Inhwan Hwang

Pohang University of Science and Technology, Geijitsu, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

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Publications (127)751.26 Total impact

  • Ting Dong · Youngmin Park · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays crucial roles in numerous physiological processes during plant growth and abiotic stress responses. The endogenous ABA level is controlled by complex regulatory mechanisms involving biosynthesis, catabolism, transport and signal transduction pathways. This complex regulatory network may target multiple levels, including transcription, translation and post-translational regulation of genes involved in ABA responses. Most of the genes involved in ABA biosynthesis, catabolism and transport have been characterized. The local ABA concentration is critical for initiating ABA-mediated signalling during plant development and in response to environmental changes. In this chapter we discuss the mechanisms that regulate ABA biosynthesis, catabolism, transport and homoeostasis. We also present the findings of recent research on ABA perception by cellular receptors, and ABA signalling in response to cellular and environmental conditions.
    Essays in Biochemistry 09/2015; 58:29-48. DOI:10.1042/bse0580029 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A large number of nuclear-encoded proteins are imported into chloroplasts after they are translated in the cytosol. Import is mediated by transit peptides (TPs) at the N-termini of these proteins. TPs contain many small motifs, each of which is critical for a specific step in the process of chloroplast protein import; however, it remains unknown how these motifs are organized to give rise to TPs with diverse sequences. In this study, we generated various hybrid TPs by swapping domains between RbcS (Rubisco small subunit) and Cab (chlorophyll a/b-binding protein), which have highly divergent sequences, and examined the abilities of the resultant TPs to deliver proteins into chloroplasts. Subsequently, we compared the functionality of sequence motifs in the hybrid TPs with those of wild-type TPs. The sequence motifs in the hybrid TPs exhibited three different modes of functionality, depending on their domain composition, as follows: active in both wild-type and hybrid TPs, active in wild-type TPs but inactive in hybrid TPs, and inactive in wild-type TPs but active in hybrid TPs. Moreover, synthetic TPs, in which only three critical motifs from RbcS or Cab TPs were incorporated into an unrelated sequence, were able to deliver clients to chloroplasts with a comparable efficiency to RbcS TP. Based on these results, we propose that diverse sequence motifs in TPs are independent functional units that interact with specific translocon components at various steps during protein import and can be transferred to new sequence contexts. Copyright © 2015, Plant Physiology.
    Plant physiology 07/2015; 169(1). DOI:10.1104/pp.15.00842 · 6.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In eukaryotic cells, organellar proteome biogenesis is pivotal for cellular function. Chloroplasts contain a complex proteome, the biogenesis of which includes post-translational import of nuclear-encoded proteins. However, the mechanisms determining when and how nascent chloroplast-targeted proteins are sorted in the cytosol are unknown. Here, we establish the timing and mode of interaction between ankyrin repeat-containing protein 2 (AKR2A), the cytosolic targeting factor of chloroplast outer membrane (COM) proteins, and its interacting partners during translation at the single-molecule level. The targeting signal of a nascent AKR2A client protein residing in the ribosomal exit tunnel induces AKR2A binding to ribosomal RPL23A. Subsequently, RPL23A-bound AKR2A binds to the targeting signal when it becomes exposed from ribosomes. Failure of AKR2A binding to RPL23A in planta severely disrupts protein targeting to the COM; thus, AKR2A-mediated targeting of COM proteins is coupled to their translation, which in turn is crucial for biogenesis of the entire chloroplast proteome.
    Nature Communications 04/2015; 6:6843. DOI:10.1038/ncomms7843 · 11.47 Impact Factor
  • Young Jun Oh · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: Chloroplasts produce carbohydrates, hormones, vitamins, amino acids, pigments, nucleotides, ATP, and secondary metabolites. Channels and transporters are required for the movement of molecules across the two chloroplast envelope membranes. These transporters and channel proteins are grouped into two different types, including β-barrel proteins and transmembrane-domain (TMD) containing proteins. Most β-barrel proteins are localized at the outer chloroplast membrane, and TMD-containing proteins are localized at the inner chloroplast membrane. Many of these transporters and channels are encoded by nuclear genes; therefore, they have to be imported into chloroplasts after translation on cytosolic ribosomes. These proteins should have specific targeting signals for their final destination in the chloroplast membrane and for assembly into specific complexes. In this review, we summarize recent progress in the identification, functional characterization, and biogenesis of transporters and channels at the chloroplast envelope membranes, and discuss outstanding questions regarding transporter and channel protein biogenesis.
