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author:("hamburg, Mats")
1.  The Physcomitrella patens unique alpha-dioxygenase participates in both developmental processes and defense responses 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:45.
Plant α-dioxygenases catalyze the incorporation of molecular oxygen into polyunsaturated fatty acids leading to the formation of oxylipins. In flowering plants, two main groups of α-DOXs have been described. While the α-DOX1 isoforms are mainly involved in defense responses against microbial infection and herbivores, the α-DOX2 isoforms are mostly related to development. To gain insight into the roles played by these enzymes during land plant evolution, we performed biochemical, genetic and molecular analyses to examine the function of the single copy moss Physcomitrella patens α-DOX (Ppα-DOX) in development and defense against pathogens.
Recombinant Ppα-DOX protein catalyzed the conversion of fatty acids into 2-hydroperoxy derivatives with a substrate preference for α-linolenic, linoleic and palmitic acids. Ppα-DOX is expressed during development in tips of young protonemal filaments with maximum expression levels in mitotically active undifferentiated apical cells. In leafy gametophores, Ppα-DOX is expressed in auxin producing tissues, including rhizoid and axillary hairs. Ppα-DOX transcript levels and Ppα-DOX activity increased in moss tissues infected with Botrytis cinerea or treated with Pectobacterium carotovorum elicitors. In B. cinerea infected leaves, Ppα-DOX-GUS proteins accumulated in cells surrounding infected cells, suggesting a protective mechanism. Targeted disruption of Ppα-DOX did not cause a visible developmental alteration and did not compromise the defense response. However, overexpressing Ppα-DOX, or incubating wild-type tissues with Ppα-DOX-derived oxylipins, principally the aldehyde heptadecatrienal, resulted in smaller moss colonies with less protonemal tissues, due to a reduction of caulonemal filament growth and a reduction of chloronemal cell size compared with normal tissues. In addition, Ppα-DOX overexpression and treatments with Ppα-DOX-derived oxylipins reduced cellular damage caused by elicitors of P. carotovorum.
Our study shows that the unique α-DOX of the primitive land plant P. patens, although apparently not crucial, participates both in development and in the defense response against pathogens, suggesting that α-DOXs from flowering plants could have originated by duplication and successive functional diversification after the divergence from bryophytes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-015-0439-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4334559  PMID: 25848849
α-dioxygenases; Physcomitrella patens; Development; Defense; Pectobacterium; Botrytis cinerea
2.  Oxylipins in moss development and defense 
Oxylipins are oxygenated fatty acids that participate in plant development and defense against pathogen infection, insects, and wounding. Initial oxygenation of substrate fatty acids is mainly catalyzed by lipoxygenases (LOXs) and α-dioxygenases but can also take place non-enzymatically by autoxidation or singlet oxygen-dependent reactions. The resulting hydroperoxides are further metabolized by secondary enzymes to produce a large variety of compounds, including the hormone jasmonic acid (JA) and short-chain green leaf volatiles. In flowering plants, which lack arachidonic acid, oxylipins are produced mainly from oxidation of polyunsaturated C18 fatty acids, notably linolenic and linoleic acids. Algae and mosses in addition possess polyunsaturated C20 fatty acids including arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids, which can also be oxidized by LOXs and transformed into bioactive compounds. Mosses are phylogenetically placed between unicellular green algae and flowering plants, allowing evolutionary studies of the different oxylipin pathways. During the last years the moss Physcomitrella patens has become an attractive model plant for understanding oxylipin biosynthesis and diversity. In addition to the advantageous evolutionary position, functional studies of the different oxylipin-forming enzymes can be performed in this moss by targeted gene disruption or single point mutations by means of homologous recombination. Biochemical characterization of several oxylipin-producing enzymes and oxylipin profiling in P. patens reveal the presence of a wider range of oxylipins compared to flowering plants, including C18 as well as C20-derived oxylipins. Surprisingly, one of the most active oxylipins in plants, JA, is not synthesized in this moss. In this review, we present an overview of oxylipins produced in mosses and discuss the current knowledge related to the involvement of oxylipin-producing enzymes and their products in moss development and defense.
