Phytochrome A (phyA) is crucial to initiate the early steps of the transition between skoto- and photomorphogenesis upon light exposure and to complete this process under far-red light (typical of dense vegetation canopies). However, under prolonged red or white light, phyA mutants are hyper-photomorphogenic in many respects. To investigate this issue, we analyzed the late response of the transcriptome of the phyA mutant to red light. Compared to the wild-type (WT), hyper-responsive genes outnumbered the genes showing reduced response to red light in phyA. A network analysis revealed the co-expression of PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 1 (PIF1) with those genes showing hyper-promotion by red light in phyA. The enhanced responses of gene expression, cotyledon unfolding, hypocotyl growth, and greening observed in the phyA mutant compared to the WT were absent in the phyA pif1 double mutant compared to pif1, indicating that the hyper-photomorphogenic phenotype of phyA requires PIF1. PIF1 directly binds to gene promoters that displayed PIF1-mediated enhanced response to red light. Expression of mutant PIF1 deficient in interactions with phyA and phyB enhanced the long-term growth response to red light but reduced the expression of selected genes in response to red light. We propose that phytochrome-mediated degradation of PIF1 prevents over-activation of photomorphogenesis during early seedling development.
Plant architecture is optimized for the local light environment. In response to foliar shade or neighbor proximity (low red to far-red light), some plant species exhibit shade-avoiding phenotypes, including increased stem and hypocotyl growth, which increases the likelihood of outgrowing competitor plants. If shade persists, early flowering and the reallocation of growth resources to stem elongation ultimately affect the yield of harvestable tissues in crop species. Previous studies have shown that hypocotyl growth in low red to far-red shade is largely dependent on the photoreceptor phytochrome B and the phytohormone auxin. However, where shade is perceived in the plant and how auxin regulates growth spatially are less well understood. Using the oilseed and vegetable crop species Brassica rapa, we show that the perception of low red to far-red shade by the cotyledons triggers hypocotyl cell elongation and auxin target gene expression. Furthermore, we find that following shade perception, elevated auxin levels occur in a basipetal gradient away from the cotyledons and that this is coincident with a gradient of auxin target gene induction. These results show that cotyledon-generated auxin regulates hypocotyl elongation. In addition, we find in mature B. rapa plants that simulated shade does not affect seed oil composition but may affect seed yield. This suggests that in field settings where mutual shading between plants may occur, a balance between plant density and seed yield per plant needs to be achieved for maximum oil yield, while oil composition might remain constant.
Plants must adapt to their environment and require mechanisms for sensing their surroundings and responding appropriately. An expanded family of more than 200 leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor kinases (LRR-RKs) transduces fluctuating and often contradictory signals from the environment into changes in nuclear gene expression. Two LRR-RKs, BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1), a steroid receptor, and FLAGELLIN SENSITIVE 2 (FLS2), an innate immune receptor that recognizes bacterial flagellin, act cooperatively to partition necessary growth-defense trade-offs. BRI1 and FLS2 share common signaling components and slightly different activation mechanisms. BRI1 and FLS2 are paradigms for understanding the signaling mechanisms of LRR-containing receptors in plants.
Female control of nonrandom mating has never been genetically established, despite being linked to inbreeding depression and sexual selection. In order to map the loci that control female-mediated nonrandom mating, we constructed a new advanced intercross recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) accessions Vancouver (Van-0) and Columbia (Col-0) and mapped quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for nonrandom mating and seed yield traits. We genotyped a population of 490 RILs. A subset of these lines was used to construct an expanded map of 1,061.4 centimorgans with an average interval of 6.7±5.3 centimorgans between markers. QTLs were then mapped for female- and male-mediated nonrandom mating and seed yield traits. To map the genetic loci responsible for female-mediated nonrandom mating and seed yield, we performed mixed pollinations with genetically marked Col-0 pollen and Van-0 pollen on RIL pistils. To map the loci responsible for male-mediated nonrandom mating and seed yield, we performed mixed pollinations with genetically marked Col-0 and RIL pollen on Van-0 pistils. Composite interval mapping of these data identified four QTLs that control female-mediated nonrandom mating and five QTLs that control female-mediated seed yield. We also identified four QTLs that control male-mediated nonrandom mating and three QTLs that control male-mediated seed yield. Epistasis analysis indicates that several of these loci interact. To our knowledge, the results of these experiments represent the first time female-mediated nonrandom mating has been genetically defined.
DNA methylation is a conserved epigenetic gene-regulation mechanism. DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE (DRM) is a key de novo methyltransferase in plants, but how DRM acts mechanistically is poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structure of the methyltransferase domain of tobacco DRM (NtDRM) and reveal a molecular basis for its rearranged structure. NtDRM forms a functional homodimer critical for catalytic activity. We also show that Arabidopsis DRM2 exists in complex with the small interfering RNA (siRNA) effector ARGONAUTE4 (AGO4) and preferentially methylates one DNA strand, likely the strand acting as the template for RNA polymerase V-mediated noncoding RNA transcripts. This strand-biased DNA methylation is also positively correlated with strand-biased siRNA accumulation. These data suggest a model in which DRM2 is guided to target loci by AGO4-siRNA and involves base-pairing of associated siRNAs with nascent RNA transcripts.
Sunlight provides energy for photosynthesis and is essential for nearly all life on earth. However, too much or too little light or rapidly fluctuating light conditions cause stress to plants. Rapid changes in the amount of light are perceived as a change in the reduced/oxidized (redox) state of photosynthetic electron transport components in chloroplasts. However, how this generates a signal that is relayed to changes in nuclear gene expression is not well understood. We modified redox state in the reference plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, using either excess light or low light plus the herbicide DBMIB (2,5-dibromo-3-methyl-6-isopropyl-p-benzoquinone), a well-known inhibitor of photosynthetic electron transport. Modification of redox state caused a change in expression of a common set of about 750 genes, many of which are known stress-responsive genes. Among the most highly enriched promoter elements in the induced gene set were heat-shock elements (HSEs), known motifs that change gene expression in response to high temperature in many systems. We show that HSEs from the promoter of the ASCORBATE PEROXIDASE 2 (APX2) gene were necessary and sufficient for APX2 expression in conditions of excess light, or under low light plus the herbicide. We tested APX2 expression phenotypes in overexpression and loss-of-function mutants of 15 Arabidopsis A-type heat-shock transcription factors (HSFs), and identified HSFA1D, HSFA2, and HSFA3 as key factors regulating APX2 expression in diverse stress conditions. Excess light regulates both the subcellular location of HSFA1D and its biochemical properties, making it a key early component of the excess light stress network of plants.
