Carbohydrate metabolism in plants is tightly linked to photosynthesis and is essential for energy and carbon skeleton supply of the entire organism. Thus, the hexose phosphate pools of the cytosol and the chloroplast represent important metabolic resources that are maintained through action of phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI) and phosphoglucose mutase interconverting glucose 6-phosphate, fructose 6-phosphate, and glucose 1-phosphate. Here, we investigated the impact of disrupted cytosolic PGI (cPGI) function on plant viability and metabolism. Overexpressing an artificial microRNA targeted against cPGI (amiR-cpgi) resulted in adult plants with vegetative tissue essentially free of cPGI activity. These plants displayed diminished growth compared with the wild type and accumulated excess starch in chloroplasts but maintained low sucrose content in leaves at the end of the night. Moreover, amiR-cpgi plants exhibited increased nonphotochemical chlorophyll a quenching during photosynthesis. In contrast to amiR-cpgi plants, viable transfer DNA insertion mutants disrupted in cPGI function could only be identified as heterozygous individuals. However, homozygous transfer DNA insertion mutants could be isolated among plants ectopically expressing cPGI. Intriguingly, these plants were only fertile when expression was driven by the ubiquitin10 promoter but sterile when the seed-specific unknown seed protein promoter or the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter were employed. These data show that metabolism is apparently able to compensate for missing cPGI activity in adult amiR-cpgi plants and indicate an essential function for cPGI in plant reproduction. Moreover, our data suggest a feedback regulation in amiR-cpgi plants that fine-tunes cytosolic sucrose metabolism with plastidic starch turnover.
Plants and seeds are the main dietary sources of zinc, iron, manganese, and copper, but are also the main entry point for toxic elements such as cadmium into the food chain. We report here that an Arabidopsis oligopeptide transporter mutant, opt3-2, over-accumulates cadmium (Cd) in seeds and roots but, unexpectedly, under-accumulates Cd in leaves. The cadmium distribution in opt3-2 differs from iron, zinc, and manganese, suggesting a metal-specific mechanism for metal partitioning within the plant. The opt3-2 mutant constitutively up-regulates the Fe/Zn/Cd transporter IRT1 and FRO2 in roots, indicative of an iron-deficiency response. No genetic mutants that impair the shoot-to-root signaling of iron status in leaves have been identified. Interestingly, shoot-specific expression of OPT3 rescues the Cd sensitivity and complements the aberrant expression of IRT1 in opt3-2 roots, suggesting that OPT3 is required to relay the iron status from leaves to roots. OPT3 expression was found in the vasculature with preferential expression in the phloem at the plasma membrane. Using radioisotope experiments, we found that mobilization of Fe from leaves is severely affected in opt3-2, suggesting that Fe mobilization out of leaves is required for proper trace-metal homeostasis. When expressed in yeast, OPT3 does not localize to the plasma membrane, precluding the identification of the OPT3 substrate. Our in planta results show that OPT3 is important for leaf phloem-loading of iron and plays a key role regulating Fe, Zn, and Cd distribution within the plant. Furthermore, ferric chelate reductase activity analyses provide evidence that iron is not the sole signal transferred from leaves to roots in leaf iron status signaling.
Reorganization of the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton is critical for guard cell function. Here, we investigate how environmental and hormonal signals cause these rearrangements and find that COP1, a RING-finger-type ubiquitin E3 ligase, is required for degradation of tubulin, likely by the 26S proteasome. This degradation is required for stomatal closing. In addition to regulating the cytoskeleton, we show that cop1 mutation impaired the activity of S-type anion channels, which are critical for stomatal closure. Thus, COP1 is revealed as a potential coordinator of cytoskeletal and electrophysiological activities required for guard cell function.
Cellular membranes act as signaling platforms and control solute transport. Membrane receptors, transporters, and enzymes communicate with intracellular processes through protein-protein interactions. Using a split-ubiquitin yeast two-hybrid screen that covers a test-space of 6.4 × 10(6) pairs, we identified 12,102 membrane/signaling protein interactions from Arabidopsis. Besides confirmation of expected interactions such as heterotrimeric G protein subunit interactions and aquaporin oligomerization, >99% of the interactions were previously unknown. Interactions were confirmed at a rate of 32% in orthogonal in planta split-green flourescent protein interaction assays, which was statistically indistinguishable from the confirmation rate for known interactions collected from literature (38%). Regulatory associations in membrane protein trafficking, turnover, and phosphorylation include regulation of potassium channel activity through abscisic acid signaling, transporter activity by a WNK kinase, and a brassinolide receptor kinase by trafficking-related proteins. These examples underscore the utility of the membrane/signaling protein interaction network for gene discovery and hypothesis generation in plants and other organisms.
Environmental stimuli, including elevated carbon dioxide levels, regulate stomatal development; however, the key mechanisms mediating the perception and relay of the CO2 signal to the stomatal development machinery remain elusive. To adapt CO2 intake to water loss, plants regulate the development of stomatal gas exchange pores in the aerial epidermis. A diverse range of plant species show a decrease in stomatal density in response to the continuing rise in atmospheric CO2 (ref. 4). To date, one mutant that exhibits deregulation of this CO2-controlled stomatal development response, hic (which is defective in cell-wall wax biosynthesis, ref. 5), has been identified. Here we show that recently isolated Arabidopsis thaliana ?-carbonic anhydrase double mutants (ca1 ca4) exhibit an inversion in their response to elevated CO2, showing increased stomatal development at elevated CO2 levels. We characterized the mechanisms mediating this response and identified an extracellular signalling pathway involved in the regulation of CO2-controlled stomatal development by carbonic anhydrases. RNA-seq analyses of transcripts show that the extracellular pro-peptide-encoding gene EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR 2 (EPF2), but not EPF1 (ref. 9), is induced in wild-type leaves but not in ca1 ca4 mutant leaves at elevated CO2 levels. Moreover, EPF2 is essential for CO2 control of stomatal development. Using cell-wall proteomic analyses and CO2-dependent transcriptomic analyses, we identified a novel CO2-induced extracellular protease, CRSP (CO2 RESPONSE SECRETED PROTEASE), as a mediator of CO2-controlled stomatal development. Our results identify mechanisms and genes that function in the repression of stomatal development in leaves during atmospheric CO2 elevation, including the carbonic-anhydrase-encoding genes CA1 and CA4 and the secreted protease CRSP, which cleaves the pro-peptide EPF2, in turn repressing stomatal development. Elucidation of these mechanisms advances the understanding of how plants perceive and relay the elevated CO2 signal and provides a framework to guide future research into how environmental challenges can modulate gas exchange in plants.
Multiple K(+) transporters and channels and the corresponding mutants have been described and studied in the plasma membrane and organelle membranes of plant cells. However, knowledge about the molecular identity of chloroplast K(+) transporters is limited. Potassium transport and a well-balanced K(+) homeostasis were suggested to play important roles in chloroplast function. Because no loss-of-function mutants have been identified, the importance of K(+) transporters for chloroplast function and photosynthesis remains to be determined. Here, we report single and higher-order loss-of-function mutants in members of the cation/proton antiporters-2 antiporter superfamily KEA1, KEA2, and KEA3. KEA1 and KEA2 proteins are targeted to the inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts, whereas KEA3 is targeted to the thylakoid membrane. Higher-order but not single mutants showed increasingly impaired photosynthesis along with pale green leaves and severely stunted growth. The pH component of the proton motive force across the thylakoid membrane was significantly decreased in the kea1kea2 mutants, but increased in the kea3 mutant, indicating an altered chloroplast pH homeostasis. Electron microscopy of kea1kea2 leaf cells revealed dramatically swollen chloroplasts with disrupted envelope membranes and reduced thylakoid membrane density. Unexpectedly, exogenous NaCl application reversed the observed phenotypes. Furthermore, the kea1kea2 background enables genetic analyses of the functional significance of other chloroplast transporters as exemplified here in kea1kea2Na(+)/H(+) antiporter1 (nhd1) triple mutants. Taken together, the presented data demonstrate a fundamental role of inner envelope KEA1 and KEA2 and thylakoid KEA3 transporters in chloroplast osmoregulation, integrity, and ion and pH homeostasis.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone that regulates plant growth and development and mediates abiotic stress responses. Direct cellular monitoring of dynamic ABA concentration changes in response to environmental cues is essential for understanding ABA action. We have developed ABAleons: ABA-specific optogenetic reporters that instantaneously convert the phytohormone-triggered interaction of ABA receptors with PP2C-type phosphatases to send a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) signal in response to ABA. We report the design, engineering and use of ABAleons with ABA affinities in the range of 100-600 nM to map ABA concentration changes in plant tissues with spatial and temporal resolution. High ABAleon expression can partially repress Arabidopsis ABA responses. ABAleons report ABA concentration differences in distinct cell types, ABA concentration increases in response to low humidity and NaCl in guard cells and to NaCl and osmotic stress in roots and ABA transport from the hypocotyl to the shoot and root. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01739.001.
