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1.  Dynamic proline metabolism: importance and regulation in water limited environments 
Drought-induced proline accumulation observed in many plant species has led to the hypothesis that further increases in proline accumulation would promote drought tolerance. Here we discuss both previous and new data showing that proline metabolism and turnover, rather than just proline accumulation, functions to maintain growth during water limitation. Mutants of Δ1-Pyrroline-5-Carboxylate Synthetase1 (P5CS1) and Proline Dehydrogenase1 (PDH1), key enzymes in proline synthesis and catabolism respectively, both have similar reductions in growth during controlled soil drying. Such results are consistent with patterns of natural variation in proline accumulation and with evidence that turnover of proline can act to buffer cellular redox status during drought. Proline synthesis and catabolism are regulated by multiple cellular mechanisms, of which we know only a few. An example of this is immunoblot detection of P5CS1 and PDH1 showing that the Highly ABA-induced (HAI) protein phosphatase 2Cs (PP2Cs) have different effects on P5CS1 and PDH1 protein levels despite having similar increases in proline accumulation. Immunoblot data also indicate that both P5CS1 and PDH1 are subjected to unknown post-translational modifications.
PMCID: PMC4479789  PMID: 26161086
proline; drought; P5CS1; proline dehydrogenase; protein phosphatase 2C; natural variation; post-translational modification; Arabidopsis thaliana
2.  Functional characterization of an ornithine cyclodeaminase-like protein of Arabidopsis thaliana 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:182.
In plants, proline synthesis occurs by two enzymatic steps starting from glutamate as a precursor. Some bacteria, including bacteria such as Agrobacterium rhizogenes have an Ornithine Cyclodeaminase (OCD) which can synthesize proline in a single step by deamination of ornithine. In A. rhizogenes, OCD is one of the genes transferred to the plant genome during the transformation process and plants expressing A. rhizogenes OCD have developmental phenotypes. One nuclear encoded gene of Arabidopsis thaliana has recently been annotated as an OCD (OCD-like; referred to here as AtOCD) but nothing is known of its function. As proline metabolism contributes to tolerance of low water potential during drought, it is of interest to determine if AtOCD affects proline accumulation or low water potential tolerance.
Expression of AtOCD was induced by low water potential stress and by exogenous proline, but not by the putative substrate ornithine. The AtOCD protein was plastid localized. T-DNA mutants of atocd and AtOCD RNAi plants had approximately 15% higher proline accumulation at low water potential while p5cs1-4/atocd double mutants had 40% higher proline than p5cs1 at low water potential but no change in proline metabolism gene expression which could directly explain the higher proline level. AtOCD overexpression did not affect proline accumulation. Enzymatic assays with bacterially expressed AtOCD or AtOCD purified from AtOCD:Flag transgenic plants did not detect any activity using ornithine, proline or several other amino acids as substrates. Moreover, AtOCD mutant or over-expression lines had normal morphology and no difference in root elongation or flowering time, in contrast to previous report of transgenic plants expressing A. rhizogenes OCD. Metabolite analysis found few differences between AtOCD mutants and overexpression lines.
The Arabidopsis OCD-like protein (AtOCD) may not catalyze ornithine to proline conversion and this is consistent with observation that three residues critical for activity of bacterial OCDs are not conserved in AtOCD. AtOCD was, however, stress and proline induced and lack of AtOCD expression increased proline accumulation by an unknown mechanism which did not require expression of P5CS1, the main enzyme responsible for stress-induced proline synthesis from glutamate. The results suggest that AtOCD may have function distinct from bacterial OCDs.
PMCID: PMC3840593  PMID: 24237637
Ornithine cyclodeaminase; Proline; Drought; Arabidopsis thaliana
3.  Endogenous siRNAs Derived from a Pair of Natural cis-Antisense Transcripts Regulate Salt Tolerance in Arabidopsis 
Cell  2005;123(7):1279-1291.
In higher eukaryotes, miRNAs and siRNAs guide translational inhibition, mRNA cleavage, or chromatin regulation. We found that the antisense overlapping gene pair of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase (P5CDH), a stress-related gene, and SRO5, a gene of unknown function, generates two types of siRNAs. When both transcripts are present, a 24-nt siRNA is formed by a biogenesis pathway dependent on DCL2, RDR6, SGS3, and NRPD1A. Initial cleavage of the P5CDH transcript guided by the 24-nt siRNA establishes a phase for the subsequent generation of 21-nt siRNAs by DCL1 and further cleavage of P5CDH transcripts. The expression of SRO5 is induced by salt, and this induction is required to initiate siRNA formation. Our data suggest that the P5CDH and SRO5 proteins are also functionally related, and that the P5CDH-SRO5 gene pair defines a mode of siRNA function and biogenesis that may be applied to other natural cis-antisense gene pairs in eukaryotic genomes.
