Isoamylase-type debranching enzymes (ISAs) play an important role in determining starch structure. Amylopectin – a branched polymer of glucose – is the major component of starch granules and its architecture underlies the semi-crystalline nature of starch. Mutants of several species lacking the ISA1-subclass of isoamylase are impaired in amylopectin synthesis. Consequently, starch levels are decreased and an aberrant soluble glucan (phytoglycogen) with altered branch lengths and branching pattern accumulates. Here we use TAP (tandem affinity purification) tagging to provide direct evidence in Arabidopsis that ISA1 interacts with its homolog ISA2. No evidence for interaction with other starch biosynthetic enzymes was found. Analysis of the single mutants shows that each protein is destabilised in the absence of the other. Co-expression of both ISA1 and ISA2 Escherichia coli allowed the formation of the active recombinant enzyme and we show using site-directed mutagenesis that ISA1 is the catalytic subunit. The presence of the active isoamylase alters glycogen biosynthesis in E. coli, resulting in colonies that stain more starch-like with iodine. However, analysis of the glucans reveals that rather than producing an amylopectin like substance, cells expressing the active isoamylase still accumulate small amounts of glycogen together with a population of linear oligosaccharides that stain strongly with iodine. We conclude that for isoamylase to promote amylopectin synthesis it needs to act on a specific precursor (pre-amylopectin) generated by the combined actions of plant starch synthase and branching enzyme isoforms and when presented with an unsuitable substrate (i.e. E. coli glycogen) it simply degrades it.
Auxin binding protein 1 (ABP1) is a putative auxin receptor and its function is indispensable for plant growth and development. ABP1 has been shown to be involved in auxin-dependent regulation of cell division and expansion, in plasma-membrane-related processes such as changes in transmembrane potential, and in the regulation of clathrin-dependent endocytosis. However, the ABP1-regulated downstream pathway remains elusive.
Using auxin transport assays and quantitative analysis of cellular morphology we show that ABP1 regulates auxin efflux from tobacco BY-2 cells. The overexpression of ABP1can counterbalance increased auxin efflux and auxin starvation phenotypes caused by the overexpression of PIN auxin efflux carrier. Relevant mechanism involves the ABP1-controlled vesicle trafficking processes, including positive regulation of endocytosis of PIN auxin efflux carriers, as indicated by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and pharmacological manipulations.
The findings indicate the involvement of ABP1 in control of rate of auxin transport across plasma membrane emphasizing the role of ABP1 in regulation of PIN activity at the plasma membrane, and highlighting the relevance of ABP1 for the formation of developmentally important, PIN-dependent auxin gradients.
Land plants are characterised by haplo-diploid life cycles, and developing ovules are the organs in which the haploid and diploid generations coexist. Recently it has been shown that hormones such as auxin and cytokinins play important roles in ovule development and patterning. The establishment and regulation of auxin levels in cells is predominantly determined by the activity of the auxin efflux carrier proteins PIN-FORMED (PIN). To study the roles of PIN1 and PIN3 during ovule development we have used mutant alleles of both genes and also perturbed PIN1 and PIN3 expression using micro-RNAs controlled by the ovule specific DEFH9 (DEFIFICENS Homologue 9) promoter. PIN1 down-regulation and pin1-5 mutation severely affect female gametophyte development since embryo sacs arrest at the mono- and/or bi-nuclear stages (FG1 and FG3 stage). PIN3 function is not required for ovule development in wild-type or PIN1-silenced plants. We show that sporophytically expressed PIN1 is required for megagametogenesis, suggesting that sporophytic auxin flux might control the early stages of female gametophyte development, although auxin response is not visible in developing embryo sacs.
