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1.  Mechanical Stress Induces Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses via a Novel cis-Element 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(10):e172.
Plants are continuously exposed to a myriad of abiotic and biotic stresses. However, the molecular mechanisms by which these stress signals are perceived and transduced are poorly understood. To begin to identify primary stress signal transduction components, we have focused on genes that respond rapidly (within 5 min) to stress signals. Because it has been hypothesized that detection of physical stress is a mechanism common to mounting a response against a broad range of environmental stresses, we have utilized mechanical wounding as the stress stimulus and performed whole genome microarray analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana leaf tissue. This led to the identification of a number of rapid wound responsive (RWR) genes. Comparison of RWR genes with published abiotic and biotic stress microarray datasets demonstrates a large overlap across a wide range of environmental stresses. Interestingly, RWR genes also exhibit a striking level and pattern of circadian regulation, with induced and repressed genes displaying antiphasic rhythms. Using bioinformatic analysis, we identified a novel motif overrepresented in the promoters of RWR genes, herein designated as the Rapid Stress Response Element (RSRE). We demonstrate in transgenic plants that multimerized RSREs are sufficient to confer a rapid response to both biotic and abiotic stresses in vivo, thereby establishing the functional involvement of this motif in primary transcriptional stress responses. Collectively, our data provide evidence for a novel cis-element that is distributed across the promoters of an array of diverse stress-responsive genes, poised to respond immediately and coordinately to stress signals. This structure suggests that plants may have a transcriptional network resembling the general stress signaling pathway in yeast and that the RSRE element may provide the key to this coordinate regulation.
Author Summary
Plants are sessile organisms constantly challenged by a wide spectrum of biotic and abiotic stresses. These stresses cause considerable losses in crop yields worldwide, while the demand for food and energy is on the rise. Understanding the molecular mechanisms driving stress responses is crucial to devising targeted strategies to engineer stress-tolerant plants. To identify primary stress-responsive genes we examined the transcriptional profile of plants after mechanical wounding, which was used as a brief, inductive stimulus. Comparison of the ensemble of rapid wound response transcripts with published transcript profiles revealed a notable overlap with biotic and abiotic stress-responsive genes. Additional quantitative analyses of selected genes over a wounding time-course enabled classification into two groups: transient and stably expressed. Bioinformatic analysis of rapid wound response gene promoter sequences enabled us to identify a novel DNA motif, designated the Rapid Stress Response Element. This motif is sufficient to confer a rapid response to both biotic and abiotic stresses in vivo, thereby confirming the functional involvement of this motif in the primary transcriptional stress response. The genes we identified may represent initial components of the general stress-response network and may be useful in engineering multi-stress tolerant plants.
PMCID: PMC2039767  PMID: 17953483
2.  The beginnings of crop phosphoproteomics: exploring early warning systems of stress 
This review examines why a knowledge of plant protein phosphorylation events is important in devising strategies to protect crops from both biotic and abiotic stresses, and why proteomics should be included when studying stress pathways. Most of the achievements in elucidating phospho-signaling pathways in biotic and abiotic stress are reported from model systems: while these are discussed, this review attempts mainly to focus on work done with crops, with examples of achievements reported from rice, maize, wheat, grape, Brassica, tomato, and soy bean after cold acclimation, hormonal and oxidative hydrogen peroxide treatment, salt stress, mechanical wounding, or pathogen challenge. The challenges that remain to transfer this information into a format that can be used to protect crops against biotic and abiotic stresses are enormous. The tremendous increase in the speed and ease of DNA sequencing is poised to reveal the whole genomes of many crop species in the near future, which will facilitate phosphoproteomics and phosphogenomics research.
PMCID: PMC3387783  PMID: 22783265
abiotic stress; biotic stress; phosphoproteomics; signaling
3.  Transcriptome profiling of low temperature-treated cassava apical shoots showed dynamic responses of tropical plant to cold stress 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:64.
Cassava is an important tropical root crop adapted to a wide range of environmental stimuli such as drought and acid soils. Nevertheless, it is an extremely cold-sensitive tropical species. Thus far, there is limited information about gene regulation and signalling pathways related to the cold stress response in cassava. The development of microarray technology has accelerated the study of global transcription profiling under certain conditions.
A 60-mer oligonucleotide microarray representing 20,840 genes was used to perform transcriptome profiling in apical shoots of cassava subjected to cold at 7°C for 0, 4 and 9 h. A total of 508 transcripts were identified as early cold-responsive genes in which 319 sequences had functional descriptions when aligned with Arabidopsis proteins. Gene ontology annotation analysis identified many cold-relevant categories, including 'Response to abiotic and biotic stimulus', 'Response to stress', 'Transcription factor activity', and 'Chloroplast'. Various stress-associated genes with a wide range of biological functions were found, such as signal transduction components (e.g., MAP kinase 4), transcription factors (TFs, e.g., RAP2.11), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging enzymes (e.g., catalase 2), as well as photosynthesis-related genes (e.g., PsaL). Seventeen major TF families including many well-studied members (e.g., AP2-EREBP) were also involved in the early response to cold stress. Meanwhile, KEGG pathway analysis uncovered many important pathways, such as 'Plant hormone signal transduction' and 'Starch and sucrose metabolism'. Furthermore, the expression changes of 32 genes under cold and other abiotic stress conditions were validated by real-time RT-PCR. Importantly, most of the tested stress-responsive genes were primarily expressed in mature leaves, stem cambia, and fibrous roots rather than apical buds and young leaves. As a response to cold stress in cassava, an increase in transcripts and enzyme activities of ROS scavenging genes and the accumulation of total soluble sugars (including sucrose and glucose) were also detected.
The dynamic expression changes reflect the integrative controlling and transcriptome regulation of the networks in the cold stress response of cassava. The biological processes involved in the signal perception and physiological response might shed light on the molecular mechanisms related to cold tolerance in tropical plants and provide useful candidate genes for genetic improvement.
PMCID: PMC3339519  PMID: 22321773
4.  Mechanisms of signal transduction by ethylene: overlapping and non-overlapping signalling roles in a receptor family 
AoB Plants  2013;5:plt010.
