Kernel weight, controlled by quantitative trait loci (QTL), is an important component of grain yield in maize. Cytokinins (CKs) participate in determining grain morphology and final grain yield in crops. ZmIPT2, which is expressed mainly in the basal transfer cell layer, endosperm, and embryo during maize kernel development, encodes an isopentenyl transferase (IPT) that is involved in CK biosynthesis.
The coding region of ZmIPT2 was sequenced across a panel of 175 maize inbred lines that are currently used in Chinese maize breeding programs. Only 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and seven haplotypes were detected among these inbred lines. Nucleotide diversity (π) within the ZmIPT2 window and coding region were 0.347 and 0.0047, respectively, and they were significantly lower than the mean nucleotide diversity value of 0.372 for maize Chromosome 2 (P < 0.01). Association mapping revealed that a single nucleotide change from cytosine (C) to thymine (T) in the ZmIPT2 coding region, which converted a proline residue into a serine residue, was significantly associated with hundred kernel weight (HKW) in three environments (P <0.05), and explained 4.76% of the total phenotypic variation. In vitro characterization suggests that the dimethylallyl diphospate (DMAPP) IPT activity of ZmIPT2-T is higher than that of ZmIPT2-C, as the amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) consumed by ZmIPT2-T were 5.48-, 2.70-, and 1.87-fold, respectively, greater than those consumed by ZmIPT2-C. The effects of artificial selection on the ZmIPT2 coding region were evaluated using Tajima’s D tests across six subgroups of Chinese maize germplasm, with the most frequent favorable allele identified in subgroup PB (Partner B).
These results showed that ZmIPT2, which is associated with kernel weight, was subjected to artificial selection during the maize breeding process. ZmIPT2-T had higher IPT activity than ZmIPT2-C, and this favorable allele for kernel weight could be used in molecular marker-assisted selection for improvement of grain yield components in Chinese maize breeding programs.
Maize; Isopentenyl transferase 2; Association mapping; Artificial selection
When applied to a nutrition solution or agar media, the non-substituted aromatic cytokinins caused thickening and shortening of the primary root, had an inhibitory effect on lateral root branching, and even showed some negative effects on development of the aerial part at as low as a 10 nanomolar concentration. Novel analogues of aromatic cytokinins ranking among topolins substituted on N9-atom of adenine by tetrahydropyranyl or 4-chlorobutyl group have been prepared and tested in standardized cytokinin bioassays . Those showing comparable activities with N6-benzylaminopurine were further tested in planta.
The main aim of the study was to explain molecular mechanism of function of novel cytokinin derivatives on plant development. Precise quantification of cytokinin content and profiling of genes involved in cytokinin metabolism and perception in treated plants revealed several aspects of different action of m-methoxytopolin base and its substituted derivative on plant development. In contrast to standard cytokinins, N9- tetrahydropyranyl derivative of m-topolin and its methoxy-counterpart showed the negative effects on root development only at three orders of magnitude higher concentrations. Moreover, the methoxy-derivative demonstrates a positive effect on lateral root branching and leaf emerging in a nanomolar range of concentrations, in comparison with untreated plants.
Tetrahydropyranyl substitution at N9-position of cytokinin purine ring significantly enhances acropetal transport of a given cytokinins. Together with the methoxy-substitution, impedes accumulation of non-active cytokinin glucoside forms in roots, allows gradual release of the active base, and has a significant effect on the distribution and amount of endogenous isoprenoid cytokinins in different plant tissues. The utilization of novel aromatic cytokinin derivatives can distinctively improve expected hormonal effects in plant propagation techniques in the future.
Salinity limits crop productivity, in part by decreasing shoot concentrations of the growth-promoting and senescence-delaying hormones cytokinins. Since constitutive cytokinin overproduction may have pleiotropic effects on plant development, two approaches assessed whether specific root-localized transgenic IPT (a key enzyme for cytokinin biosynthesis) gene expression could substantially improve tomato plant growth and yield under salinity: transient root IPT induction (HSP70::IPT) and grafting wild-type (WT) shoots onto a constitutive IPT-expressing rootstock (WT/35S::IPT). Transient root IPT induction increased root, xylem sap, and leaf bioactive cytokinin concentrations 2- to 3-fold without shoot IPT gene expression. Although IPT induction reduced root biomass (by 15%) in control (non-salinized) plants, in salinized plants (100 mM NaCl for 22 d), increased cytokinin concentrations delayed stomatal closure and leaf senescence and almost doubled shoot growth (compared with WT plants), with concomitant increases in the essential nutrient K+ (20%) and decreases in the toxic ion Na+ (by 30%) and abscisic acid (by 20–40%) concentrations in transpiring mature leaves. Similarly, WT/35S::IPT plants (scion/rootstock) grown with 75 mM NaCl for 90 d had higher fruit trans-zeatin concentrations (1.5- to 2-fold) and yielded 30% more than WT/non-transformed plants. Enhancing root cytokinin synthesis modified both shoot hormonal and ionic status, thus ameliorating salinity-induced decreases in growth and yield.
