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Hussain, H.; Ziegler, J.; Hause, G.; Wohlrab, J.; Neubert, R. H. H. Quantitative Analysis of Free Amino Acids and Urea Derived from Isolated Corneocytes of Healthy Young, Healthy Aged, and Diseased Skin Skin Pharmacol Physiol 32, 94-100, (2019) DOI: 10.1159/000495992

Background/Aims: Free amino acids (FAAs) and urea, present inside the corneocytes, can be important indicators of skin condition. However, due to the lack of a standard extraction protocol for FAAs from corneocytes, conflicting research results have been reported. Therefore, the purpose of this study was (1) to standardize the extraction protocol and (2) to investigate FAA profiles in healthy young and healthy old volunteers, as well as in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis patients. Methods: Skin samples were collected from four groups (healthy young, healthy old, and psoriasis and atopic dermatitis patients) with 5 volunteers per group. Corneocytes were isolated and examined microscopically. FAAs and urea were extracted from the isolated corneocytes, and their amounts were quantified using LC-ESI/MS/MS (after derivatization with Fmoc-Cl) and colorimetric methods, respectively. Results: The micrographs of the corneocytes showed no morphological features attributable to age or disease conditions. The highest and lowest concentrations of total FAAs and urea were observed in the healthy old group and the healthy young group, respectively. Unlike the other FAAs and urea, citrulline was found at a higher level in the healthy young group than in the disease groups. Conclusion: This study suggests that the levels of FAAs and urea in the skin are affected by age and skin conditions (healthy/diseased). However, further studies are needed to show the effects of different skin conditions on the levels of FAAs and urea.

Naumann, C.; Müller, J.; Sakhonwasee, S.; Wieghaus, A.; Hause, G.; Heisters, M.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Abel, S. The Local Phosphate Deficiency Response Activates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Dependent Autophagy Plant Physiol 179, 460-476, (2019) DOI: 10.1104/pp.18.01379

Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is often a limiting plant nutrient. In members of the Brassicaceae family, such as Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), Pi deprivation reshapes root system architecture to favor topsoil foraging. It does so by inhibiting primary root extension and stimulating lateral root formation. Root growth inhibition from phosphate (Pi) deficiency is triggered by iron-stimulated, apoplastic reactive oxygen species generation and cell wall modifications, which impair cell-to-cell communication and meristem maintenance. These processes require LOW PHOSPHATE RESPONSE1 (LPR1), a cell wall-targeted ferroxidase, and PHOSPHATE DEFICIENCY RESPONSE2 (PDR2), the single endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident P5-type ATPase (AtP5A), which is thought to control LPR1 secretion or activity. Autophagy is a conserved process involving the vacuolar degradation of cellular components. While the function of autophagy is well established under nutrient starvation (C, N, or S), it remains to be explored under Pi deprivation. Because AtP5A/PDR2 likely functions in the ER stress response, we analyzed the effect of Pi limitation on autophagy. Our comparative study of mutants defective in the local Pi deficiency response, ER stress response, and autophagy demonstrated that ER stress-dependent autophagy is rapidly activated as part of the developmental root response to Pi limitation and requires the genetic PDR2-LPR1 module. We conclude that Pi-dependent activation of autophagy in the root apex is a consequence of local Pi sensing and the associated ER stress response, rather than a means for systemic recycling of the macronutrient.

Bürstenbinder, K.; Möller, B.; Plötner; R.; Stamm, G.; Hause, G.; Mitra, D.; Abel, S. The IQD family of calmodulin-binding proteins links calcium signaling to microtubules, membrane subdomains, and the nucleus. Plant Physiol 173, 1692-1708, (2017) DOI: 10.1104/pp.16.01743