The plant hormone ethylene regulates growth and development as well as stress responses. This review focuses on recent discoveries that support a model for ethylene signal transduction that involves overlapping and non-overlapping roles for members of the ethylene receptor family. The roles of ethylene receptors in regulating plant growth, pathogen responses, and development are discussed. Mechanisms are proposed by which receptors can modulate downstream responses together and independently.
The plant hormone ethylene regulates growth and development as well as responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Over the last few decades, key elements involved in ethylene signal transduction have been identified through genetic approaches, these elements defining a pathway that extends from initial ethylene perception at the endoplasmic reticulum to changes in transcriptional regulation within the nucleus. Here, we present our current understanding of ethylene signal transduction, focusing on recent developments that support a model with overlapping and non-overlapping roles for members of the ethylene receptor family. We consider the evidence supporting this model for sub-functionalization within the receptor family, and then discuss mechanisms by which such a sub-functionalization may occur. To this end, we consider the importance of receptor interactions in modulating their signal output and how such interactions vary in the receptor family. In addition, we consider evidence indicating that ethylene signal output by the receptors involves both phosphorylation-dependent and phosphorylation-independent mechanisms. We conclude with a current model for signalling by the ethylene receptors placed within the overall context of ethylene signal transduction.
PMCID: PMC3611092  PMID: 23543258
Arabidopsis; ethylene; ethylene receptors; histidine kinase; hormone signalling; sub-functionalization; two-component system
5.  MAPK machinery in plants 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(11):1370-1378.
The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades play diverse roles in intra- and extra-cellular signaling in plants. MAP kinases are the component of kinase modules that transfer information from sensors to responses in eukaryotes including plants. They play a pivotal role in transduction of diverse extracellular stimuli such as biotic and abiotic stresses as well as a range of developmental responses including differentiation, proliferation and death. Several cascades are induced by different biotic and abiotic stress stimuli such as pathogen infections, heavy metal, wounding, high and low temperatures, high salinity, UV radiation, ozone, reactive oxygen species, drought and high or low osmolarity. MAPK signaling has been implicated in biotic stresses and has also been associated with hormonal responses. The cascade is regulated by various mechanisms, including not only transcriptional and translational regulation but through posttranscriptional regulation such as protein-protein interactions. Recent detailed analysis of certain specific MAP kinase pathways have revealed the specificity of the kinases in the cascade, signal transduction patterns, identity of pathway targets and the complexity of the cascade. The latest insights and finding are discussed in this paper in relation to the role of MAPK pathway modules in plant stress signaling.
PMCID: PMC3115236  PMID: 20980831
MAPK cascade; classification; structural conformation; function; substrate specificity; factors
6.  Emergence of a novel calcium signaling pathway in plants: CBL-CIPK signaling network 
In the environment, plants are exposed to plethora of adverse stimuli such as abiotic and biotic stresses. Abiotic stresses including dehydration, salinity and low temperature poses a major threat for crop productivity. Plant responds to these stresses by activating a number of signaling pathways which enable them to defend or adjust against these stresses. To understand the mechanisms by which plants perceive environmental signals and transmit these signals to cellular machinery to activate adaptive responses is of fundamental importance to biology. Calcium plays a pivotal role in plant responses to a number of stimuli including pathogens, abiotic stresses, and hormones. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying calcium functions are poorly understood. It is hypothesized that calcium serves as second messenger and, in many cases, requires intracellular protein sensors to transduce the signal further downstream in the pathways. Recently a novel calcium signaling pathway which consist of calcineurin B-like protein (CBL) calcium sensor and CBL-interacting protein kinase (CIPK) network as a newly emerging signaling system mediating a complex array of environmental stimuli. This review focuses on the overview of functional aspects of CBL and CIPK in plants. In addition, an attempt has also been made to categorize the functions of this CBL-CIPK pair in major signaling pathways in plants.
PMCID: PMC3550666  PMID: 23572873
Abiotic stress; ABA; Calcium; CBL; CIPK; Signal transduction
7.  Identification of three MAPKKKs forming a linear signaling pathway leading to programmed cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:103.
The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade is an evolutionarily ancient mechanism of signal transduction found in eukaryotic cells. In plants, MAPK cascades are associated with responses to various abiotic and biotic stresses such as plant pathogens. MAPK cascades function through sequential phosphorylation: MAPK kinase kinases (MAPKKKs) phosphorylate MAPK kinases (MAPKKs), and phosphorylated MAPKKs phosphorylate MAPKs. Of these three types of kinase, the MAPKKKs exhibit the most divergence in the plant genome. Their great diversity is assumed to allow MAPKKKs to regulate many specific signaling pathways in plants despite the relatively limited number of MAPKKs and MAPKs. Although some plant MAPKKKs, including the MAPKKKα of Nicotiana benthamiana (NbMAPKKKα), are known to play crucial roles in plant defense responses, the functional relationship among MAPKKK genes is poorly understood. Here, we performed a comparative functional analysis of MAPKKKs to investigate the signaling pathway leading to the defense response.
We cloned three novel MAPKKK genes from N. benthamiana: NbMAPKKKβ, NbMAPKKKγ, and NbMAPKKKε2. Transient overexpression of full-length NbMAPKKKβ or NbMAPKKKγ or their kinase domains in N. benthamiana leaves induced hypersensitive response (HR)-like cell death associated with hydrogen peroxide production. This activity was dependent on the kinase activity of the overexpressed MAPKKK. In addition, virus-induced silencing of NbMAPKKKβ or NbMAPKKKγ expression significantly suppressed the induction of programmed cell death (PCD) by viral infection. Furthermore, in epistasis analysis of the functional relationships among NbMAPKKKβ, NbMAPKKKγ, and NbMAPKKKα (previously shown to be involved in plant defense responses) conducted by combining transient overexpression analysis and virus-induced gene silencing, silencing of NbMAPKKKα suppressed cell death induced by the overexpression of the NbMAPKKKβ kinase domain or of NbMAPKKKγ, but silencing of NbMAPKKKβ failed to suppress cell death induced by the overexpression of NbMAPKKKα or NbMAPKKKγ. Silencing of NbMAPKKKγ suppressed cell death induced by the NbMAPKKKβ kinase domain but not that induced by NbMAPKKKα.