    Cell Calcium 10/2014; 58(1). DOI:10.1016/j.ceca.2014.10.012 · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In organellogenesis of the chloroplast from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria, the establishment of protein-targeting mechanisms to the chloroplast should have been pivotal. However, it is still mysterious how these mechanisms were established and how they work in plant cells. Here we show that AKR2A, the cytosolic targeting factor for chloroplast outer membrane (COM) proteins, evolved from the ankyrin repeat domain (ARD) of the host cell by stepwise extensions of its N-terminal domain and that two lipids, monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and phosphatidylglycerol (PG), of the endosymbiont were selected to function as the AKR2A receptor. Structural analysis, molecular modeling, and mutational analysis of the ARD identified two adjacent sites for coincidental and synergistic binding of MGDG and PG. Based on these findings, we propose that the targeting mechanism of COM proteins was established using components from both the endosymbiont and host cell through a modification of the protein-protein-interacting ARD into a lipid binding domain.
    Developmental Cell 09/2014; 30(5):598-609. DOI:10.1016/j.devcel.2014.07.026 · 9.71 Impact Factor
  • Hyangju Kang · Inhwan Hwang
    09/2014; 3(3):392-408. DOI:10.3390/plants3030392
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    ABSTRACT: Pandemics in poultry caused by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A virus occur too frequently globally, and there is growing concern about the HPAI A virus due to the possibility of a pandemic among humans. Thus, it is important to develop a vaccine against HPAI suitable for both humans and animals. Various approaches are underway to develop such vaccines. In particular, an edible vaccine would be a convenient way to vaccinate poultry because of the behaviour of the animals. However, an edible vaccine is still not available. In this study, we developed a strategy of effective vaccination of mice by the oral administration of transgenic Arabidopsis plants (HA-TG) expressing haemagglutinin (HA) in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Expression of HA in the ER resulted in its high-level accumulation, N-glycosylation, protection from proteolytic degradation and long-term stability. Oral administration of HA-TG with saponin elicited high levels of HA-specific systemic IgG and mucosal IgA responses in mice, which resulted in protection against a lethal influenza virus infection with attenuated inflammatory symptoms. Based on these results, we propose that oral administration of freeze-dried leaf powders from transgenic plants expressing HA in the ER together with saponin is an attractive strategy for vaccination against influenza A virus.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal 07/2014; 13(1). DOI:10.1111/pbi.12235 · 5.75 Impact Factor
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    Ting Dong · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays a crucial role in numerous aspects of plant growth and environmental stress responses. Endogenous ABA levels are regulated by a balance between its biosynthetic and catabolic activities. This balance may occur at multiple levels and includes the expression of genes involved in these processes. ABA UDP-glucosyltransferase (UGT), the major player in the ABA conjugation pathway, has been shown to have a marginal effect on free ABA levels. However, recent studies provide new insight into the importance of the ABA conjugation pathway in contributing to the control of ABA homeostasis. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutant analyses have revealed that UGT71B6, an ABA UGT, and its 2 closely related homologs, UGT71B7 and UGT71B8, play a crucial role in ABA homeostasis and in adaptation to various abiotic stresses.
    Plant signaling & behavior 04/2014; 9(7). DOI:10.4161/psb.28888
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    Junho Lee · Dae Heon Kim · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: Chloroplasts and mitochondria are endosymbiotic organelles thought to be derived from endosymbiotic bacteria. In present-day eukaryotic cells, these two organelles play pivotal roles in photosynthesis and ATP production. In addition to these major activities, numerous reactions, and cellular processes that are crucial for normal cellular functions occur in chloroplasts and mitochondria. To function properly, these organelles constantly communicate with the surrounding cellular compartments. This communication includes the import of proteins, the exchange of metabolites and ions, and interactions with other organelles, all of which heavily depend on membrane proteins localized to the outer envelope membranes. Therefore, correct and efficient targeting of these membrane proteins, which are encoded by the nuclear genome and translated in the cytosol, is critically important for organellar function. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms of protein targeting to the outer membranes of mitochondria and chloroplasts in two different directions, as well as targeting signals and cytosolic factors.