How instructive signals are translated into robust and predictable changes in growth is a central question in developmental biology. Recently, much interest has centered on the feedback between chemical instructions and mechanical changes for pattern formation in development. In plants, the patterned arrangement of aerial organs, or phyllotaxis, is instructed by the phytohormone auxin; however, it still remains to be seen how auxin is linked, at the apex, to the biochemical and mechanical changes of the cell wall required for organ outgrowth. Here, using Atomic Force Microscopy, we demonstrate that auxin reduces tissue rigidity prior to organ outgrowth in the shoot apex of Arabidopsis thaliana, and that the de-methyl-esterification of pectin is necessary for this reduction. We further show that development of functional organs produced by pectin-mediated ectopic wall softening requires auxin signaling. Lastly, we demonstrate that coordinated localization of the auxin transport protein, PIN1, is disrupted in a naked-apex produced by increasing cell wall rigidity. Our data indicates that a feedback loop between the instructive chemical auxin and cell wall mechanics may play a crucial role in phyllotactic patterning.
Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria (Xcv) possess a type 3 secretion system (T3SS) to deliver effector proteins into its Solanaceous host plants. These proteins are involved in suppression of plant defense and in reprogramming of plant metabolism to favour bacterial propagation. There is increasing evidence that hexoses contribute to defense responses. They act as substrates for metabolic processes and as metabolic semaphores to regulate gene expression. Especially an increase in the apoplastic hexose-to-sucrose ratio has been suggested to strengthen plant defense. This shift is brought about by the activity of cell wall-bound invertase (cw-Inv). We examined the possibility that Xcv may employ type 3 effector (T3E) proteins to suppress cw-Inv activity during infection. Indeed, pepper leaves infected with a T3SS-deficient Xcv strain showed a higher level of cw-Inv mRNA and enzyme activity relative to Xcv wild type infected leaves. Higher cw-Inv activity was paralleled by an increase in hexoses and mRNA abundance for the pathogenesis-related gene PRQ. These results suggest that Xcv suppresses cw-Inv activity in a T3SS-dependent manner, most likely to prevent sugar-mediated defense signals. To identify Xcv T3Es that regulate cw-Inv activity, a screen was performed with eighteen Xcv strains, each deficient in an individual T3E. Seven Xcv T3E deletion strains caused a significant change in cw-Inv activity compared to Xcv wild type. Among them, Xcv lacking the xopB gene (Xcv ΔxopB) caused the most prominent increase in cw-Inv activity. Deletion of xopB increased the mRNA abundance of PRQ in Xcv ΔxopB-infected pepper leaves, but not of Pti5 and Acre31, two PAMP-triggered immunity markers. Inducible expression of XopB in transgenic tobacco inhibited Xcv-mediated induction of cw-Inv activity observed in wild type plants and resulted in severe developmental phenotypes. Together, these data suggest that XopB interferes with cw-Inv activity in planta to suppress sugar-enhanced defense responses during Xcv infection.
Cell adhesion in plants is mediated predominantly by pectins, a group of complex cell wall associated polysaccharides. An Arabidopsis mutant, friable1 (frb1), was identified through a screen of T-DNA insertion lines that exhibited defective cell adhesion. Interestingly, the frb1 plants displayed both cell and organ dissociations and also ectopic defects in organ separation. The FRB1 gene encodes a Golgi-localized, plant specific protein with only weak sequence similarities to known proteins (DUF246). Unlike other cell adhesion deficient mutants, frb1 mutants do not have reduced levels of adhesion related cell wall polymers, such as pectins. Instead, FRB1 affects the abundance of galactose- and arabinose-containing oligosaccharides in the Golgi. Furthermore, frb1 mutants displayed alteration in pectin methylesterification, cell wall associated extensins and xyloglucan microstructure. We propose that abnormal FRB1 action has pleiotropic consequences on wall architecture, affecting both the extensin and pectin matrices, with consequent changes to the biomechanical properties of the wall and middle lamella, thereby influencing cell-cell adhesion.