ABA; cytokinins; grafting; IPT; root zone temperature; root to shoot signalling; salinity; Solanum lycopersicum
To study the effects of cytokinin O-glucosylation in monocots, maize (Zea mays L.) transformants harbouring the ZOG1 gene (encoding a zeatin O-glucosyltransferase from Phaseolus lunatus L.) under the control of the constitutive ubiquitin (Ubi) promoter were generated. The roots and leaves of the transformants had greatly increased levels of zeatin-O-glucoside. The vegetative characteristics of hemizygous and homozygous Ubi:ZOG1 plants resembled those of cytokinin-deficient plants, including shorter stature, thinner stems, narrower leaves, smaller meristems, and increased root mass and branching. Transformant leaves had a higher chlorophyll content and increased levels of active cytokinins compared with those of non-transformed sibs. The Ubi:ZOG1 plants exhibited delayed senescence when grown in the spring/summer. While hemizygous transformants had reduced tassels with fewer spikelets and normal viable pollen, homozygotes had very small tassels and feminized tassel florets, resembling tasselseed phenotypes. Such modifications of the reproductive phase were unexpected and demonstrate a link between cytokinins and sex-specific floral development in monocots.
Corn; cytokinin; plant development; tasselseed; Zea mays; zeatin O-glucosyltransferase
Using transcript profile analysis, we explored the nature of the stem cell niche in roots of maize (Zea mays). Toward assessing a role for specific genes in the establishment and maintenance of the niche, we perturbed the niche and simultaneously monitored the spatial expression patterns of genes hypothesized as essential. Our results allow us to quantify and localize gene activities to specific portions of the niche: to the quiescent center (QC) or the proximal meristem (PM), or to both. The data point to molecular, biochemical and physiological processes associated with the specification and maintenance of the niche, and include reduced expression of metabolism-, redox- and certain cell cycle-associated transcripts in the QC, enrichment of auxin-associated transcripts within the entire niche, controls for the state of differentiation of QC cells, a role for cytokinins specifically in the PM portion of the niche, processes (repair machinery) for maintaining DNA integrity and a role for gene silencing in niche stabilization. To provide additional support for the hypothesized roles of the above-mentioned and other transcripts in niche specification, we overexpressed, in Arabidopsis, homologs of representative genes (eight) identified as highly enriched or reduced in the maize root QC. We conclude that the coordinated changes in expression of auxin-, redox-, cell cycle- and metabolism-associated genes suggest the linkage of gene networks at the level of transcription, thereby providing additional insights into events likely associated with root stem cell niche establishment and maintenance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00425-009-1059-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Quiescent center; Root; Stem cell; Stem cell niche; Zea mays
Water-deficit stress is a major environmental factor that limits agricultural productivity worldwide. Recent episodes of extreme drought have severely affected cotton production in the Southwestern USA. There is a pressing need to develop cotton varieties with improved tolerance to water-deficit stress for sustainable production in water-limited regions. One approach to engineer drought tolerance is by delaying drought-induced senescence via up-regulation of cytokinin biosynthesis. The isopentenyltransferase gene (IPT) that encodes a rate limiting enzyme in cytokinin biosynthesis, under the control of a water-deficit responsive and maturation specific promoter PSARK was introduced into cotton and the performance of the PSARK::IPT transgenic cotton plants was analyzed in the greenhouse and growth chamber conditions. The data indicate that PSARK::IPT-transgenic cotton plants displayed delayed senescence under water deficit conditions in the greenhouse. These plants produced more root and shoot biomass, dropped fewer flowers, maintained higher chlorophyll content, and higher photosynthetic rates under reduced irrigation conditions in comparison to wild-type and segregated non-transgenic lines. Furthermore, PSARK::IPT-transgenic cotton plants grown in growth chamber condition also displayed greater drought tolerance. These results indicate that water-deficit induced expression of an isopentenyltransferase gene in cotton could significantly improve drought tolerance.
