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Liu, S.; Kracher, B.; Ziegler, J.; Birkenbihl, R. P.; Somssich, I. E. Negative regulation of ABA signaling by WRKY33 is critical for Arabidopsis immunity towards Botrytis cinerea 2100 eLife 4, e07295, (2015) DOI: 10.7554/eLife.07295

The Arabidopsis mutant wrky33 is highly susceptible to Botrytis cinerea. We identified >1680 Botrytis-induced WRKY33 binding sites associated with 1576 Arabidopsis genes. Transcriptional profiling defined 318 functional direct target genes at 14 hr post inoculation. Comparative analyses revealed that WRKY33 possesses dual functionality acting either as a repressor or as an activator in a promoter-context dependent manner. We confirmed known WRKY33 targets involved in hormone signaling and phytoalexin biosynthesis, but also uncovered a novel negative role of abscisic acid (ABA) in resistance towards B. cinerea 2100. The ABA biosynthesis genes NCED3 and NCED5 were identified as direct targets required for WRKY33-mediated resistance. Loss-of-WRKY33 function resulted in elevated ABA levels and genetic studies confirmed that WRKY33 acts upstream of NCED3/NCED5 to negatively regulate ABA biosynthesis. This study provides the first detailed view of the genome-wide contribution of a specific plant transcription factor in modulating the transcriptional network associated with plant immunity.

Bochnia, M.; Ziegler, J.; Sander, J.; Uhlig, A.; Schaefer, S.; Vollstedt, S.; Glatter, M.; Abel, S.; Recknagel, S.; Schusser, G. F.; Wensch-Dorendorf, M.; Zeyner, A. Hypoglycin A Content in Blood and Urine Discriminates Horses with Atypical Myopathy from Clinically Normal Horses Grazing on the Same Pasture PLoS ONE 10, e0136785, (2015) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136785

Hypoglycin A (HGA) in seeds of Acer spp. is suspected to cause seasonal pasture myopathy in North America and equine atypical myopathy (AM) in Europe, fatal diseases in horses on pasture. In previous studies, this suspicion was substantiated by the correlation of seed HGA content with the concentrations of toxic metabolites in urine and serum (MCPA-conjugates) of affected horses. However, seed sampling was conducted after rather than during an outbreak of the disease. The aim of this study was to further confirm the causality between HGA occurrence and disease outbreak by seed sampling during an outbreak and the determination of i) HGA in seeds and of ii) HGA and MCPA-conjugates in urine and serum of diseased horses. Furthermore, cograzing healthy horses, which were present on AM affected pastures, were also investigated. AM-pastures in Germany were visited to identify seeds of Acer pseudoplatanus and serum (n = 8) as well as urine (n = 6) from a total of 16 diseased horses were analyzed for amino acid composition by LC-ESI-MS/MS, with a special focus on the content of HGA. Additionally, the content of its toxic metabolite was measured in its conjugated form in body fluids (UPLC-MS/MS). The seeds contained 1.7–319.8 μg HGA/g seed. The content of HGA in serum of affected horses ranged from 387.8–8493.8 μg/L (controls < 10 μg/L), and in urine from 143.8–926.4 μg/L (controls < 10 μg/L), respectively. Healthy cograzing horses on AM-pastures showed higher serum (108.8 ± 83.76 μg/L) and urine concentrations (26.9 ± 7.39 μg/L) compared to control horses, but lower concentrations compared to diseased horses. The range of MCPA-carnitine and creatinine concentrations found in diseased horses in serum and urine were 0.17–0.65 mmol/L (controls < 0.01), and 0.34–2.05 μmol/mmoL (controls < 0.001), respectively. MCPA-glycine levels in urine of cograzing horses were higher compared to controls. Thus, the causal link between HGA intoxication and disease outbreak could be further substantiated, and the early detection of HGA in cograzing horses, which are clinically normal, might be a promising step in prophylaxis.
Bücher und Buchkapitel