Calcium (Ca2+) signaling and dynamic reorganization of the cytoskeleton are essential processes for the coordination and control of plant cell shape and cell growth. Calmodulin (CaM) and closely related CaM-like polypeptides (CML) are principal sensors of Ca2+ signals. CaM/CMLs decode and relay information encrypted by the second messenger via differential interactions with a wide spectrum of targets to modulate their diverse biochemical activities. The plant-specific IQ67-DOMAIN (IQD) family emerged as the possibly largest class of CaM interacting proteins with undefined molecular functions and biological roles. Here, we show that the 33 members of the IQD family in Arabidopsis thaliana differentially localize, using GFP-tagged proteins, to multiple and distinct subcellular sites, including microtubule (MT) arrays, plasma membrane microdomains, and nuclear compartments. Intriguingly, the various IQD-specific localization patterns coincide with the subcellular patterns of IQD-dependent recruitment of CaM, suggesting that the diverse IQD members sequester Ca2+-CaM signaling modules to specific subcellular sites for precise regulation of Ca2+-dependent processes. Because MT localization is a hallmark of most IQD family members, we quantitatively analyzed GFP-labeled MT arrays in tobacco cells transiently expressing GFP-IQD fusions and observed IQD-specific MT patterns, which point to a role of IQDs in MT organization and dynamics. Indeed, stable overexpression of select IQD proteins in Arabidopsis altered cellular MT orientation, cell shape, and organ morphology. Because IQDs share biochemical properties with scaffold proteins, we propose that IQD families provide an assortment of platform proteins for integrating CaM-dependent Ca2+ signaling at multiple cellular sites to regulate cell function, shape, and growth. 

Müller, J.; Toev, T.; Heisters, M.; Teller, J.; Moore, K. L.; Hause, G.; Dinesh, D. C.; Bürstenbinder, K.; Abel, S. Iron-Dependent Callose Deposition Adjusts Root Meristem Maintenance to Phosphate Availability Devel Cell 33, 216–230, (2015) DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.02.007

Plant root development is informed by numerous edaphic cues. Phosphate (Pi) availability impacts the root system architecture by adjusting meristem activity. However, the sensory mechanisms monitoring external Pi status are elusive. Two functionally interacting Arabidopsis genes, LPR1 (ferroxidase) and PDR2 (P5-type ATPase), are key players in root Pi sensing, which is modified by iron (Fe) availability. We show that the LPR1-PDR2 module facilitates, upon Pi limitation, cell-specific apoplastic Fe and callose deposition in the meristem and elongation zone of primary roots. Expression of cell-wall-targeted LPR1 determines the sites of Fe accumulation as well as callose production, which interferes with symplastic communication in the stem cell niche, as demonstrated by impaired SHORT-ROOT movement. Antagonistic interactions of Pi and Fe availability control primary root growth via meristem-specific callose formation, likely triggered by LPR1-dependent redox signaling. Our results link callose-regulated cell-to-cell signaling in root meristems to the perception of an abiotic cue

Goetz, S.; Hellwege, A.; Stenzel, I.; Kutter, C.; Hauptmann, V.; Forner, S.; McCaig, B.; Hause, G.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Hause, B. Role of cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid in tomato embryo development. Plant Physiol 158, 1715-1727, (2012) DOI: 10.1104/pp.111.192658

Oxylipins including jasmonates are signaling compounds in plant growth, development, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) most mutants affected in jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis and signaling are male sterile, whereas the JA-insensitive tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) mutant jai1 is female sterile. The diminished seed formation in jai1 together with the ovule-specific accumulation of the JA biosynthesis enzyme allene oxide cyclase (AOC), which correlates with elevated levels of JAs, suggest a role of oxylipins in tomato flower/seed development. Here, we show that 35S::SlAOC-RNAi lines with strongly reduced AOC in ovules exhibited reduced seed set similarly to the jai1 plants. Investigation of embryo development of wild-type tomato plants showed preferential occurrence of AOC promoter activity and AOC protein accumulation in the developing seed coat and the embryo, whereas 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) was the dominant oxylipin occurring nearly exclusively in the seed coat tissues. The OPDA- and JA-deficient mutant spr2 was delayed in embryo development and showed an increased programmed cell death in the developing seed coat and endosperm. In contrast, the mutant acx1a, which accumulates preferentially OPDA and residual amount of JA, developed embryos similar to the wild type, suggesting a role of OPDA in embryo development. Activity of the residual amount of JA in the acx1a mutant is highly improbable since the known reproductive phenotype of the JA-insensitive mutant jai1 could be rescued by wound-induced formation of OPDA. These data suggest a role of OPDA or an OPDA-related compound for proper embryo development possibly by regulating carbohydrate supply and detoxification.