The plant hormone cytokinin regulates growth and development of roots and shoots in opposite ways. In shoots it is a positive growth regulator whereas it inhibits growth in roots. It may be assumed that organ-specific regulation of gene expression is involved in these differential activities, but little is known about it. To get more insight into the transcriptional events triggered by cytokinin in roots and shoots, we studied genome-wide gene expression in cytokinin-treated and cytokinin-deficient roots and shoots.
It was found by principal component analysis of the transcriptomic data that the immediate-early response to a cytokinin stimulus differs from the later response, and that the transcriptome of cytokinin-deficient plants is different from both the early and the late cytokinin induction response. A higher cytokinin status in the roots activated the expression of numerous genes normally expressed predominantly in the shoot, while a lower cytokinin status in the shoot reduced the expression of genes normally more active in the shoot to a more root-like level. This shift predominantly affected nuclear genes encoding plastid proteins. An organ-specific regulation was assigned to a number of genes previously known to react to a cytokinin signal, including root-specificity for the cytokinin hydroxylase gene CYP735A2 and shoot specificity for the cell cycle regulator gene CDKA;1. Numerous cytokinin-regulated genes were newly discovered or confirmed, including the meristem regulator genes SHEPHERD and CLAVATA1, auxin-related genes (IAA7, IAA13, AXR1, PIN2, PID), several genes involved in brassinosteroid (CYP710A1, CYP710A2, DIM/DWF) and flavonol (MYB12, CHS, FLS1) synthesis, various transporter genes (e.g. HKT1), numerous members of the AP2/ERF transcription factor gene family, genes involved in light signalling (PhyA, COP1, SPA1), and more than 80 ribosomal genes. However, contrasting with the fundamental difference of the growth response of roots and shoots to the hormone, the vast majority of the cytokinin-regulated transcriptome showed similar response patterns in roots and shoots.
The shift of the root and shoot transcriptomes towards the respective other organ depending on the cytokinin status indicated that the hormone determines part of the organ-specific transcriptome pattern independent of morphological organ identity. Numerous novel cytokinin-regulated genes were discovered which had escaped earlier discovery, most probably due to unspecific sampling. These offer novel insights into the diverse activities of cytokinin, including crosstalk with other hormones and different environmental cues, identify the AP2/ERF class of transcriptions factors as particularly cytokinin sensitive, and also suggest translational control of cytokinin-induced changes.
As the global population continues to expand, increasing yield in bread wheat is of critical importance as 20% of the world’s food supply is sourced from this cereal. Several recent studies of the molecular basis of grain yield indicate that the cytokinins are a key factor in determining grain yield. In this study, cytokinin gene family members in bread wheat were isolated from four multigene families which regulate cytokinin synthesis and metabolism, the isopentenyl transferases (IPT), cytokinin oxidases (CKX), zeatin O-glucosyltransferases (ZOG), and β-glucosidases (GLU). As bread wheat is hexaploid, each gene family is also likely to be represented on the A, B and D genomes. By using a novel strategy of qRT-PCR with locus-specific primers shared among the three homoeologues of each family member, detailed expression profiles are provided of family members of these multigene families expressed during leaf, spike and seed development.
The expression patterns of individual members of the IPT, CKX, ZOG, and GLU multigene families in wheat are shown to be tissue- and developmentally-specific. For instance, TaIPT2 and TaCKX1 were the most highly expressed family members during early seed development, with relative expression levels of up to 90- and 900-fold higher, respectively, than those in the lowest expressed samples. The expression of two cis-ZOG genes was sharply increased in older leaves, while an extremely high mRNA level of TaGLU1-1 was detected in young leaves.
Key genes with tissue- and developmentally-specific expression have been identified which would be prime targets for genetic manipulation towards yield improvement in bread wheat breeding programmes, utilising TILLING and MAS strategies.
Cytokinin is required for the initiation of leguminous nitrogen fixation nodules elicited by rhizobia and the delay of the leaf senescence induced by drought stress. A few free-living rhizobia have been found to produce cytokinin. However, the effects of engineered rhizobia capable of synthesizing cytokinin on host tolerance to abiotic stresses have not yet been described. In this study, two engineered Sinorhizobium strains overproducing cytokinin were constructed. The tolerance of inoculated alfalfa plants to severe drought stress was assessed. The engineered strains, which expressed the Agrobacterium ipt gene under the control of different promoters, synthesized more zeatins than the control strain under free-living conditions, but their own growth was not affected. After a 4-week inoculation period, the effects of engineered strains on alfalfa growth and nitrogen fixation were similar to those of the control strain under nondrought conditions. After being subjected to severe drought stress, most of the alfalfa plants inoculated with engineered strains survived, and the nitrogenase activity in their root nodules showed no apparent change. A small elevation in zeatin concentration was observed in the leaves of these plants. The expression of antioxidant enzymes increased, and the level of reactive oxygen species decreased correspondingly. Although the ipt gene was transcribed in the bacteroids of engineered strains, the level of cytokinin in alfalfa nodules was identical to that of the control. These findings suggest that engineered Sinorhizobium strains synthesizing more cytokinin could improve the tolerance of alfalfa to severe drought stress without affecting alfalfa nodulation or nitrogen fixation.