Tissier, A.; Ziegler, J.; Vogt, T. Specialized Plant Metabolites: Diversity and Biosynthesis (Krauss, G.-J. & Nies, D. H., eds.). 14-37, (2015) ISBN: 978-3-527-31650-2 DOI: 10.1002/9783527686063.ch2

Plant secondary metabolites, also termed specialized plant metabolites, currently comprise more than 200 000 natural products that are all based on a few biosynthetic pathways and key primary metabolites. Some pathways like flavonoid and terpenoid biosynthesis are universally distributed in the plant kingdom, whereas others like alkaloid or cyanogenic glycoside biosynthesis are restricted to a limited set of taxa. Diversification is achieved by an array of mechanisms at the genetic and enzymatic level including gene duplications, substrate promiscuity of enzymes, cell‐specific regulatory systems, together with modularity and combinatorial aspects. Specialized metabolites reflect adaptations to a specific environment. The observed diversity illustrates the heterogeneity and multitude of ecological habitats and niches that plants have colonized so far and constitutes a reservoir of potential new metabolites that may provide adaptive advantage in the face of environmental changes. The code that connects the observed chemical diversity to this ecological diversity is largely unknown. One way to apprehend this diversity is to realize its tremendous plasticity and evolutionary potential. This chapter presents an overview of the most widespread and popular secondary metabolites, which provide a definite advantage to adapt to or to colonize a particular environment, making the boundary between the “primary” and the “secondary” old fashioned and blurry.

Wasternack, C. How Jasmonates Earned their Laurels: Past and Present Journal of Plant Growth Regulation 34 (4), 761-794, (2015) DOI: 10.1007/s00344-015-9526-5

The histories of research regarding all plant hormones are similar. Identification and structural elucidation have been followed by analyses of their biosynthesis, distributions, signaling cascades, roles in developmental or stress response programs, and crosstalk. Jasmonic acid (JA) and its derivatives comprise a group of plant hormones that were discovered recently, compared to auxin, abscisic acid, cytokinins, gibberellic acid, and ethylene. Nevertheless, there have been tremendous advances in JA research, following the general progression outlined above and parallel efforts focused on several other “new” plant hormones (brassinosteroids, salicylate, and strigolactones). This review focuses on historical aspects of the identification of jasmonates, and characterization of their biosynthesis, distribution, perception, signaling pathways, crosstalk with other hormones and roles in plant stress responses and development. The aim is to illustrate how our present knowledge on jasmonates was generated and how that influences current efforts to extend our knowledge.

Buhtz, A.; Witzel, K.; Strehmel, N.; Ziegler, J.; Abel, S.; Grosch, R. Perturbations in the Primary Metabolism of Tomato and Arabidopsis thaliana Plants Infected with the Soil-Borne Fungus Verticillium dahliae PLoS ONE 10, e0138242, (2015) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138242

The hemibiotrophic soil-borne fungus Verticillium dahliae is a major pathogen of a number of economically important crop species. Here, the metabolic response of both tomato and Arabidopsis thaliana to V. dahliae infection was analysed by first using non-targeted GC-MS profiling. The leaf content of both major cell wall components glucuronic acid and xylose was reduced in the presence of the pathogen in tomato but enhanced in A. thaliana. The leaf content of the two tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates fumaric acid and succinic acid was increased in the leaf of both species, reflecting a likely higher demand for reducing equivalents required for defence responses. A prominent group of affected compounds was amino acids and based on the targeted analysis in the root, it was shown that the level of 12 and four free amino acids was enhanced by the infection in, respectively, tomato and A. thaliana, with leucine and histidine being represented in both host species. The leaf content of six free amino acids was reduced in the leaf tissue of diseased A. thaliana plants, while that of two free amino acids was raised in the tomato plants. This study emphasizes the role of primary plant metabolites in adaptive responses when the fungus has colonized the plant.
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