[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phytocystatins are proteinaceous inhibitors of cysteine proteases. They have been implicated in the regulation of plant protein turnover and in defense against pathogens and insects. Here, we have characterized an Arabidopsis phytocystatin family gene, Arabidopsis thaliana phytocystatin 4 (AtCYS4). AtCYS4 was induced by heat stress. The heat shock tolerance of AtCYS4-overexpressing transgenic plants was greater than that of wild-type and cys4 knock-down plants, as measured by fresh weight and root length. Although no heat shock elements were identified in the 5'-flanking region of the AtCYS4 gene, canonical ABA-responsive elements (ABREs) and dehydration-responsive elements (DREs) were found. Transient promoter activity measurements showed that AtCYS4 expression was up-regulated in unstressed protoplasts by co-expression of DRE-binding factor 2s (DREB2s), especially by DREB2C, but not by bZIP transcription factors that bind to ABREs (ABFs, ABI5 and AREBs). DREB2C bound to and activated transcription from the two DREs on the AtCYS4 promoter although some preference was observed for the GCCGAC DRE element over the ACCGAC element. AtCYS4 transcript and protein levels were elevated in transgenic DREB2C overexpression lines with corresponding decline of endogenous cysteine peptidase activity. We propose that AtCYS4 functions in thermotolerance under the control of the DREB2C cascade.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C(2)H(2)-type zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) play diverse roles in plant response to abiotic stresses. ZAT6, an Arabidopsis C(2)H(2)-type ZFP, has been reported to regulate root development and nutrient stress responses. However, its roles in regulation of abiotic stress response are incompletely known. Here, we demonstrate that salt or osmotic stress triggers a strong increase in ZAT6 expression in leaves. Transgenic plants overexpressing ZAT6 showed improved seed germination under salt and osmotic stress. Intriguingly, ZAT6 interacts with a stress-responsive mitogen-activated protein kinase MPK6 in vitro and in planta. ZAT6 is phosphorylated by both recombinant and plant endogenous MPK6. Serine 8 and serine 223 in ZAT6 were identified as the sites phosphorylated by MPK6. In contrast to wild-type form of ZAT6, overexpression of phosphorylation mutant form did not display significantly enhanced salt and osmotic stress tolerance. Altogether, our results suggest that phosphorylation by MPK6 is required for the functional role of ZAT6 in seed germination under salt and osmotic stress.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 12/2012; · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C(2)H(2)-type zinc finger proteins play crucial roles in various developmental processes and environmental stress tolerance in plants. Zinc Finger of Arabidopsis Thaliana 11 (ZAT11), has been previously reported as an active repressor. We show here that GFP-tagged ZAT11 is targeted to the nucleus. Transgenic plants overexpressing ZAT11 show enhanced primary root growth. Analysis of β-glucuronidase (GUS) expression in transgenic plants expressing a ZAT11 promoter-GUS reporter chimeric gene confirmed that ZAT11 was expressed in roots and its expression was particularly high in root tips. ZAT11-overexpressing transgenic plants were specifically sensitive to nickel ions (Ni(2+)). Transcript levels of a tonoplast-localized Ni(2+) transporter gene, IREG2, were approximately 2-fold decreased in transgenic plants overexpressing ZAT11 and this correlated with a reduced capacity for Ni(2+) accumulation in their roots. Altogether, our results reveal that ZAT11 functions as a positive regulator of primary root growth but a negative regulator of Ni(2+) tolerance, suggesting a novel biological function of Arabidopsis C(2)H(2)-type zinc finger protein in metal detoxification.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 12/2012; · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) is known for its role in the activation of plant defense responses. To examine the involvement and mode of action of NO in plant defense responses, we introduced calmodulin-dependent mammalian neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), which controls the CaMV35S promoter, into wild-type and NahG tobacco plants. Constitutive expression of nNOS led to NO production and triggered spontaneous induction of leaf lesions. Transgenic plants accumulated high amounts of H(2)O(2), with catalase activity lower than that in the wild type. nNOS transgenic plants contained high levels of salicylic acid (SA), and they induced an array of SA-, jasmonic acid (JA)-, and/or ethylene (ET)-related genes. Consequently, NahG co-expression blocked the induction of systemic acquired resistance (SAR)-associated genes in transgenic plants, implying SA is involved in NO-mediated induction of SAR genes. The transgenic plants exhibited enhanced resistance to a spectrum of pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Our results suggest a highly ranked regulatory role for NO in SA-, JA-, and/or ET-dependent pathways that lead to disease resistance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), a major plant auxin, is produced in both