Xu Tan

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Maryland, United States

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Publications (6)114.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The plant hormone auxin regulates virtually every aspect of plant growth and development. Auxin acts by binding the F-box protein transport inhibitor response 1 (TIR1) and promotes the degradation of the AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (Aux/IAA) transcriptional repressors. Here we show that efficient auxin binding requires assembly of an auxin co-receptor complex consisting of TIR1 and an Aux/IAA protein. Heterologous experiments in yeast and quantitative IAA binding assays using purified proteins showed that different combinations of TIR1 and Aux/IAA proteins form co-receptor complexes with a wide range of auxin-binding affinities. Auxin affinity seems to be largely determined by the Aux/IAA. As there are 6 TIR1/AUXIN SIGNALING F-BOX proteins (AFBs) and 29 Aux/IAA proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana, combinatorial interactions may result in many co-receptors with distinct auxin-sensing properties. We also demonstrate that the AFB5-Aux/IAA co-receptor selectively binds the auxinic herbicide picloram. This co-receptor system broadens the effective concentration range of the hormone and may contribute to the complexity of auxin response.
    Nature Chemical Biology 04/2012; 8(5):477-85. · 12.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Jasmonates are a family of plant hormones that regulate plant growth, development and responses to stress. The F-box protein CORONATINE INSENSITIVE 1 (COI1) mediates jasmonate signalling by promoting hormone-dependent ubiquitylation and degradation of transcriptional repressor JAZ proteins. Despite its importance, the mechanism of jasmonate perception remains unclear. Here we present structural and pharmacological data to show that the true Arabidopsis jasmonate receptor is a complex of both COI1 and JAZ. COI1 contains an open pocket that recognizes the bioactive hormone (3R,7S)-jasmonoyl-l-isoleucine (JA-Ile) with high specificity. High-affinity hormone binding requires a bipartite JAZ degron sequence consisting of a conserved α-helix for COI1 docking and a loop region to trap the hormone in its binding pocket. In addition, we identify a third critical component of the jasmonate co-receptor complex, inositol pentakisphosphate, which interacts with both COI1 and JAZ adjacent to the ligand. Our results unravel the mechanism of jasmonate perception and highlight the ability of F-box proteins to evolve as multi-component signalling hubs.
    Nature 10/2010; 468(7322):400-5. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The identity of the auxin receptor(s) and the mechanism of auxin perception has been a subject of intense interest since the discovery of auxin almost a century ago. The development of genetic approaches to the study of plant hormone signaling led to the discovery that auxin acts by promoting degradation of transcriptional repressors called Aux/IAA proteins. This process requires a ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) called SCF(TIR1) and related SCF complexes. Surprisingly, auxin works by directly binding to TIR1, the F-box protein subunit of this SCF. Structural studies demonstrate that auxin acts like a "molecular glue," to stabilize the interaction between TIR1 and the Aux/IAA substrate. These exciting results solve an old problem in plant biology and reveal new mechanisms for E3 regulation and hormone perception.
    Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 07/2010; 2(7):a005546. · 9.63 Impact Factor
  • Xu Tan, Ning Zheng
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation has emerged as a major pathway regulating eukaryotic biology. By employing a variety of ubiquitin ligases to target specific cellular proteins, the ubiquitin-proteasome system controls physiological processes in a highly regulated fashion. Recent studies on a plant hormone auxin have unveiled a novel paradigm of signal transduction in which ubiquitin ligases function as hormone receptors. Perceived by the F-box protein subunit of the SCF(TIR1) ubiquitin ligase, auxin directly promotes the recruitment of a family of transcriptional repressors for ubiquitination, thereby activating extensive transcriptional programs. Structural studies have revealed that auxin functions through a "molecular glue" mechanism to enhance protein-protein interactions with the assistance of another small molecule cofactor, inositol hexakisphosphate. Given the extensive repertoire of similar ubiquitin ligases in eukaryotic cells, this novel and widely adopted hormone-signaling mechanism in plants may also exist in other organisms.
    AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 01/2009; 296(2):E223-7. · 4.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The regulation of gene expression by the hormone auxin is a crucial mechanism in plant development. We have shown that the Arabidopsis F-box protein TIR1 is a receptor for auxin, and our recent structural work has revealed the molecular mechanism of auxin perception. TIR1 is the substrate receptor of the ubiquitin-ligase complex SCF(TIR1). Auxin binding enhances the interaction between TIR1 and its substrates, the Aux/IAA repressors, thereby promoting the ubiquitination and degradation of Aux/IAAs, altering the expression of hundreds of genes. TIR1 is the prototype of a new class of hormone receptor and the first example of an SCF ubiquitin-ligase modulated by a small molecule. Here, we describe the design, synthesis, and characterization of a series of auxin agonists and antagonists. We show these molecules are specific to TIR1-mediated events in Arabidopsis, and their mode of action in binding to TIR1 is confirmed by x-ray crystallographic analysis. Further, we demonstrate the utility of these probes for the analysis of TIR1-mediated auxin signaling in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Our work not only provides a useful tool for plant chemical biology but also demonstrates an example of a specific small-molecule inhibitor of F-box protein-substrate recruitment. Substrate recognition and subsequent ubiquitination by SCF-type ubiquitin ligases are central to many cellular processes in eukaryotes, and ubiquitin-ligase function is affected in several human diseases. Our work supports the idea that it may be possible to design small-molecule agents to modulate ubiquitin-ligase function therapeutically.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2008; 105(14):5632-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Auxin is a pivotal plant hormone that controls many aspects of plant growth and development. Perceived by a small family of F-box proteins including transport inhibitor response 1 (TIR1), auxin regulates gene expression by promoting SCF ubiquitin-ligase-catalysed degradation of the Aux/IAA transcription repressors, but how the TIR1 F-box protein senses and becomes activated by auxin remains unclear. Here we present the crystal structures of the Arabidopsis TIR1-ASK1 complex, free and in complexes with three different auxin compounds and an Aux/IAA substrate peptide. These structures show that the leucine-rich repeat domain of TIR1 contains an unexpected inositol hexakisphosphate co-factor and recognizes auxin and the Aux/IAA polypeptide substrate through a single surface pocket. Anchored to the base of the TIR1 pocket, auxin binds to a partially promiscuous site, which can also accommodate various auxin analogues. Docked on top of auxin, the Aux/IAA substrate peptide occupies the rest of the TIR1 pocket and completely encloses the hormone-binding site. By filling in a hydrophobic cavity at the protein interface, auxin enhances the TIR1-substrate interactions by acting as a 'molecular glue'. Our results establish the first structural model of a plant hormone receptor.
    Nature 05/2007; 446(7136):640-5. · 38.60 Impact Factor