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.
The retromer complex localizes to endosomal membranes and is involved in protein trafficking. In mammals, it is composed of a dimer of sorting nexins and of the core retromer consisting of vacuolar protein sorting (VPS)26, VPS29, and VPS35. Although homologs of these proteins have been identified in plants, how the plant retromer functions remains elusive. To better understand the role of VPS components in the assembly and function of the core retromer, we characterize here Arabidopsis vps26-null mutants. We show that impaired VPS26 function has a dramatic effect on VPS35 levels and causes severe phenotypic defects similar to those observed in vps29-null mutants. This implies that functions of plant VPS26, VPS29, and VPS35 are tightly linked. Then, by combining live-cell imaging with immunochemical and genetic approaches, we report that VPS35 alone is able to bind to endosomal membranes and plays an essential role in VPS26 and VPS29 membrane recruitment. We also show that the Arabidopsis Rab7 homolog RABG3f participates in the recruitment of the core retromer to the endosomal membrane by interacting with VPS35. Altogether our data provide original information on the molecular interactions that mediate assembly of the core retromer in plants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sorting nexins (SNXs) are conserved eukaryotic proteins that associate with three types of vacuolar protein sorting (VPS) proteins to form the retromer complex. How SNXs act in this complex and whether they might work independently of the retromer remains elusive. Here, we show by genetic and cell imaging approaches that the Arabidopsis thaliana SNX1 protein recruits SNX2 at the endosomal membrane, a process required for SNX1-SNX2 dimer activity. We report that, in contrast with the mammalian retromer, SNXs are dispensable for membrane binding and function of the retromer complex. We also show that VPS retromer components can work with or independently of SNXs in the trafficking of seed storage proteins, which reveals distinct functions for subcomplexes of the plant retromer. Finally, we provide compelling evidence that the combined loss of function of SNXs and VPS29 leads to embryo or seedling lethality, underlining the essential role of these proteins in development.
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.
When a plant germinates in the soil, elongation of stem-like organs is enhanced whereas leaf and root growth is inhibited. How these differential growth responses are orchestrated by light and integrated at the organismal level to shape the plant remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that light signals through the master photomorphogenesis repressor COP1 to coordinate root and shoot growth in Arabidopsis. In the shoot, COP1 regulates shoot-to-root auxin transport by controlling the transcription of the auxin efflux carrier gene PIN-FORMED1 (PIN1), thus appropriately tuning shoot-derived auxin levels in the root. This in turn directly influences root elongation and adapts auxin transport and cell proliferation in the root apical meristem by modulating PIN1 and PIN2 intracellular distribution in the root in a COP1-dependent fashion, thus permitting a rapid and precise tuning of root growth to the light environment. Our data identify auxin as a long-distance signal in developmental adaptation to light and illustrate how spatially separated control mechanisms can converge on the same signaling system to coordinate development at the whole plant level.
The steroid hormones found in plants, the brassinosteroids, were originally genetically identified about 15 years ago as critical regulators of seedling photomorphogenesis. Two studies now shed light on the molecular mechanisms behind this observation. Brassinosteroids control seedling morphogenesis through direct interaction with master transcriptional regulators downstream of growth-promoting hormones and light signalling.
Auxin is implicated throughout plant growth and development. Although the effects of this plant hormone have been recognized for more than a century, it is only in the past two decades that light has been shed on the molecular mechanisms that regulate auxin homeostasis, signaling, transport, crosstalk with other hormonal pathways as well as its roles in plant development. These discoveries established a molecular framework to study the role of auxin in land plant evolution. Here, we review recent advances in auxin biology and their implications in both micro- and macro-evolution of plant morphology. By analogy to the term hoxology, which refers to the critical role of HOX genes in metazoan evolution, we propose to introduce the term auxology to take into account the crucial role of auxin in plant evo-devo.
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