Stauder, R., Welsch, R., Camagna, M., Kohlen, W., Balcke, G. U., Tissier, A. & Walter, M. H. Strigolactone Levels in Dicot Roots Are Determined by an Ancestral Symbiosis-Regulated Clade of the PHYTOENE SYNTHASE Gene Family Front Plant Sci 9, 255, (2018) DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00255
Strigolactones (SLs) are apocarotenoid phytohormones synthesized from carotenoid precursors. They are produced most abundantly in roots for exudation into the rhizosphere to cope with mineral nutrient starvation through support of root symbionts. Abscisic acid (ABA) is another apocarotenoid phytohormone synthesized in roots, which is involved in responses to abiotic stress. Typically low carotenoid levels in roots raise the issue of precursor supply for the biosynthesis of these two apocarotenoids in this organ. Increased ABA levels upon abiotic stress in Poaceae roots are known to be supported by a particular isoform of phytoene synthase (PSY), catalyzing the rate-limiting step in carotenogenesis. Here we report on novel PSY3 isogenes from Medicago truncatula (MtPSY3) and Solanum lycopersicum (SlPSY3) strongly expressed exclusively upon root interaction with symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and moderately in response to phosphate starvation. They belong to a widespread clade of conserved PSYs restricted to dicots (dPSY3) distinct from the Poaceae-PSY3s involved in ABA formation. An ancient origin of dPSY3s and a potential co-evolution with the AM symbiosis is discussed in the context of PSY evolution. Knockdown of MtPSY3 in hairy roots of M. truncatula strongly reduced SL and AM-induced C13 α-ionol/C14 mycorradicin apocarotenoids. Inhibition of the reaction subsequent to phytoene synthesis revealed strongly elevated levels of phytoene indicating induced flux through the carotenoid pathway in roots upon mycorrhization. dPSY3 isogenes are coregulated with upstream isogenes and downstream carotenoid cleavage steps toward SLs (D27, CCD7, CCD8) suggesting a combined carotenoid/apocarotenoid pathway, which provides “just in time”-delivery of precursors for apocarotenoid formation.
Kowarschik, K., Hoehenwarter, W., Marillonnet, S. & Trujillo, M. UbiGate: a synthetic biology toolbox to analyse ubiquitination. New Phytol. 217, 1749-1763, (2018) DOI: 10.1111/nph.14900
Ubiquitination is mediated by an enzymatic cascade that results in the modification of substrate proteins, redefining their fate. This post-translational modification is involved in most cellular processes, yet its analysis faces manifold obstacles due to its complex and ubiquitous nature. Reconstitution of the ubiquitination cascade in bacterial systems circumvents several of these problems and was shown to faithfully recapitulate the process.
Here, we present UbiGate − a synthetic biology toolbox, together with an inducible bacterial expression system – to enable the straightforward reconstitution of the ubiquitination cascades of different organisms in Escherichia coli by ‘Golden Gate’ cloning.
This inclusive toolbox uses a hierarchical modular cloning system to assemble complex DNA molecules encoding the multiple genetic elements of the ubiquitination cascade in a predefined order, to generate polycistronic operons for expression.
We demonstrate the efficiency of UbiGate in generating a variety of expression elements to reconstitute autoubiquitination by different E3 ligases and the modification of their substrates, as well as its usefulness for dissecting the process in a time- and cost-effective manner.