Owing to their sessile nature, plants have evolved sophisticated genetic and epigenetic regulatory systems to respond quickly and reversibly to daily and seasonal temperature changes. However, our knowledge of how plants sense and respond to warming ambient temperatures is rather limited. Here we show that an increase in growth temperature from 22 °C to 30 °C effectively inhibited transgene-induced posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in Arabidopsis. Interestingly, warmth-induced PTGS release exhibited transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. We discovered that the warmth-induced PTGS release occurred during a critical step that leads to the formation of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for producing small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Deep sequencing of small RNAs and RNA blot analysis indicated that the 22-30 °C increase resulted in a significant reduction in the abundance of many trans-acting siRNAs that require dsRNA for biogenesis. We discovered that the temperature increase reduced the protein abundance of SUPPRESSOR OF GENE SILENCING 3, as a consequence, attenuating the formation of stable dsRNAs required for siRNA biogenesis. Importantly, SUPPRESSOR OF GENE SILENCING 3 overexpression released the warmth-triggered inhibition of siRNA biogenesis and reduced the transgenerational epigenetic memory. Thus, our study reveals a previously undescribed association between warming temperatures, an epigenetic system, and siRNA biogenesis.
Genetic studies in Arabidopsis implicate an ?/?-hydrolase, KARRIKIN-INSENSITIVE 2 (KAI2) as a receptor for karrikins, germination-promoting butenolide small molecules found in the smoke of burned plants. However, direct biochemical evidence for the interaction between KAI2 and karrikin and for the mechanism of downstream signaling by a KAI2-karrikin complex remain elusive. We report crystallographic analyses and ligand-binding experiments for KAI2 recognition of karrikins. The karrikin-1 (KAR1) ligand sits in the opening to the active site abutting a helical domain insert but distal from the canonical catalytic triad (Ser95-His246-Asp217) of ?/?-hydrolases, consistent with the lack of detectable hydrolytic activity by purified KAI2. The closest approach of KAR1 to Ser95-His246-Asp217 is 3.8 Å from His246. Six aromatic side chains, including His246, encapsulate KAR1 through geometrically defined aromatic-aromatic interactions. KAR1 binding induces a conformational change in KAI2 at the active site entrance. A crevice of hydrophobic residues linking the polar edge of KAR1 and the helical domain insert suggests that KAI2-KAR1 creates a contiguous interface for binding signaling partners in a ligand-dependent manner.
Phosphatidylinositolphosphates (PIPs) are phospholipids that contain a phosphorylated inositol head group. PIPs represent a minor fraction of total phospholipids, but are involved in many regulatory processes, such as cell signalling and intracellular trafficking. Membrane compartments are enriched or depleted in specific PIPs, providing a unique composition for these compartments and contributing to their identity. The precise subcellular localization and dynamics of most PIP species is not fully understood in plants. Here, we designed genetically encoded biosensors with distinct relative affinities and expressed them stably in Arabidopsis thaliana. Analysis of this multi-affinity PIPline marker set revealed previously unrecognized localization of various PIPs in root epidermis. Notably, we found that PI(4,5)P2 is able to localize PIP2 -interacting protein domains to the plasma membrane in non-stressed root epidermal cells. Our analysis further revealed that there is a gradient of PI4P, with the highest concentration at the plasma membrane, intermediate concentration in post-Golgi/endosomal compartments, and the lowest concentration in the Golgi. Finally, we also found a similar gradient of PI3P from high in late endosomes to low in the tonoplast. Our library extends the range of available PIP biosensors, and will allow rapid progress in our understanding of PIP dynamics in plants.
Phytochromes are red/far-red light receptors that function in photomorphogenesis of plants. Photoisomerization of phytochrome by red light leads to its translocation to the nucleus, where it regulates gene expression. We examined whether phytochrome is phosphorylated in response to light, and we report that phytochrome B (phyB)s N terminus contains a region with a number of phosphoserines, threonines, and tyrosines. The light-dependent phosphorylation of tyrosine 104 (Y104) appears to play a negative role in phyBs activity, because a phosphomimic mutant, phyBY104E, is unable to complement any phyB-related phenotype, is defective in binding to its signaling partner PIF3, and fails to form stable nuclear bodies even though it retains normal photochemistry in vitro. In contrast, plants stably expressing a nonphosphorylatable mutant, phyBY104F, are hypersensitive to light. The proper response to changes in the light environment is crucial for plant survival, and our study brings tyrosine phosphorylation to the forefront of light-signaling mechanisms.
Plant hormones are small-molecule signaling compounds that are collectively involved in all aspects of plant growth and development. Unlike animals, plants actively regulate the spatial distribution of several of their hormones. For example, auxin transport results in the formation of auxin maxima that have a key role in developmental patterning. However, the spatial distribution of the other plant hormones, including gibberellic acid (GA), is largely unknown. To address this, we generated two bioactive fluorescent GA compounds and studied their distribution in Arabidopsis thaliana roots. The labeled GAs specifically accumulated in the endodermal cells of the root elongation zone. Pharmacological studies, along with examination of mutants affected in endodermal specification, indicate that GA accumulation is an active and highly regulated process. Our results strongly suggest the presence of an active GA transport mechanism that would represent an additional level of GA regulation.
We identify an Arabidopsis pyridoxal-phosphate-dependent aminotransferase, VAS1, whose loss-of-function simultaneously increases amounts of the phytohormone auxin and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate. VAS1 uses the ethylene biosynthetic intermediate methionine as an amino donor and the auxin biosynthetic intermediate indole-3-pyruvic acid as an amino acceptor to produce L-tryptophan and 2-oxo-4-methylthiobutyric acid. Our data indicate that VAS1 serves key roles in coordinating the amounts of these two vital hormones.
During the past two decades, molecular biologists and geneticists have deconstructed intracellular signaling pathways in individual cells, revealing a great deal of crosstalk among key signaling pathways in the animal kingdom. Fewer examples have been reported in plants, which appear to integrate multiple signals on the promoters of target genes or to use gene family members to convey signal-specific output. For both plants and animals, the question now is whether the "crosstalk" is biologically relevant or simply noise in the experimental system. To minimize such noise, we suggest studying signaling pathways in the context of intact organisms with minimal perturbation from the experimenter.
Metazoans and plants use pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to sense conserved microbial-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) in the extracellular environment. In plants, the bacterial MAMPs flagellin and elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) activate distinct, phylogenetically related cell surface pattern recognition receptors of the leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase (LRR-RK) family called FLS2 and EF-Tu receptor, respectively. BAK1 is an LRR-RK coreceptor for both FLS2 and EF-Tu receptor. BAK1 is also a coreceptor for the plant brassinosteroid (BR) receptor, the LRR-RK BRI1. Binding of BR to BRI1 primarily promotes cell elongation. Here, we tune the BR pathway response to establish how plant cells can generate functionally different cellular outputs in response to MAMPs and pathogens. We demonstrate that BR can act antagonistically or synergistically with responses to MAMPs. We further show that the synergistic activities of BRs on MAMP responses require BAK1. Our results highlight the importance of plant steroid homeostasis as a critical step in the establishment of plant immunity. We propose that tradeoffs associated with plasticity in the face of infection are layered atop plant steroid developmental programs.
