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Quint, M.; Drost, H.-G.; Gabel, A.; Ullrich, K. K.; Bönn, M.; Grosse, I. A transcriptomic hourglass in plant embryogenesis Nature 490, 98-101, (2012) DOI: 10.1038/nature11394

Animal and plant development starts with a constituting phase called embryogenesis, which evolved independently in both lineages1. Comparative anatomy of vertebrate development—based on the Meckel-Serrès law2 and von Baer’s laws of embryology3 from the early nineteenth century—shows that embryos from various taxa appear different in early stages, converge to a similar form during mid-embryogenesis, and again diverge in later stages. This morphogenetic series is known as the embryonic ‘hourglass’4,5, and its bottleneck of high conservation in mid-embryogenesis is referred to as the phylotypic stage6. Recent analyses in zebrafish and Drosophila embryos provided convincing molecular support for the hourglass model, because during the phylotypic stage the transcriptome was dominated by ancient genes7 and global gene expression profiles were reported to be most conserved8. Although extensively explored in animals, an embryonic hourglass has not been reported in plants, which represent the second major kingdom in the tree of life that evolved embryogenesis. Here we provide phylotranscriptomic evidence for a molecular embryonic hourglass in Arabidopsis thaliana, using two complementary approaches. This is particularly significant because the possible absence of an hourglass based on morphological features in plants suggests that morphological and molecular patterns might be uncoupled. Together with the reported developmental hourglass patterns in animals, these findings indicate convergent evolution of the molecular hourglass and a conserved logic of embryogenesis across kingdoms.

Janitza, P.; Ullrich, K. K.; Quint, M. Toward a comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of mitogen-activated protein kinases in the plant kingdom Front Plant Sci 3, 271, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00271

The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is a three-tier signaling cascade that transmits cellular information from the plasma membrane to the cytoplasm where it triggers downstream responses. The MAPKs represent the last step in this cascade and are activated when both tyrosine and threonine residues in a conserved TxY motif are phosphorylated by MAPK kinases, which in turn are themselves activated by phosphorylation by MAPK kinase kinases. To understand the molecular evolution of MAPKs in the plant kingdom, we systematically conducted a Hidden-Markov-Model based screen to identify MAPKs in 13 completely sequenced plant genomes. In this analysis, we included green algae, bryophytes, lycophytes, and several mono- and eudicotyledonous species covering >800 million years of evolution. The phylogenetic relationships of the 204 identified MAPKs based on Bayesian inference facilitated the retraction of the sequence of emergence of the four major clades that are characterized by the presence of a TDY or TEY-A/TEY-B/TEY-C type kinase activation loop. We present evidence that after the split of TDY- and TEY-type MAPKs, initially the TEY-C clade emerged. This was followed by the TEY-B clade in early land plants until the TEY-A clade finally emerged in flowering plants. In addition to these well characterized clades, we identified another highly conserved clade of 45 MAPK-likes, members of which were previously described as Mak-homologous kinases. In agreement with their essential functions, molecular population genetic analysis of MAPK genes in Arabidopsis thaliana accessions reveal that purifying selection drove the evolution of the MAPK family, implying strong functional constraints on MAPK genes. Closely related MAPKs most likely subfunctionalized, a process in which differential transcriptional regulation of duplicates may be involved.

Stenzel, I.; Ischebeck, T.; Quint, M.; Heilmann, I. Variable regions of PI4P 5-kinases direct PtdIns(4,5)P2 toward alternative regulatory functions in tobacco pollen tubes Front Plant Sci 2, 114, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00114