The analyses of protein-protein interactions are crucial for understanding cellular processes including signal transduction, protein trafficking, and movement. Protein fragment complementation assays are based on the reconstitution of protein function when non-active protein fragments are brought together by interacting proteins that were genetically fused to these protein fragments. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) relies on the reconstitution of fluorescent proteins and enables both the analysis of protein-protein interactions and the visualization of protein complex formations in vivo. Transient expression of proteins is a convenient approach to study protein functions in planta or in other organisms and minimizes the need for time-consuming generation of stably expressing transgenic organisms. Here we describe protocols for BiFC analyses in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana leaves transiently transformed by Agrobacterium infiltration. Further, we discuss different BiFC applications and provide examples for proper BiFC analyses in planta.
Potassium (K(+))-uptake transport proteins present in prokaryote and eukaryote cells are categorized into two classes; Trk/Ktr/HKT, K(+) channel, and Kdp belong to the same superfamily, whereas the remaining K(+)-uptake family, Kup/HAK/KT has no homology to the others, and neither its membrane topology nor crucial residues for K(+) uptake have been identified. We examined the topology of Kup from Escherichia coli. Results from the reporter fusion and cysteine labeling assays support a model with 12 membrane-spanning domains. A model for proton-coupled K(+) uptake mediated by Kup has been proposed. However, this study did not show any stimulation of Kup activity at low pH and any evidence of involvement of the three His in Kup-mediated K(+) uptake. Moreover, replacement of all four cysteines of Kup with serine did not abolish K(+) transport activity. To gain insight on crucial residues of Kup-mediated K(+) uptake activity, we focused on acidic residues in the predicted external and transmembrane regions, and identified four residues in the membrane regions required for K(+) uptake activity. This is different from no membrane-localized acidic residues essential for Trk/Ktr/HKTs, K(+) channels and Kdp. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Kup belongs to a distinct type of K(+) transport system.
Salt stress is a widespread phenomenon, limiting plant performance in large areas around the world. Although various types of plant sodium/proton antiporters have been characterized, the physiological function of NHD1 from Arabidopsis thaliana has not been elucidated in detail so far. Here we report that the NHD1-GFP fusion protein localizes to the chloroplast envelope. Heterologous expression of AtNHD1 was sufficient to complement a salt-sensitive Escherichia coli mutant lacking its endogenous sodium/proton exchangers. Transport competence of NHD1 was confirmed using recombinant, highly purified carrier protein reconstituted into proteoliposomes, proving Na(+) /H(+) antiport. In planta NHD1 expression was found to be highest in mature and senescent leaves but was not induced by sodium chloride application. When compared to wild-type controls, nhd1 T-DNA insertion mutants showed decreased biomasses and lower chlorophyll levels after sodium feeding. Interestingly, if grown on sand and supplemented with high sodium chloride, nhd1 mutants exhibited leaf tissue Na(+) levels similar to those of wild-type plants, but the Na(+) content of chloroplasts increased significantly. These high sodium levels in mutant chloroplasts resulted in markedly impaired photosynthetic performance as revealed by a lower quantum yield of photosystem II and increased non-photochemical quenching. Moreover, high Na(+) levels might hamper activity of the plastidic bile acid/sodium symporter family protein 2 (BASS2). The resulting pyruvate deficiency might cause the observed decreased phenylalanine levels in the nhd1 mutants due to lack of precursors.
Crop performance is severely affected by high salt concentrations in soils. To engineer more salt-tolerant plants it is crucial to unravel the key components of the plant salt-tolerance network. Here we review our understanding of the core salt-tolerance mechanisms in plants. Recent studies have shown that stress sensing and signaling components can play important roles in regulating the plant salinity stress response. We also review key Na+ transport and detoxification pathways and the impact of epigenetic chromatin modifications on salinity tolerance. In addition, we discuss the progress that has been made towards engineering salt tolerance in crops, including marker-assisted selection and gene stacking techniques. We also identify key open questions that remain to be addressed in the future.
MAX2 (More AXillary growth 2) has been shown to regulate diverse biological processes, including plant architecture, photomorphogenesis, senescence and karrikin signaling. Although karrikin is a smoke-derived abiotic signal, a role for MAX2 in abiotic stress response pathways is least investigated. Here, we show that the max2 mutant is strongly hypersensitive to drought stress compared to wild type. Stomatal closure of max2 was less sensitive to ABA than that of wild type. Cuticle thickness of max2 is significantly thinner than that of wild type. Both of these phenotypes of max2 mutant plants correlate with the increased water loss and drought sensitive phenotype. qRT-PCR analyses showed that the expression of stress responsive genes and ABA biosynthesis, catabolism, transport and signaling genes was impaired in max2 compared to wild type seedlings in response to drought stress. Double mutant analysis of max2 with ABA-insensitive mutants abi3 and abi5 indicated that MAX2 may function upstream of these genes. The expression of ABA-regulated genes was enhanced in imbibed max2 seeds. In addition, max2 mutant seedlings are hypersensitive to ABA and osmotic stress including NaCl, Mannitol and Glucose. Interestingly, ABA, osmotic stress and drought sensitive phenotypes were restricted to max2, and the strigolactone biosynthetic pathway mutants, max1, max3 and max4, did not display any defects in these responses. Taken together, these results uncover an important role for MAX2 in plant responses to abiotic stress conditions.
Cytosolic Ca(2+) in guard cells plays an important role in stomatal movement responses to environmental stimuli. These cytosolic Ca(2+) increases result from Ca(2+) influx through Ca(2+)-permeable channels in the plasma membrane and Ca(2+) release from intracellular organelles in guard cells. However, the genes encoding defined plasma membrane Ca(2+)-permeable channel activity remain unknown in guard cells and, with some exceptions, largely unknown in higher plant cells. Here, we report the identification of two Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) cation channel genes, CNGC5 and CNGC6, that are highly expressed in guard cells. Cytosolic application of cyclic GMP (cGMP) and extracellularly applied membrane-permeable 8-Bromoguanosine 3,5-cyclic monophosphate-cGMP both activated hyperpolarization-induced inward-conducting currents in wild-type guard cells using Mg(2+) as the main charge carrier. The cGMP-activated currents were strongly blocked by lanthanum and gadolinium and also conducted Ba(2+), Ca(2+), and Na(+) ions. cngc5 cngc6 double mutant guard cells exhibited dramatically impaired cGMP-activated currents. In contrast, mutations in CNGC1, CNGC2, and CNGC20 did not disrupt these cGMP-activated currents. The yellow fluorescent protein-CNGC5 and yellow fluorescent protein-CNGC6 proteins localize in the cell periphery. Cyclic AMP activated modest inward currents in both wild-type and cngc5cngc6 mutant guard cells. Moreover, cngc5 cngc6 double mutant guard cells exhibited functional abscisic acid (ABA)-activated hyperpolarization-dependent Ca(2+)-permeable cation channel currents, intact ABA-induced stomatal closing responses, and whole-plant stomatal conductance responses to darkness and changes in CO2 concentration. Furthermore, cGMP-activated currents remained intact in the growth controlled by abscisic acid2 and abscisic acid insensitive1 mutants. This research demonstrates that the CNGC5 and CNGC6 genes encode unique cGMP-activated nonselective Ca(2+)-permeable cation channels in the plasma membrane of Arabidopsis guard cells.
