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Tabassum, N.; Eschen‐Lippold, L.; Athmer, B.; Baruah, M.; Brode, M.; Maldonado‐Bonilla, L. D.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Hause, G.; Scheel, D.; Lee, J. Phosphorylation‐dependent control of an RNA granule‐localized protein that fine‐tunes defence gene expression at a post‐transcriptional level Plant J 101, 1023-1039, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14573

Mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are key signalling modules of plant defence responses to pathogen‐associated molecular patterns (PAMPs, e.g. bacterial flg22 peptide). The Tandem Zinc Finger Protein 9 (TZF9) is an RNA‐binding protein that is phosphorylated by two PAMP‐responsive MAPKs, MPK3 and MPK6. We mapped the major phosphosites in TZF9 and showed their importance for controlling in vitro RNA‐binding activity, in vivo flg22‐induced rapid disappearance of TZF9‐labelled processing body‐like structures and TZF9 protein turnover. Microarray analysis showed a strong discordance between transcriptome (total mRNA) and translatome (polysome‐associated mRNA) in the tzf9 mutant, with more mRNAs associated to ribosomes in the absence of TZF9. This suggests that TZF9 may sequester and inhibit translation of subsets of mRNAs. Fittingly, TZF9 physically interacts with poly(A)‐binding protein 2 (PAB2), a hallmark constituent of stress granules – a site for stress‐induced translational stalling/arrest. TZF9 even promotes stress granule assembly in the absence of stress. Hence, MAPKs may control defence gene expression post‐transcriptionally through release from translation arrest within TZF9‐PAB2‐containing RNA granules or perturbing PAB2 functions in translation control (e.g. in the mRNA closed‐loop model of translation).

Bassal, M.; Majovsky, P.; Thieme, D.; Herr, T.; Abukhalaf, M.; Ayash, M.; Al Shweiki, M. R.; Proksch, C.; Hmedat, A.; Ziegler, J.; Neumann, S.; Hoehenwarter, W. Reshaping of the Arabidopsis thaliana proteome landscape and co-regulation of proteins in development and immunity bioRxiv (2020) DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.09.978627

Proteome remodeling is a fundamental adaptive response and proteins in complex and functionally related proteins are often co-expressed. Using a deep sampling strategy we define Arabidopsis thaliana tissue core proteomes at around 10,000 proteins per tissue and absolutely quantify (copy numbers per cell) nearly 16,000 proteins throughout the plant lifecycle. A proteome wide survey of global post translational modification revealed amino acid exchanges pointing to potential conservation of translational infidelity in eukaryotes. Correlation analysis of protein abundance uncovered potentially new tissue and age specific roles of entire signaling modules regulating transcription in photosynthesis, seed development and senescence and abscission. Among others, the data suggest a potential function of RD26 and other NAC transcription factors in seed development related to desiccation tolerance as well as a possible function of Cysteine-rich Receptor-like Kinases (CRKs) as ROS sensors in senescence. All of the components of ribosome biogenesis factor (RBF) complexes were co-expressed tissue and age specifically indicating functional promiscuity in the assembly of these little described protein complexes in Arabidopsis. Treatment of seedlings with flg22 for 16 hours allowed us to characterize proteome architecture in basal immunity in detail. The results were complemented with parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) targeted proteomics, phytohormone, amino acid and transcript measurements. We obtained strong evidence of suppression of jasmonate (JA) and JA-Ile levels by deconjugation and hydroxylation via IAA-ALA RESISTANT3 (IAR3) and JASMONATE-INDUCED OXYGENASE 2 (JOX2) under the control of JASMONATE INSENSITIVE 1 (MYC2). This previously unknown regulatory switch is another part of the puzzle of the as yet understudied role of JA in pattern triggered immunity. The extensive coverage of the Arabidopsis proteome in various biological scenarios presents a rich resource to plant biologists that we make available to the community.

Chen, Y.; Hoehenwarter, W. Rapid and reproducible phosphopeptide enrichment by tandem metal oxide affinity chromatography: application to boron deficiency induced phosphoproteomics Plant J 98, 370-384, (2019) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14215

Mass spectrometry has been instrumental in enabling the study of molecular signaling on a cellular scale by way of site‐specific quantification of protein post‐translational modifications, in particular phosphorylation. Here we describe an updated tandem metal oxide affinity chromatography (MOAC) combined phosphoprotein/phosphopeptide enrichment strategy, a scalable phosphoproteomics approach that allows rapid identification of thousands of phosphopeptides in plant materials. We implemented modifications to several steps of the original tandem MOAC procedure to increase the amount of quantified phosphopeptides and hence site‐specific phosphorylation of proteins in a sample beginning with the less amounts of tissue and a substantially smaller amount of extracted protein. We applied this technology to generate time‐resolved maps of boron signaling in Arabidopsis roots. We show that the successive enrichment of phosphoproteins in a first and phosphopeptide extraction in a second step using our optimized procedure strongly enriched the root phosphoproteome. Our results reveal that boron deficiency affects over 20% of the measured root phosphoproteome and that many phosphorylation sites with known biological function, and an even larger number of previously undescribed sites, are modified during the time course of boron deficiency. We identify transcription factors as key regulators of hormone signaling pathways that modulate gene expression in boron deprived plants. Furthermore, our phosphorylation kinetics data demonstrate that mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades mediate polarized transport of boron in Arabidopsis roots. Taken together, we establish and validate a robust approach for proteome‐wide phosphorylation analysis in plant biology research.