The life cycle of higher plants alternates between the haploid gametophyte and diploid sporophyte. The female gametophyte (FG), surrounded by the sporophyte, develops within the ovule and orients along the chalazal/micropylar axis. This polarity is important in cell specification and development for both the ovule and FG. Previously, cytokinin was shown to act in the sporophytic tissue to regulate FG development.1,2 In the highlighted study,3 we further showed that enriched cytokinin signaling in chalaza, the central domain of the ovule, is required for the specification of the functional megaspore, which usually occurs in the chalazal-most megaspore after meiosis. The restricted cytokinin signaling in the chalaza is achieved by localized cytokinin biosynthesis and perception. Here, we discuss the implications of this and other studies for the understanding of the role of two-component signaling in FG development and the genetic and cellular interactions between gametophytic and sporophytic cells. Further, we show that cytokinin-deficient mutants display distorted cell morphology in the inner integument and elevated mitotic activity in the maternal sporophyte. These results suggest that cytokinin negatively regulates cell proliferation in the sporophytic tissues surrounding the developing FG, consistent with previous results indicating that cytokinin deficiency causes an increase in the number of cells in the embryos and consequently an enlarged seed size.
cytokinin; two-component signaling; female gametophyte; functional megaspore; integument
Cytokinins (CKs) have significant roles in various aspects of plant growth and development, and they are also involved in plant stress adaptations. The fine-tuning of the controlled CK levels in individual tissues, cells, and organelles is properly maintained by isopentenyl transferases (IPTs) and cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenases (CKXs). Chinese cabbage is one of the most economically important vegetable crops worldwide. The whole genome sequencing of Brassica rapa enables us to perform the genome-wide identification and functional analysis of the IPT and CKX gene families.
In this study, a total of 13 BrIPT genes and 12 BrCKX genes were identified. The gene structures, conserved domains and phylogenetic relationships were analyzed. The isoelectric point, subcellular localization and glycosylation sites of the proteins were predicted. Segmental duplicates were found in both BrIPT and BrCKX gene families. We also analyzed evolutionary patterns and divergence of the IPT and CKX genes in the Cruciferae family. The transcription levels of BrIPT and BrCKX genes were analyzed to obtain an initial picture of the functions of these genes. Abiotic stress elements related to adverse environmental stimuli were found in the promoter regions of BrIPT and BrCKX genes and they were confirmed to respond to drought and high salinity conditions. The effects of 6-BA and ABA on the expressions of BrIPT and BrCKX genes were also investigated.
The expansion of BrIPT and BrCKX genes after speciation from Arabidopsis thaliana is mainly attributed to segmental duplication events during the whole genome triplication (WGT) and substantial duplicated genes are lost during the long evolutionary history. Genes produced by segmental duplication events have changed their expression patterns or may adopted new functions and thus are obtained. BrIPT and BrCKX genes respond well to drought and high salinity stresses, and their transcripts are affected by exogenous hormones, such as 6-BA and ABA, suggesting their potential roles in abiotic stress conditions and regulatory mechanisms of plant hormone homeostasis. The appropriate modulation of endogenous CKs levels by IPT and CKX genes is a promising approach for developing economically important high-yielding and high-quality stress-tolerant crops in agriculture.