    Frontiers in Plant Science 04/2014; 5:173. DOI:10.3389/fpls.2014.00173 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is crucial for plant growth and adaptive responses to various stress conditions. Plants continuously adjust the ABA level to meet physiological needs, but how ABA homeostasis occurs is not fully understood. This study provides evidence that UGT71B6, an ABA uridine diphosphate glucosyltransferase (UGT), and its two closely related homologs, UGT71B7 and UGT71B8, play crucial roles in ABA homeostasis and in adaptation to dehydration, osmotic stress and high-salinity stresses. UGT RNAi plants that had low levels of these three UGT transcripts displayed hypersensitivity to exogenous ABA and high-salt conditions during germination, and exhibited a defect in plant growth. However, the ectopic expression of UGT71B6 in the atbg1 mutant background aggravated the ABA-deficient phenotype of atbg1 mutant plants. In addition, modulation of the expression of the three UGTs affects the expression of CYP707A1 to CYP707A4, which encode ABA 8'-hydroxylases; four CYP707As were expressed at higher levels in the UGT RNAi plants but at lower levels in the UGT71B6:GFP-overexpressing plants. Based on these data, this study proposes that UGT71B6 and its two homologs play a critical role in ABA homeostasis that depends on intrinsic cellular and environmental conditions in plants.
    Plant physiology 03/2014; 165(1). DOI:10.1104/pp.114.239210 · 6.84 Impact Factor
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    Dae Heon Kim · Zheng-Yi Xu · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: In eukaryotic cells, a major proportion of the cellular proteins localize to various subcellular organelles where they are involved in organelle-specific cellular processes. Thus, the localization of a particular protein in the cell is an important part of understanding the physiological role of the protein in the cell. Various approaches such as subcellular fractionation, immunolocalization and live imaging have been used to define the localization of organellar proteins. Of these various approaches, the most powerful one is the live imaging because it can show in vivo dynamics of protein localization depending on cellular and environmental conditions without disturbing cellular structures. However, the live imaging requires the ability to detect the organelles in live cells. In this study, we report generation of a new set of transgenic Arabidopsis plants using various organelle marker proteins fused to a fluorescence protein, monomeric Cherry (mCherry). All these markers representing different subcellular organelles such as chloroplasts, mitochondria, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and lytic vacuole showed clear and specific signals regardless of the cell types and tissues. These marker lines can be used to determine localization of organellar proteins by colocalization and also to study the dynamics of organelles under various developmental and environmental conditions.
    Journal of Plant Biology 12/2013; 56(6). DOI:10.1007/s12374-013-0348-3 · 1.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple transcription factors (TFs) play essential roles in plants under abiotic stress, but how these multiple TFs cooperate in abiotic stress responses remains largely unknown. In this study, we provide evidence that the NAC (for NAM, ATAF1/2, and CUC2) TF ANAC096 cooperates with the bZIP-type TFs ABRE binding factor and ABRE binding protein (ABF/AREB) to help plants survive under dehydration and osmotic stress conditions. ANAC096 directly interacts with ABF2 and ABF4, but not with ABF3, both in vitro and in vivo. ANAC096 and ABF2 synergistically activate RD29A transcription. Our genome-wide gene expression analysis revealed that a major proportion of abscisic acid (ABA)-responsive genes are under the transcriptional regulation of ANAC096. We found that the Arabidopsis thaliana anac096 mutant is hyposensitive to exogenous ABA and shows impaired ABA-induced stomatal closure and increased water loss under dehydration stress conditions. Furthermore, we found the anac096 abf2 abf4 triple mutant is much more sensitive to dehydration and osmotic stresses than the anac096 single mutant or the abf2 abf4 double mutant. Based on these results, we propose that ANAC096 is involved in a synergistic relationship with a subset of ABFs for the transcriptional activation of ABA-inducible genes in response to dehydration and osmotic stresses.
    The Plant Cell 11/2013; 25(11). DOI:10.1105/tpc.113.119099 · 9.34 Impact Factor
  • Dae Heon Kim · Zheng-Yi Xu · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: Key message: Transgenic Arabidopsis and lettuce plants overexpressing AtHSP17.8 showed ABA-hypersensitive but abiotic stress-resistant phenotypes. ABA treatment caused a dramatic induction of early ABA-responsive genes in AtHSP17.8 -overexpressing transgenic lettuce. Plant small heat shock proteins function as chaperones in protein folding. In addition, they are involved in responses to various abiotic stresses, such as dehydration, heat and high salinity in Arabidopsis. However, it remains elusive how they play a role in the abiotic stress responses at the molecular level. In this study, we provide evidence that Arabidopsis HSP17.8 (AtHSP17.8) positively regulates the abiotic stress responses by modulating abscisic acid (ABA) signaling in Arabidopsis, and also in lettuce, a heterologous plant when ectopically expressed. Overexpression of AtHSP17.8 in both Arabidopsis and lettuce leads to hypersensitivity to ABA and enhanced resistance to dehydration and high salinity stresses. Moreover, early ABA-responsive genes, ABI1, ABI5, NCED3, SNF4 and AREB2, were rapidly induced in AtHSP17.8-overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis and lettuce. Based on these data, we propose that AtHSP17.8 plays a crucial role in abiotic stress responses by positively modulating ABA-mediated signaling in both Arabidopsis and lettuce. Moreover, our results suggest that stress-tolerant lettuce can be engineered using the genetic and molecular resources of Arabidopsis.
