Ulrich Klahre

Universität Bern, Bern, BE, Switzerland

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Publications (18)102.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Recently divergent species that can hybridize are ideal models for investigating the genetic exchanges that can occur while preserving the species boundaries. Petunia exserta is an endemic species from a very limited and specific area that grows exclusively in rocky shelters. These shaded spots are an inhospitable habitat for all other Petunia species, including the closely related and widely distributed species P. axillaris. Individuals with intermediate morphologic characteristics have been found near the rocky shelters and were believed to be putative hybrids between P. exserta and P. axillaris, suggesting a situation where Petunia exserta is losing its genetic identity. In the current study, we analyzed the plastid intergenic spacers trnS/trnG and trnH/psbA and six nuclear CAPS markers in a large sampling design of both species to understand the evolutionary process occurring in this biological system. Bayesian clustering methods, cpDNA haplotype networks, genetic diversity statistics, and coalescence-based analyses support a scenario where hybridization occurs while two genetic clusters corresponding to two species are maintained. Our results reinforce the importance of coupling differentially inherited markers with an extensive geographic sample to assess the evolutionary dynamics of recently diverged species that can hybridize.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 10/2013; · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most flowering plants depend on animal vectors for pollination and seed dispersal. Differential pollinator preferences lead to premating isolation and thus reduced gene flow between interbreeding plant populations [1-4]. Sets of floral traits, adapted to attract specific pollinator guilds, are called pollination syndromes [5]. Shifts in pollination syndromes have occurred surprisingly frequently [6], considering that they must involve coordinated changes in multiple genes affecting multiple floral traits. Although the identification of individual genes specifying single pollination syndrome traits is in progress in many species, little is known about the genetic architecture of coadapted pollination syndrome traits and how they are embedded within the genome [7]. Here we describe the tight genetic linkage of loci specifying five major pollination syndrome traits in the genus Petunia: visible color, UV absorption, floral scent production, pistil length, and stamen length. Comparison with other Solanaceae indicates that, in P. exserta and P. axillaris, loci specifying these floral traits have specifically become clustered into a multifunctional "speciation island" [8, 9]. Such an arrangement promotes linkage disequilibrium and avoids the dissolution of pollination syndromes by recombination. We suggest that tight genetic linkage provides a mechanism for rapid switches between distinct pollination syndromes in response to changes in pollinator availabilities.
    Current biology: CB 04/2013; · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differences in floral traits, such as petal color, scent, morphology, or nectar quality and quantity, can lead to specific interactions with pollinators and may thereby cause reproductive isolation. Petunia provides an attractive model system to study the role of floral characters in reproductive isolation and speciation. The night-active hawkmoth pollinator Manduca sexta relies on olfactory cues provided by Petunia axillaris. In contrast, Petunia exserta, which displays a typical hummingbird pollination syndrome, is devoid of scent. The two species can easily be crossed in the laboratory, which makes it possible to study the genetic basis of the evolution of scent production and the importance of scent for pollinator behavior. In an F2 population derived from an interspecific cross between P. axillaris and P. exserta, we identified two quantitative trait loci (QTL) that define the difference between the two species' ability to produce benzenoid volatiles. One of these loci was identified as the MYB transcription factor ODORANT1. Reciprocal introgressions of scent QTL were used for choice experiments under controlled conditions. These experiments demonstrated that the hawkmoth M. sexta prefers scented plants and that scent determines choice at a short distance. When exposed to conflicting cues of color versus scent, the insects display no preference, indicating that color and scent are equivalent cues. Our results show that scent is an important flower trait that defines plant-pollinator interactions at the level of individual plants. The genetic basis underlying such a major phenotypic difference appears to be relatively simple and may enable rapid loss or gain of scent through hybridization.