PMCID: PMC3137516  PMID: 16377568
4.  Proline Metabolism and Its Implications for Plant-Environment Interaction 
Proline has long been known to accumulate in plants experiencing water limitation and this has driven studies of proline as a beneficial solute allowing plants to increase cellular osmolarity during water limitation. Proline metabolism also has roles in redox buffering and energy transfer and is involved in plant pathogen interaction and programmed cell death. Some of these unique roles of proline depend on the properties of proline itself, whereas others depend on the “proline cycle” of coordinated proline synthesis in the chloroplast and cytoplasm with proline catabolism in the mitochondria. The regulatory mechanisms controlling proline metabolism, intercellular and intracellular transport and connections of proline to other metabolic pathways are all important to the in vivo functions of proline metabolism. Connections of proline metabolism to the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway and glutamate-glutamine metabolism are of particular interest. The N-acetyl glutamate pathway can also produce ornithine and, potentially, proline but its role and activity are unclear. Use of model systems such as Arabidopsis thaliana to better understand both these long studied and newly emerging functions of proline can help in the design of next-generation experiments testing whether proline metabolism is a promising metabolic engineering target for improving stress resistance of economically important plants.
PMCID: PMC3244962  PMID: 22303265
5.  Interaction of SOS2 with Nucleoside Diphosphate Kinase 2 and Catalases Reveals a Point of Connection between Salt Stress and H2O2 Signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(22):7771-7780.
SOS2, a class 3 sucrose-nonfermenting 1-related kinase, has emerged as an important mediator of salt stress response and stress signaling through its interactions with proteins involved in membrane transport and in regulation of stress responses. We have identified additional SOS2-interacting proteins that suggest a connection between SOS2 and reactive oxygen signaling. SOS2 was found to interact with the H2O2 signaling protein nucleoside diphosphate kinase 2 (NDPK2) and to inhibit its autophosphorylation activity. A sos2-2 ndpk2 double mutant was more salt sensitive than a sos2-2 single mutant, suggesting that NDPK2 and H2O2 are involved in salt resistance. However, the double mutant did not hyperaccumulate H2O2 in response to salt stress, suggesting that it is altered signaling rather than H2O2 toxicity alone that is responsible for the increased salt sensitivity of the sos2-2 ndpk2 double mutant. SOS2 was also found to interact with catalase 2 (CAT2) and CAT3, further connecting SOS2 to H2O2 metabolism and signaling. The interaction of SOS2 with both NDPK2 and CATs reveals a point of cross talk between salt stress response and other signaling factors including H2O2.
PMCID: PMC2169147  PMID: 17785451
6.  SOS2 Promotes Salt Tolerance in Part by Interacting with the Vacuolar H+-ATPase and Upregulating Its Transport Activity▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(22):7781-7790.
The salt overly sensitive (SOS) pathway is critical for plant salt stress tolerance and has a key role in regulating ion transport under salt stress. To further investigate salt tolerance factors regulated by the SOS pathway, we expressed an N-terminal fusion of the improved tandem affinity purification tag to SOS2 (NTAP-SOS2) in sos2-2 mutant plants. Expression of NTAP-SOS2 rescued the salt tolerance defect of sos2-2 plants, indicating that the fusion protein was functional in vivo. Tandem affinity purification of NTAP-SOS2-containing protein complexes and subsequent liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis indicated that subunits A, B, C, E, and G of the peripheral cytoplasmic domain of the vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) were present in a SOS2-containing protein complex. Parallel purification of samples from control and salt-stressed NTAP-SOS2/sos2-2 plants demonstrated that each of these V-ATPase subunits was more abundant in NTAP-SOS2 complexes isolated from salt-stressed plants, suggesting that the interaction may be enhanced by salt stress. Yeast two-hybrid analysis showed that SOS2 interacted directly with V-ATPase regulatory subunits B1 and B2. The importance of the SOS2 interaction with the V-ATPase was shown at the cellular level by reduced H+ transport activity of tonoplast vesicles isolated from sos2-2 cells relative to vesicles from wild-type cells. In addition, seedlings of the det3 mutant, which has reduced V-ATPase activity, were found to be severely salt sensitive. Our results suggest that regulation of V-ATPase activity is an additional key function of SOS2 in coordinating changes in ion transport during salt stress and in promoting salt tolerance.
PMCID: PMC2169139  PMID: 17875927

Results 1-6 (6)