Cytokinins are a class of mitogenic plant hormones that influence shoot and root growth, vascular and photomorphogenic development, leaf senescence, and many other aspects of plant growth and development. The Arabidopsis histidine phosphotransfer proteins (AHPs) play an important role in cytokinin signaling by bridging the perception of cytokinins by plasma-membrane receptors to the activation of cytokinin-responsive transcription factors. Based on previous microscopic observations, a model was developed in which the AHPs were thought to relocalize from the cytosol into the nucleus in response to exogenous cytokinin. However, analysis and quantification of the intracellular distribution of AHPs in both protoplasts and intact transgenic plants revealed that the subcellular localization of the AHPs is persistently nucleo-cytosolic and non-responsive to the state of the cytokinin response pathway. Here, we review and extend these findings and discuss their implications.
cytokinin; two-component signaling; nuclear-cytosolic movement; histidine phosphotransfer; plant hormones
Pathogenicity proteins (AL2/C2) of begomo- and curtoviruses suppress silencing through inhibition of the methyl cycle, as a consequence of inhibiting adenosine kinase (ADK). ADK phosphorylates cytokinin nucleosides, helping maintain a pool of bioactive cytokinins through inter-conversion of free-bases, nucleosides and nucleotides. We provide evidence that inhibiting ADK affects expression of primary cytokinin responsive genes. Specifically, we demonstrate increased activity of a primary cytokinin-responsive promoter in adk mutant Arabidopsis plants, and in response to silencing ADK expression or inhibiting ADK activity in transient assays. Similar changes in expression are observed in geminivirus infected tissue and when AL2/C2 are over-expressed. Increased cytokinin-responsive promoter activity may therefore be a consequence of an ADK/AL2/C2 interaction. Application of exogenous cytokinin increases susceptibility to geminivirus infection, characterized by a reduced mean latent period and enhanced viral replication. Thus, ADK appears to be a high value target of geminiviruses that includes increasing expression of primary cytokinin-responsive genes.
Geminivirus; cytokinins; cell cycle; ADK; AL2; C2; silencing
Cytokinins belong to one of the most important and well-known classes of plant
hormones. Discovered over half a century ago, cytokinins have retained the
attention of researchers due to the variety of the effects they have on the
growth and development of vegetable organisms, their participation in a plant
adaptation to external conditions, and the potential to be used in
biotechnology, agriculture, medicine and even cosmetics. The molecular mechanism
by which cytokinins function remained unknown for a long time. Things started to
change only in the 21stcentury, after the discovery of the receptors
for these phytohormones. It appeared that plants found ways to adapt a
two-component signal transduction system borrowed from prokaryotic organisms for
cytokinin signalling. This review covers the recent advances in research of the
molecular basis for the perception and transduction of the cytokinin signal.
Emphasis is placed on cytokinin receptors, their domain and three-dimensional
structures, subcellular localization, signalling activity, effect of mutations,
ligand-binding properties, and phylogeny.
cytokinins; receptors; sensor histidine kinases; two-component systems; signal transduction
Recent studies have revealed an important role for hormones in plant immunity. We are now beginning to understand the contribution of crosstalk among different hormone signaling networks to the outcome of plant–pathogen interactions. Cytokinins are plant hormones that regulate development and responses to the environment. Cytokinin signaling involves a phosphorelay circuitry similar to two-component systems used by bacteria and fungi to perceive and react to various environmental stimuli. In this study, we asked whether cytokinin and components of cytokinin signaling contribute to plant immunity. We demonstrate that cytokinin levels in Arabidopsis are important in determining the amplitude of immune responses, ultimately influencing the outcome of plant–pathogen interactions. We show that high concentrations of cytokinin lead to increased defense responses to a virulent oomycete pathogen, through a process that is dependent on salicylic acid (SA) accumulation and activation of defense gene expression. Surprisingly, treatment with lower concentrations of cytokinin results in increased susceptibility. These functions for cytokinin in plant immunity require a host phosphorelay system and are mediated in part by type-A response regulators, which act as negative regulators of basal and pathogen-induced SA–dependent gene expression. Our results support a model in which cytokinin up-regulates plant immunity via an elevation of SA–dependent defense responses and in which SA in turn feedback-inhibits cytokinin signaling. The crosstalk between cytokinin and SA signaling networks may help plants fine-tune defense responses against pathogens.
Plant hormones play an important role in many aspects of a plant's life cycle, from the regulation of development to responses to constantly changing environmental conditions. In the past decade, the importance of hormones in plant immunity against a variety of pathogens has been uncovered. In this manuscript, we demonstrate that in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana components of the signaling system of the plant hormone cytokinin also mediate plant immunity. We demonstrate that this involves the type-A class of Arabidopsis response regulators in a process that occurs downstream of the plant defense hormone salicylic acid and involves a host two-component phosphorelay. Moreover, we show that the levels of cytokinin are important in determining the amplitude of plant immunity, ultimately influencing the outcome of plant–pathogen interactions. Finally, our results indicate that salicylic acid negatively regulates cytokinin signaling, which may serve to fine-tune the effects of cytokinin in plant immunity. Given the high energy costs of defense responses and the role of cytokinins in carbon partitioning and energy allocation, we hypothesize that the mechanisms uncovered here may help regulate the levels of energy that can be allocated into defense responses, an important aspect in the biology of plants.