    Current biology: CB 05/2011; 21(9):730-9. · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two linkage maps were constructed for the model plant Petunia. Mapping populations were obtained by crossing the wild species Petunia axillaris subsp. axillaris with Petunia inflata, and Petunia axillaris subsp. parodii with Petunia exserta. Both maps cover the seven chromosomes of Petunia, and span 970 centimorgans (cM) and 700 cM of the genomes, respectively. In total, 207 markers were mapped. Of these, 28 are multilocus amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers and 179 are gene-derived markers. For the first time we report on the development and mapping of 83 Petunia microsatellites. The two maps retain the same marker order, but display significant differences of recombination frequencies at orthologous mapping intervals. A complex pattern of genomic rearrangements was detected with the related genome of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), indicating that synteny between Petunia and other Solanaceae crops has been considerably disrupted. The newly developed markers will facilitate the genetic characterization of mutants and ecological studies on genetic diversity and speciation within the genus Petunia. The maps will provide a powerful tool to link genetic and genomic information and will be useful to support sequence assembly of the Petunia genome.
    Genome 04/2011; 54(4):327-40. · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    Mechanisms of Development - MECH DEVELOP. 01/2009; 126.
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    ABSTRACT: In the last decade Petunia hybrida has emerged as the model of choice to study volatile benzenoid and phenylpropanoid synthesis, emission and regulation. These volatiles are synthesized predominantly in the corolla limb and emission is highly regulated, with a circadian rhythm, during corolla development, pollination and senescence. With all the biochemical and molecular tools available, much of our understanding of volatile benzenoids/phenylpropanoids has been obtained with Petunia, as illustrated in this chapter.
    12/2008: pages 51-69;
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphatidyl inositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI 4,5-P2) accumulates in a Rac/Rop-dependent manner in the pollen tube tip plasma membrane, where it may control actin organization and membrane traffic. PI 4,5-P2 is hydrolyzed by phospholipase C (PLC) activity to the signaling molecules inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and diacyl glycerol (DAG). To investigate PLC activity during tip growth, we cloned Nt PLC3, specifically expressed in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) pollen tubes. Recombinant Nt PLC3 displayed Ca2+-dependent PI 4,5-P2-hydrolyzing activity sensitive to U-73122 and to mutations in the active site. Nt PLC3 overexpression, but not that of inactive mutants, inhibited pollen tube growth. Yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fused to Nt PLC3, or to its EF and C2 domains, accumulated laterally at the pollen tube tip plasma membrane in a pattern complementary to the distribution of PI 4,5-P2. The DAG marker Cys1:YFP displayed a similar intracellular localization as PI 4,5-P2. Blocking endocytic membrane recycling affected the intracellular distribution of DAG but not of PI 4,5-P2. U-73122 at low micromolar concentrations inhibited and partially depolarized pollen tube growth, caused PI 4,5-P2 spreading at the apex, and abolished DAG membrane accumulation. We show that Nt PLC3 is targeted by its EF and C2 domains to the plasma membrane laterally at the pollen tube tip and that it maintains, together with endocytic membrane recycling, an apical domain enriched in PI 4,5-P2 and DAG required for polar cell growth.
    The Plant Cell 01/2007; 18(12):3519-34. · 9.25 Impact Factor
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    Ulrich Klahre, Benedikt Kost
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation by Rho-type small GTPases, such as RAC5, is important for the maintenance of polarity in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) pollen tubes. We previously showed that RhoGDI2 is necessary for RAC5 localization. Here, we describe the GTPase activating protein RhoGAP1 that controls the area of RAC5 activity. RhoGAP1 N-terminal and CRIB (for Cdc42/Rac-interactive binding) domains are both necessary for targeting yellow fluorescent protein-RhoGAP1 fusions to the plasma membrane close to, but not in, pollen tube apices. We propose that this localization restricts apical Rho-type GTPase activity from spreading toward the flanks, which ensures the maintenance of RAC signaling at the apex. The CRIB domain is not required but enhances in vitro RhoGAP1 activity toward the pollen tube-specific-RAC5. A mutation reducing GAP activity of RhoGAP1 leads to ballooning pollen tubes resembling those overexpressing RAC5. To ascertain the specific targeting mechanism of RhoGAP1, we isolated a 14-3-3 protein interacting with RhoGAP1. When overexpressed with RhoGAP1, it counteracts the growth-retarding effect of RhoGAP1 overexpression and attenuates RhoGAP1 membrane localization but, overexpressed alone, induces only small architectural changes. We propose that inactivation of RAC5 by the subapically localized RhoGAP1, together with dynamic relocalization of inactivated RAC5 from flanks to tip by RhoGDI2, leads to spatial restriction of RAC5 to pollen tube apices, thereby sustaining polar growth.