Auxin is an essential hormone, but its biosynthetic routes in plants have not been fully defined. In this paper, we show that the TRYPTOPHAN AMINOTRANSFERASE OF ARABIDOPSIS (TAA) family of amino transferases converts tryptophan to indole-3-pyruvate (IPA) and that the YUCCA (YUC) family of flavin monooxygenases participates in converting IPA to indole-3-acetic acid, the main auxin in plants. Both the YUCs and the TAAs have been shown to play essential roles in auxin biosynthesis, but it has been suggested that they participate in two independent pathways. Here, we show that all of the taa mutant phenotypes, including defects in shade avoidance, root resistance to ethylene and N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA), are phenocopied by inactivating YUC genes. On the other hand, we show that the taa mutants in several known auxin mutant backgrounds, including pid and npy1, mimic all of the well-characterized developmental defects caused by combining yuc mutants with the auxin mutants. Furthermore, we show that overexpression of YUC1 partially suppresses the shade avoidance defects of taa1 and the sterile phenotypes of the weak but not the strong taa mutants. In addition, we discovered that the auxin overproduction phenotypes of YUC overexpression lines are dependent on active TAA genes. Our genetic data show that YUC and TAA work in the same pathway and that YUC is downstream of TAA. The yuc mutants accumulate IPA, and the taa mutants are partially IPA-deficient, indicating that TAAs are responsible for converting tryptophan to IPA, whereas YUCs play an important role in converting IPA to indole-3-acetic acid.
Isothermal titration calorimetry and surface plasmon resonance were tested for their ability to study substrate binding to the active site (AS) and to the secondary binding site (SBS) of Bacillus subtilis xylanase A separately. To this end, three enzyme variants were compared. The first was a catalytically incompetent enzyme that allows substrate binding to both the AS and SBS. In the second enzyme, binding to the SBS was impaired by site-directed mutagenesis, whereas in the third enzyme, the AS was blocked using a covalent inhibitor. Both techniques were able to show that AS and SBS have a similar binding affinity.
Plants respond to a reduction in the red/far-red ratio (R:FR) of light, caused by the proximity of other plants, by initiating morphological changes that improve light capture. In Arabidopsis, this response (shade avoidance syndrome, SAS) is controlled by phytochromes (particularly phyB), and is dependent on the TAA1 pathway of auxin biosynthesis. However, when grown in real canopies, we found that phyB mutants and mutants deficient in TAAI (sav3) still display robust SAS responses to increased planting density and leaf shading. The SAS morphology (leaf hyponasty and reduced lamina/petiole ratio) could be phenocopied by exposing plants to blue light attenuation. These responses to blue light attenuation required the UV-A/blue light photoreceptor cry1. Moreover, they were mediated through mechanisms that showed only limited overlap with the pathways recruited by phyB inactivation. In particular, pathways for polar auxin transport, auxin biosynthesis and gibberellin signaling that are involved in SAS responses to low R:FR were not required for the SAS responses to blue light depletion. By contrast, the brassinosteroid response appeared to be required for the full expression of the SAS phenotype under low blue light. The phyB and cry1 inactivation pathways appeared to converge in their requirement for the basic/helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs?4 and 5 (PIF4 and PIF5) to elicit the SAS phenotype. Our results suggest that blue light is an important control of SAS responses, and that PIF4 and PIF5 are critical hubs for a diverse array of signaling routes that control plant architecture in canopies.
As they emerge from the ground, seedlings adopt a photosynthetic lifestyle, which is accompanied by dramatic changes in morphology and global alterations in gene expression that optimizes the plant body plan for light capture. Phytochromes are red and far-red photoreceptors that play a major role during photomorphogenesis, a complex developmental program that seedlings initiate when they first encounter light. The earliest phytochrome signaling events after excitation by red light include their rapid translocation from the cytoplasm to subnuclear bodies (photobodies) that contain other proteins involved in photomorphogenesis, including a number of transcription factors and E3 ligases. In the light, phytochromes and negatively acting transcriptional regulators that interact directly with phytochromes are destabilized, whereas positively acting transcriptional regulators are stabilized. Here, we discuss recent advances in our knowledge of the mechanisms linking phytochrome photoactivation in the cytoplasm and transcriptional regulation in the nucleus.
Internalization of cell surface receptors, followed by either recycling back to the plasma membrane or degradation, is crucial for receptor homeostasis and signaling. The plant brassinosteroid (BR) receptor, BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1), undergoes constitutive cycling between the plasma membrane and the internal membranes. We show that protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) dephosphorylated BRI1 and that Arabidopsis thaliana rcn1, a mutant for a PP2A subunit, caused an increase in BRI1 abundance and BR signaling. We report the identification, in A. thaliana, of a suppressor of bri1, sbi1, which caused selective accumulation of BR-activated BRI1, but not the BR co-receptor BAK1 (BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1), in the membranous compartment. SBI1 mRNA was induced by BRs, and SBI1 encodes a leucine carboxylmethyltransferase (LCMT) that methylated PP2A and controlled its membrane-associated subcellular localization. We propose that BRs increase production of SBI1, which methylates PP2A, thus facilitating its association with activated BRI1. This leads to receptor dephosphorylation and degradation, and thus to the termination of BR signaling.
Cytokinins are classic hormones that orchestrate plant growth and development and the integrity of stem cell populations. Cytokinin receptors are eukaryotic sensor histidine kinases that are activated by both naturally occurring adenine-type cytokinins and urea-based synthetic compounds. Crystal structures of the Arabidopsis thaliana histidine kinase 4 sensor domain in complex with different cytokinin ligands now rationalize the hormone-binding specificity of the receptor and may spur the design of new cytokinin ligands.
Receptor kinases with leucine-rich repeat (LRR) extracellular domains form the largest family of receptors in plants. In the few cases for which there is mechanistic information, ligand binding in the extracellular domain often triggers the recruitment of a LRR-coreceptor kinase. The current model proposes that this recruitment is mediated by their respective kinase domains. Here, we show that the extracellular LRR domain of BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE1 (BAK1), a coreceptor involved in the disparate processes of cell surface steroid signaling and immunity in plants, is critical for its association with specific ligand-binding LRR-containing receptors. The LRRs of BAK1 thus serve as a platform for the molecular assembly of signal-competent receptors. We propose that this mechanism represents a paradigm for LRR receptor activation in plants.