Gantner, J., Ordon, J., Ilse, T., Kretschmer, C., Gruetzner, R., Löfke, C., Dagdas, Y., Bürstenbinder, K., Marillonnet, S. & Stuttmann, J. Peripheral infrastructure vectors and an extended set of plant parts for the Modular Cloning system PLoS ONE 13, e0197185, (2018) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197185
Standardized DNA assembly strategies facilitate the generation of multigene constructs from collections of building blocks in plant synthetic biology. A common syntax for hierarchical DNA assembly following the Golden Gate principle employing Type IIs restriction endonucleases was recently developed, and underlies the Modular Cloning and GoldenBraid systems. In these systems, transcriptional units and/or multigene constructs are assembled from libraries of standardized building blocks, also referred to as phytobricks, in several hierarchical levels and by iterative Golden Gate reactions. Here, a toolkit containing further modules for the novel DNA assembly standards was developed. Intended for use with Modular Cloning, most modules are also compatible with GoldenBraid. Firstly, a collection of approximately 80 additional phytobricks is provided, comprising e.g. modules for inducible expression systems, promoters or epitope tags. Furthermore, DNA modules were developed for connecting Modular Cloning and Gateway cloning, either for toggling between systems or for standardized Gateway destination vector assembly. Finally, first instances of a “peripheral infrastructure” around Modular Cloning are presented: While available toolkits are designed for the assembly of plant transformation constructs, vectors were created to also use coding sequence-containing phytobricks directly in yeast two hybrid interaction or bacterial infection assays. The presented material will further enhance versatility of hierarchical DNA assembly strategies.
Gantner, J., Ilse, T., Ordon, J., Kretschmer, C., Gruetzner, R., Loefke, C., Dagdas, Y., Buerstenbinder, K., Marillonnet, S. & Stuttmann, J. Peripheral infrastructure vectors and an extended set of plant parts for the modular cloning system bioRxiv (2017) DOI: 10.1101/237768
Standardized DNA assembly strategies facilitate the generation of multigene constructs from collections of building blocks in plant synthetic biology. A common syntax for hierarchical DNA assembly following the Golden Gate principle employing Type IIs restriction endonucleases was recently developed, and underlies the Modular Cloning and GoldenBraid systems. In these systems, transcriptional units and/or multigene constructs are assembled from libraries of standardized building blocks, also referred to as phytobricks, in several hierarchical levels and by iterative Golden Gate reactions. This combinatorial assembly strategy meets the increasingly complex demands in biotechnology and bioengineering, and also represents a cost-efficient and versatile alternative to previous molecular cloning techniques. For Modular Cloning, a collection of commonly used Plant Parts was previously released together with the Modular Cloning toolkit itself, which largely facilitated the adoption of this cloning system in the research community. Here, a collection of approximately 80 additional phytobricks is provided. These phytobricks comprise e.g. modules for inducible expression systems, different promoters or epitope tags, which will increase the versatility of Modular Cloning-based DNA assemblies. Furthermore, first instances of a "peripheral infrastructure" around Modular Cloning are presented: While available toolkits are designed for the assembly of plant transformation constructs, vectors were created to also use coding sequence-containing phytobricks directly in yeast two hybrid interaction or bacterial infection assays. Additionally, DNA modules and assembly strategies for connecting Modular Cloning with Gateway Cloning are presented, which may serve as an interface between available resources and newly adopted hierarchical assembly strategies. The presented material will be provided as a toolkit to the plant research community and will further enhance the usefulness and versatility of Modular Cloning.
Scheibner, F., Marillonnet, S. & Büttner, D. The TAL effector AvrBs3 from Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria contains multiple export signals and can enter plant cells in the absence of the Type III secretion translocon. Front Microbiol. 8, 2180, (2017) DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02180
Pathogenicity of the Gram-negative plant-pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria depends on a type III secretion (T3S) system which translocates effector proteins into plant cells. Effector protein delivery is controlled by the T3S chaperone HpaB, which presumably escorts effector proteins to the secretion apparatus. One intensively studied effector is the transcription activator-like (TAL) effector AvrBs3, which binds to promoter sequences of plant target genes and activates plant gene expression. It was previously reported that type III-dependent delivery of AvrBs3 depends on the N-terminal protein region. The signals that control T3S and translocation of AvrBs3, however, have not yet been characterized. In the present study, we show that T3S and translocation of AvrBs3 depend on the N-terminal 10 and 50 amino acids, respectively. Furthermore, we provide experimental evidence that additional signals in the N-terminal 30 amino acids and the region between amino acids 64 and 152 promote translocation of AvrBs3 in the absence of HpaB. Unexpectedly, in vivo translocation assays revealed that AvrBs3 is delivered into plant cells even in the absence of HrpF, which is the predicted channel-forming component of the T3S translocon in the plant plasma membrane. The presence of HpaB- and HrpF-independent transport routes suggests that the delivery of AvrBs3 is initiated during early stages of the infection process, presumably before the activation of HpaB or the insertion of the translocon into the plant plasma membrane.