Traditional forward genetic screens are limited in the identification of homologous genes with overlapping functions. Here, we report the analyses and assembly of genome-wide protein family definitions that comprise the largest estimate for the potentially redundant gene space in Arabidopsis thaliana. On this basis, a computational design of genome-wide family-specific artificial microRNAs (amiRNAs) was performed using high-performance computing resources. The amiRNA designs are searchable online (http://phantomdb.ucsd.edu). A computationally derived library of 22,000 amiRNAs was synthesized in 10 sublibraries of 1505 to 4082 amiRNAs, each targeting defined functional protein classes. For example, 2964 amiRNAs target annotated DNA and RNA binding protein families and 1777 target transporter proteins, and another sublibrary targets proteins of unknown function. To evaluate the potential of an amiRNA-based screen, we tested 122 amiRNAs targeting transcription factor, protein kinase, and protein phosphatase families. Several amiRNA lines showed morphological phenotypes, either comparable to known phenotypes of single and double/triple mutants or caused by overexpression of microRNAs. Moreover, novel morphological and abscisic acid-insensitive seed germination mutants were identified for amiRNAs targeting zinc finger homeodomain transcription factors and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases, respectively. These resources provide an approach for genome-wide genetic screens of the functionally redundant gene space in Arabidopsis.
Cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) are toxic to all living organisms, including plants and humans. In plants, Cd and As are detoxified by phytochelatins (PCs) and metal(loid)-chelating peptides and by sequestering PC-metal(loid) complexes in vacuoles. Consistent differences have been observed between As and Cd detoxification. Whereas chelation of Cd by PCs is largely sufficient to detoxify Cd, As-PC complexes must be sequestered into vacuoles to be fully detoxified. It is not clear whether this difference in detoxification pathways is ubiquitous among plants or varies across species. Here, we have conducted a PC transport study using vacuoles isolated from Arabidopsis and barley. Arabidopsis vacuoles accumulated low levels of PC2 -Cd, and vesicles from yeast cells expressing either AtABCC1 or AtABCC2 exhibited negligible PC2 -Cd transport activity compared with PC2 -As. In contrast, barley vacuoles readily accumulated comparable levels of PC2 -Cd and PC2 -As. PC transport in barley vacuoles was inhibited by vanadate, but not by ammonium, suggesting the involvement of ABC-type transporters. Interestingly, barley vacuoles exhibited enhanced PC2 transport activity when essential metal ions, such as Zn(II), Cu(II) and Mn(II), were added to the transport assay, suggesting that PCs might contribute to the homeostasis of essential metals and detoxification of non-essential toxic metal(loid)s.
Rapid stomatal closure induced by changes in the environment, such as elevation of CO2, reduction of air humidity, darkness, and pulses of the air pollutant ozone (O3), involves the SLOW ANION CHANNEL1 (SLAC1). SLAC1 is activated by OPEN STOMATA1 (OST1) and Ca(2+)-dependent protein kinases. OST1 activation is controlled through abscisic acid (ABA)-induced inhibition of type 2 protein phosphatases (PP2C) by PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE/REGULATORY COMPONENTS OF ABA RECEPTOR (PYR/RCAR) receptor proteins. To address the role of signaling through PYR/RCARs for whole-plant steady-state stomatal conductance and stomatal closure induced by environmental factors, we used a set of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutants defective in ABA metabolism/signaling. The stomatal conductance values varied severalfold among the studied mutants, indicating that basal ABA signaling through PYR/RCAR receptors plays a fundamental role in controlling whole-plant water loss through stomata. PYR/RCAR-dependent inhibition of PP2Cs was clearly required for rapid stomatal regulation in response to darkness, reduced air humidity, and O3. Furthermore, PYR/RCAR proteins seem to function in a dose-dependent manner, and there is a functional diversity among them. Although a rapid stomatal response to elevated CO2 was evident in all but slac1 and ost1 mutants, the bicarbonate-induced activation of S-type anion channels was reduced in the dominant active PP2C mutants abi1-1 and abi2-1. Further experiments with a wider range of CO2 concentrations and analyses of stomatal response kinetics suggested that the ABA signalosome partially affects the CO2-induced stomatal response. Thus, we show that PYR/RCAR receptors play an important role for the whole-plant stomatal adjustments and responses to low humidity, darkness, and O3 and are involved in responses to elevated CO2.
With the global population predicted to grow by at least 25 per cent by 2050, the need for sustainable production of nutritious foods is critical for human and environmental health. Recent advances show that specialized plant membrane transporters can be used to enhance yields of staple crops, increase nutrient content and increase resistance to key stresses, including salinity, pathogens and aluminium toxicity, which in turn could expand available arable land.
Stomata are highly specialized organs that consist of pairs of guard cells and regulate gas and water vapor exchange in plants [1-3]. Although early stages of guard cell differentiation have been described [4-10] and were interpreted in analogy to processes of cell type differentiation in animals , the downstream development of functional stomatal guard cells remains poorly understood. We have isolated an Arabidopsis mutant, stomatal carpenter 1 (scap1), that develops irregularly shaped guard cells and lacks the ability to control stomatal aperture, including CO2-induced stomatal closing and light-induced stomatal opening. SCAP1 was identified as a plant-specific Dof-type transcription factor expressed in maturing guard cells, but not in guard mother cells. SCAP1 regulates the expression of genes encoding key elements of stomatal functioning and morphogenesis, such as K(+) channel protein, MYB60 transcription factor, and pectin methylesterase. Consequently, ion homeostasis was disturbed in scap1 guard cells, and esterification of extracellular pectins was impaired so that the cell walls lining the pores did not mature normally. We conclude that SCAP1 regulates essential processes of stomatal guard cell maturation and functions as a key transcription factor regulating the final stages of guard cell differentiation.
The concentrations of mineral nutrients in seeds are critical to both the life cycle of plants as well as human nutrition. These concentrations are strongly influenced by soil conditions, as shown here by quantifying the concentration of 14 elements in seeds from Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown under four different soil conditions: standard, or modified with NaCl, heavy metals, or alkali. Each of the modified soils resulted in a unique change to the seed ionome (the mineral nutrient content of the seeds). To help identify the genetic networks regulating the seed ionome, changes in elemental concentrations were evaluated using mutants corresponding to 760 genes as well as 10 naturally occurring accessions. The frequency of ionomic phenotypes supports an estimate that as much as 11% of the A. thaliana genome encodes proteins of functional relevance to ion homeostasis in seeds. A subset of mutants were analyzed with two independent alleles, providing five examples of genes important for regulation of the seed ionome: SOS2, ABH1, CCC, At3g14280 and CNGC2. In a comparison of nine different accessions to a Col-0 reference, eight accessions were observed to have reproducible differences in elemental concentrations, seven of which were dependent on specific soil conditions. These results indicate that the A. thaliana seed ionome is distinct from the vegetative ionome, and that elemental analysis is a sensitive approach to identify genes controlling ion homeostasis, including those that regulate gene expression, phospho-regulation, and ion transport.
Stomatal guard cells are the regulators of gas exchange between plants and the atmosphere. Ca(2+)-dependent and Ca(2+)-independent mechanisms function in these responses. Key stomatal regulation mechanisms, including plasma membrane and vacuolar ion channels have been identified and are regulated by the free cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](cyt)).