Brassinosteroids (BRs) are steroidal hormones that play pivotal roles during plant development. In addition to the characterization of BR deficient mutants, specific BR biosynthesis inhibitors played an essential role in the elucidation of BR function in plants. However, high costs and limited availability of common BR biosynthetic inhibitors constrain their key advantage as a species-independent tool to investigate BR function. We studied propiconazole (Pcz) as an alternative to the BR inhibitor brassinazole (Brz). Arabidopsis seedlings treated with Pcz phenocopied BR biosynthetic mutants. The steady state mRNA levels of BR, but not gibberellic acid (GA), regulated genes increased proportional to the concentrations of Pcz. Moreover, root inhibition and Pcz-induced expression of BR biosynthetic genes were rescued by 24epi-brassinolide, but not by GA3 co-applications. Maize seedlings treated with Pcz showed impaired mesocotyl, coleoptile, and true leaf elongation. Interestingly, the genetic background strongly impacted the tissue specific sensitivity towards Pcz. Based on these findings we conclude that Pcz is a potent and specific inhibitor of BR biosynthesis and an alternative to Brz. The reduced cost and increased availability of Pcz, compared to Brz, opens new possibilities to study BR function in larger crop species.
Microtubules emanate from distinct organizing centers in fungal and animal cells. In plant cells, by contrast, microtubules initiate from dispersed sites in the cell cortex, where they then self-organize into parallel arrays. Previous ultrastructural evidence suggested that cell edges participate in microtubule nucleation but so far there has been no direct evidence for this. Here we use live imaging to show that components of the gamma tubulin nucleation complex (GCP2 and GCP3) localize at distinct sites along the outer periclinal edge of newly formed crosswalls, and that microtubules grow predominantly away from these edges. These data confirm a role for cell edges in microtubule nucleation, and suggest that an asymmetric distribution of microtubule nucleation factors contributes to cortical microtubule organization in plants, in a manner more similar to other kingdoms than previously thought.
To understand dynamic developmental processes, living tissues have to be imaged frequently and for extended periods of time. Root development is extensively studied at cellular resolution to understand basic mechanisms underlying pattern formation and maintenance in plants. Unfortunately, ensuring continuous specimen access, while preserving physiological conditions and preventing photo-damage, poses major barriers to measurements of cellular dynamics in growing organs such as plant roots. We present a system that integrates optical sectioning through light sheet fluorescence microscopy with hydroponic culture that enables us to image, at cellular resolution, a vertically growing Arabidopsis root every few minutes and for several consecutive days. We describe novel automated routines to track the root tip as it grows, to track cellular nuclei and to identify cell divisions. We demonstrate the system's capabilities by collecting data on divisions and nuclear dynamics.
BRAHMA (BRM) is a member of a family of ATPases of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes from Arabidopsis. BRM has been previously shown to be crucial for vegetative and reproductive development.
Here we carry out a detailed analysis of the flowering phenotype of brm mutant plants which reveals that, in addition to repressing the flowering promoting genes CONSTANS (CO), FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CO1 (SOC1), BRM also represses expression of the general flowering repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Thus, in brm mutant plants FLC expression is elevated, and FLC chromatin exhibits increased levels of histone H3 lysine 4 tri-methylation and decreased levels of H3 lysine 27 tri-methylation, indicating that BRM imposes a repressive chromatin configuration at the FLC locus. However, brm mutants display a normal vernalization response, indicating that BRM is not involved in vernalization-mediated FLC repression. Analysis of double mutants suggests that BRM is partially redundant with the autonomous pathway. Analysis of genetic interactions between BRM and the histone H2A.Z deposition machinery demonstrates that brm mutations overcome a requirement of H2A.Z for FLC activation suggesting that in the absence of BRM, a constitutively open chromatin conformation renders H2A.Z dispensable.
BRM is critical for phase transition in Arabidopsis. Thus, BRM represses expression of the flowering promoting genes CO, FT and SOC1 and of the flowering repressor FLC. Our results indicate that BRM controls expression of FLC by creating a repressive chromatin configuration of the locus.
Innate immune signaling pathways in animals and plants are regulated by mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. MAP kinase 4 (MPK4) functions downstream of innate immune receptors via a nuclear substrate MKS1 to regulate the activity of the WRKY33 transcription factor, which in turn controls the production of anti-microbial phytoalexins.