Cytokinin is a plant hormone that plays a crucial role in several processes of plant growth and development. In recent years, major breakthroughs have been achieved in the elucidation of the metabolism, the signal perception and transduction, as well as the biological functions of cytokinin. An important activity of cytokinin is the involvement in chloroplast development and function. Although this biological function has already been known for 50 years, the exact mechanisms remain elusive.
To elucidate the effects of altered endogenous cytokinin content on the structure and function of the chloroplasts, chloroplast subfractions (stroma and thylakoids) from transgenic Pssu-ipt and 35S:CKX1 tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants with, respectively, elevated and reduced endogenous cytokinin content were analysed using two different 2-DE approaches. Firstly, thykaloids were analysed by blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis followed by SDS-PAGE (BN/SDS-PAGE). Image analysis of the gel spot pattern thus obtained from thylakoids showed no substantial differences between wild-type and transgenic tobacco plants. Secondly, a quantitative DIGE analysis of CHAPS soluble proteins derived from chloroplast subfractions indicated significant gel spot abundance differences in the stroma fraction. Upon identification by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry, these proteins could be assigned to the Calvin-Benson cycle and photoprotective mechanisms.
Taken together, presented proteomic data reveal that the constitutively altered cytokinin status of transgenic plants does not result in any qualitative changes in either stroma proteins or protein complexes of thylakoid membranes of fully developed chloroplasts, while few but significant quantitative differences are observed in stroma proteins.
Cytokinins are hormones that are involved in various processes of plant growth and development. The model of cytokinin signalling starts with hormone perception through membrane-localized histidine kinase receptors. Although the biochemical properties and functions of these receptors have been extensively studied, there is no solid proof of their subcellular localization. Here, cell biological and biochemical evidence for the localization of functional fluorophor-tagged fusions of Arabidopsis histidine kinase 3 (AHK3) and 4 (AHK4), members of the cytokinin receptor family, in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is provided. Furthermore, membrane-bound AHK3 interacts with AHK4 in vivo. The ER localization and putative function of cytokinin receptors from the ER have major impacts on the concept of cytokinin perception and signalling, and hormonal cross-talk in plants.
AHK3; cytokinin perception; endoplasmic reticulum; FIDSAM
Cytokinins are plant hormones involved in regulation of diverse developmental and physiological processes in plants whose molecular mechanisms of action are being intensely researched. However, most rapid responses to cytokinin signals at the proteomic and phosphoproteomic levels are unknown. Early cytokinin responses were investigated through proteome-wide expression profiling based on image and mass spectrometric analysis of two-dimensionally separated proteins and phosphoproteins. The effects of 15 min treatments of 7-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings with four main cytokinins representing hydroxyisopentenyl, isopentenyl, aromatic, and urea-derived type cytokinins were compared to help elucidate their common and specific function(s) in regulating plant development. In proteome and phosphoproteome maps, significant differences were reproducibly observed for 53 and 31 protein spots, respectively. In these spots, 96 proteins were identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS), providing a snapshot of early links in cytokinin-regulated signalling circuits and cellular processes, including light signalling and photosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism, the CLAVATA pathway, and protein and gene expression regulation, in accordance with previously described cytokinin functions. Furthermore, they indicate novel links between temperature and cytokinin signalling, and an involvement of calcium ions in cytokinin signalling. Most of the differentially regulated proteins and phosphoproteins are located in chloroplasts, suggesting an as yet uncharacterized direct signalling chain responsible for cytokinin action in chloroplasts. Finally, first insights into the degree of specificity of cytokinin receptors on phosphoproteomic effects were obtained from analyses of cytokinin action in a set of cytokinin receptor double mutants.
Arabidopsis thaliana; cytokinin; phosphoproteome; proteome
In Arabidopsis thaliana, lateral roots (LRs) initiate from anticlinal cell divisions of pericycle founder cells. The formation of LR primordia is regulated antagonistically by the phytohormones cytokinin and auxin. It has previously been shown that cytokinin has an inhibitory effect on the patterning events occurring during LR formation. However, the molecular players involved in cytokinin repression are still unknown. In a similar manner to protoxylem formation in Arabidopsis roots, in which AHP6 (ARABIDOPSIS HISTIDINE PHOSPHOTRANSFER PROTEIN 6) acts as a cytokinin inhibitor, we reveal that AHP6 also functions as a cytokinin repressor during early stages of LR development. We show that AHP6 is expressed at different developmental stages during LR formation and is required for the correct orientation of cell divisions at the onset of LR development. Moreover, we demonstrate that AHP6 influences the localization of the auxin efflux carrier PIN1, which is necessary for patterning the LR primordia. In summary, we show that the inhibition of cytokinin signaling through AHP6 is required to establish the correct pattern during LR initiation.