    The Plant Cell 12/2006; 18(11):3033-46. · 9.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rac/Rop-type Rho-family small GTPases accumulate at the plasma membrane in the tip of pollen tubes and control the polar growth of these cells. Nt-RhoGDI2, a homolog of guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitors (GDIs) regulating Rho signaling in animals and yeast, is co-expressed with the Rac/Rop GTPase Nt-Rac5 specifically in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) pollen tubes. The two proteins interact with each other in yeast two-hybrid assays, preferentially when Nt-Rac5 is prenylated. Transient over-expression of Nt-Rac5 and Nt-RhoGDI2 depolarized or inhibited tobacco pollen tube growth, respectively. Interestingly, pollen tubes over-expressing both proteins grew normally, demonstrating that the two proteins functionally interact in vivo. Nt-RhoGDI2 was localized to the pollen tube cytoplasm and effectively transferred co-over-expressed YFP-Nt-Rac5 fusion proteins from the plasma membrane to this compartment. A single amino acid exchange (R69A), which abolished binding to Nt-RhoGDI2, caused Nt-Rac5 to be mis-localized to the flanks of pollen tubes and strongly compromised its ability to depolarize pollen tube growth upon over-expression. Based on these observations, we propose that Nt-RhoGDI2-mediated recycling of Nt-Rac5 from the flanks of the tip to the apex has an essential function in the maintenance of polarized Rac/Rop signaling and cell expansion in pollen tubes. Similar mechanisms may generally play a role in the polarized accumulation of Rho GTPases in specific membrane domains, an important process whose regulation has not been well characterized in any cell type to date.
    The Plant Journal 07/2006; 46(6):1018-31. · 6.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The brassinosteriod-deficient lkb mutant of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) is characterized by an erectoides phenotype (reduced internode length, thickened stems, epinastic leaves), which is rescued by application of exogenous brassinolide. We show that the LKB gene is the Arabidopsis DIMINUTO/DWARF-1 (DIM/DWF1) homologue of pea. The DIM/DWF1 homologue from lkb plants contains a mutation that may result in reduced enzyme function, thus resulting in the previously shown accumulation of 24-methylenecholesterol and a deficiency of its hydrogenated product, campesterol. This ultimately leads to a deficiency of the biologically active brassionolide. The mutation in the lkb sequence cosegregates with the lkb phenotype. Northern analyis of the LKB gene revealed that the gene is ubiquitously expressed around the plant and that there is no evidence for negative feedback regulation of the gene.
    Plant Molecular Biology 01/2001; 47(4):491-498. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introns in plant nuclear pre-mRNAs are highly enriched in U or U + A residues and this property is essential for efficient splicing. Moreover, 3'-untranslated regions (3'-UTRs) in plant pre-mRNAs are generally UA-rich and contain sequences that are important for the polyadenylation reaction. Here, we characterize two structurally related RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) from Nicotiana plumbaginifolia, referred to as RBP45 and RBP47, having specificity for oligouridylates. Both proteins contain three RBD-type RNA-binding domains and a glutamine-rich N-terminus, and share similarity with Nam8p, a protein associated with U1 snRNP in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Deletion analysis of RBP45 and RBP47 indicated that the presence of at least two RBD are required for interaction with RNA and that domains other than RBD do not significantly contribute to binding. mRNAs for RBP45 and RBP47 and mRNAs encoding six related proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana are constitutively expressed in different plant organs. Indirect immunofluorescence and fractionation of cell extracts showed that RBP45 and RBP47 are localized in the nucleus. In vivo UV crosslinking experiments demonstrated their association with the nuclear poly(A)+ RNA. In contrast to UBP1, another oligouridylate-binding nuclear three-RBD protein of N. plumbaginifolia (Lambermon et al., EMBO J, 2000, 19:1638-1649), RBP45 and RBP47 do not stimulate mRNA splicing and accumulation when transiently overexpressed in protoplasts. Properties of RBP45 and RBP47 suggest they represent hnRNP-proteins participating in still undefined steps of pre-mRNA maturation in plant cell nuclei.