Chloroplast signals regulate hundreds of nuclear genes during development and in response to stress, but little is known of the signals or signal transduction mechanisms of plastid-to-nucleus (retrograde) signaling. In Arabidopsis thaliana, genetic studies using norflurazon (NF), an inhibitor of carotenoid biosynthesis, have identified five GUN (genomes uncoupled) genes, implicating the tetrapyrrole pathway as a source of a retrograde signal. Loss of function of any of these GUN genes leads to increased expression of photosynthesis-associated nuclear genes (PhANGs) when chloroplast development has been blocked by NF. Here we present a new Arabidopsis gain-of-function mutant, gun6-1D, with a similar phenotype. The gun6-1D mutant overexpresses the conserved plastid ferrochelatase 1 (FC1, heme synthase). Genetic and biochemical experiments demonstrate that increased flux through the heme branch of the plastid tetrapyrrole biosynthetic pathway increases PhANG expression. The second conserved plant ferrochelatase, FC2, colocalizes with FC1, but FC2 activity is unable to increase PhANG expression in undeveloped plastids. These data suggest a model in which heme, specifically produced by FC1, may be used as a retrograde signal to coordinate PhANG expression with chloroplast development.
Receptor tyrosine kinases control many critical processes in metazoans, but these enzymes appear to be absent in plants. Recently, two Arabidopsis receptor kinases--BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1) and BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE1 (BAK1), the receptor and coreceptor for brassinosteroids--were shown to autophosphorylate on tyrosines. However, the cellular roles for tyrosine phosphorylation in plants remain poorly understood. Here, we report that the BRI1 KINASE INHIBITOR 1 (BKI1) is tyrosine phosphorylated in response to brassinosteroid perception. Phosphorylation occurs within a reiterated [KR][KR] membrane targeting motif, releasing BKI1 into the cytosol and enabling formation of an active signaling complex. Our work reveals that tyrosine phosphorylation is a conserved mechanism controlling protein localization in all higher organisms.
Plants that are adapted to environments where light is abundant are especially sensitive to competition for light from neighboring vegetation. As a result, these plants initiate a series of changes known as the shade avoidance syndrome, during which plants elongate their stems and petioles at the expense of leaf development. Although the developmental outcomes of exposure to prolonged shade are known, the signaling dynamics during the initial exposure of seedlings to shade is less well studied. Here, we report the development of a new software-based tool, called HyDE (Hypocotyl Determining Engine) to measure hypocotyl lengths of time-resolved image stacks of Arabidopsis wild-type and mutant seedlings. We show that Arabidopsis grows rapidly in response to the shade stimulus, with measurable growth after just 45 min shade exposure. Similar to other mustard species, this growth response occurs in multiple distinct phases, including two phases of rapid growth and one phase of slower growth. Using mutants affected in shade avoidance phenotypes, we demonstrate that most of this early growth requires new auxin biosynthesis via the indole-3-pyruvate pathway. When activity of this pathway is reduced, the first phase of elongation growth is absent, and this is correlated with reduced activity of auxin-regulated genes. Finally, we show that varying shade intensity and duration can affect the shape and magnitude of the growth response, indicating a broad range of the elongation response to shade.
Multiple small molecule hormones contribute to growth promotion or restriction in plants. Brassinosteroids (BRs), acting specifically in the epidermis, can both drive and restrict shoot growth. However, our knowledge of how BRs affect meristem size is scant. Here, we study the root meristem and show that BRs are required to maintain normal cell cycle activity and cell expansion. These two processes ensure the coherent gradient of cell progression, from the apical to the basal meristem. In addition, BR activity in the meristem is not accompanied by changes in the expression level of the auxin efflux carriers PIN1, PIN3 and PIN7, which are known to control the extent of mitotic activity and differentiation. We further demonstrate that BR signaling in the root epidermis and not in the inner endodermis, quiescent center (QC) cells or stele cell files is sufficient to control root meristem size. Interestingly, expression of the QC and the stele-enriched MADS-BOX gene AGL42 can be modulated by BRI1 activity solely in the epidermis. The signal from the epidermis is probably transmitted by a different component than BES1 and BZR1 transcription factors, as their direct targets, such as DWF4 and BRox2, are regulated in the same cells that express BRI1. Taken together, our study provides novel insights into the role of BRs in controlling meristem size.
Polyhydroxylated steroids are regulators of body shape and size in higher organisms. In metazoans, intracellular receptors recognize these molecules. Plants, however, perceive steroids at membranes, using the membrane-integral receptor kinase BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1). Here we report the structure of the Arabidopsis thaliana BRI1 ligand-binding domain, determined by X-ray diffraction at 2.5?Å resolution. We find a superhelix of 25 twisted leucine-rich repeats (LRRs), an architecture that is strikingly different from the assembly of LRRs in animal Toll-like receptors. A 70-amino-acid island domain between LRRs 21 and 22 folds back into the interior of the superhelix to create a surface pocket for binding the plant hormone brassinolide. Known loss- and gain-of-function mutations map closely to the hormone-binding site. We propose that steroid binding to BRI1 generates a docking platform for a co-receptor that is required for receptor activation. Our findings provide insight into the activation mechanism of this highly expanded family of plant receptors that have essential roles in hormone, developmental and innate immunity signalling.
Circadian clocks provide an adaptive advantage through anticipation of daily and seasonal environmental changes. In plants, the central clock oscillator is regulated by several interlocking feedback loops. It was shown that a substantial proportion of the Arabidopsis genome cycles with phases of peak expression covering the entire day. Synchronized transcriptome cycling is driven through an extensive network of diurnal and clock-regulated transcription factors and their target cis-regulatory elements. Study of the cycling transcriptome in other plant species could thus help elucidate the similarities and differences and identify hubs of regulation common to monocot and dicot plants.
The translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO), previously known as the peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), is important for many cellular functions in mammals and bacteria, such as steroid biosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell proliferation, apoptosis, immunomodulation, transport of porphyrins and anions. Arabidopsis thaliana contains a single TSPO/PBR-related gene with a 40 amino acid N-terminal extension compared to its homologs in bacteria or mammals suggesting it might be chloroplast or mitochondrial localized.
Most organs in higher plants are generated postembryonically from the meristems, which harbor continuously dividing stem cells throughout a plants life cycle. In addition to developmental regulations, mitotic activities in the meristematic tissues are modulated by nutritional cues, including carbon source availability. Here we further analyze the relationship between the sugar signal and seedling meristem establishment, taking advantage of our previous observation that exogenously supplied metabolic sugars can rescue the meristem growth arrest phenotype of the Arabidopsis stip mutant seedlings. Our results show that metabolic sugars reactivate the stip meristems by activating the expression of key cell cycle regulators, and therefore, promoting G2 to M transition in Arabidopsis meristematic tissues. One of the early events in this process is the transcriptional repression of TSS, a genetic suppressor of the stip mutations, by sugar signals, suggesting that TSS may act as an integrator of developmental and nutritional signals in regulating meristematic proliferation. We also present evidence that metabolic sugar signals are required for the activation of mitotic entry during de novo meristem formation from G2 arrested cells. Our observations, together with the recent findings that nutrient deprivation leads to G2 arrest of animal germline stem cells, suggest that carbohydrate availability-regulated G2 to M transition may represent a common mechanism in stem cell division regulation in multicellular organisms.