Accumulating evidence indicates that plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) influence plant growth and development by the production of phytohormones such as auxins, gibberellins, and cytokinins. Little is known on the genetic basis and signal transduction components that mediate the beneficial effects of PGPRs in plants. We recently reported the identification of a Bacillus megaterium strain that promoted growth of A. thaliana and P. vulgaris seedlings. In this addendum, the role of cytokinin signaling in mediating the plant responses to bacterial inoculation was investigated using A. thaliana mutants lacking one, two or three of the putative cytokinin receptors CRE1, AHK2 and AHK3, and RPN12 a gene involved in cytokinin signaling. We show that plant growth promotion by B. megaterium is reduced in AHK2-2 single and double mutant combinations and in RPN12. Furthermore, the triple cytokinin-receptor CRE1-12/AHK2-2/AHK3-3 knockout was insensitive to inoculation in terms of growth promotion and root developmental responses. Our results indicate that cytokinin receptors play a complimentary role in plant growth promotion by B. megaterium.
Arabidopsis; plant growth stimulation; root development; rhizobacteria
The plant hormone cytokinin realizes at least part of its signaling output through the regulation of gene expression. A great part of the early transcriptional regulation is mediated by type-B response regulators, which are transcription factors of the MYB family. Other transcription factors, such as the cytokinin response factors of the AP2/ERF family, have also been shown to be involved in this process. Additional transcription factors mediate distinct parts of the cytokinin response through tissue- and cell-specific downstream transcriptional cascades. In Arabidopsis, only a single cytokinin response element, to which type-B response regulators bind, has been clearly proven so far, which has 5′-GAT(T/C)-3′ as a core sequence. This motif has served to construct a synthetic cytokinin-sensitive two-component system response element, which is useful for monitoring the cellular cytokinin status. Insight into the extent of transcriptional regulation has been gained by genome-wide gene expression analyses following cytokinin treatment and from plants having an altered cytokinin content or signaling. This review presents a meta analysis of such microarray data resulting in a core list of cytokinin response genes. Genes encoding type-A response regulators displayed the most stable response to cytokinin, but a number of cytokinin metabolism genes (CKX4, CKX5, CYP735A2, UGT76C2) also belong to them, indicating homeostatic mechanisms operating at the transcriptional level. The cytokinin core response genes are also the target of other hormones as well as biotic and abiotic stresses, documenting crosstalk of the cytokinin system with other hormonal and environmental signaling pathways. The multiple links of cytokinin to diverse functions, ranging from control of meristem activity, hormonal crosstalk, nutrient acquisition, and various stress responses, are also corroborated by a compilation of genes that have been repeatedly found by independent gene expression profiling studies. Such functions are, at least in part, supported by genetic studies.
cytokinin; gene regulation; transcription factor; cis-element; transcriptomics; meta analysis; signal transduction; regulatory network
Cytokinins (CKs) are thought to play important roles in fruit development, especially cell division. However, the mechanisms and regulation of CK activity have not been well investigated. This study analysed CK concentrations and expression of genes involved in CK metabolism in developing tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) ovaries. The concentrations of CK ribosides and isopentenyladenine and the transcript levels of the CK biosynthetic genes SlIPT3, SlIPT4, SlLOG6, and SlLOG8 were high at anthesis and decreased immediately afterward. In contrast, trans-zeatin concentration and the transcript levels of the CK biosynthetic genes SlIPT1, SlIPT2, SlCYP735A1, SlCYP735A2, and SlLOG2 increased after anthesis. The expression of type-A response regulator genes was high in tomato ovaries from pre-anthesis to early post-anthesis stages. These results suggest that the CK signal transduction pathway is active in the cell division phase of fruit development. This study also investigated the effect of CK application on fruit set and development. Application of a synthetic CK, N-(2-chloro-pyridin-4-yl)-N’-phenylurea (CPPU), to unpollinated tomato ovaries induced parthenocarpic fruit development. The CPPU-induced parthenocarpic fruits were smaller than pollinated fruits, because of reduction of pericarp cell size rather than reduced cell number. Thus, CPPU-induced parthenocarpy was attributable to the promotion of cell division, not cell expansion. Overall, the results provide evidence that CKs are involved in cell division during development of tomato fruit.