These results demonstrate that in addition to NbMAPKKKα, NbMAPKKKβ and NbMAPKKKγ also function as positive regulators of PCD. Furthermore, these three MAPKKKs form a linear signaling pathway leading to PCD; this pathway proceeds from NbMAPKKKβ to NbMAPKKKγ to NbMAPKKKα.
PMCID: PMC3507812  PMID: 22770370
8.  Glutathione Peroxidase-1 in Health and Disease: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Opportunities 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2011;15(7):1957-1997.
Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, are generated in all cells by mitochondrial and enzymatic sources. Left unchecked, these reactive species can cause oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, and membrane lipids. Glutathione peroxidase-1 (GPx-1) is an intracellular antioxidant enzyme that enzymatically reduces hydrogen peroxide to water to limit its harmful effects. Certain reactive oxygen species, such as hydrogen peroxide, are also essential for growth factor-mediated signal transduction, mitochondrial function, and maintenance of normal thiol redox-balance. Thus, by limiting hydrogen peroxide accumulation, GPx-1 also modulates these processes. This review explores the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating the expression and function of GPx-1, with an emphasis on the role of GPx-1 in modulating cellular oxidant stress and redox-mediated responses. As a selenocysteine-containing enzyme, GPx-1 expression is subject to unique forms of regulation involving the trace mineral selenium and selenocysteine incorporation during translation. In addition, GPx-1 has been implicated in the development and prevention of many common and complex diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. This review discusses the role of GPx-1 in these diseases and speculates on potential future therapies to harness the beneficial effects of this ubiquitous antioxidant enzyme. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 1957–1997.
I. Introduction
II. GPx‐1 Activity
A. Enzymatic mechanisms of GPx
B. Structure and function: analysis of the active site
C. Inhibitors of GPx
D. Comparison among mammalian GPxs 1–4
III. Regulation of GPx‐1 Expression and Activity
A. Transcriptional regulation
B. Post‐transcriptional and translational regulation
1. Basic mechanisms of Sec incorporation
2. Selenium, nonsense‐mediated decay of GPx‐1 mRNA, and translational repression
3. Post‐transcriptional upregulation of GPx‐1
4. Inhibition of GPx‐1 translation
C. Post‐translational regulation
1. Sec oxidation
2. Stimulation by signal transduction and/or protein–protein interactions
IV. GPx‐1 and Oxidant‐Dependent Cellular Processes
A. Oxidative damage and cell death, apoptosis, and injury
1. Role of oxidants in cell death and apoptosis
2. Role of GPx‐1 in cell death and apoptosis
3. GPx‐1 and response to in vivo ROS
B. Redox‐dependent cell signaling, growth, and survival
V. GPx‐1 and Cancer
A. GPx‐1 and the mechanisms of cancer susceptibility
B. GPx‐1 and genetic polymorphisms
C. GPx‐1: genetic polymorphisms and cancer risk
1. Breast cancer
2. Lung cancer
3. Prostate cancer
4. Bladder cancer
5. Other cancers
VI. GPx‐1, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease
A. GPx‐1 and the mechanisms of susceptibility to diabetes and cardiovascular disease
1. Diabetes mellitus
2. Cardiac dysfunction and toxicity
3. Ischemia/reperfusion injury, angiogenesis, and EPC function
4. Endothelial dysfunction and vascular tone
5. Inflammation and atherogenesis
B. Epidemiologic and genetic studies of GPx‐1 and cardiovascular disease
VII. GPx‐1 and Future Directions for Therapeutic Applications
PMCID: PMC3159114  PMID: 21087145
9.  Hydrogen sulfide induces systemic tolerance to salinity and non-ionic osmotic stress in strawberry plants through modification of reactive species biosynthesis and transcriptional regulation of multiple defence pathways 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(7):1953-1966.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been recently found to act as a potent priming agent. This study explored the hypothesis that hydroponic pretreatment of strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa cv. Camarosa) roots with a H2S donor, sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS; 100 μM for 48h), could induce long-lasting priming effects and tolerance to subsequent exposure to 100mM NaCI or 10% (w/v) PEG-6000 for 7 d. Hydrogen sulfide pretreatment of roots resulted in increased leaf chlorophyll fluorescence, stomatal conductance and leaf relative water content as well as lower lipid peroxidation levels in comparison with plants directly subjected to salt and non-ionic osmotic stress, thus suggesting a systemic mitigating effect of H2S pretreatment to cellular damage derived from abiotic stress factors. In addition, root pretreatment with NaHS resulted in the minimization of oxidative and nitrosative stress in strawberry plants, manifested via lower levels of synthesis of NO and H2O2 in leaves and the maintenance of high ascorbate and glutathione redox states, following subsequent salt and non-ionic osmotic stresses. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR gene expression analysis of key antioxidant (cAPX, CAT, MnSOD, GR), ascorbate and glutathione biosynthesis (GCS, GDH, GS), transcription factor (DREB), and salt overly sensitive (SOS) pathway (SOS2-like, SOS3-like, SOS4) genes suggests that H2S plays a pivotal role in the coordinated regulation of multiple transcriptional pathways. The ameliorative effects of H2S were more pronounced in strawberry plants subjected to both stress conditions immediately after NaHS root pretreatment, rather than in plants subjected to stress conditions 3 d after root pretreatment. Overall, H2S-pretreated plants managed to overcome the deleterious effects of salt and non-ionic osmotic stress by controlling oxidative and nitrosative cellular damage through increased performance of antioxidant mechanisms and the coordinated regulation of the SOS pathway, thus proposing a novel role for H2S in plant priming, and in particular in a fruit crop such as strawberry.
PMCID: PMC3638822  PMID: 23567865
Ascorbic acid; glutathione; hydrogen sulfide; nitrosative stress; oxidative stress; polyethylene glycol; priming; redox signalling; salinity; salt overly sensitive; sodium hydrosulfide.
10.  Nitric oxide in plants: an assessment of the current state of knowledge 
AoB Plants  2013;5:pls052.
Nitric oxide (NO) is a plant signal contributing to plant stress responses and development. We here review some of the key advances in this field but also highlight certain key aspects of plant NO biology that require further attention.
