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1.  Propiconazole Is a Specific and Accessible Brassinosteroid (BR) Biosynthesis Inhibitor for Arabidopsis and Maize 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36625.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036625
PMCID: PMC3348881  PMID: 22590578
2.  Geometric Constraints and the Anatomical Interpretation of Twisted Plant Organ Phenotypes 
The study of plant mutants with twisting growth in axial organs, which normally grow straight in the wild-type, is expected to improve our understanding of the interplay among microtubules, cellulose biosynthesis, cell wall structure, and organ biomechanics that control organ growth and morphogenesis. However, geometric constraints based on symplastic growth and the consequences of these geometric constraints concerning interpretations of twisted-organ phenotypes are currently underestimated. Symplastic growth, a fundamental concept in plant developmental biology, is characterized by coordinated growth of adjacent cells based on their connectivity through cell walls. This growth behavior implies that in twisting axial organs, all cell files rotate in phase around the organ axis, as has been illustrated for the Arabidopsis spr1 and twd1 mutants in this work. Evaluating the geometry of such organs, we demonstrate that a radial gradient in cell elongation and changes in cellular growth anisotropy must occur in twisting organs out of geometric necessity alone. In-phase rotation of the different cell layers results in a decrease of length and angle toward organ axis from the outer cell layers inward. Additionally, the circumference of each cell layer increases in twisting organs, which requires compensation through radial expansion or an adjustment of cell number. Therefore, differential cell elongation and growth anisotropy cannot serve as arguments for or against specific hypotheses regarding the molecular cause of twisting growth. We suggest instead, that based on mathematical modeling, geometric constraints in twisting organs are indispensable for the explanation of the causal connection of molecular and biomechanical processes in twisting as well as normal organs.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2011.00062
PMCID: PMC3355744  PMID: 22645544
Arabidopsis thaliana, developmental biomechanics; spiral1 (spr1) mutant; symplastic growth; tissue geometry; tissue tension; twisted dwarf1 (twd1) mutant; twisting growth
3.  Arabidopsis brassinosteroid biosynthetic mutant dwarf7-1 exhibits slower rates of cell division and shoot induction 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:270.
Background
Plant growth depends on both cell division and cell expansion. Plant hormones, including brassinosteroids (BRs), are central to the control of these two cellular processes. Despite clear evidence that BRs regulate cell elongation, their roles in cell division have remained elusive.
Results
Here, we report results emphasizing the importance of BRs in cell division. An Arabidopsis BR biosynthetic mutant, dwarf7-1, displayed various characteristics attributable to slower cell division rates. We found that the DWARF4 gene which encodes for an enzyme catalyzing a rate-determining step in the BR biosynthetic pathways, is highly expressed in the actively dividing callus, suggesting that BR biosynthesis is necessary for dividing cells. Furthermore, dwf7-1 showed noticeably slower rates of callus growth and shoot induction relative to wild-type control. Flow cytometric analyses of the nuclei derived from either calli or intact roots revealed that the cell division index, which was represented as the ratio of cells at the G2/M vs. G1 phases, was smaller in dwf7-1 plants. Finally, we found that the expression levels of the genes involved in cell division and shoot induction, such as PROLIFERATING CELL NUCLEAR ANTIGEN2 (PCNA2) and ENHANCER OF SHOOT REGENERATION2 (ESR2), were also lower in dwf7-1 as compared with wild type.
Conclusions
Taken together, results of callus induction, shoot regeneration, flow cytometry, and semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis suggest that BRs play important roles in both cell division and cell differentiation in Arabidopsis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-270
PMCID: PMC3017067  PMID: 21143877
4.  Evaluating the function of putative hormone transporters 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(2):147-148.
Hormones typically serve as long distance signaling molecules. To reach their site of action, hormones need to be transported from the sites of synthesis. Many plant hormones are mobile, thus requiring specific transport systems for the export from their source cells as well as subsequent import into target cells. Hormone transport in general is still poorly understood. Auxin is probably the most intensively studied plant hormone concerning transport in the moment. To advance our understanding of hormone transport we need two principal data sets: information on the properties of the transport systems including substrate specificity and kinetics, and we need to identify candidate genes for the respective transporters. Physiological transport data can provide an important basis for identifying and characterizing candidate transporters and to define their in vivo role. A recent publication in Plant Physiology highlights how kinetic and specificity studies may help to identify cytokinin transporters.1
PMCID: PMC2637505  PMID: 19649195
kinetin; zeatin; adenine; phytohormone; transport
5.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of immunophilin-like FKBP42 from Arabidopsis thaliana  
The crystallization of FKBP42, a multi-domain member of the FK506-binding protein family, from the plant A. thaliana is reported.
Two fragments of FKBP42 from Arabidopsis thaliana covering differing lengths of the molecule have been expressed, purified and crystallized. For each construct, crystals belonging to two different space groups were obtained and subjected to preliminary X-ray analysis.
doi:10.1107/S1744309105006342
PMCID: PMC1952426  PMID: 16511041
FKBP42; FK506-binding proteins
6.  Arabidopsis Immunophilin-like TWD1 Functionally Interacts with Vacuolar ABC Transporters 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(7):3393-3405.
Previously, the immunophilin-like protein TWD1 from Arabidopsis has been demonstrated to interact with the ABC transporters AtPGP1 and its closest homologue, AtPGP19. Physiological and biochemical investigation of pgp1/pgp19 and of twd1 plants suggested a regulatory role of TWD1 on AtPGP1/AtPGP19 transport activities. To further understand the dramatic pleiotropic phenotype that is caused by loss-of-function mutation of the TWD1 gene, we were interested in other TWD1 interacting proteins. AtMRP1, a multidrug resistance-associated (MRP/ABCC)-like ABC transporter, has been isolated in a yeast two-hybrid screen. We demonstrate molecular interaction between TWD1 and ABC transporters AtMRP1 and its closest homologue, AtMRP2. Unlike AtPGP1, AtMRP1 binds to the C-terminal tetratricopeptide repeat domain of TWD1, which is well known to mediate protein-protein interactions. Domain mapping proved that TWD1 binds to a motif of AtMRP1 that resembles calmodulin-binding motifs; and calmodulin binding to the C-terminus of MRP1 was verified. By membrane fractionation and GFP-tagging, we localized AtMRP1 to the central vacuolar membrane and the TWD1-AtMRP1 complex was verified in vivo by coimmunoprecipitation. We were able to demonstrate that TWD1 binds to isolated vacuoles and has a significant impact on the uptake of metolachlor-GS and estradiol-β-glucuronide, well-known substrates of vacuolar transporters AtMRP1 and AtMRP2.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E03-11-0831
PMCID: PMC452592  PMID: 15133126
7.  TWISTED DWARF1, a Unique Plasma Membrane-anchored Immunophilin-like Protein, Interacts with Arabidopsis Multidrug Resistance-like Transporters AtPGP1 and AtPGP19 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(10):4238-4249.
Null-mutations of the Arabidopsis FKBP-like immunophilin TWISTED DWARF1 (TWD1) gene cause a pleiotropic phenotype characterized by reduction of cell elongation and disorientated growth of all plant organs. Heterologously expressed TWD1 does not exhibit cis-trans-peptidylprolyl isomerase (PPIase) activity and does not complement yeast FKBP12 mutants, suggesting that TWD1 acts indirectly via protein-protein interaction. Yeast two-hybrid protein interaction screens with TWD1 identified cDNA sequences that encode the C-terminal domain of Arabidopsis multidrugresistance-like ABC transporter AtPGP1. This interaction was verified in vitro. Mapping of protein interaction domains shows that AtPGP1 surprisingly binds to the N-terminus of TWD1 harboring the cis-trans peptidyl-prolyl isomerase-like domain and not to the tetratrico-peptide repeat domain, which has been shown to mediate protein-protein interaction. Unlike all other FKBPs, TWD1 is shown to be an integral membrane protein that colocalizes with its interacting partner AtPGP1 on the plasma membrane. TWD1 also interacts with AtPGP19 (AtMDR1), the closest homologue of AtPGP1. The single gene mutation twd1-1 and double atpgp1-1/atpgp19-1 (atmdr1-1) mutants exhibit similar phenotypes including epinastic growth, reduced inflorescence size, and reduced polar auxin transport, suggesting that a functional TWD1-AtPGP1/AtPGP19 complex is required for proper plant development.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E02-10-0698
PMCID: PMC207015  PMID: 14517332

Results 1-7 (7)