tryptophan-dependent and tryptophan-independent pathways. A major pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana generates IAA in two reactions from tryptophan. Step one converts tryptophan to indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPA) by tryptophan aminotransferases followed by a rate-limiting step converting IPA to IAA catalyzed by YUCCA proteins. We identified eight putative StYUC (Solanum tuberosum YUCCA) genes whose deduced amino acid sequences share 50 % to 70 % identity with those of Arabidopsis YUCCA proteins. All include canonical, conserved YUCCA sequences: FATGY motif, FMO signature sequence, and FAD-binding and NADP-binding sequences. In addition, five genes were found with ~50% amino acid sequence identity to Arabidopsis tryptophan aminotransferases. Transgenic potato (Solanum tuberosum cv Jowon) constitutively overexpressing Arabidopsis AtYUC6 displayed high auxin phenotypes such as narrow downward curled leaves, increased height, erect stature and longevity. Transgenic potato plants overexpressing AtYUC6 showed enhanced drought tolerance based on reduced water loss. The phenotype was correlated with reduced levels of reactive oxygen species in leaves. The results suggest a functional YUCCA pathway of auxin biosynthesis in potato that may be exploited to alter plant responses to the environment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcriptional repression of pathogen defense-related genes is essential for plant growth and development. Several proteins are known to be involved in the transcriptional regulation of plant defense responses. However, mechanisms by which expression of defense-related genes are regulated by repressor proteins are poorly characterized. Here, we describe the in planta function of CBNAC, a calmodulin-regulated NAC transcriptional repressor in Arabidopsis. A T-DNA insertional mutant (cbnac1) displayed enhanced resistance to a virulent strain of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae DC3000 (PstDC3000), whereas resistance was reduced in transgenic CBNAC overexpression lines. The observed changes in disease resistance were correlated with alterations in pathogenesis-related protein 1 (PR1) gene expression. CBNAC bound directly to the PR1 promoter. SNI1 (suppressor of nonexpressor of PR genes1, inducible 1) was identified as a CBNAC-binding protein. Basal resistance to PstDC3000 and derepression of PR1 expression was greater in the cbnac1 sni1 double mutant than in either cbnac1 or sni1 mutants. SNI1 enhanced binding of CBNAC to its cognate PR1 promoter element. CBNAC and SNI1 are hypothesized to work as repressor proteins in the cooperative suppression of plant basal defense.
Nucleic Acids Research 07/2012; 40(18):9182-92. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phytohormones abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellic acid (GA) have antagonistic roles in the control of seed germination and seedling development. We report here that the transcriptional regulator MYB44 has a role in the control of seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana. High levels of the MYB44 transcript are found in dry seeds but the transcript levels decrease during germination. The decrease in transcript level during germination is inhibited by the GA biosynthesis inhibitor paclobutrazol (PAC). MYB44 is phosphorylated by both recombinant and native forms of MPK3 and MPK6 at Ser(53) and Ser(145). Transgenic overexpression of MYB44 results in increased sensitivity of seed germination to ABA or PAC treatment. The PAC-insensitive germination phenotype of the myb44 mutant is complemented by overexpression of wild type MYB44 but not by overexpression of a mutant protein that lacks the MPK-target serines indicating that phosphorylation of MYB44 by MPKs is required for its biological function.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2012; 423(4):703-8. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calmodulin (CaM), a key Ca(2+) sensor, regulates diverse cellular processes by modulating the activity of a variety of enzymes and proteins. However, little is known about the biological function of CaM in plant development. In this study, an ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 (AS1) transcription factor was isolated as a CaM-binding protein. AS1 contains two putative CaM-binding domains (CaMBDs) at the N-terminus. Using domain mapping analysis, both predicted domains were identified as authentic Ca(2+) -dependent CaMBDs. We identified three hydrophobic amino acid residues for CaM binding, Trp(49) in CaMBDI, and Trp(81) and Phe(103) in CaMBDII. The interactions of AS1 with CaM were verified in yeast and plant cells. Based on electrophoretic mobility shift assays, CaM inhibited the DNA-binding activity of the AS1/AS2 complex to two cis-regulatory motifs in the KNAT1 promoter. Furthermore, CaM relieved the suppression of KNAT1 transcription by AS1 not only in transient expression assays of protoplasts but also by the overexpression of a CaM-binding negative form of AS1 in as1 mutant plant. Our study suggests that CaM, a calcium sensor, can be involved in the transcriptional control of meristem cell-specific genes by the inhibition of AS1 under the condition of higher levels of Ca(2+) in plants.
