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Publikation

Drost, H.-G.; Bellstädt, J.; Ó'Maoiléidigh, D. S.; Silva, A. T.; Gabel, A.; Weinholdt, C.; Ryan, P. T.; Dekkers, B. J. W.; Bentsink, L.; Hilhorst, H. W. M.; Ligterink, W.; Wellmer, F.; Grosse, I.; Quint, M. Post-embryonic Hourglass Patterns Mark Ontogenetic Transitions in Plant Development Mol Biol Evol 33, 1158-1163, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw039

The historic developmental hourglass concept depicts the convergence of animal embryos to a common form during the phylotypic period. Recently, it has been shown that a transcriptomic hourglass is associated with this morphological pattern, consistent with the idea of underlying selective constraints due to intense molecular interactions during body plan establishment. Although plants do not exhibit a morphological hourglass during embryogenesis, a transcriptomic hourglass has nevertheless been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we investigated whether plant hourglass patterns are also found postembryonically. We found that the two main phase changes during the life cycle of Arabidopsis, from embryonic to vegetative and from vegetative to reproductive development, are associated with transcriptomic hourglass patterns. In contrast, flower development, a process dominated by organ formation, is not. This suggests that plant hourglass patterns are decoupled from organogenesis and body plan establishment. Instead, they may reflect general transitions through organizational checkpoints. 
Publikation

Ryan,P. T.; Ó’Maoiléidigh, D. S.; Drost, H.-G.; Kwaśniewska, D.; Gabel, A.; Grosse, I.; Graciet, E.; Quint, M.; Wellmer, F. Patterns of gene expression during Arabidopsis flower development from the time of initiation to maturation BMC Genomics 16, 488 , (2015) DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1699-6

Background:The formation of flowers is one of the main model systems to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control developmental processes in plants. Although several studies have explored gene expression during flower development in the model plant Arabidopsis thalianaon a genome-wide scale, a continuous series of expression data from the earliest floral stages until maturation has been lacking. Here, we used a floral induction system to closethis information gap and to generate a reference dataset for stage-specific gene expression during flower formation.Results:Using a floral induction system, we collected floral buds at 14 different stages from the time of initiation until maturation. Using whole-genome microarray analysis, we identified 7,405 genes that exhibit rapid expression changes during flower development. These genes comprise many known floral regulators and we found that the expression profiles for these regulators match their known expression patterns, thus validating the dataset. We analyzed groups ofco-expressed genes for over-represented cellular and developmental functions through Gene Ontology analysis and found that they could be assigned specific patterns of activities, which are in agreement with the progression of flower development. Furthermore, by mapping binding sites of floral organ identity factors onto our dataset, we were able to identify gene groups that are likely predominantly under control of these transcriptional regulators. We furtherfound that the distribution of paralogs among groups of co-expressed genes varies considerably, with genes expressed predominantly at early and intermediate stages of flower development showing the highest proportion of such genes.Conclusions:Our results highlight and describe the dynamic expression changes undergone by a large numberof genes during flower development. They further provide a comprehensive reference dataset for temporal gene expression during flower formation and we demonstrate that it can be used to integrate data from other genomics approaches such as genome-wide localization studies of transcription factor binding sites.
Publikation

Drost, H.-G.; Gabel, A.; Grosse, I.; Quint, M. Evidence for Active Maintenance of Phylotranscriptomic Hourglass Patterns in Animal and Plant Embryogenesis Mol Biol Evol 32, 1221-1231, (2015) DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msv012

The developmental hourglass model has been used to describe the morphological transitions of related species throughout embryogenesis. Recently, quantifiable approaches combining transcriptomic and evolutionary information provided novel evidence for the presence of a phylotranscriptomic hourglass pattern across kingdoms. As its biological function is unknown it remains speculative whether this pattern is functional or merely represents a nonfunctional evolutionary relic. The latter would seriously hamper future experimental approaches designed to test hypotheses regarding its function. Here, we address this question by generating transcriptome divergence index (TDI) profiles across embryogenesis of Danio rerio, Drosophila melanogaster, and Arabidopsis thaliana. To enable meaningful evaluation of the resulting patterns, we develop a statistical test that specifically assesses potential hourglass patterns. Based on this objective measure we find that two of these profiles follow a statistically significant hourglass pattern with the most conserved transcriptomes in the phylotypic periods. As the TDI considers only recent evolutionary signals, this indicates that the phylotranscriptomic hourglass pattern is not a rudiment but possibly actively maintained, implicating the existence of some linked biological function associated with embryogenesis in extant species.
Preprints

Drost, H.-G.; Bellstädt, J.; Ó'Maoiléidigh, D. S.; Silva, A. T.; Gabel, A.; Weinholdt, C.; Ryan, P. T.; Dekkers, B. J. W.; Bentsink, L.; Hilhorst, H. W. M.; Ligterink, W.; Wellmer, F.; Grosse, I.; Quint, M. Post-embryonic hourglass patterns mark ontogenetic transitions in plant development bioRxiv (2015) DOI: 10.1101/035527

The historic developmental hourglass concept depicts the convergence of animal embryos to a common form during the phylotypic period. Recently, it has been shown that a transcriptomic hourglass is associated with this morphological pattern, consistent with the idea of underlying selective constraints due to intense molecular interactions during body plan establishment. Although plants do not exhibit a morphological hourglass during embryogenesis, a transcriptomic hourglass has nevertheless been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we investigated whether plant hourglass patterns are also found post-embryonically. We found that the two main phase changes during the life cycle of Arabidopsis, from embryonic to vegetative and from vegetative to reproductive development, are associated with transcriptomic hourglass patterns. In contrast, flower development, a process dominated by organ formation, is not. This suggests that plant hourglass patterns are decoupled from organogenesis and body plan establishment. Instead, they may reflect general transitions through organizational checkpoints.
Publikation

