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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 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.

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.
Bücher und Buchkapitel

Dorka, R.; Miersch, O.; Hause, B.; Weik, P.; Wasternack, C. Chronobiologische Phänomene und Jasmonatgehalt bei Viscum album L. (Scheer, R.; Bauer, R.; Bekker, A.; Berg, P. A.; Fintelmann, V.). 49-56, (2009) ISBN: 978-3-933351-82


Clarke, S.M.; Cristescu, S.M.; Miersch, O.; Harren, F.J.M.; Wasternack, C.; Mur, L.A.J. Jasmonates act with salicylic acid to confer basal thermotolerance in <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i> New Phytol 182, 175-187, (2009) DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02735.x

The cpr5-1 Arabidopsis thaliana mutant exhibits constitutive activation of salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET) signalling pathways and displays enhanced tolerance of heat stress (HS). cpr5-1 crossed with jar1-1 (a JA-amino acid synthetase) was compromised in basal thermotolerance, as were the mutants opr3 (mutated in OPDA reductase3) and coi1-1 (affected in an E3 ubiquitin ligase F-box; a key JA-signalling component). In addition, heating wild-type Arabidopsis led to the accumulation of a range of jasmonates: JA, 12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA) and a JA-isoleucine (JA-Ile) conjugate. Exogenous application of methyl jasmonate protected wild-type Arabidopsis from HS. Ethylene was rapidly produced during HS, with levels being modulated by both JA and SA. By contrast, the ethylene mutant ein2-1 conferred greater thermotolerance. These data suggest that JA acts with SA, conferring basal thermotolerance while ET may act to promote cell death.

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.

Weigelt, K.; Küster, H.; Rutten, T.; Fait, A.; Fernie, A.R.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Emery, R.J.N.; Desel, C.; Hosein, F.; Müller, M.; Saalbach, I.; Weber, H. ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase-deficient pea embryos reveal specific transcriptional and metabolic changes of carbon-nitrogen metabolism and stress responses Plant Physiol 149, 395-411, (2009) DOI: 10.1104/pp.108.129940

We present a comprehensive analysis of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGP)-repressed pea (Pisum sativum) seeds using transcript and metabolite profiling to monitor the effects that reduced carbon flow into starch has on carbon-nitrogen metabolism and related pathways. Changed patterns of transcripts and metabolites suggest that AGP repression causes sugar accumulation and stimulates carbohydrate oxidation via glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle, and mitochondrial respiration. Enhanced provision of precursors such as acetyl-coenzyme A and organic acids apparently support other pathways and activate amino acid and storage protein biosynthesis as well as pathways fed by cytosolic acetyl-coenzyme A, such as cysteine biosynthesis and fatty acid elongation/metabolism. As a consequence, the resulting higher nitrogen (N) demand depletes transient N storage pools, specifically asparagine and arginine, and leads to N limitation. Moreover, increased sugar accumulation appears to stimulate cytokinin-mediated cell proliferation pathways. In addition, the deregulation of starch biosynthesis resulted in indirect changes, such as increased mitochondrial metabolism and osmotic stress. The combined effect of these changes is an enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species coupled with an up-regulation of energy-dissipating, reactive oxygen species protection, and defense genes. Transcriptional activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways and oxylipin synthesis indicates an additional activation of stress signaling pathways. AGP-repressed embryos contain higher levels of jasmonate derivatives; however, this increase is preferentially in nonactive forms. The results suggest that, although metabolic/osmotic alterations in iAGP pea seeds result in multiple stress responses, pea seeds have effective mechanisms to circumvent stress signaling under conditions in which excessive stress responses and/or cellular damage could prematurely initiate senescence or apoptosis.

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.

Vandenborre, G.; Miersch, O.; Hause, B.; Smagghe, G.; Wasternack, C.; Van Damme, E.J.M. Spodoptera littoralis-Induced Lectin Expression in Tobacco Plant Cell Physiol 50, 1142-1155, (2009) DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcp065

The induced defense response in plants towards herbivores is mainly regulated by jasmonates and leads to the accumulation of so-called jasmonate-induced proteins. Recently, a jasmonate (JA) inducible lectin called Nicotiana tabacum agglutinin or NICTABA was discovered in tobacco( N. tabacum cv Samsun) leaves. Tobacco plants also accumulate the lectin after insect attack by caterpillars. To study the functional role of NICTABA, the accumulation of the JA precursor 12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA), JA as well as different JA metabolites were analyzed in tobacco leaves after herbivory by larvae of the cotton leafworm ( Spodoptera littoralis ) and correlated with NICTABA accumulation. It was shown that OPDA, JA as well as its methyl ester can trigger NICTABA accumulation. However, hydroxylation of JA and its subsequent sulfation and glucosylation results in inactive compounds that have lost the capacity to induce NICTABA gene expression. The expression profi le of NICTABA after caterpillar feeding was recorded in local as well as in systemic leaves, and compared to the expression of several genes encodingdefense proteins, and genes encoding a tobacco systemin and the allene oxide cyclase, an enzyme in JA biosynthesis. Furthermore, the accumulation of NICTABA was quantified after S. littoralis herbivory and immunofl uorescence microscopy was used to study the localization of NICTABA in the tobacco leaf.

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.
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