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Publikation

Erickson, J. l.; Ziegler, J.; Guevara, D.; Abel, S.; Klösgen, R. B.; Mathur, J.; Rothstein, S. J.; Schattat, M.H. Agrobacterium-derived cytokinin influences plastid morphology and starch accumulation inNicotiana benthamiana during transient assays BMC Plant Biol. 14, 127, (2014) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2229-14-127

Background: Agrobacterium tumefaciens-based transient assays have become a common tool for answering questions related to protein localization and gene expression in a cellular context. The use of these assays assumes that the transiently transformed cells are observed under relatively authentic physiological conditions and maintain ‘normal’ sub-cellular behaviour. Although this premise is widely accepted, the question of whether cellular organization andorganelle morphology is altered in Agrobacterium-infiltrated cells has not been examined in detail. The first indications of an altered sub-cellular environment came from our observation that a common laboratory strain, GV3101(pMP90), caused a drastic increase in stromule frequency. Stromules, or ‘stroma-filled-tubules’ emanate fromthe surface of plastids and are sensitive to a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. Starting from this observation, the goal of our experiments was to further characterize the changes to the cell resulting from short-term bacterial infestation, and to identify the factor responsible for eliciting these changes.Results: Using a protocol typical of transient assays we evaluated the impact of GV3101(pMP90) infiltration on chloroplast behaviour and morphology in Nicotiana benthamiana. Our experiments confirmed that GV3101(pMP90) consistently induces stromules and alters plastid position relative to the nucleus. These effects were found to be the result of strain-dependant secretion of cytokinin and its accumulation in the plant tissue. Bacterial production of the hormone was found to be dependant on the presence of a trans-zeatin synthase gene (tzs) located on the Ti plasmidof GV3101(pMP90). Bacteria-derived cytokinins were also correlated with changes to both soluble sugar level and starch accumulation.Conclusion: Although we have chosen to focus on how transient Agrobacterium infestation alters plastid based parameters, these changes to the morphology and position of a single organelle, combined with the measured increases in sugar and starch content, suggest global changes to cell physiology. This indicates that cells visualized during transient assays may not be as ‘normal’ as was previously assumed. Our results suggest that the impact of the bacteria can be minimized by choosing Agrobacterium strains devoid of the tzs gene, but that the alterations to sub-cellular organization and cell carbohydrate status cannot be completely avoided using this strategy.Keywords: Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Nicotiana benthamiana, Transient assays, GV3101(pMP90), LBA4404, Plastid,Stromules, Bacteria-derived, Cytokinin, Trans-zeatin synthase
Publikation

Ziegler, J.; Brandt, W.; Geißler, R.; Facchini, P. J. Removal of Substrate Inhibition and Increase in Maximal Velocity in the Short Chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase Salutaridine Reductase Involved in Morphine Biosynthesis J Biol Chem 284, 26758-26767, (2009) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.030957

Salutaridine reductase (SalR, EC 1.1.1.248) catalyzes the stereospecific reduction of salutaridine to 7(S)-salutaridinol in the biosynthesis of morphine. It belongs to a new, plant-specific class of short-chain dehydrogenases, which are characterized by their monomeric nature and increased length compared with related enzymes. Homology modeling and substrate docking suggested that additional amino acids form a novel -helical element, which is involved in substrate binding. Site-directed mutagenesis and subsequent studies on enzyme kinetics revealed the importance of three residues in this element for substrate binding. Further replacement of eight additional residues led to the characterization of the entire substrate binding pocket. In addition, a specific role in salutaridine binding by either hydrogen bond formation or hydrophobic interactions was assigned to each amino acid. Substrate docking alsorevealed an alternative mode for salutaridine binding, which could explain the strong substrate inhibition of SalR. An alternate arrangement of salutaridine in the enzyme was corroborated by the effect of various amino acid substitutions on substrate inhibition. In most cases, the complete removal of substrate inhibition was accompanied by a substantial loss in enzyme activity. However, some mutations greatly reduced substrate inhibition while maintaining or even increasing the maximal velocity. Based on these results, a double mutant of SalRwas created that exhibited the complete absence of substrate inhibition and higher activity compared with wild-type SalR.
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