CPPU; cytokinin; fruit development; Micro-Tom; parthenocarpy; tomato
Cytokinins are important plant hormones, and their biosynthesis most begins with the transfer of isopentenyl group from dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) to the N6-amino group of adenine by either adenylate isopentenyltransferase (AIPT) or tRNA–IPT. Plant AIPTs use ATP/ADP as an isopentenyl acceptor and bacterial AIPTs prefer AMP, whereas tRNA–IPTs act on specific sites of tRNA. Here, we present the crystal structure of an AIPT–ATP complex from Humulus lupulus (HlAIPT), which is similar to the previous structures of Agrobacterium AIPT and yeast tRNA–IPT. The enzyme is structurally homologous to the NTP-binding kinase family of proteins but forms a solvent-accessible channel that binds to the donor substrate DMAPP, which is directed toward the acceptor substrate ATP/ADP. When measured with isothermal titration calorimetry, some nucleotides displayed different binding affinities to HlAIPT with an order of ATP > dATP ∼ ADP > GTP > CTP > UTP. Two basic residues Lys275 and Lys220 in HlAIPT interact with the β and γ-phosphate of ATP. By contrast, the interactions are absent in Agrobacterium AIPT because they are replaced by the acidic residues Asp221 and Asp171. Despite its structural similarity to the yeast tRNA–IPT, HlAIPT has evolved with a different binding strategy for adenylate.
The regulation of photosynthetic acclimation to canopy density was investigated in tobacco canopies and in tobacco and Arabidopsis plants with part of their foliage experimentally shaded. Both species acclimated to canopy light gradients and partial shading by allocating photosynthetic capacity to leaves in high light and adjusting chloroplast organization to the local light conditions. An investigation was carried out to determine whether signalling mediated by photoreceptors, sugars, cytokinin, and nitrate is involved in and necessary for proper photosynthetic acclimation. No evidence was found for a role for sugars, or for nitrate. The distribution of cytokinins in tobacco stands of contrasting density could be explained in part by irradiance-dependent delivery of cytokinins through the transpiration stream. Functional studies using a comprehensive selection of Arabidopsis mutants and transgenics showed that normal wild-type responses to partial shading were retained when signalling mediated by photoreceptors or cytokinins was disrupted. This indicates that these pathways probably operate in a redundant manner. However, the reduction of the chlorophyll a/b ratio in response to local shade was completely absent in the Arabidopsis Ws-2 accession mutated in PHYTOCHROME D and in the triple phyAphyCphyD mutant. Moreover, cytokinin receptor mutants also showed a reduced response, suggesting a previously unrecognized function of phyD and cytokinins.
Arabidopsis mutants; cytokinin; environmental signalling; photoreceptors; photosynthetic acclimation; tobacco
Tomato is one of the most economically and agriculturally important Solanaceous species and vegetable crops, serving as a model for examination of fruit biology and compound leaf development. Cytokinin is a plant hormone linked to the control of leaf development and is known to regulate a wide range of genes including many transcription factors. Currently there is little known of the leaf transcriptome in tomato and how it might be regulated by cytokinin. We employ high throughput mRNA sequencing technology and bioinformatic methodologies to robustly analyze cytokinin regulated tomato leaf transcriptomes. Leaf samples of two ages, 13d and 35d were treated with cytokinin or the solvent vehicle control dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) for 2 h or 24 h, after which RNA was extracted for sequencing. To confirm the accuracy of RNA sequencing results, we performed qPCR analysis of select transcripts identified as cytokinin regulated by the RNA sequencing approach. The resulting data provide the first hormone transcriptome analysis of leaves in tomato. Specifically we identified several previously untested tomato orthologs of cytokinin-related genes as well as numerous novel cytokinin-regulated transcripts in tomato leaves. Principal component analysis of the data indicates that length of cytokinin treatment and plant age are the major factors responsible for changes in transcripts observed in this study. Two hour cytokinin treatment showed a more robust transcript response indicated by both greater fold change of induced transcripts and the induction of twice as many cytokinin-related genes involved in signaling, metabolism, and transport in young vs. older leaves. This difference in transcriptome response in younger vs. older leaves was also found to a lesser extent with an extended (24 h) cytokinin treatment. Overall data presented here provides a solid foundation for future study of cytokinin and cytokinin regulated genes involved in compound leaf development or other developmental processes in tomato.