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1.  Epigenetic memory of DNAi associated with cytosine methylation and histone modification in fern 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2012;7(11):1477-1483.
Gene silencing technology, such as RNA interference (RNAi), is commonly used to reduce gene expression in plant cells, and exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) can induce gene silencing in higher plants. Previously, we showed that the delivery of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) fragments, such as PCR products of an endogenous gene sequence, into fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) gametophytic cells induces a sequence-specific gene silencing that we termed DNAi. In this study, we used a neochrome 1 gene (NEO1) that mediates both red light-induced chloroplast movement and phototropism as a model of DNAi and confirmed that the NEO1 function was suppressed by the repression of the NEO1 gene. Interestingly, the gene silencing effect by DNAi was found in the progeny. Cytosine methylation was detected in the NEO1-silenced lines. The DNA modifications was present in the transcriptional region of NEO1, but no differences between wild type and the silenced lines were found in the downstream region of NEO1. Our data suggest that the DNAi gene silencing effect that was inherited throughout the next generation is regulated by epigenetic modification. Furthermore, the histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A (TSA), recovered the expression and function of NEO1 in the silenced lines, suggesting that histone deacetylation is essential for the direct suppression of target genes by DNAi.
PMCID: PMC3548873  PMID: 22990449
Adiantum capillus-veneris; DNA methylation; epigenetic gene regulation; gene silencing
2.  Phototropin-dependent biased relocalization of cp-actin filaments can be induced even when chloroplast movement is inhibited 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(11):1651-1653.
In a recent publication using an actin-visualized line of Arabidopsis (Ichikawa et al. 2011, ref. 11), we reported a detailed analysis with higher time resolution on the dynamics of chloroplast actin filaments (cp-actin filaments) during chloroplast avoidance movement and demonstrated a good correlation between the biased configuration of cp-actin filaments and chloroplast movement. However, we could not conclusively determine whether the reorganization of cp-actin filaments into a biased configuration preceded actual chloroplast movement (and, thus, whether it could be a cause of the movement). In this report, we present clear evidence that the reorganization of cp-actin filaments into a biased distribution is induced even in the absence of the actual movement of chloroplasts. When the cells were treated with 2,3-butanedione monoxime (BDM), a potent inhibitor of myosin ATPase, chloroplast motility was completely suppressed. Nevertheless, the disappearance and biased relocalization of cp-actin filaments toward the side of the prospective movement direction were induced by irradiation with a strong blue light microbeam. The results definitively indicate that the reorganization of cp-actin filaments is not an effect of chloroplast movement; however, it is feasible that the biased localization of cp-actin filaments is an event leading to chloroplast movement.
PMCID: PMC3329327  PMID: 22057335
Actin filament; Arabidopsis; Chloroplast movement; Organelle movement; Photomovement; Phototropin
3.  Novel protein-protein interaction family proteins involved in chloroplast movement response 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(4):483-490.
To optimize photosynthetic activity, chloroplasts change their intracellular location in response to ambient light conditions; chloroplasts move toward low intensity light to maximize light capture and away from high intensity light to avoid photodamage. Although several proteins have been reported to be involved in chloroplast photorelocation movement response, any physical interaction among them was not found so far. We recently found a physical interaction between two plant-specific coiled-coil proteins, WEB1 (Weak Chloroplast Movement under Blue Light 1) and PMI2 (Plastid Movement Impaired 2), that were indentified to regulate chloroplast movement velocity. Since the both coiled-coil regions of WEB1 and PMI2 were classified into an uncharacterized protein family having DUF827 (DUF: Domain of Unknown Function) domain, it was the first report that DUF827 proteins could mediate protein-protein interaction. In this mini-review article, we discuss regarding molecular function of WEB1 and PMI2, and also define a novel protein family composed of WEB1, PMI2 and WEB1/PMI2-like proteins for protein-protein interaction in land plants.
PMCID: PMC3142374  PMID: 21389774
Arabidopsis; blue light; chloroplast velocity; coiled-coil region; organelle movement; phototropin; protein-protein interaction
4.  Structure and activity of JAC1 J-domain implicate the involvement of the cochaperone activity with HSC70 in chloroplast photorelocation movement 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(12):1602-1606.