We investigate the role of MKS1 in basal resistance and the importance of its N- and C-terminal domains for MKS1 function. We used the information that mks1 loss-of-function partially suppresses the mpk4 loss-of-function phenotype, and that transgenic expression of functional MKS1 in mpk4/mks1 double mutants reverted the mpk4 dwarf phenotype. Transformation of mks1/mpk4 with mutant versions of MKS1 constructs showed that a single amino acid substitution in a putative MAP kinase docking domain, MKS1-L32A, or a truncated MKS1 version unable to interact with WRKY33, were deficient in reverting the double mutant to the mpk4 phenotype. These results demonstrate functional requirement in MKS1 for the interaction with MPK4 and WRKY33. In addition, nuclear localization of MKS1 was shown to depend on an intact N-terminal domain. Furthermore, loss-of-function mks1 mutants exhibited increased susceptibility to strains of Pseudomonas syringae and Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, indicating that MKS1 plays a role in basal defense responses.
Taken together, our results indicate that MKS1 function and subcellular location requires an intact N-terminus important for both MPK4 and WRKY33 interactions.
The control of ribosomal RNA biogenesis is essential for the regulation of protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells. Here, we report the characterization of NOF1 that encodes a putative nucleolar protein involved in the control of rRNA expression in Arabidopsis. The gene has been isolated by T-DNA tagging and its function verified by the characterization of a second allele and genetic complementation of the mutants. The nof1 mutants are affected in female gametogenesis and embryo development. This result is consistent with the detection of NOF1 mRNA in all tissues throughout plant life's cycle, and preferentially in differentiating cells. Interestingly, the closely related proteins from zebra fish and yeast are also necessary for cell division and differentiation. We showed that the nof1-1 mutant displays higher rRNA expression and hypomethylation of rRNA promoter. Taken together, the results presented here demonstrated that NOF1 is an Arabidopsis gene involved in the control of rRNA expression, and suggested that it encodes a putative nucleolar protein, the function of which may be conserved in eukaryotes.
Plant sucrose transporter activities were shown to respond to changes in the extracellular pH and redox status, and oxidizing compounds like glutathione (GSSG) or H2O2 were reported to effect the subcellular targeting of these proteins. We hypothesized that changes in both parameters might be used to modulate the activities of competing sucrose transporters at a plant/pathogen interface. We, therefore, compared the effects of redox-active compounds and of extracellular pH on the sucrose transporters UmSRT1 and ZmSUT1 known to compete for extracellular sucrose in the Ustilago maydis (corn smut)/Zea mays (maize) pathosystem.
We present functional analyses of the U. maydis sucrose transporter UmSRT1 and of the plant sucrose transporters ZmSUT1 and StSUT1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae or in Xenopus laevis oocytes in the presence of different extracellular pH-values and redox systems, and study the possible effects of these treatments on the subcellular targeting. We observed an inverse regulation of host and pathogen sucrose transporters by changes in the apoplastic pH. Under none of the conditions analyzed, we could confirm the reported effects of redox-active compounds.
Our data suggest that changes in the extracellular pH but not of the extracellular redox status might be used to oppositely adjust the transport activities of plant and fungal sucrose transporters at the host/pathogen interface.
Higher plants possess a large multigene family encoding secreted class III peroxidase (Prx) proteins. Peroxidases appear to be associated with plant disease resistance based on observations of induction during disease challenge and the presence or absence of isozymes in resistant vs susceptible varieties. Despite these associations, there is no evidence that allelic variation of peroxidases directly determines levels of disease resistance.
The current study introduces a new strategy called Prx-Profiling. We showed that with this strategy a large number of peroxidase genes can be mapped on the barley genome. In order to obtain an estimate of the total number of Prx clusters we followed a re-sampling procedure, which indicated that the barley genome contains about 40 peroxidase gene clusters. We examined the association between the Prxs mapped and the QTLs for resistance of barley to homologous and heterologous rusts, and to the barley powdery mildew fungus. We report that 61% of the QTLs for partial resistance to P. hordei, 61% of the QTLs for resistance to B. graminis and 47% of the QTLs for non-host resistance to other Puccinia species co-localize with Prx based markers.