Members of class II of the HKT transporters, which have thus far only been isolated from grasses, were found to mediate Na(+)-K(+) cotransport and at high Na(+) concentrations preferred Na(+)-selective transport, depending on the ionic conditions. But the physiological functions of this K(+)-transporting class II of HKT transporters remain unknown in plants, with the exception of the unique class II Na(+) transporter OsHKT2;1. The genetically tractable rice (Oryza sativa; background Nipponbare) possesses two predicted K(+)-transporting class II HKT transporter genes, OsHKT2;3 and OsHKT2;4. In this study, we have characterized the ion selectivity of the class II rice HKT transporter OsHKT2;4 in yeast and Xenopus laevis oocytes. OsHKT2;4 rescued the growth defect of a K(+) uptake-deficient yeast mutant. Green fluorescent protein-OsHKT2;4 is targeted to the plasma membrane in transgenic plant cells. OsHKT2;4-expressing oocytes exhibited strong K(+) permeability. Interestingly, however, K(+) influx in OsHKT2;4-expressing oocytes did not require stimulation by extracellular Na(+), in contrast to other class II HKT transporters. Furthermore, OsHKT2;4-mediated currents exhibited permeabilities to both Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) in the absence of competing K(+) ions. Comparative analyses of Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) permeabilities in several HKT transporters, including Arabidopsis thaliana HKT1;1 (AtHKT1;1), Triticum aestivum HKT2;1 (TaHKT2;1), OsHKT2;1, OsHKT2;2, and OsHKT2;4, revealed that only OsHKT2;4 and to a lesser degree TaHKT2;1 mediate Mg(2+) transport. Interestingly, cation competition analyses demonstrate that the selectivity of both of these class II HKT transporters for K(+) is dominant over divalent cations, suggesting that Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) transport via OsHKT2;4 may be small and would depend on competing K(+) concentrations in plants.
The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) mediates seed dormancy, controls seedling development and triggers tolerance to abiotic stresses, including drought. Core ABA signaling components consist of a recently identified group of ABA receptor proteins of the PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE (PYR)/REGULATORY COMPONENT OF ABA RECEPTOR (RCAR) family that act as negative regulators of members of the PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2C (PP2C) family. Inhibition of PP2C activity enables activation of SNF1-RELATED KINASE 2 (SnRK2) protein kinases, which target downstream components, including transcription factors, ion channels and NADPH oxidases. These and other components form a complex ABA signaling network. Here, an in depth analysis of the evolution of components in this ABA signaling network shows that (i) PYR/RCAR ABA receptor and ABF-type transcription factor families arose during land colonization of plants and are not found in algae and other species, (ii) ABA biosynthesis enzymes have evolved to plant- and fungal-specific forms, leading to different ABA synthesis pathways, (iii) existing stress signaling components, including PP2C phosphatases and SnRK kinases, were adapted for novel roles in this plant-specific network to respond to water limitation. In addition, evolutionarily conserved secondary structures in the PYR/RCAR ABA receptor family are visualized.
Iron, zinc, copper and manganese are essential metals for cellular enzyme functions while cadmium, mercury and the metalloid arsenic lack any biological function. Both, essential metals, at high concentrations, and non-essential metals and metalloids are extremely reactive and toxic. Therefore, plants have acquired specialized mechanisms to sense, transport and maintain essential metals within physiological concentrations and to detoxify non-essential metals and metalloids. This review focuses on the recent identification of transporters that sequester cadmium and arsenic in vacuoles and the mechanisms mediating the partitioning of these metal(loid)s between roots and shoots. We further discuss recent models of phloem-mediated long-distance transport, seed accumulation of Cd and As and recent data demonstrating that plants posses a defined transcriptional response that allow plants to preserve metal homeostasis. This research is instrumental for future engineering of reduced toxic metal(loid) accumulation in edible crop tissues as well as for improved phytoremediation technologies.
Early rapid changes in response to the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) have been observed at the transcript level, but little is known how these transcript changes translate to changes in protein abundance under the same conditions. Here we have performed a global quantitative analysis of transcript and protein changes in Arabidopsis suspension cells in response to ABA using microarrays and quantitative proteomics. In summary, 3494 transcripts and 50 proteins were significantly regulated by ABA over a treatment period of 20-24?h. Abscisic acid also caused a rapid and strong increase in production of extracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) with an average half-rise time of 33?sec. A subset of ABA-regulated transcripts were differentially regulated in the presence of the ROS scavenger dimethylthiourea (DMTU) as compared with ABA alone, suggesting a role for ROS in the regulation of these ABA-induced genes. Transcript changes showed an overall poor correlation to protein changes (r?=?0.66). Only a subset of genes was regulated at the transcript and protein level, including known ABA marker genes. We furthermore identified ABA regulation of proteins that function in a branch of glucosinolate catabolism previously not associated with ABA signaling. The discovery of genes that were differentially regulated at the transcript and at the protein level emphasizes the strength of our combined approach. In summary, our dataset not only expands previous studies on gene and protein regulation in response to ABA, but rather uncovers unique aspects of the ABA regulon and gives rise to additional mechanisms regulated by ABA.
Coordinated regulation of protection mechanisms against environmental abiotic stress and pathogen attack is essential for plant adaptation and survival. Initial abiotic stress can interfere with disease-resistance signaling [1-6]. Conversely, initial plant immune signaling may interrupt subsequent abscisic acid (ABA) signal transduction [7, 8]. However, the processes involved in this crosstalk between these signaling networks have not been determined. By screening a 9600-compound chemical library, we identified a small molecule [5-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)furan-2-yl]-piperidine-1-ylmethanethione (DFPM) that rapidly downregulates ABA-dependent gene expression and also inhibits ABA-induced stomatal closure. Transcriptome analyses show that DFPM also stimulates expression of plant defense-related genes. Major early regulators of pathogen-resistance responses, including EDS1, PAD4, RAR1, and SGT1b, are required for DFPM-and notably also for Pseudomonas-interference with ABA signal transduction, whereas salicylic acid, EDS16, and NPR1 are not necessary. Although DFPM does not interfere with early ABA perception by PYR/RCAR receptors or ABA activation of SnRK2 kinases, it disrupts cytosolic Ca(2+) signaling and downstream anion channel activation in a PAD4-dependent manner. Our findings provide evidence that activation of EDS1/PAD4-dependent plant immune responses rapidly disrupts ABA signal transduction and that this occurs at the level of Ca(2+) signaling, illuminating how the initial biotic stress pathway interferes with ABA signaling.
Plants respond to elevated CO(2) via carbonic anhydrases that mediate stomatal closing, but little is known about the early signalling mechanisms following the initial CO(2) response. It remains unclear whether CO(2), HCO(3)(-) or a combination activates downstream signalling. Here, we demonstrate that bicarbonate functions as a small-molecule activator of SLAC1 anion channels in guard cells. Elevated intracellular [HCO(3)(-)](i) with low [CO(2)] and [H(+)] activated S-type anion currents, whereas low [HCO(3)(-)](i) at high [CO(2)] and [H(+)] did not. Bicarbonate enhanced the intracellular Ca(2+) sensitivity of S-type anion channel activation in wild-type and ht1-2 kinase mutant guard cells. ht1-2 mutant guard cells exhibited enhanced bicarbonate sensitivity of S-type anion channel activation. The OST1 protein kinase has been reported not to affect CO(2) signalling. Unexpectedly, OST1 loss-of-function alleles showed strongly impaired CO(2)-induced stomatal closing and HCO(3)(-) activation of anion channels. Moreover, PYR/RCAR abscisic acid (ABA) receptor mutants slowed but did not abolish CO(2)/HCO(3)(-) signalling, redefining the convergence point of CO(2) and ABA signalling. A new working model of the sequence of CO(2) signalling events in gas exchange regulation is presented.