Background and aims
After a series of seminal works during the last decade of the 20th century, nitric oxide (NO) is now firmly placed in the pantheon of plant signals. Nitric oxide acts in plant–microbe interactions, responses to abiotic stress, stomatal regulation and a range of developmental processes. By considering the recent advances in plant NO biology, this review will highlight certain key aspects that require further attention.
Scope and conclusions
The following questions will be considered. While cytosolic nitrate reductase is an important source of NO, the contributions of other mechanisms, including a poorly defined arginine oxidizing activity, need to be characterized at the molecular level. Other oxidative pathways utilizing polyamine and hydroxylamine also need further attention. Nitric oxide action is dependent on its concentration and spatial generation patterns. However, no single technology currently available is able to provide accurate in planta measurements of spatio-temporal patterns of NO production. It is also the case that pharmaceutical NO donors are used in studies, sometimes with little consideration of the kinetics of NO production. We here include in planta assessments of NO production from diethylamine nitric oxide, S-nitrosoglutathione and sodium nitroprusside following infiltration of tobacco leaves, which could aid workers in their experiments. Further, based on current data it is difficult to define a bespoke plant NO signalling pathway, but rather NO appears to act as a modifier of other signalling pathways. Thus, early reports that NO signalling involves cGMP—as in animal systems—require revisiting. Finally, as plants are exposed to NO from a number of external sources, investigations into the control of NO scavenging by such as non-symbiotic haemoglobins and other sinks for NO should feature more highly. By crystallizing these questions the authors encourage their resolution through the concerted efforts of the plant NO community.
PMCID: PMC3560241  PMID: 23372921
11.  Plant Stress Surveillance Monitored by ABA and Disease Signaling Interactions 
Molecules and Cells  2012;33(1):1-7.
Abiotic and biotic stresses are the major factors that negatively impact plant growth. In response to abiotic environmental stresses such as drought, plants generate resistance responses through abscisic acid (ABA) signal transduction. In addition to the major role of ABA in abiotic stress signaling, ABA signaling was reported to downregulate biotic stress signaling. Conversely recent findings provide evidence that initial activation of plant immune signaling inhibits subsequent ABA signal transduction. Stimulation of effector-triggered disease response can interfere with ABA signal transduction via modulation of internal calcium-dependent signaling pathways. This review overviews the interactions of abiotic and biotic stress signal transduction and the mechanism through which stress surveillance system operates to generate the most efficient resistant traits against various stress condition.
PMCID: PMC3887741  PMID: 22314325
abscisic acid; Ca2+; guard cell; pathogen; R genes
12.  Mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in plants under abiotic stress 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(2):196-203.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade is evolutionarily conserved signal transduction module involved in transducing extracellular signals to the nucleus for appropriate cellular adjustment. This cascade consists essentially of three components, a MAPK kinase kinase (MAPKKK), a MAPK kinase (MAPKK) and a MAPK connected to each other by the event of phosphorylation. These kinases play various roles in intra- and extra-cellular signaling in plants by transferring the information from sensors to responses. Signaling through MAP kinase cascade can lead to cellular responses including cell division, differentiation as well as responses to various stresses. MAPK signaling has also been associated with hormonal responses. In plants, MAP kinases are represented by multigene families and are involved in efficient transmission of specific stimuli and also involved in the regulation of the antioxidant defense system in response to stress signaling. In the current review we summarize and investigate the participation of MAPKs as possible mediators of various abiotic stresses in plants.
PMCID: PMC3121978  PMID: 21512321
abiotic stress; cross talk; mitogen-activated protein kinases; heat map; MAPK signaling; signal transduction; stress signaling
13.  Nitric oxide, antioxidants and prooxidants in plant defence responses 
In plant cells the free radical nitric oxide (NO) interacts both with anti- as well as prooxidants. This review provides a short survey of the central roles of ascorbate and glutathione—the latter alone or in conjunction with S-nitrosoglutathione reductase—in controlling NO bioavailability. Other major topics include the regulation of antioxidant enzymes by NO and the interplay between NO and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Under stress conditions NO regulates antioxidant enzymes at the level of activity and gene expression, which can cause either enhancement or reduction of the cellular redox status. For instance chronic NO production during salt stress induced the antioxidant system thereby increasing salt tolerance in various plants. In contrast, rapid NO accumulation in response to strong stress stimuli was occasionally linked to inhibition of antioxidant enzymes and a subsequent rise in hydrogen peroxide levels. Moreover, during incompatible Arabidopsis thaliana-Pseudomonas syringae interactions ROS burst and cell death progression were shown to be terminated by S-nitrosylation-triggered inhibition of NADPH oxidases, further highlighting the multiple roles of NO during redox-signaling. In chemical reactions between NO and ROS reactive nitrogen species (RNS) arise with characteristics different from their precursors. Recently, peroxynitrite formed by the reaction of NO with superoxide has attracted much attention. We will describe putative functions of this molecule and other NO derivatives in plant cells. Non-symbiotic hemoglobins (nsHb) were proposed to act in NO degradation. Additionally, like other oxidases nsHb is also capable of catalyzing protein nitration through a nitrite- and hydrogen peroxide-dependent process. The physiological significance of the described findings under abiotic and biotic stress conditions will be discussed with a special emphasis on pathogen-induced programmed cell death (PCD).
PMCID: PMC3812536  PMID: 24198820
nitric oxide; reactive oxygen species; signaling; peroxynitrite; glutathione; ascorbate; antioxidant system; programmed cell death
14.  Jasmonates: An Update on Biosynthesis, Signal Transduction and Action in Plant Stress Response, Growth and Development 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(4):681-697.
Jasmonates are ubiquitously occurring lipid-derived compounds with signal functions in plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses, as well as in plant growth and development. Jasmonic acid and its various metabolites are members of the oxylipin family. Many of them alter gene expression positively or negatively in a regulatory network with synergistic and antagonistic effects in relation to other plant hormones such as salicylate, auxin, ethylene and abscisic acid.
This review summarizes biosynthesis and signal transduction of jasmonates with emphasis on new findings in relation to enzymes, their crystal structure, new compounds detected in the oxylipin and jasmonate families, and newly found functions.
Crystal structure of enzymes in jasmonate biosynthesis, increasing number of jasmonate metabolites and newly identified components of the jasmonate signal-transduction pathway, including specifically acting transcription factors, have led to new insights into jasmonate action, but its receptor(s) is/are still missing, in contrast to all other plant hormones.
