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Rekik, I.; Drira, N.; Grubb, C. D.; Elleuch, A.; Molecular characterization and evolution studies of a SERK like gene transcriptionally induced during somatic embryogenesis in Phoenix Dactylifera L v Deglet Nour Genetika 47, 323-337, (2015) DOI: 10.2298/GENSR1501323R

A somatic embryogenesis receptor kinase like (SERKL) cDNA, designated PhSERKL, was isolated from date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera L) using RACE PCR. PhSERKL protein shared all the characteristic domains of the SERK family, including five leucine-rich repeats, one proline-rich region motif, a transmembrane domain, and kinase domains. Phylogenetic analyses using PHYLIP and Notung 2.7 programs suggest that the SERK proteins of some plant species resulted from relatively ancient duplication events. We predict an ancestor protein of monocots and dicots SERK using FASTML program. Somatic embryogenic cultures of date palm were established following transfer of callus cultures to medium containing 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. The role of PhSERKL gene during establishment of somatic embryogenesis in culture was investigated using quantitative real-time PCR. PhSERKL gene was highly expressed during embryogenic competence acquisition and globular embryo formation in culture. Overall, levels of expression of PhSERKL gene were lower in nonembryogenic tissues and organs than in embryogenic callus.

Rekik, I.; Chaâbene, Z.; Grubb, C. D.; Drira, N.; Cheour, F.; Elleuch, A.; In silico characterization and Molecular modeling of double-strand break repair protein MRE11 from Phoenix dactylifera v deglet nour Theor. Biol. Med. Model. 12, 23, (2015) DOI: 10.1186/s12976-015-0013-2

BackgroundDNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly cytotoxic and mutagenic. MRE11 plays an essential role in repairing DNA by cleaving broken ends through its 3′ to 5′ exonuclease and single-stranded DNA endonuclease activities.MethodsThe present study aimed to in silico characterization and molecular modeling of MRE11 from Phoenix dactylifera L cv deglet nour (DnMRE11) by various bioinformatic approaches. To identify DnMRE11 cDNA, assembled contigs from our cDNA libraries were analysed using the Blast2GO2.8 program.ResultsThe DnMRE11 protein length was 726 amino acids. The results of HUMMER show that DnMRE11 is formed by three domains: the N-terminal core domain containing the nuclease and capping domains, the C-terminal half containing the DNA binding and coiled coil region. The structure of DnMRE11 is predicted using the Swiss-Model server, which contains the nuclease and capping domains. The obtained model was verified with the structure validation programs such as ProSA and QMEAN servers for reliability. Ligand binding studies using COACH indicated the interaction of DnMRE11 protein with two Mn2+ ions and dAMP. The ConSurf server predicted that residues of the active site and Nbs binding site have high conservation scores between plant species.ConclusionsA model structure of DnMRE11 was constructed and validated with various bioinformatics programs which suggested the predicted model to be satisfactory. Further validation studies were conducted by COACH analysis for active site ligand prediction, and revealed the presence of six ligands binding sites and two ligands (2 Mn2+ and dAMP).

Raschke, A.; Ibañez, C.; Ullrich, K. K.; Anwer, M. U.; Becker, S.; Glöckner, A.; Trenner, J.; Denk, K.; Saal, B.; Sun, X.; Ni, M.; Davis, S. J.; Delker, C.; Quint, M.; Natural variants of ELF3 affect thermomorphogenesis by transcriptionally modulating PIF4-dependent auxin response genes BMC Plant Biol. 15, 197, (2015) DOI: 10.1186/s12870-015-0566-6

BackgroundPerception and transduction of temperature changes result in altered growth enabling plants to adapt to increased ambient temperature. While PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4) has been identified as a major ambient temperature signaling hub, its upstream regulation seems complex and is poorly understood. Here, we exploited natural variation for thermo-responsive growth in Arabidopsis thaliana using quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis.ResultsWe identified GIRAFFE2.1, a major QTL explaining ~18 % of the phenotypic variation for temperature-induced hypocotyl elongation in the Bay-0 x Sha recombinant inbred line population. Transgenic complementation demonstrated that allelic variation in the circadian clock regulator EARLY FLOWERING3 (ELF3) is underlying this QTL. The source of variation could be allocated to a single nucleotide polymorphism in the ELF3 coding region, resulting in differential expression of PIF4 and its target genes, likely causing the observed natural variation in thermo-responsive growth.ConclusionsIn combination with other recent studies, this work establishes the role of ELF3 in the ambient temperature signaling network. Natural variation of ELF3-mediated gating of PIF4 expression during nightly growing periods seems to be affected by a coding sequence quantitative trait nucleotide that confers a selective advantage in certain environments. In addition, natural ELF3 alleles seem to differentially integrate temperature and photoperiod information to induce architectural changes. Thus, ELF3 emerges as an essential coordinator of growth and development in response to diverse environmental cues and implicates ELF3 as an important target of adaptation.