PMCID: PMC4490225  PMID: 26191067
lipoxygenases; alpha-dioxygenases; polyunsaturated fatty acids; oxylipins; moss; defense; development
3.  An Iron 13S-Lipoxygenase with an α-Linolenic Acid Specific Hydroperoxidase Activity from Fusarium oxysporum 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64919.
Jasmonates constitute a family of lipid-derived signaling molecules that are abundant in higher plants. The biosynthetic pathway leading to plant jasmonates is initiated by 13-lipoxygenase-catalyzed oxygenation of α-linolenic acid into its 13-hydroperoxide derivative. A number of plant pathogenic fungi (e.g. Fusarium oxysporum) are also capable of producing jasmonates, however, by a yet unknown biosynthetic pathway. In a search for lipoxygenase in F. oxysporum, a reverse genetic approach was used and one of two from the genome predicted lipoxygenases (FoxLOX) was cloned. The enzyme was heterologously expressed in E. coli, purified via affinity chromatography, and its reaction mechanism characterized. FoxLOX was found to be a non-heme iron lipoxygenase, which oxidizes C18-polyunsaturated fatty acids to 13S-hydroperoxy derivatives by an antarafacial reaction mechanism where the bis-allylic hydrogen abstraction is the rate-limiting step. With α-linolenic acid as substrate FoxLOX was found to exhibit a multifunctional activity, because the hydroperoxy derivatives formed are further converted to dihydroxy-, keto-, and epoxy alcohol derivatives.
PMCID: PMC3669278  PMID: 23741422
4.  Applications of Stereospecifically-labeled Fatty Acids in Oxygenase and Desaturase Biochemistry 
Lipids  2011;47(2):101-116.
Oxygenation and desaturation reactions are inherently associated with the abstraction of a hydrogen from the fatty acid substrate. Since the first published application in 1965, stereospecific placement of a labeled hydrogen isotope (deuterium or tritium) at the reacting carbons has proven a highly effective strategy for investigating the chemical mechanisms catalyzed by lipoxygenases, hemoprotein fatty acid dioxygenases including cyclooxygenases, cytochromes P450, and also the desaturases and isomerases. This review presents a synopsis of all published studies through 2010 on the synthesis and use of stereospecifically labeled fatty acids (70 references), and highlights some of the mechanistic insights gained by application of stereospecifically labeled fatty acids.
PMCID: PMC3315059  PMID: 21971646
5.  Identification of avian wax synthases 
BMC Biochemistry  2012;13:4.
Bird species show a high degree of variation in the composition of their preen gland waxes. For instance, galliform birds like chicken contain fatty acid esters of 2,3-alkanediols, while Anseriformes like goose or Strigiformes like barn owl contain wax monoesters in their preen gland secretions. The final biosynthetic step is catalyzed by wax synthases (WS) which have been identified in pro- and eukaryotic organisms.
Sequence similarities enabled us to identify six cDNAs encoding putative wax synthesizing proteins in chicken and two from barn owl and goose. Expression studies in yeast under in vivo and in vitro conditions showed that three proteins from chicken performed WS activity while a sequence from chicken, goose and barn owl encoded a bifunctional enzyme catalyzing both wax ester and triacylglycerol synthesis. Mono- and bifunctional WS were found to differ in their substrate specificities especially with regard to branched-chain alcohols and acyl-CoA thioesters. According to the expression patterns of their transcripts and the properties of the enzymes, avian WS proteins might not be confined to preen glands.
We provide direct evidence that avian preen glands possess both monofunctional and bifunctional WS proteins which have different expression patterns and WS activities with different substrate specificities.
PMCID: PMC3316144  PMID: 22305293
6.  Fatty acyl-CoA reductases of birds 
BMC Biochemistry  2011;12:64.