Dobritzsch, M., Lübken, T., Eschen-Lippold, L., Gorzolka, K., Blum, E., Matern, A., Marillonnet, S., Böttcher, C., Dräger, B. & Rosahl, S. MATE Transporter-Dependent Export of Hydroxycinnamic Acid Amides. Plant Cell 28, 583-596, (2016) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00706
The ability of Arabidopsis thaliana to successfully prevent colonization by Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum), depends on multilayered defense responses. To address the role of surface-localized secondary metabolites for entry control, droplets of a P. infestans zoospore suspension, incubated on Arabidopsis leaves, were subjected to untargeted metabolite profiling. The hydroxycinnamic acid amide coumaroylagmatine was among the metabolites secreted into the inoculum. In vitro assays revealed an inhibitory activity of coumaroylagmatine on P. infestans spore germination. Mutant analyses suggested a requirement of the p-coumaroyl-CoA:agmatine N4-p-coumaroyl transferase ACT for the biosynthesis and of the MATE transporter DTX18 for the extracellular accumulation of coumaroylagmatine. The host plant potato is not able to efficiently secrete coumaroylagmatine. This inability is overcome in transgenic potato plants expressing the two Arabidopsis genes ACT and DTX18. These plants secrete agmatine and putrescine conjugates to high levels, indicating that DTX18 is a hydroxycinnamic acid amide transporter with a distinct specificity. The export of hydroxycinnamic acid amides correlates with a decreased ability of P. infestans spores to germinate, suggesting a contribution of secreted antimicrobial compounds to pathogen defense at the leaf surface.
Scheibner, F., Schulz, S., Hausner, J., Marillonnet, S. & Büttner, D. Type III-Dependent Translocation of HrpB2 by a Nonpathogenic hpaABC Mutant of the Plant-Pathogenic Bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 82, 3331-3347 , (2016) DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00537-16
The plant-pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria employs a type III secretion (T3S) system to translocate effector proteins into plant cells. The T3S apparatus spans both bacterial membranes and is associated with an extracellular pilus and a channel-like translocon in the host plasma membrane. T3S is controlled by the switch protein HpaC, which suppresses secretion and translocation of the predicted inner rod protein HrpB2 and promotes secretion of translocon and effector proteins. We previously reported that HrpB2 interacts with HpaC and the cytoplasmic domain of the inner membrane protein HrcU (C. Lorenz, S. Schulz, T. Wolsch, O. Rossier, U. Bonas, and D. Büttner, PLoS Pathog 4:e1000094, 2008, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000094). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the control of HrpB2 secretion are not yet understood. Here, we located a T3S and translocation signal in the N-terminal 40 amino acids of HrpB2. The results of complementation experiments with HrpB2 deletion derivatives revealed that the T3S signal of HrpB2 is essential for protein function. Furthermore, interaction studies showed that the N-terminal region of HrpB2 interacts with the cytoplasmic domain of HrcU, suggesting that the T3S signal of HrpB2 contributes to substrate docking. Translocation of HrpB2 is suppressed not only by HpaC but also by the T3S chaperone HpaB and its secreted regulator, HpaA. Deletion of hpaA, hpaB, and hpaC leads to a loss of pathogenicity but allows the translocation of fusion proteins between the HrpB2 T3S signal and effector proteins into leaves of host and non-host plants.