Ubiquitination, deubiquitination, and the formation of specific ubiquitin chain topologies have been implicated in various cellular processes. Little is known, however, about the role of ubiquitin in the development of cellular organelles. Here, we identify and characterize the deubiquitinating enzyme AMSH3 from Arabidopsis thaliana. AMSH3 hydrolyzes K48- and K63-linked ubiquitin chains in vitro and accumulates both ubiquitin chain types in vivo. amsh3 mutants fail to form a central lytic vacuole, accumulate autophagosomes, and mis-sort vacuolar protein cargo to the intercellular space. Furthermore, AMSH3 is required for efficient endocytosis of the styryl dye FM4-64 and the auxin efflux facilitator PIN2. We thus present evidence for a role of deubiquitination in intracellular trafficking and vacuole biogenesis.
Plant hormones play a major role in plant growth and development. They affect similar processes but, paradoxically, their signaling pathways act nonredundantly. Hormone signals are integrated at the gene-network level rather than by cross-talk during signal transduction. In contrast to hormone-hormone integration, recent data suggest that light and plant hormone pathways share common signaling components, which allows photoreceptors to influence the growth program. We propose a role for the plant hormone auxin as an integrator of the activities of multiple plant hormones to control plant growth in response to the environment.
The past 30 years has seen a tremendous increase in our understanding of the light-signaling networks of higher plants. This short review emphasizes the role that Arabidopsis genetics has played in deciphering this complex network. Importantly, it outlines how genetic studies led to the identification of photoreceptors and signaling components that are not only relevant in plants, but play key roles in mammals.
Plants can defend themselves against a wide array of enemies, from microbes to large animals, yet there is great variability in the effectiveness of such defences, both within and between species. Some of this variation can be explained by conflicting pressures from pathogens with different modes of attack. A second explanation comes from an evolutionary tug of war, in which pathogens adapt to evade detection, until the plant has evolved new recognition capabilities for pathogen invasion. If selection is, however, sufficiently strong, susceptible hosts should remain rare. That this is not the case is best explained by costs incurred from constitutive defences in a pest-free environment. Using a combination of forward genetics and genome-wide association analyses, we demonstrate that allelic diversity at a single locus, ACCELERATED CELL DEATH 6 (ACD6), underpins marked pleiotropic differences in both vegetative growth and resistance to microbial infection and herbivory among natural Arabidopsis thaliana strains. A hyperactive ACD6 allele, compared to the reference allele, strongly enhances resistance to a broad range of pathogens from different phyla, but at the same time slows the production of new leaves and greatly reduces the biomass of mature leaves. This allele segregates at intermediate frequency both throughout the worldwide range of A. thaliana and within local populations, consistent with this allele providing substantial fitness benefits despite its marked impact on growth.
Although pioneered by human geneticists as a potential solution to the challenging problem of finding the genetic basis of common human diseases, genome-wide association (GWA) studies have, owing to advances in genotyping and sequencing technology, become an obvious general approach for studying the genetics of natural variation and traits of agricultural importance. They are particularly useful when inbred lines are available, because once these lines have been genotyped they can be phenotyped multiple times, making it possible (as well as extremely cost effective) to study many different traits in many different environments, while replicating the phenotypic measurements to reduce environmental noise. Here we demonstrate the power of this approach by carrying out a GWA study of 107 phenotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana, a widely distributed, predominantly self-fertilizing model plant known to harbour considerable genetic variation for many adaptively important traits. Our results are dramatically different from those of human GWA studies, in that we identify many common alleles of major effect, but they are also, in many cases, harder to interpret because confounding by complex genetics and population structure make it difficult to distinguish true associations from false. However, a-priori candidates are significantly over-represented among these associations as well, making many of them excellent candidates for follow-up experiments. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of GWA studies in A. thaliana and suggests that the approach will be appropriate for many other organisms.
The establishment of the primary meristems through proliferation after germination is essential for plant post-embryonic development. Cytokinins have long been considered a key regulator of plant cell division. Here we show that cytokinins are essential for early seedling development of Arabidopsis. Loss of cytokinin perception leads to a complete failure of meristem establishment and growth arrest after germination. We also present evidence that cytokinin signaling is involved in activation of the homeobox gene STIMPY (STIP or WOX9) expression in meristematic tissues, which is essential for maintaining the meristematic fate. Cytokinin-independent STIP expression is able to partially compensate for the shoot apical meristem growth defects in mutants that cannot sense cytokinin. These findings identify a new branch of the cytokinin signaling network, linking cytokinin to the process of meristem and seedling establishment.
Light plays a profound role in plant development, yet how photoreceptor excitation directs phenotypic plasticity remains elusive. One of the earliest effects of light is the regulated translocation of the red/far-red photoreceptors, phytochromes, from the cytoplasm to subnuclear foci called phytochrome nuclear bodies. The function of these nuclear bodies is unknown. We report the identification of hemera, a seedling lethal mutant of Arabidopsis with altered phytochrome nuclear body patterns. hemera mutants are impaired in all phytochrome responses examined, including proteolysis of phytochrome A and phytochrome-interacting transcription factors. HEMERA was identified previously as pTAC12, a component of a plastid complex associated with transcription. Here, we show that HEMERA has a function in the nucleus, where it acts specifically in phytochrome signaling, is predicted to be structurally similar to the multiubiquitin-binding protein, RAD23, and can partially rescue yeast rad23mutants. Together, these results implicate phytochrome nuclear bodies as sites of proteolysis.