PMCID: PMC2749622  PMID: 17513307
Oxylipins; jasmonic acid; jasmonate metabolites; enzymes in biosynthesis and metabolism; signal function
15.  Boolean modeling of transcriptome data reveals novel modes of heterotrimeric G-protein action 
Classical mechanisms of heterotrimeric G-protein signaling are observed to function in regulation of the transcriptome. Conversely, many theoretical regulatory modes of the G-protein are not manifested in the transcriptomes we investigate.A new mechanism of G-protein signaling is revealed, in which the β subunit regulates gene expression identically in the presence or absence of the α subunit.We find evidence of cross-talk between G-protein-mediated and hormone-mediated transcriptional regulation.We find evidence of system specificity in G-protein signaling.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins, composed of α, β, and γ subunits, participate in a wide range of signaling pathways in eukaryotes (Morris and Malbon, 1999). According to the typical, mammalian paradigm, in its inactive state, the G-protein exists as an associated heterotrimer. G-protein signaling begins with ligand binding that results in a conformational change in a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Once activated by the GPCR, the Gα separates from the associated Gβγ dimer and the freed Gα and Gβγ proteins can then interact with downstream effector molecules, alone or in combination, to transduce the signal. Subsequent to signal propagation, Gα re-associates with the Gβγ dimer to reform the G-protein complex.
There are several classical routes for signal propagation through heterotrimeric G-proteins that have been categorized in mammalian systems (Marrari et al, 2007; Dupre et al, 2009). One route, which we designate classical I, requires the presence of both subunits, and can invoke one of two distinct mechanisms. In one mechanism, on GPCR activation, freed Gα and Gβγ each interact with downstream effectors to elicit the downstream response. In a related mechanism, Gα but not Gβγ interacts with downstream effectors, but the Gβγ dimer is nevertheless required to facilitate coupling of Gα with the relevant GPCR (Marrari et al, 2007). In a second route, which we designate classical II, it is solely the Gβγ dimer that interacts with downstream effectors; in this case, sequestration of Gβγ within the heterotrimer prevents signal propagation. In addition, a few non-classical G-protein regulatory modes have also been implicated in some systems, for example signaling by the intact heterotrimer in yeast (Klein et al, 2000; Frank et al, 2005). Observations such as these lead to a fundamental question, namely, which of all the theoretical regulatory modes of G-protein signaling are realized biologically. Our study answers this question in the context of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and in addition analyzes the manner in which G-protein signaling couples with signaling by the plant hormone abscisic acid. The Arabidopsis genome encodes only one canonical Gα subunit, GPA1, and one canonical Gβ subunit, AGB1, and knockout mutants are available for each of these, allowing clear dissection of Gα- and Gβ-related phenotypes.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is a major plant hormone, which inhibits growth and promotes tolerance of abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity, and cold. ABA signaling is known to interact with heterotrimeric G-protein signaling in both developmental and stress responses in a complex manner, causing, for example, ABA hyposensitivity of guard cell stomatal opening in gpa1 and agb1 single mutants as well as agb1 gpa1 double mutants (Fan et al, 2008), but ABA hypersensitivity of the inhibition of seed germination and post-germination seedling development in the same mutants (Pandey et al, 2006). These experimental observations implicate G-proteins as one of the components of ABA signaling, but to date no systematic study has been conducted in either plant or metazoan systems to define the co-regulatory modes of a G-protein and a hormone.
In this study, we conduct genome-wide gene expression profiling in G-protein subunit mutants of A. thaliana guard cells and leaves, with or without treatment with ABA. By introducing one or more mediators acting downstream of the G-protein and ABA to control transcript levels, we propose nine G-protein/ABA signaling pathways including ABA-independent G-protein signaling pathways, G-protein-independent ABA signaling pathways, and seven distinct ABA–G-protein-coupled signaling pathways (Figure 1). We develop a Boolean modeling framework to systematically enumerate 14 possible theoretical regulatory modes of the G-protein and 142 co-regulatory modes of the G-protein and ABA, and then use a pattern matching approach to associate target genes with theoretical regulatory modes.
Our analysis shows that the G-protein regulatory mode that requires the presence of both Gα and Gβγ subunits (consistent with classical I mechanisms), is well represented in both guard cells and leaves. The G-protein regulatory mode that requires a freed Gβγ subunit (classical II G-protein regulatory mechanism) is well supported in guard cells and somewhat less so in leaves. In addition, a G-protein regulatory mode representing a non-classical regulatory mechanism is prevalent in guard cells but less so in leaves (Figure 5). In this regulatory mode, signaling by Gβ(γ) occurs, and this signaling is not regulated in any way by Gα.
By relating the target genes with the nine proposed G-protein/ABA signaling pathways, we are able to gauge the plausibility of regulatory modes of the G-protein and ABA at the pathway level. We find that G-protein-independent ABA signaling pathways are prevalent in both guard cells and leaves. The existence of an ABA-independent regulatory activity of the G-protein is well supported in guard cells, but not supported in leaves. Additive regulation by G-protein signaling plus G-protein-independent ABA signaling is rare in both guard cells and leaves. In addition, combinatorial cross-talk between G-protein signaling and ABA signaling and additive cross-talk between ABA–G-protein signaling and G-protein-independent ABA signaling are observed in both guard cells and leaves. Our transcriptome analysis indicates that in some cases, ABA definitely does not influence G-protein signaling, though it may do so in some other cases.
To investigate whether previously observed hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity of developmental and dynamic transient responses to ABA in G-protein mutants is recapitulated at the level of transcriptional regulation, we compare gene regulation by ABA in guard cells and leaves of the G-protein mutants versus wild type. We find that in guard cells, equal ABA hyposensitivity of all mutants combined is significant, although hyposensitivity in individual mutants is not. There is also a separate group of genes in guard cells that show ABA hypersensitivity in the gpa1 mutant, suggesting complex interactions between ABA and G-protein signaling in gene regulation in this cell type. In leaves, ABA hyposensitivity of gene expression in the three individual mutants and equal hyposensitivity in all mutants are strongly supported. In addition, several of the functional categories identified by our analysis of G-protein regulatory modes have been implicated in previous physiological analyses of G-protein mutants, providing validation to the biological interpretation of our results.