    Plant Cell Reports 10/2013; 32(12). DOI:10.1007/s00299-013-1506-2 · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nucleotide sequence around the translational initiation site is an important cis-acting element for post-transcriptional regulation. However, it has not been fully understood how the sequence context at the 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) affects the translational efficiency of individual mRNAs. In this study, we provide evidence that the 5′-UTRs of Arabidopsis genes showing a great difference in the nucleotide sequence vary greatly in translational efficiency with more than a 200-fold difference. Of the four types of nucleotides, the A residue was the most favourable nucleotide from positions −1 to −21 of the 5′-UTRs in Arabidopsis genes. In particular, the A residue in the 5′-UTR from positions −1 to −5 was required for a high-level translational efficiency. In contrast, the T residue in the 5′-UTR from positions −1 to −5 was the least favourable nucleotide in translational efficiency. Furthermore, the effect of the sequence context in the −1 to −21 region of the 5′-UTR was conserved in different plant species. Based on these observations, we propose that the sequence context immediately upstream of the AUG initiation codon plays a crucial role in determining the translational efficiency of plant genes.
    Nucleic Acids Research 09/2013; 42(1). DOI:10.1093/nar/gkt864 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fertilization in flowering plants requires the temporal and spatial coordination of many developmental processes, including pollen production, anther dehiscence, ovule production, and pollen tube elongation. However, it remains elusive as to how this coordination occurs during reproduction. Here, we present evidence that endocytosis, involving heterotetrameric adaptor protein complex 2 (AP-2), plays a crucial role in fertilization. An Arabidopsis thaliana mutant ap2m displays multiple defects in pollen production and viability, as well as elongation of staminal filaments and pollen tubes, all of which are pivotal processes needed for fertilization. Of these abnormalities, the defects in elongation of staminal filaments and pollen tubes were partially rescued by exogenous auxin. Moreover, DR5rev:GFP (for green fluorescent protein) expression was greatly reduced in filaments and anthers in ap2m mutant plants. At the cellular level, ap2m mutants displayed defects in both endocytosis of N-(3-triethylammonium-propyl)-4-(4-diethylaminophenylhexatrienyl) pyridinium dibromide, a lypophilic dye used as an endocytosis marker, and polar localization of auxin-efflux carrier PIN FORMED2 (PIN2) in the stamen filaments. Moreover, these defects were phenocopied by treatment with Tyrphostin A23, an inhibitor of endocytosis. Based on these results, we propose that AP-2-dependent endocytosis plays a crucial role in coordinating the multiple developmental aspects of male reproductive organs by modulating cellular auxin level through the regulation of the amount and polarity of PINs.
    The Plant Cell 08/2013; 25(8). DOI:10.1105/tpc.113.114264 · 9.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) regulates many aspects of plant development, including hormone signaling and responses to environmental stresses. Despite the importance of this process, the machinery that regulates CME in plants is largely unknown. In mammals, the heterotetrameric ADAPTOR PROTEIN COMPLEX-2 (AP-2) is required for the formation of clathrin-coated vesicles at the plasma membrane (PM). Although the existence of AP-2 has been predicted in Arabidopsis thaliana, the biochemistry and functionality of the complex is still uncharacterized. Here, we identified all the subunits of the Arabidopsis AP-2 by tandem affinity purification and found that one of the large AP-2 subunits, AP2A1, localized at the PM and interacted with clathrin. Furthermore, endocytosis of the leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase, BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE1 (BRI1), was shown to depend on AP-2. Knockdown of the two Arabidopsis AP2A genes or overexpression of a dominant-negative version of the medium AP-2 subunit, AP2M, impaired BRI1 endocytosis and enhanced the brassinosteroid signaling. Our data reveal that the CME machinery in Arabidopsis is evolutionarily conserved and that AP-2 functions in receptor-mediated endocytosis.
