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.
Schilling, S.; Wasternack, C.; Demuth, H.-U.; Glutaminyl cyclases from animals and plants: a case of functionally convergent protein evolution Biol. Chem. 389, (2008) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2008.111
Several mammalian peptide hormones and proteins from plant and animal origin contain an N-terminal pyroglutamic acid (pGlu) residue. Frequently, the moiety is important in exerting biological function in either mediating interaction with receptors or stabilizing against N-terminal degradation. Glutaminyl cyclases (QCs) were isolated from different plants and animals catalyzing pGlu formation. The recent resolution of the 3D structures of Carica papaya and human QCs clearly supports different evolutionary origins of the proteins, which is also reflected by different enzymatic mechanisms. The broad substrate specificity is revealed by the heterogeneity of physiological substrates of plant and animal QCs, including cytokines, matrix proteins and pathogenesis-related proteins. Moreover, recent evidence also suggests human QC as a catalyst of pGlu formation at the N-terminus of amyloid peptides, which contribute to Alzheimer's disease. Obviously, owing to its biophysical properties, the function of pGlu in plant and animal proteins is very similar in terms of stabilizing or mediating protein and peptide structure. It is possible that the requirement for catalysis of pGlu formation under physiological conditions may have triggered separate evolution of QCs in plants and animals.
Schilling, S.; Stenzel, I.; von Bohlen, A.; Wermann, M.; Schulz, K.; Demuth, H.-U.; Wasternack, C.; Isolation and characterization of the glutaminyl cyclases from Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana: implications for physiological functions Biol. Chem. 388, 145-153, (2007) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2007.016
Glutaminyl cyclases (QCs) catalyze the formation of pyroglutamic acid at the N-terminus of several peptides and proteins. On the basis of the amino acid sequence of Carica papaya QC, we identified cDNAs of the putative counterparts from Solanum tuberosum and Arabidopsis thaliana. Upon expression of the corresponding cDNAs from both plants via the secretory pathway of Pichia pastoris, two active QC proteins were isolated. The specificity of the purified proteins was assessed using various substrates with different amino acid composition and length. Highest specificities were observed with substrates possessing large hydrophobic residues adjacent to the N-terminal glutamine and for fluorogenic dipeptide surrogates. However, compared to Carica papaya QC, the specificity constants were approximately one order of magnitude lower for most of the QC substrates analyzed. The QCs also catalyzed the conversion of N-terminal glutamic acid to pyroglutamic acid, but with approximately 105- to 106-fold lower specificity. The ubiquitous distribution of plant QCs prompted a search for potential substrates in plants. Based on database entries, numerous proteins, e.g., pathogenesis-related proteins, were found that carry a pyroglutamate residue at the N-terminus, suggesting QC involvement. The putative relevance of QCs and pyroglutamic acid for plant defense reactions is discussed.
Schilling, S.; Manhart, S.; Hoffmann, T.; Ludwig, H.-H.; Wasternack, C.; Demuth, H.-U.; Substrate Specificity of Glutaminyl Cyclases from Plants and Animals Biol. Chem. 384, 1583-1592, (2003) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2003.175
Glutaminyl cyclases (QC) catalyze the intramolecular cyclization of N-terminal glutamine residues of peptides and proteins. For a comparison of the substrate specificity of human and papaya QC enzymes, a novel continuous assay was established by adapting an existing discontinuous method. Specificity constants (kcat/Km) of dipeptides and dipeptide surrogates were higher for plant QC, whereas the selectivity for oligopeptides was similar for both enzymes. However, only the specificity constants of mammalian QC were dependent on size and composition of the substrates. Specificity constants of both enzymes were equally pH-dependent in the acidic pH-region, revealing a pKa value identical to the pKa of the substrate, suggesting similarities in the substrate conversion mode. Accordingly, both QCs converted the L-?homoglutaminyl residue in the peptide H-?homoGln-Phe-Lys-Arg-Leu-Ala-NH2 and the glutaminyl residues of the branched peptide H-Gln-Lys(Gln)-Arg-Leu-Ala-NH2 as well as the partially cyclized peptide H-Gln-cyclo( N?-Lys-Arg-Pro-Ala-Gly-Phe). In contrast, only QC from C. papaya was able to cyclize a methylated glutamine residue, while this compound did not even inhibit human QC-catalysis, suggesting distinct substrate recognition pattern. The conversion of the potential physiological substrates gastrin, neurotensin and [GlN1]-fertilization promoting peptide indicates that human QC may play a key role in posttranslational modification of most if not all pGlu-containing hormones.
Bachmann, A.; Hause, B.; Maucher, H.; Garbe, E.; Vörös, K.; Weichert, H.; Wasternack, C.; Feussner, I.; Jasmonate-Induced Lipid Peroxidation in Barley Leaves Initiated by Distinct 13-LOX Forms of Chloroplasts Biol. Chem. 383, 1645-1657, (2002) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2002.185
In addition to a previously characterized 13-lipoxygenase of 100 kDa encoded by LOX2:Hv:1 [Vörös et al., Eur. J. Biochem. 251 (1998), 36 44], two fulllength cDNAs (LOX2:Hv:2, LOX2:Hv:3) were isolated from barley leaves (Hordeum vulgare cv. Salome) and characterized. Both of them encode 13-lipoxygenases with putative target sequences for chloroplast import. Immunogold labeling revealed preferential, if not exclusive, localization of lipoxygenase proteins in the stroma. The ultrastructure of the chloroplast was dramatically altered following methyl jasmonate treatment, indicated by a loss of thylakoid membranes, decreased number of stacks and appearance of numerous osmiophilic globuli. The three 13-lipoxygenases are differentially expressed during treatment with jasmonate, salicylate, glucose or sorbitol. Metabolite profiling of free linolenic acid and free linoleic acid, the substrates of lipoxygenases, in water floated or jasmonatetreated leaves revealed preferential accumulation of linolenic acid. Remarkable amounts of free 9- as well as 13-hydroperoxy linolenic acid were found. In addition, metabolites of these hydroperoxides, such as the hydroxy derivatives and the respective aldehydes, appeared following methyl jasmonate treatment. These findings were substantiated by metabolite profiling of isolated chloroplasts, and subfractions including the envelope, the stroma and the thylakoids, indicating a preferential occurrence of lipoxygenasederived products in the stroma and in the envelope. These data revealed jasmonateinduced activation of the hydroperoxide lyase and reductase branch within the lipoxygenase pathway and suggest differential activity of the three 13-lipoxygenases under different stress conditions.
Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Octadecanoid and Jasmonate Signaling in Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) Leaves: Endogenous Jasmonates Do Not Induce Jasmonate Biosynthesis Biol. Chem. 381, 715-722, (2000) DOI: 10.1515/BC.2000.092
Jasmonates and their precursors, the octadecanoids, are signals in stress-induced alteration of gene expression. Several mRNAs coding for enzymes of jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis are up-regulated upon JA treatment or endogenous increase of the JA level. Here we investigated the positive feedback of endogenous JA on JA formation, as well as its β-oxidation steps. JA-responsive gene expression was recorded in terms of proteinase inhibitor2 (pin2) mRNA accumulation. JA formed upon treatment of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Moneymaker) leaves with JA derivatives carrying different lengths of the carboxylic acid side chain was quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The data revealed that β-oxidation of the side chain occurs up to a butyric acid moiety. The amount of JA formed from side-chain modified JA derivatives correlated with pin2-mRNA accumulation. JA derivatives with a carboxylic side chain of 3, 5 or 7 carbon atoms were unable to form JA and to express on pin2, whereas evennumbered derivatives were active.After treatment of tomato leaves with (10-2H)-(–)-12-oxophytoenoic acid, (4-2H)-(–)-JA and its methyl ester were formed and could be quantified separately from the endogenously nonlabeled JA pool by GC-MS analysis via isotopic discrimination. The level of 8 nmol per g fresh weight JA and its methyl ester originated exclusively from labeled 12-oxophytoenic acid. This and further data indicate that endogenous synthesis of the JA precursor 12-oxophytodienoic acid, as well as of JA and its methyl ester, are not induced in tomato leaves, suggesting that positive feedback in JA biosynthesis does not function in vivo.
Hause, B.; Feussner, K.; Wasternack, C.; Nuclear Location of a Diadenosine 5′,5′”-P1,P4Tetraphosphate (Ap4A) Hydrolase in Tomato Cells Grown in Suspension Cultures Bot. Acta 110, 452-457, (1997) DOI: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.1997.tb00662.x
Diadenosine 5′,5′”‐P1,P4‐tetraphosphate (Ap4A) cleaving enzymes are assumed to regulate intracellular levels of Ap4A, a compound known to affect cell proliferation and stress responses. From plants an Ap4A hydrolase was recently purified using tomato cells grown in suspension. It was partially sequenced and a peptide antibody was prepared (Feussner et al., 1996). Using this polyclonal monospecific antibody, an abundant nuclear location of Ap4A hydrolase in 4‐day‐old cells of atomato cell suspension culture is demonstrated here by means of immunocytochemical techniques using FITC (fluorescein‐5‐isothiocyanate) labeled secondary antibodies. The microscopic analysis of the occurrence of Ap4A hydrolase performed for different stages of the cell cycle visualized by parallel DAPI (4,6‐diamidino‐2‐phenylindole) staining revealed that the protein accumulates within nuclei of cells in the interphase, but is absent in the nucleus as well as cytoplasm during all stages of mitosis. This first intracellular localization of an Ap4A degrading enzyme within the nucleus and its pattern of appearance during the cell cycle is discussed in relation to the suggested role of Ap4A in triggering DNA synthesis and cell proliferation.
Feussner, I.; Fritz, I. G.; Hause, B.; Ullrich, W. R.; Wasternack, C.; Induction of a new Lipoxygenase Form in Cucumber Leaves by Salicylic Acid or 2,6-Dichloroisonicotinic Acid Bot. Acta 110, 101-108, (1997) DOI: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.1997.tb00616.x
Changes in lipoxygenase (LOX) protein pattern and/or activity were investigated in relation to acquired resistance of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) leaves against two powdery mildews, Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlecht) Salmon and Erysiphe cichoracearum DC et Merat. Acquired resistance was established by spraying leaves with salicylic acid (SA) or 2,6‐dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) and estimated in whole plants by infested leaf area compared to control plants. SA was more effective than INA. According to Western blots, untreated cucumber leaves contained a 97 kDa LOX form, which remained unchanged for up to 48 h after pathogen inoculation. Upon treatment with SA alone for 24 h or with INA plus pathogen, an additional 95 kDa LOX form appeared which had an isoelectric point in the alkaline range. For the induction of this form, a threshold concentration of 1 mM SA was required, higher SA concentrations did not change LOX‐95 expression which remained similar between 24 h and 96 h but further increased upon mildew inoculation. Phloem exudates contained only the LOX‐97 form, in intercellular washing fluid no LOX was detected. dichloroisonicotinic localization revealed LOX protein in the cytosol of the mesophyll cells without differences between the forms.