Abscisic acid (ABA) mediates resistance to abiotic stress and controls developmental processes in plants. The group-A PP2Cs, of which ABI1 is the prototypical member, are protein phosphatases that play critical roles as negative regulators very early in ABA signal transduction. Because redundancy is thought to limit the genetic dissection of early ABA signalling, to identify redundant and early ABA signalling proteins, we pursued a proteomics approach. We generated YFP-tagged ABI1 Arabidopsis expression lines and identified in vivo ABI1-interacting proteins by mass-spectrometric analyses of ABI1 complexes. Known ABA signalling components were isolated including SnRK2 protein kinases. We confirm previous studies in yeast and now show that ABI1 interacts with the ABA-signalling kinases OST1, SnRK2.2 and SnRK2.3 in plants. Interestingly, the most robust in planta ABI1-interacting proteins in all LC-MS/MS experiments were nine of the 14 PYR/PYL/RCAR proteins, which were recently reported as ABA-binding signal transduction proteins, providing evidence for in vivo PYR/PYL/RCAR interactions with ABI1 in Arabidopsis. ABI1-PYR1 interaction was stimulated within 5 min of ABA treatment in Arabidopsis. Interestingly, in contrast, PYR1 and SnRK2.3 co-immunoprecipitated equally well in the presence and absence of ABA. To investigate the biological relevance of the PYR/PYLs, we analysed pyr1/pyl1/pyl2/pyl4 quadruple mutant plants and found strong insensitivities in ABA-induced stomatal closure and ABA-inhibition of stomatal opening. These findings demonstrate that ABI1 can interact with several PYR/PYL/RCAR family members in Arabidopsis, that PYR1-ABI1 interaction is rapidly stimulated by ABA in Arabidopsis and indicate new SnRK2 kinase-PYR/PYL/RCAR interactions in an emerging model for PYR/PYL/RCAR-mediated ABA signalling.
GTPases of the Rab1 subclass are essential for membrane traffic between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi complex in animals, fungi and plants. Rab1-related proteins in higher plants are unusual because sequence comparisons divide them into two putative subclasses, Rab-D1 and Rab-D2, that are conserved in monocots and dicots. We tested the hypothesis that the Rab-D1 and Rab-D2 proteins of Arabidopsis represent functionally distinct groups. RAB-D1 and RAB-D2a each targeted fluorescent proteins to the same punctate structures associated with the Golgi stacks and trans-Golgi-network. Dominant-inhibitory N121I mutants of each protein inhibited traffic of diverse cargo proteins at the ER but they appeared to act via distinct biochemical pathways as biosynthetic traffic in cells expressing either of the N121I mutants could be restored by coexpressing the wild-type form of the same subclass but not the other subclass. The same interaction was observed in transgenic seedlings expressing RAB-D1 [N121I]. Insertional mutants confirmed that the three Arabidopsis Rab-D2 genes were extensively redundant and collectively performed an essential function that could not be provided by RAB-D1, which was non-essential. However, plants lacking RAB-D1, RAB-D2b and RAB-D2c were short and bushy with low fertility, indicating that the Rab-D1 and Rab-D2 subclasses have overlapping functions.
In plants, the uptake of nitrate from the soil is a critical process controlled by complex regulatory networks that target nitrate transporters in the roots. In this issue, Ho et al. (2009) show that phosphorylation of the CHL1 nitrate transporter allows the plant root to sense and respond to different nitrate concentrations in the soil.
Flowering time, a critical adaptive trait, is modulated by several environmental cues. These external signals converge on a small set of genes that in turn mediate the flowering response. Mutant analysis and subsequent molecular studies have revealed that one of these integrator genes, FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), responds to photoperiod and temperature cues, two environmental parameters that greatly influence flowering time. As the central player in the transition to flowering, the protein coding sequence of FT and its function are highly conserved across species. Using QTL mapping with a new advanced intercross-recombinant inbred line (AI-RIL) population, we show that a QTL tightly linked to FT contributes to natural variation in the flowering response to the combined effects of photoperiod and ambient temperature. Using heterogeneous inbred families (HIF) and introgression lines, we fine map the QTL to a 6.7 kb fragment in the FT promoter. We confirm by quantitative complementation that FT has differential activity in the two parental strains. Further support for FT underlying the QTL comes from a new approach, quantitative knockdown with artificial microRNAs (amiRNAs). Consistent with the causal sequence polymorphism being in the promoter, we find that the QTL affects FT expression. Taken together, these results indicate that allelic variation at pathway integrator genes such as FT can underlie phenotypic variability and that this may be achieved through cis-regulatory changes.
The plant vascular system provides transport and support capabilities that are essential for plant growth and development, yet the mechanisms directing the arrangement of vascular bundles within the shoot inflorescence stem remain unknown. We used computational and experimental biology to evaluate the role of auxin and brassinosteroid hormones in vascular patterning in Arabidopsis. We show that periodic auxin maxima controlled by polar transport and not overall auxin levels underlie vascular bundle spacing, whereas brassinosteroids modulate bundle number by promoting early procambial divisions. Overall, this study demonstrates that auxin polar transport coupled to brassinosteroid signaling is required to determine the radial pattern of vascular bundles in shoots.
In plants, chlorophylls and other tetrapyrroles are synthesized from a branched pathway that is located within chloroplasts. GUN4 (GENOMES UNCOUPLED 4) stimulates chlorophyll biosynthesis by activating Mg-chelatase, the enzyme that commits porphyrins to the chlorophyll branch. GUN4 stimulates Mg-chelatase by a mechanism that involves binding the ChlH subunit of Mg-chelatase, as well as a substrate (protoporphyrin IX) and product (Mg-protoporphyrin IX) of Mg-chelatase. We chose to test whether GUN4 might also affect interactions between Mg-chelatase and chloroplast membranes, the site of chlorophyll biosynthesis. To test this idea, we induced chlorophyll precursor levels in purified pea chloroplasts by feeding these chloroplasts with 5-aminolevulinic acid, determined the relative levels of GUN4 and Mg-chelatase subunits in soluble and membrane-containing fractions derived from these chloroplasts, and quantitated Mg-chelatase activity in membranes isolated from these chloroplasts. We also monitored GUN4 levels in the soluble and membrane-containing fractions derived from chloroplasts fed with various porphyrins. Our results indicate that 5-aminolevulinic acid feeding stimulates Mg-chelatase activity in chloroplast membranes and that the porphyrin-bound forms of GUN4 and possibly ChlH associate most stably with chloroplast membranes. These findings are consistent with GUN4 stimulating chlorophyll biosynthesis not only by activating Mg-chelatase but also by promoting interactions between ChlH and chloroplast membranes.
Cell separation, or abscission, is a highly specialized process in plants that facilitates remodeling of their architecture and reproductive success. Because few genes are known to be essential for organ abscission, we conducted a screen for mutations that alter floral organ shedding in Arabidopsis. Nine recessive mutations that block shedding were found to disrupt the function of an ADP-ribosylation factor-GTPase-activating protein (ARF-GAP) we have named NEVERSHED (NEV). As predicted by its homology to the yeast Age2 ARF-GAP and transcriptional profile, NEV influences other aspects of plant development, including fruit growth. Co-localization experiments carried out with NEV-specific antiserum and a set of plant endomembrane markers revealed that NEV localizes to the trans-Golgi network and endosomes in Arabidopsis root epidermal cells. Interestingly, transmission electron micrographs of abscission zone regions from wild-type and nev flowers reveal defects in the structure of the Golgi apparatus and extensive accumulation of vesicles adjacent to the cell walls. Our results suggest that NEV ARF-GAP activity at the trans-Golgi network and distinct endosomal compartments is required for the proper trafficking of cargo molecules required for cell separation.
Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) play important roles in the synthesis of diverse secondary compounds in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Comparison of four data sets analyzing seedlings harvested over a 2-d period of constant conditions after growth with varying photoperiods and thermocycles recorded a total of 98 P450 loci as circadian regulated for at least one of the four conditions. Here, we further describe the circadian-regulated pathways using, as reporters, individual P450 loci that are likely to be rate limiting in secondary metabolic pathways. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction gel blot analyses have confirmed circadian regulation of P450s in phenylpropanoid, carotenoid, oxylipin, glucosinolate, and brassinosteroid biosyntheses and have shown that both P450 and non-P450 genes in the many branches of the phenylpropanoid pathway have similar circadian patterns of expression. In silico analyses of the subsets of coregulated promoters have identified overrepresented promoter elements in various biosynthetic pathway genes, including MYB and MYB4 elements that are significantly more abundant in promoters for the core and lignin sections of phenylpropanoid metabolism. Interactions with these elements important for circadian regulation do not involve the MYB transcription factor PAP1, as previously proposed, since the expression patterns of circadian-regulated P450s are the same in pap1-D mutant seedlings as in wild-type seedlings. Further analysis of circadian-regulated promoters in other biochemical pathways provides us with the opportunity to identify novel promoter motifs that might be important in P450 circadian regulation.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark affecting genes and transposons. Screening for mutants that fail to establish DNA methylation yielded two we termed "involved in de novo" (idn) 1 and 2. IDN1 encodes DMS3, an SMC-related protein, and IDN2 encodes a previously unknown double-stranded RNA-binding protein with homology to SGS3. IDN1 and IDN2 control de novo methylation and small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated maintenance methylation and are components of the RNA-directed DNA methylation pathway.
For plants, the tradeoff between resource investment in defense and increased growth to out-compete neighbors creates an allocation dilemma. How plants resolve this dilemma, at the mechanistic level, is unclear. We found that Arabidopsis plants produced an attenuated defense phenotype under conditions of crowding and when exposed to far-red (FR) radiation, a light signal that plants use to detect the proximity of neighbors via the photoreceptor phytochrome. This phenotype was detectable through standard bioassays that measured the growth of Spodoptera frugiperda caterpillars. Two possible explanations for the effect of FR are: (i) a simple by-product of the diversion of resources to competition, and (ii) a specific effect of phytochrome on defense signaling. The first possibility was ruled out by the fact that the auxin-deficient sav3 mutant, which fails to induce growth responses to FR, still responded to FR with an attenuated defense phenotype. In support of the second hypothesis, we found that phytochrome inactivation by FR caused a strong reduction of plant sensitivity to jasmonates, which are key regulators of plant immunity. The effects of FR on jasmonate sensitivity were restricted to certain elements of the pathway. Supporting the idea that the FR effects on jasmonate signaling are functionally significant, we found that FR failed to increase tissue quality in jar1, a mutant impaired in jasmonate response. We conclude that the plant modulates its investment in defense as a function of the perceived risk of competition, and that this modulation is effected by phytochrome via selective desensitization to jasmonates.
Plant membrane compartments and trafficking pathways are highly complex, and are often distinct from those of animals and fungi. Progress has been made in defining trafficking in plants using transient expression systems. However, many processes require a precise understanding of plant membrane trafficking in a developmental context, and in diverse, specialized cell types. These include defense responses to pathogens, regulation of transporter accumulation in plant nutrition or polar auxin transport in development. In all of these cases a central role is played by the endosomal membrane system, which, however, is the most divergent and ill-defined aspect of plant cell compartmentation. We have designed a new vector series, and have generated a large number of stably transformed plants expressing membrane protein fusions to spectrally distinct, fluorescent tags. We selected lines with distinct subcellular localization patterns, and stable, non-toxic expression. We demonstrate the power of this multicolor Wave marker set for rapid, combinatorial analysis of plant cell membrane compartments, both in live-imaging and immunoelectron microscopy. Among other findings, our systematic co-localization analysis revealed that a class of plant Rab1-homologs has a much more extended localization than was previously assumed, and also localizes to trans-Golgi/endosomal compartments. Constructs that can be transformed into any genetic background or species, as well as seeds from transgenic Arabidopsis plants, will be freely available, and will promote rapid progress in diverse areas of plant cell biology.
The synergism between red and blue light in the control of plant growth and development requires the coaction of the red light photoreceptor phytochrome B (phyB) and the blue light and UV-A receptor cryptochromes (cry). Here, we describe the mechanism of the coaction of these photoreceptors in controlling both development and physiology. In seedlings grown under red light, a transient supplement with blue light induced persistent changes in the transcriptome and growth patterns. Blue light enhanced the expression of the transcription factors LONG HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5) and HOMOLOG OF HY5 (HYH) and of SUPPRESSOR OF PHYA 1 (SPA1) and SPA4. HY5 and HYH enhanced phyB signaling output beyond the duration of the blue light signal, and, contrary to their known role as repressors of phyA signaling, SPA1 and SPA4 also enhanced phyB signaling. These observations demonstrate that the mechanism of synergism involves the promotion by cry of positive regulators of phyB signaling. The persistence of the light-derived signal into the night commits the seedling to a morphogenetic and physiological program consistent with a photosynthetic lifestyle.
Even when phenotypic differences are large between natural or domesticated strains, the underlying genetic basis is often complex, and causal genomic regions need to be identified by quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. Unfortunately, QTL positions typically have large confidence intervals, which can, for example, lead to one QTL being masked by another, when two closely linked loci are detected as a single QTL. One strategy to increase the power of precisely localizing small effect QTL, is the use of an intercross approach before inbreeding to produce Advanced Intercross RILs (AI-RILs).
A paradox of plant hormone biology is how a single small molecule can affect a diverse array of growth and developmental processes. For instance, brassinosteroids (BRs) regulate cell elongation, vascular differentiation, senescence and stress responses. BRs signal through the BES1/BZR1 (bri1-Ethylmethane Sulphonate suppressor 1/brassinazole-resistant 1) family of transcription factors, which regulate hundreds of target genes involved in this pathway, yet little is known of this transcriptional network. Through microarray and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments, we identified a direct target gene of BES1, AtMYB30, which encodes an MYB family transcription factor. AtMYB30 null mutants display decreased BR responses and enhance the dwarf phenotype of a weak allele of the BR receptor mutant bri1. Many BR-regulated genes have reduced expression and/or hormone-induction in AtMYB30 mutants, indicating that AtMYB30 functions to promote expression of a subset of BR target genes. AtMYB30 and BES1 bind to a conserved MYB-binding site and E-box sequences, respectively, in the promoters of genes that are regulated by both BRs and AtMYB30. Finally, AtMYB30 and BES1 interact with each other both in vitro and in vivo. These results demonstrate that BES1 and AtMYB30 function cooperatively to promote BR target gene expression. Our results therefore establish a new mechanism by which AtMYB30, a direct target of BES1, functions to amplify BR signaling by helping BES1 activate downstream target genes.