Kopycki, J.; Wieduwild, E.; Kohlschmidt, J.; Brandt, W.; Stepanova, A.N.; Alonso, J.M.; Pedras, M.S.; Abel, S.; Grubb, C.D. Kinetic analysis of Arabidopsis glucosyltransferase UGT74B1 illustrates a general mechanism by which enzymes can escape product inhibition Biochem J 450, 37-46, (2013) DOI: 10.1042/BJ20121403

Plant genomes encode numerous small molecule glycosyltransferases which modulate the solubility, activity, immunogenicity and/or reactivity of hormones, xenobiotics and natural products. The products of these enzymes can accumulate to very high concentrations, yet somehow avoid inhibiting their own biosynthesis. Glucosyltransferase UGT74B1 (UDP-glycosyltransferase 74B1) catalyses the penultimate step in the core biosynthetic pathway of glucosinolates, a group of natural products with important functions in plant defence against pests and pathogens. We found that mutation of the highly conserved Ser284 to leucine [wei9-1 (weak ethylene insensitive)] caused only very mild morphological and metabolic phenotypes, in dramatic contrast with knockout mutants, indicating that steady state glucosinolate levels are actively regulated even in unchallenged plants. Analysis of the effects of the mutation via a structural modelling approach indicated that the affected serine interacts directly with UDP-glucose, but also predicted alterations in acceptor substrate affinity and the kcat value, sparking an interest in the kinetic behaviour of the wild-type enzyme. Initial velocity and inhibition studies revealed that UGT74B1 is not inhibited by its glycoside product. Together with the effects of the missense mutation, these findings are most consistent with a partial rapid equilibrium ordered mechanism. This model explains the lack of product inhibition observed both in vitro and in vivo, illustrating a general mechanism whereby enzymes can continue to function even at very high product/precursor ratios.
Publikation

Dekkers, B.J.W.; Pearce, S.; van Bolderen-Veldkamp, R.P.; Marshall, A.; Widera, P.; Gilbert, J.; Drost, H.-G.; Basseli, G.W.; Müller, K.; King, J.R.; Wood, A.T.A.; Grosse, I.; Quint, M.; Krasnogor, N.; Leubner-Metzger, G.; Holdsworth, M.J. & Bentsink, L. Transcriptional Dynamics of Two Seed Compartments with Opposing Roles in Arabidopsis Seed Germination Plant Physiol 163, 205-215, (2013) DOI: 10.1104/pp.113.223511

Seed germination is a critical stage in the plant life cycle and the first step toward successful plant establishment. Therefore, understandinggermination is of important ecological and agronomical relevance. Previous research revealed that different seed compartments (testa,endosperm, and embryo) control germination, but little is known about the underlying spatial and temporal transcriptome changes thatlead to seed germination. We analyzed genome-wide expression in germinating Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seedswith both temporaland spatial detail and provide Web-accessible visualizations of the data reported (vseed.nottingham.ac.uk). We show the potential of this highresolutiondata set for the construction ofmeaningful coexpression networks, which provide insight into the genetic control of germination.The data set reveals two transcriptional phases during germination that are separated by testa rupture. The first phase is marked by largetranscriptome changes as the seed switches from a dry, quiescent state to a hydrated and active state. At the end of this first transcriptionalphase, the number of differentially expressed genes between consecutive time points drops. This increases again at testa rupture, the start ofthe second transcriptional phase. Transcriptome data indicate a role for mechano-induced signaling at this stage and subsequently highlightthe fates of the endosperm and radicle: senescence and growth, respectively. Finally, using a phylotranscriptomic approach, we show thatexpression levels of evolutionarily young genes drop during the first transcriptional phase and increase during the second phase.Evolutionarily old genes show an opposite pattern, suggesting a more conserved transcriptome prior to the completion of germination.
Publikation

Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A.; Lee, S.; De Oliveira, C.; Ivetac, A.; Brandt, W.; Armitage, L.; Sheard, L. B.; Tan, X.; Parry, G.; Mao, H.; Zheng, N.; Napier, R.; Kepinski, S.; Estelle, M. A combinatorial TIR1/AFB–Aux/IAA co-receptor system for differential sensing of auxin Nat Chem Biol 8, 477-485, (2012) DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.926

The plant hormone auxin regulates virtually every aspect of plant growth and development. Auxin acts by binding the F-box protein transport inhibitor response 1 (TIR1) and promotes the degradation of the AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (Aux/IAA) transcriptional repressors. Here we show that efficient auxin binding requires assembly of an auxin co-receptor complex consisting of TIR1 and an Aux/IAA protein. Heterologous experiments in yeast and quantitative IAA binding assays using purified proteins showed that different combinations of TIR1 and Aux/IAA proteins form co-receptor complexes with a wide range of auxin-binding affinities. Auxin affinity seems to be largely determined by the Aux/IAA. As there are 6 TIR1/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX proteins (AFBs) and 29 Aux/IAA proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana, combinatorial interactions may result in many co-receptors with distinct auxin-sensing properties. We also demonstrate that the AFB5Aux/IAA co-receptor selectively binds the auxinic herbicide picloram. This co-receptor system broadens the effective concentration range of the hormone and may contribute to the complexity of auxin response.
Publikation

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.
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.
Publikation

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.
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