    RNA 12/2000; 6(11):1610-24. · 5.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Efficient splicing of higher plant pre-mRNAs depends on AU- or U-rich sequences in introns. Moreover, AU-rich sequences present in 3'-untranslated regions (3'-UTRs) may play a role in 3' end processing of plant mRNAs. Here, we describe the cloning and characterization of a Nicotiana plumbaginifolia nuclear protein that can be cross-linked to U-rich intron and 3'-UTR sequences in vitro, and associates with nuclear poly(A)(+) RNA in vivo. The protein, UBP1, strongly enhances the splicing of otherwise inefficiently processed introns when overexpressed in protoplasts. It also increases the accumulation of reporter mRNAs that contain suboptimal introns or are intronless. The enhanced accumulation is apparently due to UBP1 interacting with the 3'-UTR and protecting mRNA from exonucleolytic degradation. The effect on mRNA accumulation but not on mRNA splicing was found to be promoter specific. The fact that these effects of UBP1 can be separated suggests that they represent two independent activities. The properties of UBP1 indicate that it is an hnRNP protein that functions at multiple steps to facilitate the nuclear maturation of plant pre-mRNAs.
    The EMBO Journal 05/2000; 19(7):1638-49. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In an attempt to elucidate the biological function of villin-like actin-binding proteins in plants we have cloned several genes encoding Arabidopsis proteins with high homology to animal villin. We found that Arabidopsis contains at least four villin-like genes (AtVLNs) encoding four different VLN isoforms. Two AtVLN isoforms are more closely related to mammalian villin in their primary structure and are also antigenically related, whereas the other two contain significant changes in the C-terminal headpiece domain. RNA and promoter/beta-glucuronidase expression studies demonstrated that AtVLN genes are expressed in all organs, with elevated expression levels in certain types of cells. These results suggest that AtVLNs have less-specialized functions than mammalian villin, which is found only in the microvilli of brush border cells. Immunoblot experiments using a monoclonal antibody against pig villin showed that AtVLNs are widely distributed in a variety of plant tissues. Green fluorescent protein fused to full-length AtVLN and individual AtVLN headpiece domains can bind to both animal and plant actin filaments in vivo.
    Plant physiology 02/2000; 122(1):35-48. · 6.56 Impact Factor
  • U Klahre, N H Chua
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the role of the actin cytoskeleton in plant growth and development, we have cloned and determined the DNA sequence of a gene encoding an actin-related protein (arp) from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtARP2) and studied its expression patterns. A. thaliana appears to have only one AtARP2 gene which contains 14 introns, an unusually large number when compared to 4 or 5 introns in the actin genes isolated so far. The predicted protein shows high homology to and shares typical peptide insertions with arp2 proteins from other organisms. The AtARP2 transcript is present in all plant tissues, at a very low level, and is down-regulated by light. Promoter-GUS expression studies showed that the AtARP2 promoter directs activity predominantly in a very small number of cells immediately adjacent to the xylem in all organs. In addition, strong expression was observed in pollen grains. We discuss the potential role of an arp2/3 complex in plant development.
    Plant Molecular Biology 10/1999; 41(1):65-73. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have identified the function of the Arabidopsis DIMINUTO/DWARF1 (DIM/DWF1) gene by analyzing the dim mutant, a severe dwarf with greatly reduced fertility. Both the mutant phenotype and gene expression could be rescued by the addition of exogenous brassinolide. Analysis of endogenous sterols demonstrated that dim accumulates 24-methylenecholesterol but is deficient in campesterol, an early precursor of brassinolide. In addition, we show that dim is deficient in brassinosteroids as well. Feeding experiments using deuterium-labeled 24-methylenecholesterol and 24-methyldesmosterol confirmed that DIM/DWF1 is involved in both the isomerization and reduction of the Delta24(28) bond. This conversion is not required in cholesterol biosynthesis in animals but is a key step in the biosynthesis of plant sterols. Transient expression of a green fluorescent protein-DIM/DWF1 fusion protein and biochemical experiments showed that DIM/DWF1 is an integral membrane protein that most probably is associated with the endoplasmic reticulum.