The Arabidopsis AtHKT1;1 protein was identified as a sodium (Na?) transporter by heterologous expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, direct comparative in vivo electrophysiological analyses of a plant HKT transporter in wild-type and hkt loss-of-function mutants has not yet been reported and it has been recently argued that heterologous expression systems may alter properties of plant transporters, including HKT transporters. In this report, we analyze several key functions of AtHKT1;1-mediated ion currents in their native root stelar cells, including Na? and K? conductances, AtHKT1;1-mediated outward currents, and shifts in reversal potentials in the presence of defined intracellular and extracellular salt concentrations. Enhancer trap Arabidopsis plants with GFP-labeled root stelar cells were used to investigate AtHKT1;1-dependent ion transport properties using patch clamp electrophysiology in wild-type and athkt1;1 mutant plants. AtHKT1;1-dependent currents were carried by sodium ions and these currents were not observed in athkt1;1 mutant stelar cells. However, K? currents in wild-type and athkt1;1 root stelar cell protoplasts were indistinguishable correlating with the Na? over K? selectivity of AtHKT1;1-mediated transport. Moreover, AtHKT1;1-mediated currents did not show a strong voltage dependence in vivo. Unexpectedly, removal of extracellular Na? caused a reduction in AtHKT1;1-mediated outward currents in Columbia root stelar cells and Xenopus oocytes, indicating a role for external Na? in regulation of AtHKT1;1 activity. Shifting the NaCl gradient in root stelar cells showed a Nernstian shift in the reversal potential providing biophysical evidence for the model that AtHKT1;1 mediates passive Na? channel transport properties.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), including hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), are among the important second messengers in abscisic acid (ABA) signaling in guard cells. In this study, to investigate specific roles of H(2)O(2) in ABA signaling in guard cells, we examined the effects of mutations in the guard cell-expressed catalase (CAT) genes, CAT1 and CAT3, and of the CAT inhibitor 3-aminotriazole (AT) on stomatal movement. The cat3 and cat1 cat3 mutations significantly reduced CAT activities, leading to higher basal level of H(2)O(2) in guard cells, when assessed by 2,7-dichlorodihydrofluorescein, whereas they did not affect stomatal aperture size under non-stressed condition. In addition, AT-treatment at concentrations that abolish CAT activities, showed trivial affect on stomatal aperture size, while basal H(2)O(2) level increased extensively. In contrast, cat mutations and AT-treatment potentiated ABA-induced stomatal closure. Inducible ROS production triggered by ABA was observed in these mutants and wild type as well as in AT-treated guard cells. These results suggest that ABA-inducible cytosolic H(2)O(2) elevation functions in ABA-induced stomatal closure, while constitutive increase of H(2)O(2) do not cause stomatal closure.
Arsenic is an extremely toxic metalloid causing serious health problems. In Southeast Asia, aquifers providing drinking and agricultural water for tens of millions of people are contaminated with arsenic. To reduce nutritional arsenic intake through the consumption of contaminated plants, identification of the mechanisms for arsenic accumulation and detoxification in plants is a prerequisite. Phytochelatins (PCs) are glutathione-derived peptides that chelate heavy metals and metalloids such as arsenic, thereby functioning as the first step in their detoxification. Plant vacuoles act as final detoxification stores for heavy metals and arsenic. The essential PC-metal(loid) transporters that sequester toxic metal(loid)s in plant vacuoles have long been sought but remain unidentified in plants. Here we show that in the absence of two ABCC-type transporters, AtABCC1 and AtABCC2, Arabidopsis thaliana is extremely sensitive to arsenic and arsenic-based herbicides. Heterologous expression of these ABCC transporters in phytochelatin-producing Saccharomyces cerevisiae enhanced arsenic tolerance and accumulation. Furthermore, membrane vesicles isolated from these yeasts exhibited a pronounced arsenite [As(III)]-PC(2) transport activity. Vacuoles isolated from atabcc1 atabcc2 double knockout plants exhibited a very low residual As(III)-PC(2) transport activity, and interestingly, less PC was produced in mutant plants when exposed to arsenic. Overexpression of AtPCS1 and AtABCC1 resulted in plants exhibiting increased arsenic tolerance. Our findings demonstrate that AtABCC1 and AtABCC2 are the long-sought and major vacuolar PC transporters. Modulation of vacuolar PC transporters in other plants may allow engineering of plants suited either for phytoremediation or reduced accumulation of arsenic in edible organs.
Phytochelatins mediate tolerance to heavy metals in plants and some fungi by sequestering phytochelatin-metal complexes into vacuoles. To date, only Schizosaccharomyces pombe Hmt1 has been described as a phytochelatin transporter and attempts to identify orthologous phytochelatin transporters in plants and other organisms have failed. Furthermore, recent data indicate that the hmt1 mutant accumulates significant phytochelatin levels in vacuoles, suggesting that unidentified phytochelatin transporters exist in fungi. Here, we show that deletion of all vacuolar ABC transporters abolishes phytochelatin accumulation in S. pombe vacuoles and abrogates (35)S-PC(2) uptake into S. pombe microsomal vesicles. Systematic analysis of the entire S. pombe ABC transporter family identified Abc2 as a full-size ABC transporter (ABCC-type) that mediates phytochelatin transport into vacuoles. The S. pombe abc1 abc2 abc3 abc4 hmt1 quintuple and abc2 hmt1 double mutant show no detectable phytochelatins in vacuoles. Abc2 expression restores phytochelatin accumulation into vacuoles and suppresses the cadmium sensitivity of the abc quintuple mutant. A novel, unexpected, function of Hmt1 in GS-conjugate transport is also shown. In contrast to Hmt1, Abc2 orthologs are widely distributed among kingdoms and are proposed as the long-sought vacuolar phytochelatin transporters in plants and other organisms.
The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) regulates many key processes in plants, including seed germination and development and abiotic stress tolerance, particularly drought resistance. Understanding early events in ABA signal transduction has been a major goal of plant research. The recent identification of the PYRABACTIN (4-bromo-N-[pyridin-2-yl methyl]naphthalene-1-sulfonamide) RESISTANCE (PYR)/REGULATORY COMPONENT OF ABA RECEPTOR (RCAR) family of ABA receptors and their biochemical mode of action represents a major breakthrough in the field. The solving of PYR/RCAR structures provides a context for resolving mechanisms mediating ABA control of protein-protein interactions for downstream signaling. Recent studies show that a pathway based on PYR/RCAR ABA receptors, PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2Cs (PP2Cs), and SNF1-RELATED PROTEIN KINASE 2s (SnRK2s) forms the primary basis of an early ABA signaling module. This pathway interfaces with ion channels, transcription factors, and other targets, thus providing a mechanistic connection between the phytohormone and ABA-induced responses. This emerging PYR/RCAR-PP2C-SnRK2 model of ABA signal transduction is reviewed here, and provides an opportunity for testing novel hypotheses concerning ABA signaling. We address newly emerging questions, including the potential roles of different PYR/RCAR isoforms, and the significance of ABA-induced versus constitutive PYR/RCAR-PP2C interactions. We also consider how the PYR/RCAR-PP2C-SnRK2 pathway interfaces with ABA-dependent gene expression, ion channel regulation, and control of small molecule signaling. These exciting developments provide researchers with a framework through which early ABA signaling can be understood, and allow novel questions about the hormone response pathway and possible applications in stress resistance engineering of plants to be addressed.