Birds clean and lubricate their feathers with waxes that are produced in the uropygial gland, a holocrine gland located on their back above the tail. The type and the composition of the secreted wax esters are dependent on the bird species, for instance the wax ester secretion of goose contains branched-chain fatty acids and unbranched fatty alcohols, whereas that of barn owl contains fatty acids and alcohols both of which are branched. Alcohol-forming fatty acyl-CoA reductases (FAR) catalyze the reduction of activated acyl groups to fatty alcohols that can be esterified with acyl-CoA thioesters forming wax esters.
cDNA sequences encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductases were cloned from the uropygial glands of barn owl (Tyto alba), domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) and domestic goose (Anser anser domesticus). Heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed that they encode membrane associated enzymes which catalyze a NADPH dependent reduction of acyl-CoA thioesters to fatty alcohols. By feeding studies of transgenic yeast cultures and in vitro enzyme assays with membrane fractions of transgenic yeast cells two groups of isozymes with different properties were identified, termed FAR1 and FAR2. The FAR1 group mainly synthesized 1-hexadecanol and accepted substrates in the range between 14 and 18 carbon atoms, whereas the FAR2 group preferred stearoyl-CoA and accepted substrates between 16 and 20 carbon atoms. Expression studies with tissues of domestic chicken indicated that FAR transcripts were not restricted to the uropygial gland.
The data of our study suggest that the identified and characterized avian FAR isozymes, FAR1 and FAR2, can be involved in wax ester biosynthesis and in other pathways like ether lipid synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3265415  PMID: 22151413
7.  Mutation of a Critical Arginine in Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Shifts the Isomerase Activity to a Reductase Activity That Converts Prostaglandin H2 into Prostaglandin F2α* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2009;284(1):301-305.
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase type 1 (mPGES-1) converts prostaglandin endoperoxides, generated from arachidonic acid by cyclooxygenases, into prostaglandin E2. This enzyme belongs to the membrane-associated proteins in eicosanoid and glutathione metabolism (MAPEG) family of integral membrane proteins, and because of its link to inflammatory conditions and preferential coupling to cyclooxygenase 2, it has received considerable attention as a drug target. Based on the high resolution crystal structure of human leukotriene C4 synthase, a model of mPGES-1 has been constructed in which the tripeptide co-substrate glutathione is bound in a horseshoe-shaped conformation with its thiol group positioned in close proximity to Arg-126. Mutation of Arg-126 into an Ala or Gln strongly reduces the enzyme's prostaglandin E synthase activity (85–95%), whereas mutation of a neighboring Arg-122 does not have any significant effect. Interestingly, R126A and R126Q mPGES-1 exhibit a novel, glutathione-dependent, reductase activity, which allows conversion of prostaglandin H2 into prostaglandin F2α. Our data show that Arg-126 is a catalytic residue in mPGES-1 and suggest that MAPEG enzymes share significant structural components of their active sites.
PMCID: PMC2610511  PMID: 18984580
8.  Liquid Chromatography Combined with Mass Spectrometry Utilising High-Resolution, Exact Mass, and Multi-Stage Fragmentation for the Identification of Oxysterols in Rat Brain 
Journal of lipid research  2007;48(4):976-987.
In man the brain accounts for about 20% of the body's free cholesterol, most of which is synthesised de novo in brain. To maintain cholesterol balance throughout life, cholesterol becomes metabolised to 24S-hydroxycholesterol principally in neurons. In mouse, rat, and probably human, metabolism to 24S-hydroxycholesterol accounts for about 50% of cholesterol turnover, however, the route by which the remainder is turned over has yet to be elucidated. Here we describe a novel liquid chromatography (LC) – multi-stage fragmentation mass spectrometry (MSn) methodology for the identification, with high sensitivity (low pg), of cholesterol metabolites in rat brain. The methodology includes derivatisation to enhance ionisation, exact mass analysis at high-resolution to identify potential metabolites, and LC-MS3 to allow their characterisation. 24S-Hydroxycholesterol was confirmed as a major oxysterol in rat brain, while other oxysterols identified for the first time in brain included 24,25-, 24,27-, 25,27-, 6,24, 7α,25-, and 7α,27-dihydroxycholesterols. In addition, 3β-hydroxy-5-oxo-5,6-secocholestan-6-al and its aldol, two molecules linked to amyloidogenesis of proteins, were characterised in rat brain.
PMCID: PMC2315781  PMID: 17251593
Sterol; Cholesterol; 24S-hydroxycholesterol; dihydroxycholesterol; secosterol; derivatisation; Girard P; LTQ Orbitrap; Liver X Receptor; Alzheimer's disease

Results 1-8 (8)