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Stumpe, M.; Göbel, C.; Faltin, B.; Beike, A. K.; Hause, B.; Himmelsbach, K.; Bode, J.; Kramell, R.; Wasternack, C.; Frank, W.; Reski, R.; Feussner, I. The moss Physcomitrella patens contains cyclopentenones but no jasmonates: mutations in allene oxide cyclase lead to reduced fertility and altered sporophyte morphology New Phytol 188 (3), 740-749, (2010) DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03406.x

Two cDNAs encoding allene oxide cyclases (PpAOC1, PpAOC2), key enzymes in the formation of jasmonic acid (JA) and its precursor (9S,13S)‐12‐oxo‐phytodienoic acid (cis‐(+)‐OPDA), were isolated from the moss Physcomitrella patens.Recombinant PpAOC1 and PpAOC2 show substrate specificity against the allene oxide derived from 13‐hydroperoxy linolenic acid (13‐HPOTE); PpAOC2 also shows substrate specificity against the allene oxide derived from 12‐hydroperoxy arachidonic acid (12‐HPETE).In protonema and gametophores the occurrence of cis‐(+)‐OPDA, but neither JA nor the isoleucine conjugate of JA nor that of cis‐(+)‐OPDA was detected.Targeted knockout mutants for PpAOC1 and for PpAOC2 were generated, while double mutants could not be obtained. The ΔPpAOC1 and ΔPpAOC2 mutants showed reduced fertility, aberrant sporophyte morphology and interrupted sporogenesis.

Ziegler, J.; Facchini, P.J.; Geißler, R.; Schmidt, J.; Ammer, C.; Kramell, R.; Voigtländer, S.; Gesell, A.; Pienkny, S.; Brandt, W. Evolution of morphine biosynthesis in opium poppy. Phytochemistry 70, 1696 - 1707, (2009) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.07.006

Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) are a group of nitrogen-containing plant secondary metabolites comprised of an estimated 2500 identified structures. In BIA metabolism, (S)-reticuline is a key branch-point intermediate that can be directed into several alkaloid subtypes with different structural skeleton configurations. The morphinan alkaloids are one subclass of BIAs produced in only a few plant species, most notably and abundantly in the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Comparative transcriptome analysis of opium poppy and several other Papaver species that do not accumulate morphinan alkaloids showed that known genes encoding BIA biosynthetic enzymes are expressed at higher levels in P. somniferum. Three unknown cDNAs that are co-ordinately expressed with several BIA biosynthetic genes were identified as enzymes in the pathway. One of these enzymes, salutaridine reductase (SalR), which is specific for the production of morphinan alkaloids, was isolated and heterologously overexpressed in its active form not only from P. somniferum, but also from Papaver species that do not produce morphinan alkaloids.SalR is a member of a class of short chain dehydrogenase/reductases (SDRs) that are active as monomers and possess an extended amino acid sequence compared with classical SDRs. Homology modelling and substrate docking revealed the substrate binding site for SalR. The amino acids residues conferring salutaridine binding were compared to several members of the SDR family from different plant species, which non-specifically reduce ( )-menthone to (+)-neomenthol. Previously, it was shown that some of these proteins are involved in plant defence. The recruitment of specific monomeric SDRs from monomeric SDRs involved in plant defence is discussed.

Fonseca, S.; Chini, A.; Hamberg, M.; Adie, B.; Porzel, A.; Kramell, R.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Solano, R. (+)-7-iso-Jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine is the endogenous bioactive jasmonate Nat Chem Biol 5, 344-350, (2009) DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.161

Hormone-triggered activation of the jasmonate signaling pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana requires SCFCOI1-mediated proteasome degradation of JAZ repressors. (-)-JA-L-Ile is the proposed bioactive hormone, and SCFCOI1 is its likely receptor. We found that the biological activity of (-)-JA-L-Ile is unexpectedly low compared to coronatine and the synthetic isomer (+)-JA-L-Ile, which suggests that the stereochemical orientation of the cyclopentanone-ring side chains greatly affects receptor binding. Detailed GC-MS and HPLC analyses showed that the (-)-JA-L-Ile preparations currently used in ligand binding studies contain small amounts of the C7 epimer (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile. Purification of each of these molecules demonstrated that pure (-)-JA-L-Ile is inactive and that the active hormone is (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile, which is also structurally more similar to coronatine. In addition, we show that pH changes promote conversion of (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile to the inactive (-)-JA-L-Ile form, thus providing a simple mechanism that can regulate hormone activity through epimerization.