The apical plasma membrane of pollen tubes contains different PI4P 5-kinases that all produce phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2] but exert distinct cellular effects. In the present example, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K5 or tobacco NtPIP5K6-1 caused growth defects previously attributed to increased pectin secretion. In contrast, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K2 caused apical tip swelling implicated in altering actin fine structure in the pollen tube apex. AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2 share identical domain structures. Domains required for correct membrane association of the enzymes were identified by systematic deletion of N-terminal domains and subsequent expression of fluorescence-tagged enzyme truncations in tobacco pollen tubes. A variable linker region (Lin) contained in all PI4P 5-kinase isoforms of subfamily B, but not conserved in sequence, was recognized to be necessary for correct subcellular localization of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2. Deletion of N-terminal domains including the Lin domain did not impair catalytic activity of recombinant AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 in vitro; however, the presence of the Lin domain was necessary for in vivo effects on pollen tube growth upon overexpression of truncated enzymes. Overexpression of catalytically inactive variants of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 did not influence pollen tube growth, indicating that PtdIns(4,5)P2 production rather than structural properties of PI4P 5-kinases was relevant for the manifestation of growth phenotypes. When Lin domains were swapped between NtPIP5K6-1 and AtPIP5K2 and the chimeric enzymes overexpressed in pollen tubes, the chimeras reciprocally gained the capabilities to invoke tip swelling or secretion phenotypes, respectively. The data indicate that the Lin domain directed the enzymes into different regulatory contexts, possibly contributing to channeling of PtdIns(4,5)P2 at the interface of secretion and actin cytoskeleton.

Brandt, R.; Salla-Martret, M.; Bou-Torrent, J.; Musielak, T.; Stahl, M.; Lanz, C.; Ott, F.; Schmid, M.; Greb, T.; Schwarz, M.; Choi, S.-B.; Barton, M. K.; Reinhart, B. J.; Liu, T.; Quint, M.; Palauqui, J.-C.; Martínez-García, J. F.; Wenkel, S. Genome-wide binding-site analysis of REVOLUTA reveals a link between leaf patterning and light-mediated growth responses Plant J 72, 31-42, (2012) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05049.x

Unlike the situation in animals, the final morphology of the plant body is highly modulated by the environment. During Arabidopsis development, intrinsic factors provide the framework for basic patterning processes. CLASS III HOMEODOMAIN LEUCINE ZIPPER (HD-ZIPIII) transcription factors are involved in embryo, shoot and root patterning. During vegetative growth HD-ZIPIII proteins control several polarity set-up processes such as in leaves and the vascular system. We have identified several direct target genes of the HD-ZIPIII transcription factor REVOLUTA (REV) using a chromatin immunoprecipitation/DNA sequencing (ChIP-Seq) approach. This analysis revealed that REV acts upstream of auxin biosynthesis and affects directly the expression of several class II HD-ZIP transcription factors that have been shown to act in the shade-avoidance response pathway. We show that, as well as involvement in basic patterning, HD-ZIPIII transcription factors have a critical role in the control of the elongation growth that is induced when plants experience shade. Leaf polarity is established by the opposed actions of HD-ZIPIII and KANADI transcription factors. Finally, our study reveals that the module that consists of HD-ZIPIII/KANADI transcription factors controls shade growth antagonistically and that this antagonism is manifested in the opposed regulation of shared target genes.
Bücher und Buchkapitel

Vaira, A. M.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Garcia, M. L.; Guerri, J.; Hammond, J.; Milne, R. G.; Moreno, P.; Morikawa, T.; Natsuaki, T.; Navarro, J. A.; Pallas, V.; Torok, V.; Verbeek, M.; Vetten, H. J. Family - Ophioviridae (King, A. M. Q., et al., eds.). 743-748, (2012) ISBN: 978-0-12-384684-6 DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384684-6.00060-4

This chapter focuses on Ophioviridae family whose sole member genus is Ophiovirus. The member species of the genus include Citrus psorosis virus (CPsV), Freesia sneak virus(FreSV), Lettuce ring necrosis virus (LRNV), and Mirafiori lettuce big-vein virus (MiLBVV).The single stranded negative/possibly ambisense RNA genome is divided into 3–4 segments, each of which is encapsidated in a single coat protein (43–50 kDa) forming filamentous virions of about 3 nm in diameter, in shape of kinked or probably internally coiled circles of at least two different contour lengths. Ophioviruses can be mechanically transmitted to a limited range of test plants, inducing local lesions and systemic mottle. The natural hosts of CPsV, ranunculus white mottle virus (RWMV), MiLBVV, and LRNV are dicotyledonous plants of widely differing taxonomy. CPsV has a wide geographical distribution in citrus in the Americas, in the Mediterranean and in New Zealand. FreSV has been reported in two species of the family Ranunculacae from Northern Italy, and in lettuce in France and Germany. Tulip mild mottle mosaic virus (TMMMV) has been reported in tulips in Japan. LRNV is closely associated with lettuce ring necrosis disease in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, and FreSV has been reported in Europe, Africa, North America and New Zealand.
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