We conclude that Prx-Profiling was effective in finding the genetic location of Prx genes on the barley genome. The finding that QTLs for basal resistance to rusts and powdery mildew fungi tend to co-locate with Prx clusters provides a base for exploring the functional role of Prx-related genes in determining natural differences in levels of basal resistance.
A significant fraction of a plant's nuclear genome encodes chloroplast-targeted proteins, many of which are devoted to the assembly and function of the photosynthetic apparatus. Using digital video imaging of chlorophyll fluorescence, we isolated proton gradient regulation 7 (pgr7) as an Arabidopsis thaliana mutant with low nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ). In pgr7, the xanthophyll cycle and the PSBS gene product, previously identified NPQ factors, were still functional, but the efficiency of photosynthetic electron transport was lower than in the wild type. The pgr7 mutant was also smaller in size and had lower chlorophyll content than the wild type in optimal growth conditions. Positional cloning located the pgr7 mutation in the At3g21200 (PGR7) gene, which was predicted to encode a chloroplast protein of unknown function. Chloroplast targeting of PGR7 was confirmed by transient expression of a GFP fusion protein and by stable expression and subcellular localization of an epitope-tagged version of PGR7. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that the PGR7 protein has two domains that are conserved in plants, algae, and bacteria, and the N-terminal domain is predicted to bind a cofactor such as FMN. Thus, we identified PGR7 as a novel, conserved nuclear gene that is necessary for efficient photosynthetic electron transport in chloroplasts of Arabidopsis.
Cytokinesis represents the final stage of eukaryotic cell division during which the cytoplasm becomes partitioned between daughter cells. The process differs to some extent between animal and plant cells, but proteins of the syntaxin family mediate membrane fusion in the plane of cell division in diverse organisms. How syntaxin localization is kept in check remains elusive. Here, we report that localization of the Arabidopsis KNOLLE syntaxin in the plane of cell division is maintained by sterol-dependent endocytosis involving a clathrin- and DYNAMIN-RELATED PROTEIN1A-dependent mechanism. On genetic or pharmacological interference with endocytosis, KNOLLE mis-localizes to lateral plasma membranes after cell-plate fusion. Fluorescence-loss-in-photo-bleaching and fluorescence-recovery-after-photo-bleaching experiments reveal lateral diffusion of GFP-KNOLLE from the plane of division to lateral membranes. In an endocytosis-defective sterol biosynthesis mutant displaying lateral KNOLLE diffusion, KNOLLE secretory trafficking remains unaffected. Thus, restriction of lateral diffusion by endocytosis may serve to maintain specificity of syntaxin localization during late cytokinesis.
Arabidopsis; cytokinesis; endocytosis; KNOLLE syntaxin; sterols
SET-domain proteins are histone lysine (K) methyltransferases (HMTase) implicated in defining transcriptionally permissive or repressive chromatin. The Arabidopsis ASH1 HOMOLOG 2 (ASHH2) protein (also called SDG8, EFS and CCR1) has been suggested to methylate H3K4 and/or H3K36 and is similar to Drosophila ASH1, a positive maintainer of gene expression, and yeast Set2, a H3K36 HMTase. Mutation of the ASHH2 gene has pleiotropic developmental effects. Here we focus on the role of ASHH2 in plant reproduction.
A slightly reduced transmission of the ashh2 allele in reciprocal crosses implied involvement in gametogenesis or gamete function. However, the main requirement of ASHH2 is sporophytic. On the female side, close to 80% of mature ovules lack embryo sac. On the male side, anthers frequently develop without pollen sacs or with specific defects in the tapetum layer, resulting in reduction in the number of functional pollen per anther by up to ∼90%. In consistence with the phenotypic findings, an ASHH2 promoter-reporter gene was expressed at the site of megaspore mother cell formation as well as tapetum layers and pollen. ashh2 mutations also result in homeotic changes in floral organ identity. Transcriptional profiling identified more than 300 up-regulated and 600 down-regulated genes in ashh2 mutant inflorescences, whereof the latter included genes involved in determination of floral organ identity, embryo sac and anther/pollen development. This was confirmed by real-time PCR. In the chromatin of such genes (AP1, AtDMC1 and MYB99) we observed a reduction of H3K36 trimethylation (me3), but not H3K4me3 or H3K36me2.