Lee, C-W.; Efetova, M.; Engelmann, J.C.; Kramell, R.; Wasternack, C.; Ludwig- Müller, J.; Hedrich, R.; Deeken, R. Agrobacterium tumefaciens Promotes Tumor Induction by Modulating Pathogen Defense in Arabidopsis thaliana Plant Cell 21, 2948 - 2962, (2009) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.108.064576

Agrobacterium tumefaciens causes crown gall disease by transferring and integrating bacterial DNA (T-DNA) into the plant genome. To examine the physiological changes and adaptations during Agrobacterium-induced tumor development, we compared the profiles of salicylic acid (SA), ethylene (ET), jasmonic acid (JA), and auxin (indole-3-acetic acid [IAA]) with changes in the Arabidopsis thaliana transcriptome. Our data indicate that host responses were much stronger toward the oncogenic strain C58 than to the disarmed strain GV3101 and that auxin acts as a key modulator of the Arabidopsis–Agrobacterium interaction. At initiation of infection, elevated levels of IAA and ET were associated with the induction of host genes involved in IAA, but not ET signaling. After T-DNA integration, SA as well as IAA and ET accumulated, but JA did not.This did not correlate with SA-controlled pathogenesis-related gene expression in the host, although high SA levels in mutant plants prevented tumor development, while low levels promoted it. Our data are consistent with a scenario in which ET and later on SA control virulence of agrobacteria, whereas ET and auxin stimulate neovascularization during tumor formation. We suggest that crosstalk among IAA, ET, and SA balances pathogen defense launched by the host and tumorgrowth initiated by agrobacteria.

Mugford, S.G.; Yoshimoto, N.; Reichelt, M.; Wirtz, M.; Hill, L.; Mugford, S.T.; Nakazato, Y.; Noji, M.; Takahashi, H.; Kramell, R.; Gigolashvili, T.; Flügge, U.-I.; Wasternack, C.; Gershenzon, J.; Hell, R.; Saito, K.; Kopriva, S. Disruption of Adenosine-5'-Phosphosulfate Kinase in <span>Arabidopsis</span> Reduces Levels of Sulfated Secondary Metabolites Plant Cell 21, 910-927, (2009) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.109.065581

Plants can metabolize sulfate by two pathways, which branch at the level of adenosine 59-phosphosulfate (APS). APS can be reduced to sulfide and incorporated into Cys in the primary sulfate assimilation pathway or phosphorylated by APS kinase to 39-phosphoadenosine 59-phosphosulfate, which is the activated sulfate form for sulfation reactions. To assess to what extent APS kinase regulates accumulation of sulfated compounds, we analyzed the corresponding gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana. Analysis of T-DNA insertion knockout lines for each of the four isoforms did not reveal any phenotypical alterations. However, when all six combinations of double mutants were compared, the apk1 apk2 plants were significantly smaller than wild-type plants. The levels of glucosinolates, a major class of sulfated secondary metabolites, and the sulfated 12-hydroxyjasmonate were reduced approximately fivefold in apk1 apk2 plants. Although auxin levels were increased in the apk1 apk2 mutants, as is the case for most plants with compromised glucosinolate synthesis, typical high auxin phenotypes were not observed. The reduction in glucosinolates resulted in increased transcript levels for genes involved in glucosinolate biosynthesis and accumulation of desulfated precursors. It also led to great alterations in sulfur metabolism: the levels of sulfate and thiols increased in the apk1 apk2 plants. The data indicate that the APK1 and APK2 isoforms of APS kinase play a major role in the synthesis of secondary sulfated metabolites and are required for normalgrowth rates.

