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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.

Wasternack, C.; Strnad, M. Jasmonates are signals in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites — Pathways, transcription factors and applied aspects — A brief review. New Biotechnol 48, 1-11, (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.nbt.2017.09.007

Jasmonates (JAs) are signals in plant stress responses and development. One of the first observed and prominent responses to JAs is the induction of biosynthesis of different groups of secondary compounds. Among them are nicotine, isoquinolines, glucosinolates, anthocyanins, benzophenanthridine alkaloids, artemisinin, and terpenoid indole alkaloids (TIAs), such as vinblastine. This brief review describes modes of action of JAs in the biosynthesis of anthocyanins, nicotine, TIAs, glucosinolates and artemisinin. After introducing JA biosynthesis, the central role of the SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor complex in JA perception and MYB-type and MYC-type transcription factors is described. Brief comments are provided on primary metabolites as precursors of secondary compounds. Pathways for the biosynthesis of anthocyanin, nicotine, TIAs, glucosinolates and artemisinin are described with an emphasis on JA-dependent transcription factors, which activate or repress the expression of essential genes encoding enzymes in the biosynthesis of these secondary compounds. Applied aspects are discussed using the biotechnological formation of artemisinin as an example of JA-induced biosynthesis of secondary compounds in plant cell factories.

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.

Wasternack, C.; Strnad, M. Jasmonates: News on Occurrence, Biosynthesis, Metabolism and Action of an Ancient Group of Signaling Compounds Int J Mol Sci 19, 2539, (2018) DOI: 10.3390/ijms19092539

Jasmonic acid (JA) and its related derivatives are ubiquitously occurring compounds of land plants acting in numerous stress responses and development. Recent studies on evolution of JA and other oxylipins indicated conserved biosynthesis. JA formation is initiated by oxygenation of α-linolenic acid (α-LeA, 18:3) or 16:3 fatty acid of chloroplast membranes leading to 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) as intermediate compound, but in Marchantiapolymorpha and Physcomitrellapatens, OPDA and some of its derivatives are final products active in a conserved signaling pathway. JA formation and its metabolic conversion take place in chloroplasts, peroxisomes and cytosol, respectively. Metabolites of JA are formed in 12 different pathways leading to active, inactive and partially active compounds. The isoleucine conjugate of JA (JA-Ile) is the ligand of the receptor component COI1 in vascular plants, whereas in the bryophyte M. polymorpha COI1 perceives an OPDA derivative indicating its functionally conserved activity. JA-induced gene expressions in the numerous biotic and abiotic stress responses and development are initiated in a well-studied complex regulation by homeostasis of transcription factors functioning as repressors and activators.

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. 

Wasternack, C.; Strnad, M. Jasmonate signaling in plant stress responses and development – active and inactive compounds New Biotechnology 33 B, 604-613, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.nbt.2015.11.001

Jasmonates (JAs) are lipid-derived signals mediating plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses and in plant development. Following the elucidation of each step in their biosynthesis and the important components of perception and signaling, several activators, repressors and co-repressors have been identified which contribute to fine-tuning the regulation of JA-induced gene expression. Many of the metabolic reactions in which JA participates, such as conjugation with amino acids, glucosylation, hydroxylation, carboxylation, sulfation and methylation, lead to numerous compounds with different biological activities. These metabolites may be highly active, partially active in specific processes or inactive. Hydroxylation, carboxylation and sulfation inactivate JA signaling. The precursor of JA biosynthesis, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA), has been identified as a JA-independent signaling compound. An increasing number of OPDA-specific processes is being identified. To conclude, the numerous JA compounds and their different modes of action allow plants to respond specifically and flexibly to alterations in the environment.

Floková, K.; Feussner, K.; Herrfurth, C.; Miersch, O.; Mik, V.; Tarkowská, D.; Strnad, M.; Feussner, I.; Wasternack, C.; Novák, O. A previously undescribed jasmonate compound in flowering Arabidopsis thaliana – The identification of cis-(+)-OPDA-Ile. Phytochemistry 122, 230-237, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.11.012

Jasmonates (JAs) are plant hormones that integrate external stress stimuli with physiological responses. (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile is the natural JA ligand of COI1, a component of a known JA receptor. The upstream JA biosynthetic precursor cis-(+)-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (cis-(+)-OPDA) has been reported to act independently of COI1 as an essential signal in several stress-induced and developmental processes. Wound-induced increases in the endogenous levels of JA/JA-Ile are accompanied by two to tenfold increases in the concentration of OPDA, but its means of perception and metabolism are unknown. To screen for putative OPDA metabolites, vegetative tissues of flowering Arabidopsis thaliana were extracted with 25% aqueous methanol (v/v), purified by single-step reversed-phase polymer-based solid-phase extraction, and analyzed by high throughput mass spectrometry. This enabled the detection and quantitation of a low abundant OPDA analog of the biologically active (+)-7-iso-JA-L-Ile in plant tissue samples. Levels of the newly identified compound and the related phytohormones JA, JA-Ile and cis-(+)-OPDA were monitored in wounded leaves of flowering Arabidopsis lines (Col-0 and Ws) and compared to the levels observed in Arabidopsis mutants deficient in the biosynthesis of JA (dde2-2, opr3) and JA-Ile (jar1). The observed cis-(+)-OPDA-Ile levels varied widely, raising questions concerning its role in Arabidopsis stress responses.

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

Floková, K.; Tarkowská, D.; Miersch, O.; Strnad, M.; Wasternack, C.; Novak, O. UHPLC-MS/MS based target profiling of stress-induced phytohormones Phytochemistry 105, 147-157, (2014) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.05.015

Stress-induced changes in phytohormone metabolite profiles have rapid effects on plant metabolic activity and growth. The jasmonates (JAs) are a group of fatty acid-derived stress response regulators with roles in numerous developmental processes. To elucidate their dual regulatory effects, which overlap with those of other important defence-signalling plant hormones such as salicylic acid (SA), abscisic acid (ABA) and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), we have developed a highly efficient single-step clean-up procedure for their enrichment from complex plant matrices that enables their sensitive quantitative analysis using hyphenated mass spectrometry technique. The rapid extraction of minute quantities of plant material (less than 20 mg fresh weight, FW) into cold 10% methanol followed by one-step reversed-phase polymer-based solid phase extraction significantly reduced matrix effects and increased the recovery of labile JA analytes. This extraction and purification protocol was paired with a highly sensitive and validated ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) method and used to simultaneously profile sixteen stress-induced phytohormones in minute plant material samples, including endogenous JA, several of its biosynthetic precursors and derivatives, as well as SA, ABA and IAA.

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.
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