In summary, by conducting a genome-wide gene expression profiling study in G-protein subunit mutants of A. thaliana guard cells and leaves and developing a Boolean modeling framework, we systematically evaluate the biological utilization of mechanisms of G-protein regulatory action and reveal novel regulatory modes of the G-protein. The results generate empirical evidence and insights regarding molecular events of G-protein signaling and response at the physiological level in both plants and mammals.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins mediate crucial and diverse signaling pathways in eukaryotes. Here, we generate and analyze microarray data from guard cells and leaves of G-protein subunit mutants of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, with or without treatment with the stress hormone, abscisic acid. Although G-protein control of the transcriptome has received little attention to date in any system, transcriptome analysis allows us to search for potentially uncommon yet significant signaling mechanisms. We describe the theoretical Boolean mechanisms of G-protein × hormone regulation, and then apply a pattern matching approach to associate gene expression profiles with Boolean models. We find that (1) classical mechanisms of G-protein signaling are well represented. Conversely, some theoretical regulatory modes of the G-protein are not supported; (2) a new mechanism of G-protein signaling is revealed, in which Gβ regulates gene expression identically in the presence or absence of Gα; (3) guard cells and leaves favor different G-protein modes in transcriptome regulation, supporting system specificity of G-protein signaling. Our method holds significant promise for analyzing analogous ‘switch-like' signal transduction events in any organism.
PMCID: PMC2913393  PMID: 20531402
abscisic acid; Arabidopsis thaliana; Boolean modeling; heterotrimeric G-protein; transcriptome
16.  Dynamic Chemical Communication between Plants and Bacteria through Airborne Signals: Induced Resistance by Bacterial Volatiles 
Journal of Chemical Ecology  2013;39(7):1007-1018.
Certain plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) elicit induced systemic resistance (ISR) and plant growth promotion in the absence of physical contact with plants via volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. In this article, we review the recent progess made by research into the interactions between PGPR VOCs and plants, focusing on VOC emission by PGPR strains in plants. Particular attention is given to the mechanisms by which these bacterial VOCs elicit ISR. We provide an overview of recent progress in the elucidation of PGPR VOC interactions from studies utilizing transcriptome, metabolome, and proteome analyses. By monitoring defense gene expression patterns, performing 2-dimensional electrophoresis, and studying defense signaling null mutants, salicylic acid and ethylene have been found to be key players in plant signaling pathways involved in the ISR response. Bacterial VOCs also confer induced systemic tolerance to abiotic stresses, such as drought and heavy metals. A review of current analytical approaches for PGPR volatile profiling is also provided with needed future developments emphasized. To assess potential utilization of PGPR VOCs for crop plants, volatile suspensions have been applied to pepper and cucumber roots and found to be effective at protecting plants against plant pathogens and insect pests in the field. Taken together, these studies provide further insight into the biological and ecological potential of PGPR VOCs for enhancing plant self-immunity and/or adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses in modern agriculture.
PMCID: PMC3738840  PMID: 23881442
PGPR; ISR; IST; Volatile organic compounds; Headspace
17.  Quantitative patterns between plant volatile emissions induced by biotic stresses and the degree of damage 
Plants have to cope with a plethora of biotic stresses such as herbivory and pathogen attacks throughout their life cycle. The biotic stresses typically trigger rapid emissions of volatile products of lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway (LOX products: various C6 aldehydes, alcohols, and derivatives, also called green leaf volatiles) associated with oxidative burst. Further a variety of defense pathways is activated, leading to induction of synthesis and emission of a complex blend of volatiles, often including methyl salicylate, indole, mono-, homo-, and sesquiterpenes. The airborne volatiles are involved in systemic responses leading to elicitation of emissions from non-damaged plant parts. For several abiotic stresses, it has been demonstrated that volatile emissions are quantitatively related to the stress dose. The biotic impacts under natural conditions vary in severity from mild to severe, but it is unclear whether volatile emissions also scale with the severity of biotic stresses in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, biotic impacts are typically recurrent, but it is poorly understood how direct stress-triggered and systemic emission responses are silenced during periods intervening sequential stress events. Here we review the information on induced emissions elicited in response to biotic attacks, and argue that biotic stress severity vs. emission rate relationships should follow principally the same dose–response relationships as previously demonstrated for different abiotic stresses. Analysis of several case studies investigating the elicitation of emissions in response to chewing herbivores, aphids, rust fungi, powdery mildew, and Botrytis, suggests that induced emissions do respond to stress severity in dose-dependent manner. Bi-phasic emission kinetics of several induced volatiles have been demonstrated in these experiments, suggesting that next to immediate stress-triggered emissions, biotic stress elicited emissions typically have a secondary induction response, possibly reflecting a systemic response. The dose–response relationships can also vary in dependence on plant genotype, herbivore feeding behavior, and plant pre-stress physiological status. Overall, the evidence suggests that there are quantitative relationships between the biotic stress severity and induced volatile emissions. These relationships constitute an encouraging platform to develop quantitative plant stress response models.
PMCID: PMC3719043  PMID: 23888161
biotic stress; green leaf volatiles; fungal infection; herbivory; quantitative stress dose–response relationships; volatile organic compounds
18.  Cytoskeleton and plant salt stress tolerance 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(1):29-31.
The plant cytoskeleton is a highly dynamic component of plant cells and mainly based on microtubules (MTs) and actin filaments (AFs). The important functions of dynamic cytoskeletal networks have been indicated for almost every intracellular activity, from cell division to cell movement, cell morphogenesis and cell signal transduction. Recent studies have also indicated a close relationship between the plant cytoskeleton and plant salt stress tolerance. Salt stress is a significant factor that adversely affects crop productivity and quality of agricultural fields worldwide. The complicated regulatory mechanisms of plant salt tolerance have been the subject of intense research for decades. It is well accepted that cellular changes are very important in plant responses to salt stress. Because the organization and dynamics of cytoskeleton may play an important role in enhancing plant tolerance through various cell activities, study on salt stress-induced cytoskeletal network has been a vital topic in the subject of plant salt stress tolerance mechanisms. In this article, we introduce our recent work and review some current information on the dynamic changes and functions of cytoskeletal organization in response to salt stress. The accumulated data point to the existence of highly dynamic cytoskeletal arrays and the activation of complex cytoskeletal regulatory networks in response to salt stresses. The important role played by cytoskeleton in mediating the plant cell's response to salt stresses is particularly emphasized.