Pienkny, S.; Brandt, W.; Schmidt, J.; Kramell, R.; Ziegler, J. Functional characterization of a novel benzylisoquinoline O-methyltransferase suggests its involvement in papaverine biosynthesis in opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L) Plant J 60, 56 - 67, (2009) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2009.03937.x

The benzylisoquinoline alkaloids are a highly diverse group of about 2500 compounds which accumulate in a species-specific manner. Despite the numerous compounds which could be identified, the biosynthetic pathways and the participating enzymes or cDNAs could be characterized only for a few selected members, whereas the biosynthesis of the majority of the compounds is still largely unknown. In an attempt to characterize additional biosynthetic steps at the molecular level, integration of alkaloid and transcript profiling across Papaver species was performed. This analysis showed high expression of an expressed sequence tag (EST) of unknown function only in Papaver somniferum varieties. After full-length cloning of the open reading frame and sequence analysis, this EST could be classified as a member of the class II type O-methyltransferase protein family. It was related to O-methyltransferases from benzylisoquinoline biosynthesis, and the amino acid sequence showed 68% identical residues to norcoclaurine 6-O-methyltransferase. However, rather than methylating norcoclaurine, the recombinant protein methylated norreticuline at position seven with a Km of 44 lM using S-adenosyl-L-methionine as a cofactor. Of all substrates tested, only norreticuline was converted.Even minor changes in the benzylisoquinoline backbone were not tolerated by the enzyme. Accordingly, the enzyme was named norreticuline 7–O-methyltransferase (N7OMT). This enzyme represents a novel Omethyltransferase in benzylisoquinoline metabolism. Expression analysis showed slightly increased expression of N7OMT in P. somniferum varieties containing papaverine, suggesting its involvement in the partially unknown biosynthesis of this pharmaceutically important compound.

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.

Schüler, G.; Mithöfer, A.; Baldwin, I.T.; Berger, S.; Ebel, S.; Santos, J.G.; Herrmann, G.; Hölscher, D.; Kramell, R.; Kutchan, T.M.; Maucher, H.; Schneider, B.; Stenzel, I.; Wasternack, C.; Boland, W. Coronalon: a powerful tool in plant stress physiology FEBS Lett. 563, 17-22, (2004) DOI: 10.1016/S0014-5793(04)00239-X

Coronalon, a synthetic 6-ethyl indanoyl isoleucine conjugate, has been designed as a highly active mimic of octadecanoid phytohormones that are involved in insect and disease resistance. The spectrum of biological activities that is affected by coronalon was investigated in nine different plant systems specifically responding to jasmonates and/or 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid. In all bioassays analyzed, coronalon demonstrated a general strong activity at low micromolar concentrations. The results obtained showed the induction of (i) defense-related secondary metabolite accumulation in both cell cultures and plant tissues, (ii) specific abiotic and biotic stress-related gene expression, and (iii) root growth retardation. The general activity of coronalon in the induction of plant stress responses together with its simple and efficient synthesis suggests that this compound might serve as a valuable tool in the examination of various aspects in plant stress physiology. Moreover, coronalon might become employed in agriculture to elicit plant resistance against various aggressors.

Abdala, G.; Miersch, O.; Kramell, R.; Vigliocco, A.; Agostini, E.; Forchetti, G.; Alemano, S. Jasmonate and octadecanoid occurrence in tomato hairy roots. Endogenous level changes in response to NaCl Plant Growth Regul. 40, 21-27, (2003)


Hause, B.; Maier, W.; Miersch, O.; Kramell, R.; Strack, D. Induction of jasmonate biosynthesis in arbuscular mycorrhizal barley roots Plant Physiol. 130, 1213-1220, (2002) DOI: 10.1104/pp.006007

Colonization of barley (Hordeum vulgare cv Salome) roots by an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus intraradices Schenck & Smith, leads to elevated levels of endogenous jasmonic acid (JA) and its amino acid conjugate JA-isoleucine, whereas the level of the JA precursor, oxophytodienoic acid, remains constant. The rise in jasmonates is accompanied by the expression of genes coding for an enzyme of JA biosynthesis (allene oxide synthase) and of a jasmonate-induced protein (JIP23). In situ hybridization and immunocytochemical analysis revealed that expression of these genes occurred cell specifically within arbuscule-containing root cortex cells. The concomitant gene expression indicates that jasmonates are generated and act within arbuscule-containing cells. By use of a near-synchronous mycorrhization, analysis of temporal expression patterns showed the occurrence of transcript accumulation 4 to 6 d after the appearance of the first arbuscules. This suggests that the endogenous rise in jasmonates might be related to the fully established symbiosis rather than to the recognition of interacting partners or to the onset of interaction. Because the plant supplies the fungus with carbohydrates, a model is proposed in which the induction of JA biosynthesis in colonized roots is linked to the stronger sink function of mycorrhizal roots compared with nonmycorrhizal roots.
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