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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

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

Goetz, S.; Hellwege, A.; Stenzel, I.; Kutter, C.; Hauptmann, V.; Forner, S.; McCaig, B.; Hause, G.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Hause, B. Role of cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid in tomato embryo development. Plant Physiol 158, 1715-1727, (2012) DOI: 10.1104/pp.111.192658

Oxylipins including jasmonates are signaling compounds in plant growth, development, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) most mutants affected in jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis and signaling are male sterile, whereas the JA-insensitive tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) mutant jai1 is female sterile. The diminished seed formation in jai1 together with the ovule-specific accumulation of the JA biosynthesis enzyme allene oxide cyclase (AOC), which correlates with elevated levels of JAs, suggest a role of oxylipins in tomato flower/seed development. Here, we show that 35S::SlAOC-RNAi lines with strongly reduced AOC in ovules exhibited reduced seed set similarly to the jai1 plants. Investigation of embryo development of wild-type tomato plants showed preferential occurrence of AOC promoter activity and AOC protein accumulation in the developing seed coat and the embryo, whereas 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) was the dominant oxylipin occurring nearly exclusively in the seed coat tissues. The OPDA- and JA-deficient mutant spr2 was delayed in embryo development and showed an increased programmed cell death in the developing seed coat and endosperm. In contrast, the mutant acx1a, which accumulates preferentially OPDA and residual amount of JA, developed embryos similar to the wild type, suggesting a role of OPDA in embryo development. Activity of the residual amount of JA in the acx1a mutant is highly improbable since the known reproductive phenotype of the JA-insensitive mutant jai1 could be rescued by wound-induced formation of OPDA. These data suggest a role of OPDA or an OPDA-related compound for proper embryo development possibly by regulating carbohydrate supply and detoxification.
Publikation

Stenzel, I.; Otto, M.; Delker, C.; Kirmse, N.; Schmidt, D.; Miersch, O.; Hause, B.; Wasternack, C. ALLENE OXIDE CYCLASE (AOC) gene family members of Arabidopsis thaliana: tissue- and organ-specific promoter activities and in vivo heteromerization J Exp Bot 63, 6125-6138, (2012) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers261

Jasmonates are important signals in plant stress responses and plant development. An essential step in the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid (JA) is catalysed by ALLENE OXIDE CYCLASE (AOC) which establishes the naturally occurring enantiomeric structure of jasmonates. In Arabidopsis thaliana, four genes encode four functional AOC polypeptides (AOC1, AOC2, AOC3, and AOC4) raising the question of functional redundancy or diversification. Analysis of transcript accumulation revealed an organ-specific expression pattern, whereas detailed inspection of transgenic lines expressing the GUS reporter gene under the control of individual AOC promoters showed partially redundant promoter activities during development: (i) In fully developed leaves, promoter activities of AOC1, AOC2, and AOC3 appeared throughout all leaf tissue, but AOC4 promoter activity was vascular bundle-specific; (ii) only AOC3 and AOC4 showed promoter activities in roots; and (iii) partially specific promoter activities were found for AOC1 and AOC4 in flower development. In situ hybridization of flower stalks confirmed the GUS activity data. Characterization of single and double AOC loss-of-function mutants further corroborates the hypothesis of functional redundancies among individual AOCs due to a lack of phenotypes indicative of JA deficiency (e.g. male sterility). To elucidate whether redundant AOC expression might contribute to regulation on AOC activity level, protein interaction studies using bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) were performed and showed that all AOCs can interact among each other. The data suggest a putative regulatory mechanism of temporal and spatial fine-tuning in JA formation by differential expression and via possible heteromerization of the four AOCs.
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

Stenzel, I.; Ischebeck, T.; Quint, M.; Heilmann, I. Variable regions of PI4P 5-kinases direct PtdIns(4,5)P2 toward alternative regulatory functions in tobacco pollen tubes Front Plant Sci 2, 114, (2012) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00114

The apical plasma membrane of pollen tubes contains different PI4P 5-kinases that all produce phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P2] but exert distinct cellular effects. In the present example, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K5 or tobacco NtPIP5K6-1 caused growth defects previously attributed to increased pectin secretion. In contrast, overexpression of Arabidopsis AtPIP5K2 caused apical tip swelling implicated in altering actin fine structure in the pollen tube apex. AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2 share identical domain structures. Domains required for correct membrane association of the enzymes were identified by systematic deletion of N-terminal domains and subsequent expression of fluorescence-tagged enzyme truncations in tobacco pollen tubes. A variable linker region (Lin) contained in all PI4P 5-kinase isoforms of subfamily B, but not conserved in sequence, was recognized to be necessary for correct subcellular localization of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, and AtPIP5K2. Deletion of N-terminal domains including the Lin domain did not impair catalytic activity of recombinant AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 in vitro; however, the presence of the Lin domain was necessary for in vivo effects on pollen tube growth upon overexpression of truncated enzymes. Overexpression of catalytically inactive variants of AtPIP5K5, NtPIP5K6-1, or AtPIP5K2 did not influence pollen tube growth, indicating that PtdIns(4,5)P2 production rather than structural properties of PI4P 5-kinases was relevant for the manifestation of growth phenotypes. When Lin domains were swapped between NtPIP5K6-1 and AtPIP5K2 and the chimeric enzymes overexpressed in pollen tubes, the chimeras reciprocally gained the capabilities to invoke tip swelling or secretion phenotypes, respectively. The data indicate that the Lin domain directed the enzymes into different regulatory contexts, possibly contributing to channeling of PtdIns(4,5)P2 at the interface of secretion and actin cytoskeleton.
Publikation

Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Proels, R.; Miersch, O.; Oka, M.; Roitsch, T.; Wasternack, C. The AOC promoter of tomato is regulated by developmental and environmental stimuli Phytochemistry 69, 1859-1869, (2008) DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2008.03.007

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