Hedtke, T.; Schräder, C. U.; Heinz, A.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Brinckmann, J.; Groth, T.; Schmelzer, C. E. H. A comprehensive map of human elastin cross‐linking during elastogenesis FEBS J 286, 3594-3610, (2019) DOI: 10.1111/febs.14929

Elastin is an essential structural protein in the extracellular matrix of vertebrates. It is the core component of elastic fibers, which enable connective tissues such as those of the skin, lungs or blood vessels to stretch and recoil. This function is provided by elastin's exceptional properties, which mainly derive from a unique covalent cross‐linking between hydrophilic lysine‐rich motifs of units of the monomeric precursor tropoelastin. To date, elastin's cross‐linking is poorly investigated. Here, we purified elastin from human tissue and cleaved it into soluble peptides using proteases with different specificities. We then analyzed elastin's molecular structure by identifying unmodified residues, post‐translational modifications and cross‐linked peptides by high‐resolution mass spectrometry and amino acid analysis. The data revealed the presence of multiple isoforms in parallel and a complex and heterogeneous molecular interconnection. We discovered that the same lysine residues in different monomers were simultaneously involved in various cross‐link types or remained unmodified. Furthermore, both types of cross‐linking domains, Lys‐Pro and Lys‐Ala domains, participate not only in bifunctional inter‐ but also in intra‐domain cross‐links. We elucidated the sequences of several desmosine‐containing peptides and the contribution of distinct domains such as 6, 14 and 25. In contrast to earlier assumptions proposing that desmosine cross‐links are formed solely between two domains, we elucidated the structure of a peptide that proves a desmosine formation with participation of three Lys‐Ala domains. In summary, these results provide new and detailed insights into the cross‐linking process, which takes place within and between human tropoelastin units in a stochastic manner.

Soboleva, A.; Mavropulo-Stolyarenko, G.; Karonova, T.; Thieme, D.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Ihling, C.; Stefanov, V.; Grishina, T.; Frolov, A. Multiple Glycation Sites in Blood Plasma Proteins as an Integrated Biomarker of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Int J Mol Sci 20, 2329, (2019) DOI: 10.3390/ijms20092329

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is one of the most widely spread metabolic diseases. Because of its asymptomatic onset and slow development, early diagnosis and adequate glycaemic control are the prerequisites for successful T2DM therapy. In this context, individual amino acid residues might be sensitive indicators of alterations in blood glycation levels. Moreover, due to a large variation in the half-life times of plasma proteins, a generalized biomarker, based on multiple glycation sites, might provide comprehensive control of the glycemic status across any desired time span. Therefore, here, we address the patterns of glycation sites in highly-abundant blood plasma proteins of T2DM patients and corresponding age- and gender-matched controls by comprehensive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The analysis revealed 42 lysyl residues, significantly upregulated under hyperglycemic conditions. Thereby, for 32 glycation sites, biomarker behavior was demonstrated here for the first time. The differentially glycated lysines represented nine plasma proteins with half-lives from 2 to 21 days, giving access to an integrated biomarker based on multiple protein-specific Amadori peptides. The validation of this biomarker relied on linear discriminant analysis (LDA) with random sub-sampling of the training set and leave-one-out cross-validation (LOOCV), which resulted in an accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity of 92%, 100%, and 85%, respectively.

Niemeyer, M.; Moreno Castillo, E.; Ihling, C. H.; Iacobucci, C.; Wilde, V.; Hellmuth, A.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Samodelov, S. L.; Zurbriggen, M. D.; Kastritis, P. L.; Sinz, A.; Calderón Villalobos, L. I. A. Flexibility of intrinsically disordered degrons in AUX/IAA proteins reinforces auxin receptor assemblies bioRxiv (2019) DOI: 10.1101/787770

Cullin RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligases SCFTIR1/AFB1-5 and their ubiquitylation targets, AUX/IAAs, sense auxin concentrations in the nucleus. TIR1 binds a surface-exposed degron in AUX/IAAs promoting their ubiquitylation and rapid auxin-regulated proteasomal degradation. Here, we resolved TIR1·auxin·IAA7 and TIR1·auxin·IAA12 complex topology, and show that flexible intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in the degron′s vicinity, cooperatively position AUX/IAAs on TIR1. The AUX/IAA PB1 interaction domain also assists in non-native contacts, affecting AUX/IAA dynamic interaction states. Our results establish a role for IDRs in modulating auxin receptor assemblies. By securing AUX/IAAs on two opposite surfaces of TIR1, IDR diversity supports locally tailored positioning for targeted ubiquitylation and might provide conformational flexibility for adopting a multiplicity of functional states. We postulate IDRs in distinct members of the AUX/IAA family to be an adaptive signature for protein interaction and initiation region for proteasome recruitment.