The Mediator complex is a greater than 1-megadalton complex, composed of about 30 subunits and found in most eukaryotes, whose main role is to transmit signals from DNA-bound transcription factors to RNA Polymerase II. The proteasome is emerging as an important regulator of transcription during both initiation and elongation. It is increasing the number of cases where the proteolysis of transcriptional activators by the proteasome activates their function. This counterintuitive phenomenon was called "activation by destruction." Here, we show that, in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), PHYTOCHROME AND FLOWERING TIME1 (PFT1), the MEDIATOR25 (MED25) subunit of the plant Mediator complex, is degraded by the proteasome and that proteasome-mediated PFT1 turnover is coupled to its role in stimulating the transcription of FLOWERING LOCUS T, the plant florigen, which is involved in the process of flowering induction. We further identify two novel RING-H2 proteins that target PFT1 for degradation. We show that MED25-BINDING RING-H2 PROTEIN1 (MBR1) and MBR2 bind to PFT1 in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and in vitro, and they promote PFT1 degradation in vivo, in a RING-H2-dependent way, typical of E3 ubiquitin ligases. We further show that both MBR1 and MBR2 also promote flowering by PFT1-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Our findings extend the phenomenon of activation by destruction to a Mediator subunit, adding a new mechanism by which Mediator subunits may regulate downstream genes in specific pathways. Furthermore, we show that two novel RING-H2 proteins are involved in the destruction of PFT1, adding new players to this process in plants.
Plastids are able to relay information to the nucleus to regulate stress responses. A new genetic screen has identified an isoprenoid intermediate that accumulates in stressed plastids and acts as a novel retrograde signal.
Retrograde signalling from plastids to the nucleus is necessary to regulate the organelles proteome during the establishment of photoautotrophy and fluctuating environmental conditions. Studies that used inhibitors of chloroplast biogenesis have revealed that hundreds of nuclear genes are regulated by retrograde signals emitted from plastids. Plastid gene expression is the source of at least one of these signals, but the number of signals and their mechanisms used to regulate nuclear gene expression are unknown. To further examine the effects of plastid gene expression on nuclear gene expression, we analyzed Arabidopsis mutants that were defective in each of the six sigma factor (SIG) genes that encode proteins utilized by plastid-encoded RNA polymerase to transcribe specific sets of plastid genes. We showed that SIG2 and SIG6 have partially redundant roles in plastid transcription and retrograde signalling to control nuclear gene expression. The loss of GUN1 (a plastid-localized pentatricopeptide repeat protein) is able to restore nuclear (but not plastid) gene expression in both sig2 and sig6, whereas an increase in heme synthesis is able to restore nuclear gene expression in sig2 mutants only. These results demonstrate that sigma factor function is the source of at least two retrograde signals to the nucleus; one likely to involve the transcription of tRNA(Glu) . A microarray analysis showed that these two signals accounted for at least one subset of the nuclear genes that are regulated by the plastid biogenesis inhibitors norflurazon and lincomycin. Together these data suggest that such inhibitors can induce retrograde signalling by affecting transcription in the plastid.
Time-resolved hypocotyl length measurements in seedlings have the potential to greatly aid genetic studies looking at light, hormone, and circadian regulation of cell expansion. Recently, several computer-based tools have been developed to quantify hypocotyl length during photomorphogenesis and early seedling development. Here we detail a method for quantifying Arabidopsis seedling hypocotyls in an image-based assay, focusing on light-grown seedlings responding to shade conditions.
Transcription of plastid-encoded genes requires two different DNA-dependent RNA polymerases, a nuclear-encoded polymerase (NEP) and plastid-encoded polymerase (PEP). Recent studies identified two related pfkB-type carbohydrate kinases, named FRUCTOKINASE-LIKE PROTEIN (FLN1 and FLN2), as components of the thylakoid bound PEP complex in both Arabidopsis thaliana and Sinapis alba (mustard). Additional work demonstrated that RNAi-mediated reduction in FLN expression specifically diminished transcription of PEP-dependent genes.
Plants sense neighbor proximity as a decrease in the ratio of red to far-red light, which triggers a series of developmental responses. In Arabidopsis, phytochrome B (PHYB) is the major sensor of shade, but PHYB excitation has not been linked directly to a growth response. We show that the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor PIF7 (phytochrome-interacting factor 7), an interactor of PHYB, accumulates in its dephosphorylated form in shade, allowing it to bind auxin biosynthetic genes and increase their expression. New auxin synthesized through a PIF7-regulated pathway is required for shade-induced growth, linking directly the perception of a light quality signal to a rapid growth response.
Adapted filamentous pathogens such as the oomycetes Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa) and Phytophthora infestans (Pi) project specialized hyphae, the haustoria, inside living host cells for the suppression of host defence and acquisition of nutrients. Accommodation of haustoria requires reorganization of the host cell and the biogenesis of a novel host cell membrane, the extrahaustorial membrane (EHM), which envelops the haustorium separating the host cell from the pathogen. Here, we applied live-cell imaging of fluorescent-tagged proteins labelling a variety of membrane compartments and investigated the subcellular changes associated with accommodating oomycete haustoria in Arabidopsis and N. benthamiana. Plasma membrane-resident proteins differentially localized to the EHM. Likewise, secretory vesicles and endosomal compartments surrounded Hpa and Pi haustoria revealing differences between these two oomycetes, and suggesting a role for vesicle trafficking pathways for the pathogen-controlled biogenesis of the EHM. The latter is supported by enhanced susceptibility of mutants in endosome-mediated trafficking regulators. These observations point at host subcellular defences and specialization of the EHM in a pathogen-specific manner. Defence-associated haustorial encasements, a double-layered membrane that grows around mature haustoria, were frequently observed in Hpa interactions. Intriguingly, all tested plant proteins accumulated at Hpa haustorial encasements suggesting the general recruitment of default vesicle trafficking pathways to defend pathogen access. Altogether, our results show common requirements of subcellular changes associated with oomycete biotrophy, and highlight differences between two oomycete pathogens in reprogramming host cell vesicle trafficking for haustoria accommodation. This provides a framework for further dissection of the pathogen-triggered reprogramming of host subcellular changes.
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