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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.

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 .

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.

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.

Hilpert, B.; Bohlmann, H.; Den Camp, R. o.; Przybyla, D.; Miersch, O.; Buchala, A.; Apel, K.; Isolation and characterization of signal transduction mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana that constitutively activate the octadecanoid pathway and form necrotic microlesions Plant J. 26, 435-446, (2001) DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-313X.2001.2641036.x

Thionins are a group of antimicrobial polypeptides that form part of the plant's defense mechanism against pathogens. The Thi 2.1 thionin gene of Arabidopsis thaliana has been shown to be inducible by jasmonic acid (JA), an oxylipin‐like hormone derived from oxygenated linolenic acid and synthesized via the octadecanoid pathway. The JA‐dependent regulation of the Thi 2.1 gene has been exploited for setting up a genetic screen for the isolation of signal transduction mutants that constitutively express the Thi 2.1 gene. Ten cet‐mutants have been isolated which showed a c onstitutive e xpression of the t hionin gene. Allelism tests revealed that they represent at least five different loci. Some mutants are dominant, others recessive, but all cet mutations behaved as monogenic traits when backcrossed with Thi 2.1‐GUS plants. Some of the mutants overproduce JA and its bioactive precursor 12‐oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA) up to 40‐fold while others have the same low levels as the control wildtype plants. Two of the mutants showed a strong induction of both the salicylic acid (SA)‐ and the JA‐dependent signaling pathways, while the majority seems to be affected only in the octadecanoid pathway. The Thi 2.1 thionin gene and the Pdf 1.2 defensin gene are activated independently, though both are regulated by JA. The cet‐mutants, except for one, also show a spontaneous leaf cell necrosis, a reaction often associated with the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) pathway.

Maucher, H.; Hause, B.; Feussner, I.; Ziegler, J.; Wasternack, C.; Allene oxide synthases of barley (Hordeum vulgare cv. Salome): tissue specific regulation in seedling development Plant J. 21, 199-213, (2000) DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00669.x

Allene oxide synthase (AOS) is the first enzyme in the lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway which leads to formation of jasmonic acid (JA). Two full‐length cDNAs of AOS designated as AOS1 and AOS2, respectively, were isolated from barley (H. vulgare cv. Salome) leaves, which represent the first AOS clones from a monocotyledonous species. For AOS1, the open reading frame encompasses 1461 bp encoding a polypeptide of 487 amino acids with calculated molecular mass of 53.4 kDa and an isoelectric point of 9.3, whereas the corresponding data of AOS2 are 1443 bp, 480 amino acids, 52.7 kDa and 7.9. Southern blot analysis revealed at least two genes. Despite the lack of a putative chloroplast signal peptide in both sequences, the protein co‐purified with chloroplasts and was localized within chloroplasts by immunocytochemical analysis. The barley AOSs, expressed in bacteria as active enzymes, catalyze the dehydration of LOX‐derived 9‐ as well as 13‐hydroperoxides of polyenoic fatty acids to the unstable allene oxides. In leaves, AOS mRNA accumulated upon treatment with jasmonates, octadecanoids and metabolizable carbohydrates, but not upon floating on abscisic acid, NaCl, Na‐salicylate or infection with powdery mildew. In developing seedlings, AOS mRNA strongly accumulated in the scutellar nodule, but less in the leaf base. Both tissues exhibited elevated JA levels. In situ hybridizations revealed the preferential occurrence of AOS mRNA in parenchymatic cells surrounding the vascular bundles of the scutellar nodule and in the young convoluted leaves as well as within the first internode. The properties of both barley AOSs, their up‐regulation of their mRNAs and their tissue specific expression suggest a role during seedling development and jasmonate biosynthesis.

Hause, B.; Stenzel, I.; Miersch, O.; Maucher, H.; Kramell, R.; Ziegler, J.; Wasternack, C.; Tissue-specific oxylipin signature of tomato flowers: allene oxide cyclase is highly expressed in distinct flower organs and vascular bundles Plant J. 24, 113-126, (2000) DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00861.x

A crucial step in the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid (JA) is the formation of its correct stereoisomeric precursor, cis (+)12‐oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA). This step is catalysed by allene oxide cyclase (AOC), which has been recently cloned from tomato . In stems, young leaves and young flowers, AOC mRNA accumulates to a low level , contrasting with a high accumulation in flower buds, flower stalks and roots. The high levels of AOC mRNA and AOC protein in distinct flower organs correlate with high AOC activity, and with elevated levels of JA, OPDA and JA isoleucine conjugate. These compounds accumulate in flowers to levels of about 20 nmol g−1 fresh weight, which is two orders of magnitude higher than in leaves. In pistils, the level of OPDA is much higher than that of JA, whereas in flower stalks, the level of JA exceeds that of OPDA. In other flower tissues, the ratios among JA, OPDA and JA isoleucine conjugate differ remarkably, suggesting a tissue‐specific oxylipin signature. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed the specific occurrence of the AOC protein in ovules, the transmission tissue of the style and in vascular bundles of receptacles, flower stalks, stems, petioles and roots. Based on the tissue‐specific AOC expression and formation of JA, OPDA and JA amino acid conjugates, a possible role for these compounds in flower development is discussed in terms of their effect on sink–source relationships and plant defence reactions. Furthermore, the AOC expression in vascular bundles might play a role in the systemin‐mediated wound response of tomato.
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