The severe distortion of reproductive organ development in ashh2 mutants, argues that ASHH2 is required for the correct expression of genes essential to reproductive development. The reduction in the ashh2 mutant of H3K36me3 on down-regulated genes relevant to the observed defects, implicates ASHH2 in regulation of gene expression via H3K36 trimethylation in chromatin of Arabidopsis inflorescences.
Photosynthetic diatoms are exposed to rapid and unpredictable changes in irradiance and spectral quality, and must be able to acclimate their light harvesting systems to varying light conditions. Molecular mechanisms behind light acclimation in diatoms are largely unknown. We set out to investigate the mechanisms of high light acclimation in Phaeodactylum tricornutum using an integrated approach involving global transcriptional profiling, metabolite profiling and variable fluorescence technique. Algae cultures were acclimated to low light (LL), after which the cultures were transferred to high light (HL). Molecular, metabolic and physiological responses were studied at time points 0.5 h, 3 h, 6 h, 12 h, 24 h and 48 h after transfer to HL conditions. The integrated results indicate that the acclimation mechanisms in diatoms can be divided into an initial response phase (0–0.5 h), an intermediate acclimation phase (3–12 h) and a late acclimation phase (12–48 h). The initial phase is recognized by strong and rapid regulation of genes encoding proteins involved in photosynthesis, pigment metabolism and reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging systems. A significant increase in light protecting metabolites occur together with the induction of transcriptional processes involved in protection of cellular structures at this early phase. During the following phases, the metabolite profiling display a pronounced decrease in light harvesting pigments, whereas the variable fluorescence measurements show that the photosynthetic capacity increases strongly during the late acclimation phase. We show that P. tricornutum is capable of swift and efficient execution of photoprotective mechanisms, followed by changes in the composition of the photosynthetic machinery that enable the diatoms to utilize the excess energy available in HL. Central molecular players in light protection and acclimation to high irradiance have been identified.
Optical and spectroscopic technologies working at subcellular resolution with quantitative output are required for a deeper understanding of molecular processes and mechanisms in living cells. Such technologies are prerequisite for the realisation of predictive biology at cellular and subcellular level. However, although established in the physical sciences, these techniques are rarely applied to cell biology in the plant sciences.
Here, we present a combined application of one-chromophore fluorescence lifetime microscopy and wavelength-selective fluorescence microscopy to analyse the function of a GFP fusion of the Brassinosteroid Insensitive 1 Receptor (BRI1-GFP) with high spatial and temporal resolution in living Arabidopsis cells in their tissue environment. We show a rapid, brassinolide-induced cell wall expansion and a fast BR-regulated change in the BRI1-GFP fluorescence lifetime in the plasmamembrane in vivo. Both cell wall expansion and changes in fluorescence lifetime reflect early BR-induced and BRI1-dependent physiological or signalling processes. Our experiments also show the potential of one-chromophore fluorescence lifetime microscopy for the in vivo monitoring of the biochemical and biophysical subcellular environment using GFP fusion proteins as probes.
One-chromophore fluorescence lifetime microscopy, combined with wavelength-specific fluorescence microscopy, opens up new frontiers for in vivo dynamic and quantitative analysis of cellular processes at high resolution which are not addressable by pure imaging technologies or transmission electron microscopy.