Chloroplast photorelocation movement towards weak light and away from strong light is essential for plants to adapt to the fluctuation of ambient light conditions. In the previous study, we showed that blue light receptor phototropins mediated blue light-induced chloroplast movement in Arabidopsis by regulating short actin filaments localized at the chloroplast periphery (cp-actin filaments) rather than actin cables in the cytoplasm. However, the signaling pathway for the chloroplast photorelocation movement is still unclear. We also identified JAC1 (J-domain protein required for chloroplast accumulation response 1) as an essential component for the accumulation response and dark positioning in Arabidopsis. We recently determined the crystal structure of the J-domain of JAC1. The JAC1 J-domain has a positively charged surface, which forms a putative interface with the Hsc70 chaperone by analogy to that of bovine auxilin. Furthermore, the mutation of the highly conserved HPD motif in the JAC1 J-domain impaired the in vivo activity of JAC1. These data suggest that JAC1 cochaperone activity with HSC70 is essential for chloroplast photorelocation movement.
PMCID: PMC3115112  PMID: 21139434
Arabidopsis; auxilin; blue light; clathrin; endocytosis; J-domain; organelle movement; phototropin
5.  Why have chloroplasts developed a unique motility system? 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(10):1190-1196.
Organelle movement in plants is dependent on actin filaments with most of the organelles being transported along the actin cables by class XI myosins. Although chloroplast movement is also actin filament-dependent, a potential role of myosin motors in this process is poorly understood. Interestingly, chloroplasts can move in any direction and change the direction within short time periods, suggesting that chloroplasts use the newly formed actin filaments rather than preexisting actin cables. Furthermore, the data on myosin gene knockouts and knockdowns in Arabidopsis and tobacco do not support myosins' XI role in chloroplast movement. Our recent studies revealed that chloroplast movement and positioning are mediated by the short actin filaments localized at chloroplast periphery (cp-actin filaments) rather than cytoplasmic actin cables. The accumulation of cp-actin filaments depends on kinesin-like proteins, KAC1 and KAC2, as well as on a chloroplast outer membrane protein CHUP1. We propose that plants evolved a myosin XI-independent mechanism of the actin-based chloroplast movement that is distinct from the mechanism used by other organelles.
PMCID: PMC3115347  PMID: 20855973
actin; Arabidopsis; blue light; kinesin; myosin; organelle movement; phototropin
6.  The speed of intracellular signal transfer for chloroplast movement 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(4):433-435.
The photoreceptors for chloroplast photorelocation movement have been known, but the signal(s) raised by photoreceptors remains unknown. To know the properties of the signal(s) for chloroplast accumulation movement, we examined the speed of signal transferred from light-irradiated area to chloroplasts in gametophytes of Adiantum capillus-veneris. When dark-adapted gametophyte cells were irradiated with a microbeam of various light intensities of red or blue light for 1 min or continuously, the chloroplasts started to move towards the irradiated area. The speed of signal transfer was calculated from the relationship between the timing of start moving and the distance of chloroplasts from the microbeam and was found to be constant at any light conditions. In prothallial cells, the speed was about 1.0 µm min−1 and in protonemal cells about 0.7 µm min−1 towards base and about 2.3 µm min−1 towards the apex. We confirmed the speed of signal transfer in Arabidopsis thaliana mesophyll cells under continuous irradiation of blue light, as was about 0.8 µm min−1. Possible candidates of the signal are discussed depending on the speed of signal transfer.
PMCID: PMC2958595  PMID: 20383069
Adiantum capillus-veneris; Arabidopsis thaliana; blue light; chloroplast movement; microbeam; red light; signal
7.  PAS/LOV proteins 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2008;3(11):966-968.
The light, oxygen or voltage (LOV) domain belongs to the Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) superfamily of domains, and functions with the flavin chromophore as a module for sensing blue light in plants and fungi. The Arabidopsis thaliana PAS/LOV proteins (PLPs), of unknown function, possess an N-terminal PAS domain and a C-terminal LOV domain. Our recent analysis using yeast two-hybrid and Escherichia coli protein production systems reveals that the interactions of Arabidopsis PLPs with several proteins diminish under blue light illumination and that the PLP LOV domain may bind to a flavin chromophore. These results suggest that PLP functions as a blue light receptor. Homologs of PLP exist in rice, tomato and moss. The LOV domains of these PLP homologs form a distinct group in phylogenetic analysis. These facts suggest that PLP belongs to a new class of plant blue light receptor.
PMCID: PMC2633744  PMID: 19704421
PAS; LOV; blue light; protein-protein interaction; photoreceptor

Results 1-7 (7)