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1.  Nitric Oxide Sensing in Plants Is Mediated by Proteolytic Control of Group VII ERF Transcription Factors 
Molecular Cell  2014;53(3):369-379.
Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling compound in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In plants, NO regulates critical developmental transitions and stress responses. Here, we identify a mechanism for NO sensing that coordinates responses throughout development based on targeted degradation of plant-specific transcriptional regulators, the group VII ethylene response factors (ERFs). We show that the N-end rule pathway of targeted proteolysis targets these proteins for destruction in the presence of NO, and we establish them as critical regulators of diverse NO-regulated processes, including seed germination, stomatal closure, and hypocotyl elongation. Furthermore, we define the molecular mechanism for NO control of germination and crosstalk with abscisic acid (ABA) signaling through ERF-regulated expression of ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE5 (ABI5). Our work demonstrates how NO sensing is integrated across multiple physiological processes by direct modulation of transcription factor stability and identifies group VII ERFs as central hubs for the perception of gaseous signals in plants.
Graphical Abstract
•We elucidate a general molecular mechanism for nitric oxide sensing in plants•Group VII ERFs act as nitric oxide sensors via the N-end rule pathway•Group VII ERFs are shown to mediate crosstalk between nitric oxide and abscisic acid•The N-end rule regulates nitric oxide homeostasis through group VII ERFs
Gibbs et al. report that NO-dependent degradation of group VII ERF transcription factors by the N-end rule pathway mediates NO sensing and signal transduction, identifying these transcription factors as central hubs for the perception of gaseous signals in plants.
PMCID: PMC3969242  PMID: 24462115
2.  Involvement of nitric oxide and auxin in signal transduction of copper-induced morphological responses in Arabidopsis seedlings 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(3):449-457.
Background and Aims
Plants are able to adapt to the environment dynamically through regulation of their growth and development. Excess copper (Cu2+), a toxic heavy metal, induces morphological alterations in plant organs; however, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. With this in mind, the multiple signalling functions of nitric oxide (NO) in plant cells and its possible regulatory role and relationship with auxin were examined during Cu2+-induced morphological responses.
Endogenous auxin distribution was determined by microscopic observation of X-Gluc-stained DR5::GUS arabidopsis, and the levels of NO, superoxide and peroxynitrite were detected by fluorescence microscopy. As well as wild-type, NO-overproducer (nox1) and -deficient (nia1nia2 and nia1nia2noa1-2) arabidopsis plants were used.
Key Results
Cu2+ at a concentration of 50 µm resulted in a large reduction in cotyledon area and hypocotyl and primary root lengths, accompanied by an increase in auxin levels. In cotyledons, a low Cu2+ concentration promoted NO accumulation, which was arrested by nitric oxide synthase or nitrate reductase inhibitors. The 5-μm Cu2+-induced NO synthesis was not detectable in nia1nia2 or nia1nia2noa1-2 plants. In roots, Cu2+ caused a decrease of the NO level which was not associated with superoxide and peroxynitrite formation. Inhibition of auxin transport resulted in an increase in NO levels, while exogenous application of an NO donor reduced DR5::GUS expression. The elongation processes of nox1 were not sensitive to Cu2+, but NO-deficient plants showed diverse growth responses.
In plant organs, Cu2+ excess results in severe morphological responses during which the endogenous hormonal balance and signal transduction are affected. Auxin and NO negatively regulate each other's level and NO intensifies the metal-induced cotyledon expansion, but mitigates elongation processes under Cu2+ exposure.
PMCID: PMC3158692  PMID: 21856638
Arabidopsis thaliana; auxin; copper; morphological responses; nitric oxide
3.  In vivo protein tyrosine nitration in Arabidopsis thaliana 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(10):3501-3517.
Nitration of tyrosine (Y) residues of proteins is a low abundant post-translational modification that modulates protein function or fate in animal systems. However, very little is known about the in vivo prevalence of this modification and its corresponding targets in plants. Immunoprecipitation, based on an anti-3-nitroY antibody, was performed to pull-down potential in vivo targets of Y nitration in the Arabidopsis thaliana proteome. Further shotgun liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) proteomic analysis of the immunoprecipitated proteins allowed the identification of 127 proteins. Around 35% of them corresponded to homologues of proteins that have been previously reported to be Y nitrated in other non-plant organisms. Some of the putative in vivo Y-nitrated proteins were further confirmed by western blot with specific antibodies. Furthermore, MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight) analysis of protein spots, separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis from immunoprecipitated proteins, led to the identification of seven nitrated peptides corresponding to six different proteins. However, in vivo nitration sites among putative targets could not be identified by MS/MS. Nevertheless, an MS/MS spectrum with 3-aminoY318 instead of the expected 3-nitroY was found for cytosolic glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Reduction of nitroY to aminoY during MS-based proteomic analysis together with the in vivo low abundance of these modifications made the identification of nitration sites difficult. In turn, in vitro nitration of methionine synthase, which was also found in the shotgun proteomic screening, allowed unequivocal identification of a nitration site at Y287.
PMCID: PMC3130175  PMID: 21378116
AminoY; Arabidopsis; nitric oxide; nitrotyrosine; nitroY; post-translational modification; protein nitration
4.  Nitric oxide modulates sensitivity to ABA 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2010;5(3):314-316.
Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas with crucial signaling functions in plant defense and development. As demonstrated by generating a triple nia1nia2noa1-2 mutant with extremely low levels of NO (February 2010 issue of Plant Physiology), NO is synthesized in plants through mainly two different pathways involving nitrate reductase (NR/NIA) and NO Associated 1 (AtNOA1) proteins. Depletion of basal NO levels leads to a priming of ABA-triggered responses that causes hypersensitivity to this hormone and results in enhanced seed dormancy and decreased seed germination and seedling establishment in the triple mutant. NO produced under non-stressed conditions represses inhibition of seed developmental transitions by ABA. Moreover, NO plays a positive role in post-germinative vegetative development and also exerts a critical control of ABA-related functions on stomata closure. The triple nia1nia2noa1-2 mutant is hypersensitive to ABA in stomatal closure thus resulting in a extreme phenotype of resistance to drought. In the light of the recent discovery of PYR/PYL/RCAR as a family of potential ABA receptors, regulation of ABA sensitivity by NO may be exerted either directly on ABA receptors or on downstream signalling components; both two aspects that deserve our present and future attention.
PMCID: PMC2881288  PMID: 20168082
nitric oxide; abscisic acid; seed germination; stomata opening

Results 1-4 (4)