In fungi and metazoans, the SCF-type Ubiquitin protein ligases (E3s) play a critical role in cell cycle regulation by degrading negative regulators, such as cell cycle-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs) at the G1-to-S-phase checkpoint. Here we report that FBL17, an Arabidopsis thaliana F-box protein, is involved in cell cycle regulation during male gametogenesis. FBL17 expression is strongly enhanced in plants co-expressing E2Fa and DPa, transcription factors that promote S-phase entry. FBL17 loss-of-function mutants fail to undergo pollen mitosis II, which generates the two sperm cells in mature A. thaliana pollen. Nonetheless, the single sperm cell-like cell in fbl17 mutants is functional but will exclusively fertilize the egg cell of the female gametophyte, giving rise to an embryo that will later abort, most likely due to the lack of functional endosperm. Seed abortion can, however, be overcome by mutations in FIE, a component of the Polycomb group complex, overall resembling loss-of-function mutations in the A. thaliana cyclin-dependent kinase CDKA;1. Finally we identified ASK11, as an SKP1-like partner protein of FBL17 and discuss a possible mechanism how SCFFBL17 may regulate cell division during male gametogenesis.
The γ-aminubutyrate (GABA) shunt bypasses two steps of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and is present in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In plants, the pathway is composed of the calcium/calmodulin-regulated cytosolic enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), the mitochondrial enzymes GABA transaminase (GABA-T; POP2) and succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH). We have previously shown that compromising the function of the GABA-shunt, by disrupting the SSADH gene of Arabidopsis, causes enhanced accumulation of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs) and cell death in response to light and heat stress. However, to date, genetic investigations of the relationships between enzymes of the GABA shunt have not been reported.
To elucidate the role of succinic semialdehyde (SSA), γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and GABA in the accumulation of ROIs, we combined two genetic approaches to suppress the severe phenotype of ssadh mutants. Analysis of double pop2 ssadh mutants revealed that pop2 is epistatic to ssadh. Moreover, we isolated EMS-generated mutants suppressing the phenotype of ssadh revealing two new pop2 alleles. By measuring thermoluminescence at high temperature, the peroxide contents of ssadh and pop2 mutants were evaluated, showing that only ssadh plants accumulate peroxides. In addition, pop2 ssadh seedlings are more sensitive to exogenous SSA or GHB relative to wild type, because GHB and/or SSA accumulate in these plants.
We conclude that the lack of supply of succinate and NADH to the TCA cycle is not responsible for the oxidative stress and growth retardations of ssadh mutants. Rather, we suggest that the accumulation of SSA, GHB, or both, produced downstream of the GABA-T transamination step, is toxic to the plants, resulting in high ROI levels and impaired development.
Studies of gene function are often hampered by gene-redundancy, especially in organisms with large genomes such as rice (Oryza sativa). We present an approach for using transcriptomics data to focus functional studies and address redundancy. To this end, we have constructed and validated an inexpensive and publicly available rice oligonucleotide near-whole genome array, called the rice NSF45K array. We generated expression profiles for light- vs. dark-grown rice leaf tissue and validated the biological significance of the data by analyzing sources of variation and confirming expression trends with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We examined trends in the data by evaluating enrichment of gene ontology terms at multiple false discovery rate thresholds. To compare data generated with the NSF45K array with published results, we developed publicly available, web-based tools (www.ricearray.org). The Oligo and EST Anatomy Viewer enables visualization of EST-based expression profiling data for all genes on the array. The Rice Multi-platform Microarray Search Tool facilitates comparison of gene expression profiles across multiple rice microarray platforms. Finally, we incorporated gene expression and biochemical pathway data to reduce the number of candidate gene products putatively participating in the eight steps of the photorespiration pathway from 52 to 10, based on expression levels of putatively functionally redundant genes. We confirmed the efficacy of this method to cope with redundancy by correctly predicting participation in photorespiration of a gene with five paralogs. Applying these methods will accelerate rice functional genomics.
Circadian clocks are internal molecular time-keeping mechanisms that provide living organisms with the ability to adjust their growth and physiology and to anticipate diurnal environmental changes. Circadian clocks, without exception, respond to light and, in plants, light is the most potent and best characterized entraining stimulus. The capacity of plants to respond to light is achieved through a number of photo-perceptive proteins including cryptochromes and phytochromes. There is considerable experimental evidence demonstrating the roles of photoreceptors in providing light input to the clock.
In order to identify genes regulated by diurnal and circadian rhythms, and to establish possible functional relations between photoreceptors and the circadian clock in tomato, we monitored the temporal transcription pattern in plants entrained to long-day conditions, either by large scale comparative profiling, or using a focused approach over a number of photosensory and clock-related genes by QRT-PCR. In parallel, focused transcription analyses were performed in cry1a- and in CRY2-OX tomato genotypes.
We report a large series of transcript oscillations that shed light on the complex network of interactions among tomato photoreceptors and clock-related genes. Alteration of cryptochrome gene expression induced major changes in the rhythmic oscillations of several other gene transcripts. In particular, over-expression of CRY2 had an impact not only on day/night fluctuations but also on rhythmicity under constant light conditions. Evidence was found for widespread diurnal oscillations of transcripts encoding specific enzyme classes (e.g. carotenoid biosynthesis enzymes) as well as for post-transcriptional diurnal and circadian regulation of the CRY2 transcript.
Stomatal guard cells monitor and respond to environmental and endogenous signals such that the stomatal aperture is continually optimised for water use efficiency. A key signalling molecule produced in guard cells in response to plant hormones, light, carbon dioxide and pathogen-derived signals is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The mechanisms by which H2O2 integrates multiple signals via specific signalling pathways leading to stomatal closure is not known.
Here, we identify a pathway by which H2O2, derived from endogenous and environmental stimuli, is sensed and transduced to effect stomatal closure. Histidine kinases (HK) are part of two-component signal transduction systems that act to integrate environmental stimuli into a cellular response via a phosphotransfer relay mechanism. There is little known about the function of the HK AHK5 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we report that in addition to the predicted cytoplasmic localisation of this protein, AHK5 also appears to co-localise to the plasma membrane. Although AHK5 is expressed at low levels in guard cells, we identify a unique role for AHK5 in stomatal signalling. Arabidopsis mutants lacking AHK5 show reduced stomatal closure in response to H2O2, which is reversed by complementation with the wild type gene. Over-expression of AHK5 results in constitutively less stomatal closure. Abiotic stimuli that generate endogenous H2O2, such as darkness, nitric oxide and the phytohormone ethylene, also show reduced stomatal closure in the ahk5 mutants. However, ABA caused closure, dark adaptation induced H2O2 production and H2O2 induced NO synthesis in mutants. Treatment with the bacterial pathogen associated molecular pattern (PAMP) flagellin, but not elf peptide, also exhibited reduced stomatal closure and H2O2 generation in ahk5 mutants.
Our findings identify an integral signalling function for AHK5 that acts to integrate multiple signals via H2O2 homeostasis and is independent of ABA signalling in guard cells.
Formation of plant root hairs originating from epidermal cells involves selection of a polar initiation site and production of an initial hair bulge which requires local cell wall loosening. In Arabidopsis the polar initiation site is located towards the basal end of epidermal cells. However little is currently understood about the mechanism for the selection of the hair initiation site or the mechanism by which localised hair outgrowth is achieved. The Arabidopsis procuste1 (prc1-1) cellulose synthase mutant was studied in order to investigate the role of the cell wall loosening during the early stages of hair formation.
The prc1-1 mutant exhibits uncontrolled, preferential bulging of trichoblast cells coupled with mislocalised hair positioning. Combining the prc1-1 mutant with root hair defective6-1 (rhd6-1), which on its own is almost completely devoid of root hairs results in a significant restoration of root hair formation. The pEXPANSIN7::GFP (pEXP7::GFP) marker which is specifically expressed in trichoblast cell files of wild-type roots, is absent in the rhd6-1 mutant. However, pEXP7::GFP expression in the rhd6-1/prc1-1 double mutant is restored in a subset of epidermal cells which have either formed a root hair or exhibit a bulged phenotype consistent with a function for EXP7 during the early stages of hair formation.
These results show that RHD6 acts upstream of the normal cell wall loosening event which involves EXP7 expression and that in the absence of a functional RHD6 the loosening and accompanying EXP7 expression is blocked. In the prc1-1 mutant background, the requirement for RHD6 during hair initiation is reduced which may result from a weaker cell wall structure mimicking the cell wall loosening events during hair formation.