Ried, M. K.; Antolín-Llovera, M.; Parniske, M.; Spontaneous symbiotic reprogramming of plant roots triggered by receptor-like kinases eLife 3, e03891, (2014) DOI: 10.7554/eLife.03891

Symbiosis Receptor-like Kinase (SYMRK) is indispensable for the development of phosphate-acquiring arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) as well as nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis, but the mechanisms that discriminate between the two distinct symbiotic developmental fates have been enigmatic. In this study, we show that upon ectopic expression, the receptor-like kinase genes Nod Factor Receptor 1 (NFR1), NFR5, and SYMRK initiate spontaneous nodule organogenesis and nodulation-related gene expression in the absence of rhizobia. Furthermore, overexpressed NFR1 or NFR5 associated with endogenous SYMRK in roots of the legume Lotus japonicus. Epistasis tests revealed that the dominant active SYMRK allele initiates signalling independently of either the NFR1 or NFR5 gene and upstream of a set of genes required for the generation or decoding of calcium-spiking in both symbioses. Only SYMRK but not NFR overexpression triggered the expression of AM-related genes, indicating that the receptors play a key role in the decision between AM- or root nodule symbiosis-development.

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.

Delker, C.; Sonntag, L.; James, G.; Janitza, P.; Ibañez, C.; Ziermann, H.; Peterson, T.; Denk, K.; Mull, S.; Ziegler, J.; Davis, S.; 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.

Antolín-Llovera, M.; Petutsching, E. K.; Ried, M. K.; Lipka, V.; Nürnberger, T.; Robatzek, S.; Parniske, M.; Knowing your friends and foes - plant receptor-like kinases as initiators of symbiosis or defence New Phytol. 204, 791-802, (2014) DOI: 10.1111/nph.13117

The decision between defence and symbiosis signalling in plants involves alternative and modular plasma membrane‐localized receptor complexes. A critical step in their activation is ligand‐induced homo‐ or hetero‐oligomerization of leucine‐rich repeat (LRR)‐ and/or lysin motif (LysM) receptor‐like kinases (RLKs). In defence signalling, receptor complexes form upon binding of pathogen‐associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), including the bacterial flagellin‐derived peptide flg22, or chitin. Similar mechanisms are likely to operate during the perception of microbial symbiont‐derived (lipo)‐chitooligosaccharides. The structurally related chitin‐oligomer ligands chitooctaose and chitotetraose trigger defence and symbiosis signalling, respectively, and their discrimination involves closely related, if not identical, LysM‐RLKs. This illustrates the demand for and the challenges imposed on decision mechanisms that ensure appropriate signal initiation. Appropriate signalling critically depends on abundance and localization of RLKs at the cell surface. This is regulated by internalization, which also provides a mechanism for the removal of activated signalling RLKs. Abundance of the malectin‐like domain (MLD)‐LRR‐RLK Symbiosis Receptor‐like Kinase (SYMRK) is additionally controlled by cleavage of its modular ectodomain, which generates a truncated and rapidly degraded RLK fragment. This review explores LRR‐ and LysM‐mediated signalling, the involvement of MLD‐LRR‐RLKs in symbiosis and defence, and the role of endocytosis in RLK function.

Antolín-Llovera, M.; Ried, M.; Parniske, M.; Cleavage of the SYMBIOSIS RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE Ectodomain Promotes Complex Formation with Nod Factor Receptor 5 Curr. Biol. 24, 422-427, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.053

Plants form root symbioses with fungi and bacteria to improve their nutrient supply. SYMBIOSIS RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE (SYMRK) is required for phosphate-acquiring arbuscular mycorrhiza, as well as for the nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis of legumes [1] and actinorhizal plants [2, 3], but its precise function was completely unclear. Here we show that the extracytoplasmic region of SYMRK, which comprises three leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) and a malectin-like domain (MLD) related to a carbohydrate-binding protein from Xenopus laevis [4], is cleaved to release the MLD in the absence of symbiotic stimulation. A conserved sequence motif—GDPC—that connects the MLD to the LRRs is required for MLD release. We discovered that Nod factor receptor 5 (NFR5) [5, 6, 7, 8] forms a complex with the SYMRK version that remains after MLD release (SYMRK-ΔMLD). SYMRK-ΔMLD outcompeted full-length SYMRK for NFR5 interaction, indicating that the MLD negatively interferes with complex formation. SYMRK-ΔMLD is present at lower amounts than MLD, suggesting rapid degradation after MLD release. A deletion of the entire extracytoplasmic region increased protein abundance, suggesting that the LRR region promotes degradation. Curiously, this deletion led to excessive infection thread formation, highlighting the importance of fine-tuned regulation of SYMRK by its ectodomain.
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