2013; Gasperini et al., 2015) or examine additional aspects of the wound response with a plethora of downstream procedures. Here we illustrate how to rapidly and reliably wound cotyledons of young seedlings, and show the behavior of two promoters driving the expression of β-glucuronidase (GUS) in entire seedlings and in the primary root meristem, following single or repetitive cotyledon wounding respectively. We describe two procedures that can be easily adapted to specific experimental needs.

Bochnia, M.; Ziegler, J.; Sander, J.; Uhlig, A.; Schaefer, S.; Vollstedt, S.; Glatter, M.; Abel, S.; Recknagel, S.; Schusser, G. F.; Wensch-Dorendorf, M.; Zeyner, A. Hypoglycin A Content in Blood and Urine Discriminates Horses with Atypical Myopathy from Clinically Normal Horses Grazing on the Same Pasture PLoS ONE 10, e0136785, (2015) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136785

Hypoglycin A (HGA) in seeds of Acer spp. is suspected to cause seasonal pasture myopathy in North America and equine atypical myopathy (AM) in Europe, fatal diseases in horses on pasture. In previous studies, this suspicion was substantiated by the correlation of seed HGA content with the concentrations of toxic metabolites in urine and serum (MCPA-conjugates) of affected horses. However, seed sampling was conducted after rather than during an outbreak of the disease. The aim of this study was to further confirm the causality between HGA occurrence and disease outbreak by seed sampling during an outbreak and the determination of i) HGA in seeds and of ii) HGA and MCPA-conjugates in urine and serum of diseased horses. Furthermore, cograzing healthy horses, which were present on AM affected pastures, were also investigated. AM-pastures in Germany were visited to identify seeds of Acer pseudoplatanus and serum (n = 8) as well as urine (n = 6) from a total of 16 diseased horses were analyzed for amino acid composition by LC-ESI-MS/MS, with a special focus on the content of HGA. Additionally, the content of its toxic metabolite was measured in its conjugated form in body fluids (UPLC-MS/MS). The seeds contained 1.7–319.8 μg HGA/g seed. The content of HGA in serum of affected horses ranged from 387.8–8493.8 μg/L (controls < 10 μg/L), and in urine from 143.8–926.4 μg/L (controls < 10 μg/L), respectively. Healthy cograzing horses on AM-pastures showed higher serum (108.8 ± 83.76 μg/L) and urine concentrations (26.9 ± 7.39 μg/L) compared to control horses, but lower concentrations compared to diseased horses. The range of MCPA-carnitine and creatinine concentrations found in diseased horses in serum and urine were 0.17–0.65 mmol/L (controls < 0.01), and 0.34–2.05 μmol/mmoL (controls < 0.001), respectively. MCPA-glycine levels in urine of cograzing horses were higher compared to controls. Thus, the causal link between HGA intoxication and disease outbreak could be further substantiated, and the early detection of HGA in cograzing horses, which are clinically normal, might be a promising step in prophylaxis.

Gasperini, D.; Chauvin, A.; Acosta, I. F.; Kurenda, A.; Stolz, S.; Chételat, A.; Wolfender, J.-L.; Farmer, E. E. Axial and Radial Oxylipin Transport Plant Physiol 169, 2244-2254, (2015) DOI: 10.1104/pp.15.01104

Jasmonates are oxygenated lipids (oxylipins) that control defense gene expression in response to cell damage in plants. How mobile are these potent mediators within tissues? Exploiting a series of 13-lipoxygenase (13-lox) mutants in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) that displays impaired jasmonic acid (JA) synthesis in specific cell types and using JA-inducible reporters, we mapped the extent of the transport of endogenous jasmonates across the plant vegetative growth phase. In seedlings, we found that jasmonate (or JA precursors) could translocate axially from wounded shoots to unwounded roots in a LOX2-dependent manner. Grafting experiments with the wild type and JA-deficient mutants confirmed shoot-to-root oxylipin transport. Next, we used rosettes to investigate radial cell-to-cell transport of jasmonates. After finding that the LOX6 protein localized to xylem contact cells was not wound inducible, we used the lox234 triple mutant to genetically isolate LOX6 as the only JA precursor-producing LOX in the plant. When a leaf of this mutant was wounded, the JA reporter gene was expressed in distal leaves. Leaf sectioning showed that JA reporter expression extended from contact cells throughout the vascular bundle and into extravascular cells, revealing a radial movement of jasmonates. Our results add a crucial element to a growing picture of how the distal wound response is regulated in rosettes, showing that both axial (shoot-to-root) and radial (cell-to-cell) transport of oxylipins plays a major role in the wound response. The strategies developed herein provide unique tools with which to identify intercellular jasmonate transport routes.
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