    The Plant Cell 08/2013; 25(8). DOI:10.1105/tpc.113.114058 · 9.34 Impact Factor
  • Myoung Hui Lee · Yongjik Lee · Inhwan Hwang
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    ABSTRACT: In eukaryotic cells, a large number of proteins are transported to their final destination after translation by a process called intracellular trafficking. Transient gene expression, either in plant protoplasts or in specific plant tissues, is a fast, flexible, and reproducible approach to study the cellular function of proteins, protein subcellular localizations, and protein-protein interactions. Here we describe the general method of protoplast isolation, polyethylene glycol-mediated protoplast transformation and immunostaining of protoplast or intact root tissues for studying the localization of protein in Arabidopsis.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 08/2013; 1043:113-20. DOI:10.1007/978-1-62703-532-3_12 · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adaptor protein (AP) complexes are the predominant coat proteins of membrane vesicles in post-Golgi trafficking of mammalian cells. Each AP complex contains a specific medium subunit, μ-adaptin, that selects cargo proteins bearing sequence-specific sorting motifs. Much less is known about the AP complexes and their μ subunits in plants. Because of uncertain homology, the μ-adaptins of Arabidopsis have been designated muA through muD [Happel et al. (2004) Plant J 37(5):678-693]. Furthermore, only muD has been assigned to a specific AP complex, AP-3, involved in Golgi-vacuolar trafficking [Niihama et al. (2009) Plant Cell Physiol 50(12):2057-2068, Zwiewka et al. (2011) Cell Res 21(12):1711-1722, and Wolfenstetter et al. (2012) Plant Cell 24(1):215-232]. In contrast, the μ subunit of neither the post-Golgi trafficking AP-1 complex nor the endocytic AP-2 complex has been identified. Here, we report the functional analysis of redundant AP-1 μ-adaptins AP1M1 (also known as muB1) and AP1M2 (also known as muB2). Coimmunoprecipitation revealed that both AP1M2 and its less strongly expressed isoform AP1M1 are complexed with the large subunit γ-adaptin of AP-1. In addition, AP1M2 was localized at or near the trans-Golgi network. Knockout mutations of AP1M2 impaired pollen function and arrested plant growth whereas the ap1m1 ap1m2 double mutant was nearly pollen-lethal. At the cellular level, the absence of AP1M2 entailed inhibition of multiple trafficking pathways from the trans-Golgi network to the vacuole and to the plasma membrane in interphase and to the plane of cell division in cytokinesis. Thus, AP-1 is crucial in post-Golgi trafficking in plant cells and required for cell division and plant growth.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2013; 110(25). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1300460110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Neuroblastoma Amplified Gene (NAG) was identified as a gene co-amplified with the N-myc gene, whose genomic amplification correlates with poor prognosis of neuroblastoma. Later it was found that NAG is localized in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and is a component of the syntaxin 18 complex that is involved in Golgi-to-ER retrograde transport in human cells. Homologous sequences of NAG are found in plant databases, but its function in plant cells remains unknown. Results Nicotiana benthamania Neuroblastoma-Amplified Gene (NbNAG) encodes a protein of 2,409 amino acids that contains the secretory pathway Sec39 domain and is mainly localized in the ER. Silencing of NbNAG by virus-induced gene silencing resulted in growth arrest and acute plant death with morphological markers of programmed cell death (PCD), which include chromatin fragmentation and modification of mitochondrial membrane potential. NbNAG deficiency caused induction of ER stress genes, disruption of the ER network, and relocation of bZIP28 transcription factor from the ER membrane to the nucleus, similar to the phenotypes of tunicamycin-induced ER stress in a plant cell. NbNAG silencing caused defects in intracellular transport of diverse cargo proteins, suggesting that a blocked secretion pathway by NbNAG deficiency causes ER stress and programmed cell death. Conclusions These results suggest that NAG, a conserved protein from yeast to mammals, plays an essential role in plant growth and development by modulating protein transport pathway, ER stress response and PCD.
    BMC Plant Biology 04/2013; 13(1):69. DOI:10.1186/1471-2229-13-69 · 3.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
751.26 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2014
    • Pohang University of Science and Technology
      • • Department of Life Sciences
      • • Division of Molecular and Life Sciences
      • • Center for Plant Intracellular Trafficking and Division of Molecular and Life Sciences
      Geijitsu, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
  • 2004
    • Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology KRIBB
      • Laboratory of Plant Genomics
      Ansan, Gyeonggi, South Korea
  • 1994–2001
    • Gyeongsang National University
      • Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Center
      Shinshū, South Gyeongsang, South Korea