Long-distance transport of nitrate requires xylem loading and unloading, a successive process that determines nitrate distribution and subsequent assimilation efficiency. Here, we report the functional characterization of NRT1.8, a member of the nitrate transporter (NRT1) family in Arabidopsis thaliana. NRT1.8 is upregulated by nitrate. Histochemical analysis using promoter-beta-glucuronidase fusions, as well as in situ hybridization, showed that NRT1.8 is expressed predominantly in xylem parenchyma cells within the vasculature. Transient expression of the NRT1.8:enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion in onion epidermal cells and Arabidopsis protoplasts indicated that NRT1.8 is plasma membrane localized. Electrophysiological and nitrate uptake analyses using Xenopus laevis oocytes showed that NRT1.8 mediates low-affinity nitrate uptake. Functional disruption of NRT1.8 significantly increased the nitrate concentration in xylem sap. These data together suggest that NRT1.8 functions to remove nitrate from xylem vessels. Interestingly, NRT1.8 was the only nitrate assimilatory pathway gene that was strongly upregulated by cadmium (Cd(2+)) stress in roots, and the nrt1.8-1 mutant showed a nitrate-dependent Cd(2+)-sensitive phenotype. Further analyses showed that Cd(2+) stress increases the proportion of nitrate allocated to wild-type roots compared with the nrt1.8-1 mutant. These data suggest that NRT1.8-regulated nitrate distribution plays an important role in Cd(2+) tolerance.
Potassium (K(+)) is a major plant nutrient required for growth and development. It is generally accepted that plant roots absorb K(+) through uptake systems operating at low concentrations (high-affinity transport) and/or high external concentrations (low-affinity transport). To understand the molecular basis of high-affinity K(+) uptake in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), we analyzed loss-of-function mutants in AtHAK5 and AKT1, two transmembrane proteins active in roots. Compared with the wild type under NH(4)(+)-free growth conditions, athak5 mutant plants exhibited growth defects at 10 mum K(+), but at K(+) concentrations of 20 mum and above, athak5 mutants were visibly indistinguishable from the wild type. While germination, scored as radicle emergence, was only slightly decreased in athak5 akt1 double mutants on low-K(+) medium, double mutants failed to grow on medium containing up to 100 mum K(+) and growth was impaired at concentrations up to 450 mum K(+). Moreover, transfer of 3-d-old plants from high to low K(+) concentrations led to growth defects and leaf chlorosis at 10 mum K(+) in athak5 akt1 double mutant plants. Determination of Rb(+)(K(+)) uptake kinetics in wild-type and mutant roots using rubidium ((86)Rb(+)) as a tracer for K(+) revealed that high-affinity Rb(+)(K(+)) uptake into roots is almost completely abolished in double mutants and impaired in single mutants. These results strongly indicate that AtHAK5 and AKT1 are the two major, physiologically relevant molecular entities mediating high-affinity K(+) uptake into roots during seedling establishment and postgermination growth and that residual Rb(+)(K(+)) uptake measured in athak5 akt1 double mutant roots is insufficient to enable plant growth.
Stomatal pores are formed by pairs of specialized epidermal guard cells and serve as major gateways for both CO(2) influx into plants from the atmosphere and transpirational water loss of plants. Because they regulate stomatal pore apertures via integration of both endogenous hormonal stimuli and environmental signals, guard cells have been highly developed as a model system to dissect the dynamics and mechanisms of plant-cell signaling. The stress hormone ABA and elevated levels of CO(2) activate complex signaling pathways in guard cells that are mediated by kinases/phosphatases, secondary messengers, and ion channel regulation. Recent research in guard cells has led to a new hypothesis for how plants achieve specificity in intracellular calcium signaling: CO(2) and ABA enhance (prime) the calcium sensitivity of downstream calcium-signaling mechanisms. Recent progress in identification of early stomatal signaling components are reviewed here, including ABA receptors and CO(2)-binding response proteins, as well as systems approaches that advance our understanding of guard cell-signaling mechanisms.
Oxidative stress is a major challenge for all cells living in an oxygen-based world. Among reactive oxygen species, H2O2, is a well known toxic molecule and, nowadays, considered a specific component of several signalling pathways. In order to gain insight into the roles played by H2O2 in plant cells, it is necessary to have a reliable, specific and non-invasive methodology for its in vivo detection. Hence, the genetically encoded H2O2 sensor HyPer was expressed in plant cells in different subcellular compartments such as cytoplasm and peroxisomes. Moreover, with the use of the new green fluorescent protein (GFP)-based Cameleon Ca2+ indicator, D3cpv-KVK-SKL, targeted to peroxisomes, we demonstrated that the induction of cytoplasmic Ca2+ increase is followed by Ca2+ rise in the peroxisomal lumen. The analyses of HyPer fluorescence ratios were performed in leaf peroxisomes of tobacco and pre- and post-bolting Arabidopsis plants. These analyses allowed us to demonstrate that an intraperoxisomal Ca2+ rise in vivo stimulates catalase activity, increasing peroxisomal H2O2 scavenging efficiency.
Na(+) and K(+) homeostasis are crucial for plant growth and development. Two HKT transporter/channel classes have been characterized that mediate either Na(+) transport or Na(+) and K(+) transport when expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and yeast. However, the Na(+)/K(+) selectivities of the K(+)-permeable HKT transporters have not yet been studied in plant cells. One study expressing 5 untranslated region-modified HKT constructs in yeast has questioned the relevance of cation selectivities found in heterologous systems for selectivity predictions in plant cells. Therefore, here we analyze two highly homologous rice (Oryza sativa) HKT transporters in plant cells, OsHKT2;1 and OsHKT2;2, that show differential K(+) permeabilities in heterologous systems. Upon stable expression in cultured tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Bright-Yellow 2 cells, OsHKT2;1 mediated Na(+) uptake, but little Rb(+) uptake, consistent with earlier studies and new findings presented here in oocytes. In contrast, OsHKT2;2 mediated Na(+)-K(+) cotransport in plant cells such that extracellular K(+) stimulated OsHKT2;2-mediated Na(+) influx and vice versa. Furthermore, at millimolar Na(+) concentrations, OsHKT2;2 mediated Na(+) influx into plant cells without adding extracellular K(+). This study shows that the Na(+)/K(+) selectivities of these HKT transporters in plant cells coincide closely with the selectivities in oocytes and yeast. In addition, the presence of external K(+) and Ca(2+) down-regulated OsHKT2;1-mediated Na(+) influx in two plant systems, Bright-Yellow 2 cells and intact rice roots, and also in Xenopus oocytes. Moreover, OsHKT transporter selectivities in plant cells are shown to depend on the imposed cationic conditions, supporting the model that HKT transporters are multi-ion pores.
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.
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) acts in seed dormancy, plant development, drought tolerance, and adaptive responses to environmental stresses. Structural mechanisms mediating ABA receptor recognition and signaling remain unknown but are essential for understanding and manipulating abiotic stress resistance. Here, we report structures of pyrabactin resistance 1 (PYR1), a prototypical PYR/PYR1-like (PYL)/regulatory component of ABA receptor (RCAR) protein that functions in early ABA signaling. The crystallographic structure reveals an alpha/beta helix-grip fold and homodimeric assembly, verified in vivo by coimmunoprecipitation. ABA binding within a large internal cavity switches structural motifs distinguishing ABA-free "open-lid" from ABA-bound "closed-lid" conformations. Small-angle x-ray scattering suggests that ABA signals by converting PYR1 to a more compact, symmetric closed-lid dimer. Site-directed PYR1 mutants designed to disrupt hormone binding lose ABA-triggered interactions with type 2C protein phosphatase partners in planta.
Distinct potassium, anion, and calcium channels in the plasma membrane and vacuolar membrane of plant cells have been identified and characterized by patch clamping. Primarily owing to advances in Arabidopsis genetics and genomics, and yeast functional complementation, many of the corresponding genes have been identified. Recent advances in our understanding of ion channel genes that mediate signal transduction and ion transport are discussed here. Some plant ion channels, for example, ALMT and SLAC anion channel subunits, are unique. The majority of plant ion channel families exhibit homology to animal genes; such families include both hyperpolarization- and depolarization-activated Shaker-type potassium channels, CLC chloride transporters/channels, cyclic nucleotide-gated channels, and ionotropic glutamate receptor homologs. These plant ion channels offer unique opportunities to analyze the structural mechanisms and functions of ion channels. Here we review gene families of selected plant ion channel classes and discuss unique structure-function aspects and their physiological roles in plant cell signaling and transport.