PMCID: PMC3122001  PMID: 21301221
cytoskeleton; microtubules (MTs); microfilaments (MFs); salt stress; response mechanisms; plant tolerance
19.  Salt stress and senescence: identification of cross-talk regulatory components 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(14):3993-4008.
Long-term salinity stress induces senescence, probably through an involvement of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-mediated signalling. This study identifies candidate H2O2-responsive cis-regulatory elements governing gene expression during salinity stress-triggered and developmental senescence.
Leaf senescence is an active process with a pivotal impact on plant productivity. It results from extensive signalling cross-talk coordinating environmental factors with intrinsic age-related mechanisms. Although many studies have shown that leaf senescence is affected by a range of external parameters, knowledge about the regulatory systems that govern the interplay between developmental programmes and environmental stress is still vague. Salinity is one of the most important environmental stresses that promote leaf senescence and thus affect crop yield. Improving salt tolerance by avoiding or delaying senescence under stress will therefore play an important role in maintaining high agricultural productivity. Experimental evidence suggests that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) functions as a common signalling molecule in both developmental and salt-induced leaf senescence. In this study, microarray-based gene expression profiling on Arabidopsis thaliana plants subjected to long-term salinity stress to induce leaf senescence was performed, together with co-expression network analysis for H2O2-responsive genes that are mutually up-regulated by salt induced- and developmental leaf senescence. Promoter analysis of tightly co-expressed genes led to the identification of seven cis-regulatory motifs, three of which were known previously, namely CACGTGT and AAGTCAA, which are associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive genes, and CCGCGT, described as a stress-responsive regulatory motif, while the others, namely ACGCGGT, AGCMGNC, GMCACGT, and TCSTYGACG were not characterized previously. These motifs are proposed to be novel elements involved in the H2O2-mediated control of gene expression during salinity stress-triggered and developmental senescence, acting through upstream transcription factors that bind to these sites.
PMCID: PMC4106443  PMID: 24803504
Arabidopsis; hydrogen peroxide; longevity; reactive oxygen species; salt stress; senescence; signal cross-talk; transcription factor.
20.  Abscisic Acid and Abiotic Stress Signaling 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2007;2(3):135-138.
Abiotic stress is severe environmental stress, which impairs crop production on irrigated land worldwide. Overall, the susceptibility or tolerance to the stress in plants is a coordinated action of multiple stress responsive genes, which also cross-talk with other components of stress signal transduction pathways. Plant responses to abiotic stress can be determined by the severity of the stress and by the metabolic status of the plant. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone critical for plant growth and development and plays an important role in integrating various stress signals and controlling downstream stress responses. Plants have to adjust ABA levels constantly in responce to changing physiological and environmental conditions. To date, the mechanisms for fine-tuning of ABA levels remain elusive. The mechanisms by which plants respond to stress include both ABA-dependent and ABA-independent processes. Various transcription factors such as DREB2A/2B, AREB1, RD22BP1 and MYC/MYB are known to regulate the ABA-responsive gene expression through interacting with their corrosponding cis-acting elements such as DRE/CRT, ABRE and MYCRS/MYBRS, respectively. Understanding these mechanisms is important to improve stress tolerance in crops plants. This article first describes the general pathway for plant stress response followed by roles of ABA and transcription factors in stress tolerance including the regulation of ABA biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC2634038  PMID: 19516981
ABA; ABA-responsive element; ABA-responsive genes; cis-acting elements; environmental stress; plant stress hormone; signal transduction; transcription factors
21.  Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Genes Commonly Induced by Botrytis cinerea Infection, Cold, Drought and Oxidative Stresses in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113718.
Signaling pathways controlling biotic and abiotic stress responses may interact synergistically or antagonistically. To identify the similarities and differences among responses to diverse stresses, we analyzed previously published microarray data on the transcriptomic responses of Arabidopsis to infection with Botrytis cinerea (a biotic stress), and to cold, drought, and oxidative stresses (abiotic stresses). Our analyses showed that at early stages after B. cinerea inoculation, 1498 genes were up-regulated (B. cinerea up-regulated genes; BUGs) and 1138 genes were down-regulated (B. cinerea down-regulated genes; BDGs). We showed a unique program of gene expression was activated in response each biotic and abiotic stress, but that some genes were similarly induced or repressed by all of the tested stresses. Of the identified BUGs, 25%, 6% and 12% were also induced by cold, drought and oxidative stress, respectively; whereas 33%, 7% and 5.5% of the BDGs were also down-regulated by the same abiotic stresses. Coexpression and protein-protein interaction network analyses revealed a dynamic range in the expression levels of genes encoding regulatory proteins. Analysis of gene expression in response to electrophilic oxylipins suggested that these compounds are involved in mediating responses to B. cinerea infection and abiotic stress through TGA transcription factors. Our results suggest an overlap among genes involved in the responses to biotic and abiotic stresses in Arabidopsis. Changes in the transcript levels of genes encoding components of the cyclopentenone signaling pathway in response to biotic and abiotic stresses suggest that the oxylipin signal transduction pathway plays a role in plant defense. Identifying genes that are commonly expressed in response to environmental stresses, and further analyzing the functions of their encoded products, will increase our understanding of the plant stress response. This information could identify targets for genetic modification to improve plant resistance to multiple stresses.