Kopycki, J.; Schmidt, J.; Abel, S.; Grubb, C. D. Chemoenzymatic synthesis of diverse thiohydroximates from glucosinolate-utilizing enzymes from Helix pomatia and Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus Biotechnol Lett 33, 1039-1046, (2011) DOI: 10.1007/s10529-011-0530-y

Thiohydroximates comprise a diverse class of compounds important in both biological and industrial chemistry. Their syntheses are generally limited to simple alkyl and aryl compounds with few stereocenters and a narrow range of functional groups. We hypothesized that sequential action of two recombinant enzymes, a sulfatase from Helix pomatia and a β-O-glucosidase from Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus, on glucosinolates would allow synthesis of thiohydroximates from a structurally broad array of abundant precursors. We report successful synthesis of thiohydroximates of varied chemical classes, including from homochiral compounds of demonstrated biological activity. The chemoenzymatic synthetic route reported here should allow access to many, if not all, of the thiohydroximate core structures of the ~200 known naturally occurring glucosinolates. The enrichment of this group for compounds with possible pharmacological potential is discussed.

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.

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.

Jindaprasert, A.; Springob, K.; Schmidt, J.; De-Eknamkul, W.; Kutchan, T.M. Pyrone polyketides synthesized by a type III polyketide synthase from Drosophyllum lusitanicum Phytochemistry 69, 3043-3053, (2008) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.03.013

To isolate cDNAs involved in the biosynthesis of acetate-derived naphthoquinones in Drosophyllum lusitanicum, an expressed sequence tag analysis was performed. RNA from callus cultures was used to create a cDNA library from which 2004 expressed sequence tags were generated. One cDNA with similarity to known type III polyketide synthases was isolated as full-length sequence and termed DluHKS. The translated polypeptide sequence of DluHKS showed 51–67% identity with other plant type III PKSs. Recombinant DluHKS expressed in Escherichia coli accepted acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) as starter and carried out sequential decarboxylative condensations with malonyl-CoA yielding α-pyrones from three to six acetate units. However, naphthalenes, the expected products, were not isolated. Since the main compound produced by DluHKS is a hexaketide α-pyrone, and the naphthoquinones in D. lusitanicum are composed of six acetate units, we propose that the enzyme provides the backbone of these secondary metabolites. An involvement of accessory proteins in this biosynthetic pathway is discussed.

Fellenberg, C.; Milkowski, C.; Hause, B.; Lange, P.; Böttcher, C.; Schmidt, J.; Vogt, T. Tapetum-specific location of a cation-dependent O-methyltransferase in Arabidopsis thaliana Plant J 56, 132-145, (2008) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03576.x

Cation- and S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent plant natural product methyltransferases are referred to as CCoAOMTs because of their preferred substrate, caffeoyl coenzyme A (CCoA). The enzymes are encoded by a small family of genes, some of which with a proven role in lignin monomer biosynthesis. In Arabidopsis thaliana individual members of this gene family are temporally and spatially regulated. The gene At1g67990 is specifically expressed in flower buds, and is not detected in any other organ, such as roots, leaves or stems. Several lines of evidence indicate that the At1g67990 transcript is located in the flower buds, whereas the corresponding CCoAOMT-like protein, termed AtTSM1, is located exclusively in the tapetum of developing stamen. Flowers of At1g67990 RNAi-suppressed plants are characterized by a distinct flower chemotype with severely reduced levels of the N ′,N ′′-bis-(5-hydroxyferuloyl)-N ′′′-sinapoylspermidine compensated for by N1,N5,N10-tris-(5-hydroxyferuloyl)spermidine derivative, which is characterized by the lack of a single methyl group in the sinapoyl moiety. This severe change is consistent with the observed product profile of AtTSM1 for aromatic phenylpropanoids. Heterologous expression of the recombinant protein shows the highest activity towards a series of caffeic acid esters, but 5-hydroxyferuloyl spermidine conjugates are also accepted substrates. The in vitro substrate specificity and the in vivo RNAi-mediated suppression data of the corresponding gene suggest a role of this cation-dependent CCoAOMT-like protein in the stamen/pollen development of A. thaliana.
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