The precise delivery of male to female gametes during reproduction in eukaryotes requires complex signal exchanges and a flawless communication between male and female tissues. In angiosperms, molecular mechanisms have recently been revealed that are crucial for the dialog between male (pollen tube) and female gametophytes required for successful sperm delivery. When pollen tubes reach the female gametophyte, they arrest growth, burst and discharge their sperm cells. These processes are under the control of the female gametophyte via the receptor-like serine-threonine kinase (RLK) FERONIA (FER). However, the male signaling components that control the sperm delivery remain elusive. Here, we show that ANXUR1 and ANXUR2 (ANX1, ANX2), which encode the closest homologs of the FER-RLK in Arabidopsis, are preferentially expressed in pollen. Moreover, ANX1-YFP and ANX2-YFP fusion proteins display polar localization to the plasma membrane at the tip of the pollen tube. Finally, genetic analyses demonstrate that ANX1 and ANX2 function redundantly to control the timing of pollen tube discharge as anx1 anx2 double-mutant pollen tubes cease their growth and burst in vitro and fail to reach the female gametophytes in vivo. We propose that ANX-RLKs constitutively inhibit pollen tube rupture and sperm discharge at the tip of growing pollen tubes to sustain their growth within maternal tissues until they reach the female gametophytes. Upon arrival, the female FER-dependent signaling cascade is activated to mediate pollen tube reception and fertilization, while male ANX-dependent signaling is deactivated, enabling the pollen tube to rupture and deliver its sperm cells to effect fertilization.
The continuing rise in atmospheric CO2 causes stomatal pores in leaves to close and thus globally affects CO2 influx into plants, water use efficiency and leaf heat stress. However, the CO2-binding proteins that control this response remain unknown. Moreover, which cell type responds to CO2, mesophyll or guard cells, and whether photosynthesis mediates this response are matters of debate. We demonstrate that Arabidopsis thaliana double-mutant plants in the beta-carbonic anhydrases betaCA1 and betaCA4 show impaired CO2-regulation of stomatal movements and increased stomatal density, but retain functional abscisic-acid and blue-light responses. betaCA-mediated CO2-triggered stomatal movements are not, in first-order, linked to whole leaf photosynthesis and can function in guard cells. Furthermore, guard cell betaca-overexpressing plants exhibit instantaneous enhanced water use efficiency. Guard cell expression of mammalian alphaCAII complements the reduced sensitivity of ca1 ca4 plants, showing that carbonic anhydrase-mediated catalysis is an important mechanism for betaCA-mediated CO2-induced stomatal closure and patch clamp analyses indicate that CO2/HCO3- transfers the signal to anion channel regulation. These findings, together with ht1-2 (ref. 9) epistasis analysis demonstrate that carbonic anhydrases function early in the CO2 signalling pathway, which controls gas-exchange between plants and the atmosphere.
The salinization of irrigated lands is increasingly detrimental to plant biomass production and agricultural productivity, as most plant species are sensitive to high concentrations of sodium (Na(+)), which causes combined Na(+) toxicity and osmotic stress. Plants have multiple Na(+)-transport systems to circumvent Na(+) toxicity. Essential physiological functions of major Na(+) transporters and their mechanisms mediating salinity resistance have been identified in Arabidopsis , including the AtSOS1, AtNHX and AtHKT1;1 transporters. As we discuss here, recent studies have demonstrated that a class of xylem-parenchyma-expressed Na(+)-permeable plant HKT transporters represent a primary mechanism mediating salt tolerance and Na(+) exclusion from leaves in Arabidopsis, and that major salt-tolerance quantitative trait loci in monocot crop plants are also based on this HKT-mediated mechanism.
The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is a key regulator of plant growth and development as well as plant responses to situations of decreased water availability. Protein phosphatases type 2C (PP2Cs) from group A, which includes the ABI1/HAB1 and PP2CA branches, are key negative regulators of ABA signaling. Specifically, HAB1, ABI1, ABI2, and PP2CA have been shown to affect both seed and vegetative responses to ABA. To further understand their contribution to ABA signaling and to unravel possible genetic interactions and functional redundancy among them, we have generated different combinations of double and triple mutants impaired in these PP2Cs. Interestingly, hab1-1pp2ca-1 and abi1-2pp2ca-1 double mutants showed reduced water loss and enhanced resistance to drought stress, which further supports the role of PP2CA in vegetative responses to ABA. Two triple hab1-1abi1-2abi2-2 and hab1-1abi1-2pp2ca-1 mutants were generated, which showed an extreme response to exogenous ABA, impaired growth, and partial constitutive response to endogenous ABA. Thus, transcriptomic analysis revealed a partial up-regulation/down-regulation of a subset of ABA-responsive genes in both triple mutants in the absence of exogenous ABA. Comparison of ABA responses in the different pp2c mutants showed that a progressive increase in ABA sensitivity could be obtained through combined inactivation of these PP2Cs. These results indicate that ABA response is finely tuned by the integrated action of these genes, which is required to prevent a constitutive response to endogenous ABA that might have a deleterious effect on growth and development in the absence of environmental stress.
A forward-genetic screen in Arabidopsis led to the isolation of several arsenic tolerance mutants. ars5 was the strongest arsenate- and arsenite-resistant mutant identified in this genetic screen. Here, we report the characterization and cloning of the ars5 mutant gene. ars5 is shown to exhibit an increased accumulation of arsenic and thiol compounds during arsenic stress. Rough mapping together with microarray-based expression mapping identified the ars5 mutation in the alpha subunit F (PAF1) of the 26S proteasome complex. Characterization of an independent paf1 T-DNA insertion allele and complementation by PAF1 confirmed that paf1 mutation is responsible for the enhanced thiol accumulation and arsenic tolerance phenotypes. Arsenic tolerance was not observed in a knock-out mutant of the highly homologous PAF2 gene. However, genetic complementation of ars5 by the overexpression of PAF2 suggests that the PAF2 protein is functionally equivalent to PAF1 when expressed at high levels. No detectible difference was observed in total ubiquitinylated protein profiles between ars5 and wild-type (WT) Arabidopsis, suggesting that the arsenic tolerance observed in ars5 is not derived from a general impairment in proteasome-mediated protein degradation. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that arsenic induces the enhanced transcriptional activation of several key genes that function in glutathione and phytochelatin biosynthesis in the WT, and this arsenic induction of gene expression is more dramatic in ars5. The enhanced transcriptional response to arsenic and the increased accumulation of thiol compounds in ars5, compared with WT, suggest the presence of a positive regulation pathway for thiol biosynthesis that is enhanced in the ars5 background.
Type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) are vitally involved in abscisic acid (ABA) signaling. Here, we show that a synthetic growth inhibitor called pyrabactin functions as a selective ABA agonist. Pyrabactin acts through PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE 1 (PYR1), the founding member of a family of START proteins called PYR/PYLs, which are necessary for both pyrabactin and ABA signaling in vivo. We show that ABA binds to PYR1, which in turn binds to and inhibits PP2Cs. We conclude that PYR/PYLs are ABA receptors functioning at the apex of a negative regulatory pathway that controls ABA signaling by inhibiting PP2Cs. Our results illustrate the power of the chemical genetic approach for sidestepping genetic redundancy.