PMCID: PMC4244146  PMID: 25422934
22.  Proline Mechanisms of Stress Survival 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(9):998-1011.
Significance: The imino acid proline is utilized by different organisms to offset cellular imbalances caused by environmental stress. The wide use in nature of proline as a stress adaptor molecule indicates that proline has a fundamental biological role in stress response. Understanding the mechanisms by which proline enhances abiotic/biotic stress response will facilitate agricultural crop research and improve human health. Recent Advances: It is now recognized that proline metabolism propels cellular signaling processes that promote cellular apoptosis or survival. Studies have shown that proline metabolism influences signaling pathways by increasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in the mitochondria via the electron transport chain. Enhanced ROS production due to proline metabolism has been implicated in the hypersensitive response in plants, lifespan extension in worms, and apoptosis, tumor suppression, and cell survival in animals. Critical Issues: The ability of proline to influence disparate cellular outcomes may be governed by ROS levels generated in the mitochondria. Defining the threshold at which proline metabolic enzyme expression switches from inducing survival pathways to cellular apoptosis would provide molecular insights into cellular redox regulation by proline. Are ROS the only mediators of proline metabolic signaling or are other factors involved? Future Directions: New evidence suggests that proline biosynthesis enzymes interact with redox proteins such as thioredoxin. An important future pursuit will be to identify other interacting partners of proline metabolic enzymes to uncover novel regulatory and signaling networks of cellular stress response. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 998–1011.
PMCID: PMC3763223  PMID: 23581681
23.  ABA receptors: the START of a new paradigm in phytohormone signalling 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;61(12):3199-3210.
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a central role in plant development and in plant adaptation to both biotic and abiotic stressors. In recent years, knowledge of ABA metabolism and signal transduction has advanced rapidly to provide detailed glimpses of the hormone's activities at the molecular level. Despite this progress, many gaps in understanding have remained, particularly at the early stages of ABA perception by the plant cell. The search for an ABA receptor protein has produced multiple candidates, including GCR2, GTG1, and GTG2, and CHLH. In addition to these candidates, in 2009 several research groups converged on a novel family of Arabidopsis proteins that bind ABA, and thereby interact directly with a class of protein phosphatases that are well known as critical players in ABA signal transduction. The PYR/PYL/RCAR receptor family is homologous to the Bet v 1-fold and START domain proteins. It consists of 14 members, nearly all of which appear capable of participating in an ABA receptor–signal complex that responds to the hormone by activating the transcription of ABA-responsive genes. Evidence is provided here that PYR/PYL/RCAR receptors can also drive the phosphorylation of the slow anion channel SLAC1 to provide a fast and timely response to the ABA signal. Crystallographic studies have vividly shown the mechanics of ABA binding to PYR/PYL/RCAR receptors, presenting a model that bears some resemblance to the binding of gibberellins to GID1 receptors. Since this ABA receptor family is highly conserved in crop species, its discovery is likely to usher a new wave of progress in the elucidation and manipulation of plant stress responses in agricultural settings.
PMCID: PMC3107536  PMID: 20522527
Abiotic stress; abscisic acid; Bet v 1-fold; drought; PP2C; PYR/PYL/RCAR; salinity; SnRK; signal–receptor; START domain
24.  Conserved versatile master regulators in signalling pathways in response to stress in plants 
AoB Plants  2013;5:plt033.
Environmental conditions have forced plants to develop elaborated molecular strategies to surpass natural obstacles to growth and proliferation. Elements in multiple signaling cascades allow plants to sense multiple and simultaneous ambient cues, and establish an opportune defensive response. A group of versatile master regulators of gene expression are decisive to control plant responses to stressing conditions. For crop breeding purposes, the task is to determine how to activate these key regulators to enable accurate and optimal responses to stressing conditions. In this review, we discuss how and which master regulators are implied in the responses to biotic and stresses, their evolution in the life kingdoms, and the interaction with other molecular factors that lead to a proper and efficient plant response.
From the first land plants to the complex gymnosperms and angiosperms of today, environmental conditions have forced plants to develop molecular strategies to surpass natural obstacles to growth and proliferation, and these genetic gains have been transmitted to the following generations. In this long natural process, novel and elaborate mechanisms have evolved to enable plants to cope with environmental limitations. Elements in many signalling cascades enable plants to sense different, multiple and simultaneous ambient cues. A group of versatile master regulators of gene expression control plant responses to stressing conditions. For crop breeding purposes, the task is to determine how to activate these key regulators to enable accurate and optimal reactions to common stresses. In this review, we discuss how plants sense biotic and abiotic stresses, how and which master regulators are implied in the responses to these stresses, their evolution in the life kingdoms, and the domains in these proteins that interact with other factors to lead to a proper and efficient plant response.
PMCID: PMC3800984  PMID: 24147216
Biotic/abiotic stress; co-activators; gene expression regulation; integrators; key regulators; plant stress response.
25.  Characterization of WRKY co-regulatory networks in rice and Arabidopsis 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:120.
The WRKY transcription factor gene family has a very ancient origin and has undergone extensive duplications in the plant kingdom. Several studies have pointed out their involvement in a range of biological processes, revealing that a large number of WRKY genes are transcriptionally regulated under conditions of biotic and/or abiotic stress. To investigate the existence of WRKY co-regulatory networks in plants, a whole gene family WRKYs expression study was carried out in rice (Oryza sativa). This analysis was extended to Arabidopsis thaliana taking advantage of an extensive repository of gene expression data.
The presented results suggested that 24 members of the rice WRKY gene family (22% of the total) were differentially-regulated in response to at least one of the stress conditions tested. We defined the existence of nine OsWRKY gene clusters comprising both phylogenetically related and unrelated genes that were significantly co-expressed, suggesting that specific sets of WRKY genes might act in co-regulatory networks. This hypothesis was tested by Pearson Correlation Coefficient analysis of the Arabidopsis WRKY gene family in a large set of Affymetrix microarray experiments. AtWRKYs were found to belong to two main co-regulatory networks (COR-A, COR-B) and two smaller ones (COR-C and COR-D), all including genes belonging to distinct phylogenetic groups. The COR-A network contained several AtWRKY genes known to be involved mostly in response to pathogens, whose physical and/or genetic interaction was experimentally proven. We also showed that specific co-regulatory networks were conserved between the two model species by identifying Arabidopsis orthologs of the co-expressed OsWRKY genes.
In this work we identified sets of co-expressed WRKY genes in both rice and Arabidopsis that are functionally likely to cooperate in the same signal transduction pathways. We propose that, making use of data from co-regulatory networks, it is possible to highlight novel clusters of plant genes contributing to the same biological processes or signal transduction pathways. Our approach will contribute to unveil gene cooperation pathways not yet identified by classical genetic analyses. This information will open new routes contributing to the dissection of WRKY signal transduction pathways in plants.
PMCID: PMC2761919  PMID: 19772648

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