Seybold, H.; Bortlik, J.; Conrads, B.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Romeis, T. Prioritization of abiotic and biotic stress responses by direct linkage of ABI1 phosphatase and CPK5 calcium-dependent protein kinase bioRxiv (2019) DOI: 10.1101/839662

In nature plants are constantly challenged by simultaneous abiotic and biotic stresses, and under conflicting stress scenarios prioritization of stress responses is required for plant survival. Calcium-dependent protein kinase CPK5 is a central hub in local and distal immune signaling, required upstream of hormone salicylic acid (SA)-dependent systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Here we show that CPK5 signaling-dependent immune responses are effectively blocked and pathogen resistance is reverted either upon treatment of plants with abscisic acid (ABA) or in genetic mutant backgrounds lacking PP2C phosphatase activities including abi1-2. Consistently, enhanced immune responses occur upon co-expression of CPK5 kinase with active variants of ABI1 phosphatase ABI1G180S and ABI1G181A. Biochemical studies and mass spectrometry-based phosphosite analysis reveal a direct ABI1 phosphatase-catalyzed de-phosphorylation of CPK5 at T98, a CPK5 auto-phosphorylation site. CPK5T98A, mimicking continuous de-phosphorylation through ABI1, correlates with an increase in kinase activity and CPK5 function in ROS production. CPK5T98D, mimicking a CPK5 auto-phosphorylated status under ABA-induced phosphatase inhibition, leads to inactivated CPK5 causative to an immediate stop of immune responses.Our work reveals an elegant mechanism for plant stress prioritization, where the ABA-dependent phosphatase ABI1, negative regulator of abiotic responses, functions as positive regulator of biotic stress responses, stabilizing CPK5-dependent immune responses in the absence of ABA. This mechanism allows continuous immune signaling during pathogen survey in environmentally non-challenging conditions. Under severe abiotic stress, immune signaling is discontinued via a direct biochemical intersection through a phosphatase/kinase pair recruiting two key regulatory enzymes of these antagonistic signaling pathways.

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.

Schräder, C. U.; Heinz, A.; Majovsky, P.; Karaman Mayack, B.; Brinckmann, J.; Sippl, W.; Schmelzer, C. E. H. Elastin is heterogeneously cross-linked J Biol Chem 293, 15107-15119, (2018) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.004322

Elastin is an essential vertebrate protein responsible for the elasticity of force-bearing tissues such as those of the lungs, blood vessels, and skin. One of the key features required for the exceptional properties of this durable biopolymer is the extensive covalent cross-linking between domains of its monomer molecule tropoelastin. To date, elastin’s exact molecular assembly and mechanical properties are poorly understood. Here, using bovine elastin, we investigated the different types of cross-links in mature elastin to gain insight into its structure. We purified and proteolytically cleaved elastin from a single tissue sample into soluble cross-linked and non-cross-linked peptides that we studied by high-resolution MS. This analysis enabled the elucidation of cross-links and other elastin modifications. We found that the lysine residues within the tropoelastin sequence were simultaneously unmodified and involved in various types of cross-links with different other domains. The Lys-Pro domains were almost exclusively linked via lysinonorleucine, whereas Lys-Ala domains were found to be cross-linked via lysinonorleucine, allysine aldol, and desmosine. Unexpectedly, we identified a high number of intramolecular cross-links between lysine residues in close proximity. In summary, we show on the molecular level that elastin formation involves random cross-linking of tropoelastin monomers resulting in an unordered network, an unexpected finding compared with previous assumptions of an overall beaded structure.

Mora Huertas, A. C.; Schmelzer, C. E. H.; Luise, C.; Sippl, W.; Pietzsch, M.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Heinz, A. Degradation of tropoelastin and skin elastin by neprilysin Biochimie 146, 73-78, (2018) DOI: 10.1016/j.biochi.2017.11.018

Neprilysin is also known as skin fibroblast-derived elastase, and its up-regulation during aging is associated with impairments of the elastic fiber network, loss of skin elasticity and wrinkle formation. However, information on its elastase activity is still limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the degradation of fibrillar skin elastin by neprilysin and the influence of the donor's age on the degradation process using mass spectrometry and bioinformatics approaches. The results showed that cleavage by neprilysin is dependent on previous damage of elastin. While neprilysin does not cleave young and intact skin elastin well, it degrades elastin fibers from older donors, which may further promote aging processes. With regards to the cleavage behavior of neprilysin, a strong preference for Gly at P1 was found, while Gly, Ala and Val were well accepted at P1′ upon cleavage of tropoelastin and skin elastin. The results of the study indicate that the progressive release of bioactive elastin peptides by neprilysin upon skin aging may enhance local tissue damage and accelerate extracellular matrix aging processes.
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