Stomatal closure in response to abscisic acid depends on mechanisms that are mediated by intracellular [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i), and also on mechanisms that are independent of [Ca2+]i in guard cells. In this study, we addressed three important questions with respect to these two predicted pathways in Arabidopsis thaliana. (i) How large is the relative abscisic acid (ABA)-induced stomatal closure response in the [Ca2+]i-elevation-independent pathway? (ii) How do ABA-insensitive mutants affect the [Ca2+]i-elevation-independent pathway? (iii) Does ABA enhance (prime) the Ca2+ sensitivity of anion and inward-rectifying K+ channel regulation? We monitored stomatal responses to ABA while experimentally inhibiting [Ca2+]i elevations and clamping [Ca2+]i to resting levels. The absence of [Ca2+]i elevations was confirmed by ratiometric [Ca2+]i imaging experiments. ABA-induced stomatal closure in the absence of [Ca2+]i elevations above the physiological resting [Ca2+]i showed only approximately 30% of the normal stomatal closure response, and was greatly slowed compared to the response in the presence of [Ca2+]i elevations. The ABA-insensitive mutants ost1-2, abi2-1 and gca2 showed partial stomatal closure responses that correlate with [Ca2+]i-dependent ABA signaling. Interestingly, patch-clamp experiments showed that exposure of guard cells to ABA greatly enhances the ability of cytosolic Ca2+ to activate S-type anion channels and down-regulate inward-rectifying K+ channels, providing strong evidence for a Ca2+ sensitivity priming hypothesis. The present study demonstrates and quantifies an attenuated and slowed ABA response when [Ca2+]i elevations are directly inhibited in guard cells. A minimal model is discussed, in which ABA enhances (primes) the [Ca2+]i sensitivity of stomatal closure mechanisms.
In a chemical genetics screen we identified the small-molecule [5-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)furan-2-yl]-piperidine-1-ylmethanethione (DFPM) that triggers rapid inhibition of early abscisic acid signal transduction via PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4 (PAD4)- and ENHANCED DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY1 (EDS1)-dependent immune signaling mechanisms. However, mechanisms upstream of EDS1 and PAD4 in DFPM-mediated signaling remain unknown. Here, we report that DFPM generates an Arabidopsis thaliana accession-specific root growth arrest in Columbia-0 (Col-0) plants. The genetic locus responsible for this natural variant, VICTR (VARIATION IN COMPOUND TRIGGERED ROOT growth response), encodes a TIR-NB-LRR (for Toll-Interleukin1 Receptor-nucleotide binding-Leucine-rich repeat) protein. Analyses of T-DNA insertion victr alleles showed that VICTR is necessary for DFPM-induced root growth arrest and inhibition of abscisic acid-induced stomatal closing. Transgenic expression of the Col-0 VICTR allele in DFPM-insensitive Arabidopsis accessions recapitulated the DFPM-induced root growth arrest. EDS1 and PAD4, both central regulators of basal resistance and effector-triggered immunity, as well as HSP90 chaperones and their cochaperones RAR1 and SGT1B, are required for the DFPM-induced root growth arrest. Salicylic acid and jasmonic acid signaling pathway components are dispensable. We further demonstrate that VICTR associates with EDS1 and PAD4 in a nuclear protein complex. These findings show a previously unexplored association between a TIR-NB-LRR protein and PAD4 and identify functions of plant immune signaling components in the regulation of root meristematic zone-targeted growth arrest.
The Arabidopsis guard cell anion channel SLAC1 is essential for stomatal closure in response to various endogenous and environmental stimuli. Interestingly, here we reveal an unexpected impairment of slac1 alleles on stomatal opening. We report that mutations in SLAC1 unexpectedly slow stomatal opening induced by light, low CO(2) and elevated air humidity in intact plants and that this is caused by the severely reduced activity of inward K(+) (K(+)(in)) channels in slac1 guard cells. Expression of channels and transporters involved in stomatal opening showed small but significant reductions in transcript levels in slac1 guard cells; however, this was deemed insufficient to explain the severely impaired K(+)(in) channel activity in slac1. We further examined resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](cyt)) and K(+)(in) channel sensitivity to [Ca(2+)](cyt) in slac1. These experiments showed higher resting [Ca(2+)](cyt) in slac1 guard cells and that reducing [Ca(2+)](cyt) to < 10 nM rapidly restored the activity of K(+)(in) channels in slac1 closer to wild-type levels. These findings demonstrate an unanticipated compensatory feedback control in plant stomatal regulation, which counteracts the impaired stomatal closing response of slac1, by down-regulating stomatal opening mechanisms and implicates enhanced [Ca(2+)](cyt) sensitivity priming as a mechanistic basis for the down-regulated K(+)(in) channel activity.
The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is produced in response to abiotic stresses and mediates stomatal closure in response to drought via recently identified ABA receptors (pyrabactin resistance/regulatory component of ABA receptor; PYR/RCAR). SLAC1 encodes a central guard cell S-type anion channel that mediates ABA-induced stomatal closure. Coexpression of the calcium-dependent protein kinase 21 (CPK21), CPK23, or the Open Stomata 1 kinase (OST1) activates SLAC1 anion currents. However, reconstitution of ABA activation of any plant ion channel has not yet been attained. Whether the known core ABA signaling components are sufficient for ABA activation of SLAC1 anion channels or whether additional components are required remains unknown. The Ca(2+)-dependent protein kinase CPK6 is known to function in vivo in ABA-induced stomatal closure. Here we show that CPK6 robustly activates SLAC1-mediated currents and phosphorylates the SLAC1 N terminus. A phosphorylation site (S59) in SLAC1, crucial for CPK6 activation, was identified. The group A PP2Cs ABI1, ABI2, and PP2CA down-regulated CPK6-mediated SLAC1 activity in oocytes. Unexpectedly, ABI1 directly dephosphorylated the N terminus of SLAC1, indicating an alternate branched early ABA signaling core in which ABI1 targets SLAC1 directly (down-regulation). Furthermore, here we have successfully reconstituted ABA-induced activation of SLAC1 channels in oocytes using the ABA receptor pyrabactin resistant 1 (PYR1) and PP2C phosphatases with two alternate signaling cores including either CPK6 or OST1. Point mutations in ABI1 disrupting PYR1-ABI1 interaction abolished ABA signal transduction. Moreover, by addition of CPK6, a functional ABA signal transduction core from ABA receptors to ion channel activation was reconstituted without a SnRK2 kinase.
Plants exposed to heavy metals rapidly induce changes in gene expression that activate and enhance detoxification mechanisms, including toxic-metal chelation and the scavenging of reactive oxygen species. However, the mechanisms mediating toxic heavy metal-induced gene expression remain largely unknown. To genetically elucidate cadmium-specific transcriptional responses in Arabidopsis, we designed a genetic screen based on the activation of a cadmium-inducible reporter gene. Microarray studies identified a high-affinity sulfate transporter (SULTR1;2) among the most robust and rapid cadmium-inducible transcripts. The SULTR1;2 promoter (2.2?kb) was fused with the firefly luciferase reporter gene to quantitatively report the transcriptional response of plants exposed to cadmium. Stably transformed luciferase reporter lines were ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutagenized, and stable M(2) seedlings were screened for an abnormal luciferase response during exposure to cadmium. The screen identified non-allelic mutant lines that fell into one of three categories: (i) super response to cadmium (SRC) mutants; (ii) constitutive response to cadmium (CRC) mutants; or (iii) non-response and reduced response to cadmium (NRC) mutants. Two nrc mutants, nrc1 and nrc2, were mapped, cloned and further characterized. The nrc1 mutation was mapped to the ?-glutamylcysteine synthetase gene and the nrc2 mutation was identified as the first viable recessive mutant allele in the glutathione synthetase gene. Moreover, genetic, HPLC mass spectrometry, and gene expression analysis of the nrc1 and nrc2 mutants, revealed that intracellular glutathione depletion alone would be insufficient to induce gene expression of sulfate uptake and assimilation mechanisms. Our results modify the glutathione-depletion driven model for sulfate assimilation gene induction during cadmium stress, and suggest that an enhanced oxidative state and depletion of upstream thiols, in addition to glutathione depletion, are necessary to induce the transcription of sulfate assimilation genes during early cadmium stress.
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