    The Plant Cell 11/1998; 10(10):1677-90. · 9.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introns of nuclear pre-mRNAs in dicotyledonous plants, unlike introns in vertebrates or yeast, are distinctly rich in A+U nucleotides and this feature is essential for their processing. In order to define more precisely sequence elements important for intron recognition in plants, we investigated the effects of short insertions, either U-rich or A-rich, on splicing of synthetic introns in transfected protoplast of Nicotiana plumbaginifolia. It was found that insertions of U-rich (sequence UUUUUAU) but not A-rich (AUAAAAA) segments can activate splicing of a GC-rich synthetic infron, and that U-rich segments, or multimers thereof, can function irrespective of the site of insertion within the intron. Insertions of multiple U-rich segments, either at the same or different locations, generally had an additive, stimulatory effect on splicing. Mutational analysis showed that replacement of one or two U residues in the UUUUUAU sequence with A or C residues had only a small effect on splicing, but replacement with G residues was strongly inhibitory. Proteins that interact with fragments of natural and synthetic pre-mRNAs in vitro were identified in nuclear extracts of N.plumbaginifolia by UV cross- linking. The profile of cross-linked plant proteins was considerably less complex than that obtained with a HeLa cell nuclear extract. Two major cross-linkable plant proteins had apparent molecular mass of 50 and 54 kDa and showed affinity for oligouridilates present in synGC introns or for poly(U).
    Nucleic Acids Research 03/1996; 24(4):619-27. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously characterized nuclear cDNA clones encoding two RNA binding proteins, CP-RBP30 and CP-RBP-31, which are targeted to chloroplasts in Nicotiana plumbaginifolia. In this report we describe the analysis of the 3'-untranslated regions (3'-UTRs) in 22 CP-RBP30 and 8 CP-RBP31 clones which reveals that mRNAs encoding both proteins have a very complex polyadenylation pattern. Fourteen distinct poly(A) sites were identified among CP-RBP30 clones and four sites among the CP-RBP31 clones. The authenticity of the sites was confirmed by RNase A/T1 mapping of N. plumbaginifolia RNA. CP-RBP30 provides an extreme example of the heterogeneity known to be a feature of mRNA polyadenylation in higher plants. Using PCR we have demonstrated that CP-RBP genes in N. plumbaginifolia and N. sylvestris, in addition to the previously described introns interrupting the coding region, contain an intron located in the 3' non-coding part of the gene. In the case of the CP-RBP31, we have identified one polyadenylation event occurring in this intron.
    Plant Molecular Biology 07/1995; 28(3):569-74. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pre-mRNA processing in eukaryotic cells requires the participation of multiple protein factors and ribonucleoprotein particles. One class of proteins involved in this process are RNA-binding proteins, which contain a domain of ca. 90 amino acids with a characteristic ribonucleoprotein consensus sequence (RNP-CS). A PCR approach that is suitable for the characterization of RNP-CS-type proteins is described. Fifteen different RNA-binding domains were amplified from Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) using oligonucleotide primers specific for the sequences (K/R)G(F/Y)(G/A)FVX(F/Y) and (L/I/V)(F/Y)(V/I)(G/K)(N/G)L, which are conserved in known RNP-CS proteins. Using the tobacco domains as probes, cDNAs encoding two RNA-binding proteins, each containing two RNP-CS-type domains, were characterized in N. plumbaginifolia. The proteins, designated CP-RBP30 and CP-RBP31, are targeted to chloroplasts as demonstrated by expression of epitope-tagged cDNAs in transfected protoplasts, followed by indirect immunofluorescence. High levels of mRNA for each protein were found in leaves but not in roots, and expression of the CP-RBP31 mRNA was strongly regulated by light. The N. plumbaginifolia proteins described in this work are distinct from chloroplast RNA-binding proteins characterized recently in tobacco and spinach.
    MGG - Molecular and General Genetics 10/1992; 234(3):390-400.

Publication Stats

746 Citations
102.86 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2013
    • Universität Bern
      • Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften
      Bern, BE, Switzerland
  • 2006–2007
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • Institute of Sport and Sport Science
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1998–2001
    • The Rockefeller University
      • Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1992–2000
    • Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland