Plants survive adverse conditions by modulating their growth in response to a changing environment. Gibberellins (GAs) play a key role in these adaptive responses by stimulating the degradation of growth-repressing DELLA proteins. GA binding to its receptor GID1 enables association of GID1 with DELLAs. This leads to the ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation of DELLAs and consequently growth promotion. We report that DELLA-dependent growth control can be regulated independently of GA. We demonstrate that when a proportion of DELLAs is conjugated to the Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO) protein, the extent of conjugation increases during stress. We identify a SUMO-interacting motif in GID1 and demonstrate that SUMO-conjugated DELLA binds to this motif in a GA-independent manner. The consequent sequestration of GID1 by SUMO-conjugated DELLAs leads to an accumulation of non-SUMOylated DELLAs, resulting in beneficial growth restraint during stress. We conclude that plants have developed a GA-independent mechanism to control growth.
Leaf senescence is an essential developmental process that impacts dramatically on crop yields and involves altered regulation of thousands of genes and many metabolic and signaling pathways, resulting in major changes in the leaf. The regulation of senescence is complex, and although senescence regulatory genes have been characterized, there is little information on how these function in the global control of the process. We used microarray analysis to obtain a high-resolution time-course profile of gene expression during development of a single leaf over a 3-week period to senescence. A complex experimental design approach and a combination of methods were used to extract high-quality replicated data and to identify differentially expressed genes. The multiple time points enable the use of highly informative clustering to reveal distinct time points at which signaling and metabolic pathways change. Analysis of motif enrichment, as well as comparison of transcription factor (TF) families showing altered expression over the time course, identify clear groups of TFs active at different stages of leaf development and senescence. These data enable connection of metabolic processes, signaling pathways, and specific TF activity, which will underpin the development of network models to elucidate the process of senescence.
The Agaricus bisporus serine proteinase 1 (SPR1) appears to be significant in both mycelial nutrition and senescence of the fruiting body. We report on the construction of an SPR promoter::green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion cassette, pGreen_hph1_SPR_GFP, for the investigation of temporal and developmental expression of SPR1 in homobasidiomycetes and to determine how expression is linked to physiological and environmental stimuli. Monitoring of A. bisporus pGreen_hph1_SPR_GFP transformants on media rich in ammonia or containing different nitrogen sources demonstrated that SPR1 is produced in response to available nitrogen. In A. bisporus fruiting bodies, GFP activity was localized to the stipe of postharvest senescing sporophores. pGreen_hph1_SPR_GFP was also transformed into the model basidiomycete Coprinopsis cinerea. Endogenous C. cinerea proteinase activity was profiled during liquid culture and fruiting body development. Maximum activity was observed in the mature cap, while activity dropped during autolysis. Analysis of the C. cinerea genome revealed seven genes showing significant homology to the A. bisporus SPR1 and SPR2 genes. These genes contain the aspartic acid, histidine, and serine residues common to serine proteinases. Analysis of the promoter regions revealed at least one CreA and several AreA regulatory motifs in all sequences. Fruiting was induced in C. cinerea dikaryons, and fluorescence was determined in different developmental stages. GFP expression was observed throughout the life cycle, demonstrating that serine proteinase can be active in all stages of C. cinerea fruiting body development. Serine proteinase expression (GFP fluorescence) was most concentrated during development of young tissue, which may be indicative of high protein turnover during cell differentiation.
Honeybees, Apis mellifera, show age-related division of labor in which young adults perform maintenance ("housekeeping") tasks inside the colony before switching to outside foraging at approximately 23 days old. Disease resistance is an important feature of honeybee biology, but little is known about the interaction of pathogens and age-related division of labor. We tested a hypothesis that older forager bees and younger "house" bees differ in susceptibility to infection. We coupled an infection bioassay with a functional analysis of gene expression in individual bees using a whole genome microarray. Forager bees treated with the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae s.l. survived for significantly longer than house bees. This was concomitant with substantial differences in gene expression including genes associated with immune function. In house bees, infection was associated with differential expression of 35 candidate immune genes contrasted with differential expression of only two candidate immune genes in forager bees. For control bees (i.e. not treated with M. anisopliae) the development from the house to the forager stage was associated with differential expression of 49 candidate immune genes, including up-regulation of the antimicrobial peptide gene abaecin, plus major components of the Toll pathway, serine proteases, and serpins. We infer that reduced pathogen susceptibility in forager bees was associated with age-related activation of specific immune system pathways. Our findings contrast with the view that the immunocompetence in social insects declines with the onset of foraging as a result of a trade-off in the allocation of resources for foraging. The up-regulation of immune-related genes in young adult bees in response to M. anisopliae infection was an indicator of disease susceptibility; this also challenges previous research in social insects, in which an elevated immune status has been used as a marker of increased disease resistance and fitness without considering the effects of age-related development.
Transcriptional reprogramming forms a major part of a plants response to pathogen infection. Many individual components and pathways operating during plant defense have been identified, but our knowledge of how these different components interact is still rudimentary. We generated a high-resolution time series of gene expression profiles from a single Arabidopsis thaliana leaf during infection by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Approximately one-third of the Arabidopsis genome is differentially expressed during the first 48 h after infection, with the majority of changes in gene expression occurring before significant lesion development. We used computational tools to obtain a detailed chronology of the defense response against B. cinerea, highlighting the times at which signaling and metabolic processes change, and identify transcription factor families operating at different times after infection. Motif enrichment and network inference predicted regulatory interactions, and testing of one such prediction identified a role for TGA3 in defense against necrotrophic pathogens. These data provide an unprecedented level of detail about transcriptional changes during a defense response and are suited to systems biology analyses to generate predictive models of the gene regulatory networks mediating the Arabidopsis response to B. cinerea.
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