Scheler, U., Brandt, W., Porzel, A., Rothe, K., Manzano, D., Božić, D., Papaefthimiou, D., Balcke, G. U., Henning, A., Lohse, S., Marillonnet, S., Kanellis, A. K., Ferrer, A. & Tissier, A. Elucidation of the biosynthesis of carnosic acid and its reconstitution in yeast Nat Commun 7, 12942, (2016) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12942
Rosemary extracts containing the phenolic diterpenes carnosic acid and its derivative carnosol are approved food additives used in an increasingly wide range of products to enhance shelf-life, thanks to their high anti-oxidant activity. We describe here the elucidation of the complete biosynthetic pathway of carnosic acid and its reconstitution in yeast cells. Cytochrome P450 oxygenases (CYP76AH22-24) from Rosmarinus officinalis and Salvia fruticosa already characterized as ferruginol synthases are also able to produce 11-hydroxyferruginol. Modelling-based mutagenesis of three amino acids in the related ferruginol synthase (CYP76AH1) from S. miltiorrhiza is sufficient to convert it to a 11-hydroxyferruginol synthase (HFS). The three sequential C20 oxidations for the conversion of 11-hydroxyferruginol to carnosic acid are catalysed by the related CYP76AK6-8. The availability of the genes for the biosynthesis of carnosic acid opens opportunities for the metabolic engineering of phenolic diterpenes, a class of compounds with potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour activities.
Walter, M.H., Stauder, R. & Tissier, A. Evolution of root-specific carotenoid precursor pathways for apocarotenoid signal biogenesis Plant Sci 233, 1–10, (2015) DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2014.12.017
Various cleavage products of C40 carotenoid substrates are formed preferentially or exclusively in roots. Such apocarotenoid signaling or regulatory compounds differentially induced in roots during environmental stress responses including root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi include ABA, strigolactones and C13 α-ionol/C14 mycorradicin derivatives. The low carotenoid levels in roots raise the question of whether there is a regulated precursor supply channeled into apocarotenoid formation distinct from default carotenoid pathways. This review describes root-specific isogene components of carotenoid pathways toward apocarotenoid formation, highlighting a new PSY3 class of phytoene synthase genes in dicots. It is clearly distinct from the monocot PSY3 class co-regulated with ABA formation. At least two members of the exclusive dicot PSY3s are regulated by nutrient stress and mycorrhization. This newly recognized dicot PSY3 (dPSY3 vs. mPSY3 from monocots) class probably represents an ancestral branch in the evolution of the plant phytoene synthase family. The evolutionary history of PSY genes is compared with the evolution of MEP pathway isogenes encoding 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthases (DXS), particularly DXS2, which is co-regulated with dPSY3s in mycorrhizal roots. Such stress-inducible isoforms for rate-limiting steps in root carotenogenesis might be components of multi-enzyme complexes committed to apocarotenoid rather than to carotenoid formation.
Heinze, M., Brandt, W., Marillonnet, S. & Roos, W. “Self” and “Non-Self” in the control of phytoalexin biosynthesis: plant phospholipases A2 with alkaloid-specific molecular fingerprints. Plant Cell 27, 448-462, (2015) DOI: 10.1105/tpc.114.135343
The overproduction of specialized metabolites requires plants to manage the inherent burdens, including the risk of self-intoxication. We present a control mechanism that stops the expression of phytoalexin biosynthetic enzymes by blocking the antecedent signal transduction cascade. Cultured cells of Eschscholzia californica (Papaveraceae) and Catharanthus roseus (Apocynaceae) overproduce benzophenanthridine alkaloids and monoterpenoid indole alkaloids, respectively, in response to microbial elicitors. In both plants, an elicitor-responsive phospholipase A2 (PLA2) at the plasma membrane generates signal molecules that initiate the induction of biosynthetic enzymes. The final alkaloids produced in the respective plant inhibit the respective PLA, a negative feedback that prevents continuous overexpression. The selective inhibition by alkaloids from the class produced in the “self” plant could be transferred to leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana via recombinant expression of PLA2. The 3D homology model of each PLA2 displays a binding pocket that specifically accommodates alkaloids of the class produced by the same plant, but not of the other class; for example, C. roseus PLA2 only accommodates C. roseus alkaloids. The interaction energies of docked alkaloids correlate with their selective inhibition of PLA2 activity. The existence in two evolutionary distant plants of phospholipases A2 that discriminate “self-made” from “foreign” alkaloids reveals molecular fingerprints left in signal enzymes during the evolution of species-specific, cytotoxic phytoalexins.