Plant Cell and Environment 05/2012; 35(11):1969-82. · 5.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MPKs) are involved in a number of signaling pathways that control plant development and stress tolerance via the phosphorylation of target molecules. However, so far only a limited number of target molecules have been identified. Here, we provide evidence that MYB41 represents a new target of MPK6. MYB41 interacts with MPK6 not only in vitro but also in planta. MYB41 was phosphorylated by recombinant MPK6 as well as by plant MPK6. Ser(251) in MYB41 was identified as the site phosphorylated by MPK6. The phosphorylation of MYB41 by MPK6 enhanced its DNA binding to the promoter of a LTP gene. Interestingly, transgenic plants over-expressing MYB41(WT) showed enhanced salt tolerance, whereas transgenic plants over-expressing MYB41(S251A) showed decreased salt tolerance during seed germination and initial root growth. These results indicate that the phosphorylation of MYB41 by MPK6 is required for the biological function of MYB41 in salt tolerance.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 04/2012; 422(1):181-6. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular Na(+)/K(+) ratio is a crucial parameter determining plant salinity stress resistance. We tested the function of plasma membrane Na(+)/K(+) cotransporters in the High-affinity K(+) Transporter (HKT) family from the halophytic Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) relative Thellungiella salsuginea. T. salsuginea contains at least two HKT genes. TsHKT1;1 is expressed at very low levels, while the abundant TsHKT1;2 is transcriptionally strongly up-regulated by salt stress. TsHKT-based RNA interference in T. salsuginea resulted in Na(+) sensitivity and K(+) deficiency. The athkt1 mutant lines overexpressing TsHKT1;2 proved less sensitive to Na(+) and showed less K(+) deficiency than lines overexpressing AtHKT1. TsHKT1;2 ectopically expressed in yeast mutants lacking Na(+) or K(+) transporters revealed strong K(+) transporter activity and selectivity for K(+) over Na(+). Altering two amino acid residues in TsHKT1;2 to mimic the AtHKT1 sequence resulted in enhanced sodium uptake and loss of the TsHKT1;2 intrinsic K(+) transporter activity. We consider the maintenance of K(+) uptake through TsHKT1;2 under salt stress an important component supporting the halophytic lifestyle of T. salsuginea.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants have developed various regulatory pathways to adapt to environmental stresses. In this study, we identified Arabidopsis MKKK20 as a regulator in the response to osmotic stress. mkkk20 mutants were found to be sensitive to high concentration of salt and showed higher water loss rates than wild-type (WT) plants under dehydration conditions. In addition, mkkk20 mutants showed higher accumulation of superoxide, a reactive oxygen species (ROS), compared to WT plants under high salt condition. In contrast, transgenic plants overexpressing MKKK20 displayed tolerance to salt stress. MKKK20 transcripts were increased by the treatments with NaCl, mannitol, MV, sorbitol, and cold, suggesting that MKKK20 is involved in the response to osmotic, ROS, and cold stresses. In-gel kinase assay showed that MKKK20 regulates the activity of MPK6 under NaCl, cold, and H(2)O(2) treatments. Taken together, our results suggest that MKKK20 might be involved in the response to various abiotic stresses, especially osmotic stress, through its regulation of MPK6 activity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs or MPKs) are one of the most important and conserved signaling molecules in plants. MPKs can directly modulate gene expression by the phosphorylation of transcription factors. However, only a few target substrates of MPKs have been isolated. Here, we identified a C(2)H(2)-type zinc finger transcription factor from Arabidopsis, ZAT10, as a substrate of MPKs. Using in vitro and in vivo protein-protein interaction analyses, we demonstrated that ZAT10 directly interacted with MPK3 and MPK6. ZAT10 was phosphorylated by recombinant Arabidopsis MPK3 and MPK6 in a kinase assay. Furthermore, ZAT10 was also phosphorylated by native MPK3 and MPK6 prepared from Arabidopsis plants in an in-gel kinase assay. Mass spectrometry analysis of phosphopeptides was used to determine two MPK phosphorylation sites in ZAT10. These sites were verified by site-directed mutagenesis and in vitro kinase assays.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our recent work demonstrated that chitin treatment modulated the expression of 118 transcription factor (TF) genes in Arabidopsis. To investigate the potential roles of these TF in chitin signaling and plant defense, we initiated an interaction study among these TF proteins, as well as two chitin-activated mitogen-activated protein kinases (MPK3 and MPK6), using a yeast two-hybrid system. This study revealed interactions among the following proteins: three ethylene-responsive element-binding factors (ERF), five WRKY transcription factors, one scarecrow-like (SCL), and the two MPK, in addition to many other interactions, reflecting a complex TF interaction network. Most of these interactions were subsequently validated by other methods, such as pull-down and in planta bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays. The key node ERF5 was shown to interact with multiple proteins in the network, such as ERF6, ERF8, and SCL13, as well as MPK3 and MPK6. Interestingly, ERF5 appeared to negatively regulate chitin signaling and plant defense against the fungal pathogen Alternaria brassicicola and positively regulate salicylic acid signaling and plant defense against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Therefore, ERF5 may play an important role in plant innate immunity, likely through coordinating chitin and other defense pathways in plants in response to different pathogens.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants have developed disparate regulatory pathways to adapt to environmental stresses. In this study, we identified MKK4 as an important mediator of plant response to osmotic stress. mkk4 mutants were more sensitive to high salt concentration than WT plants, exhibiting higher water-loss rates under dehydration conditions and additionally accumulating high levels of ROS. In contrast, MKK4-overexpressing transgenic plants showed tolerance to high salt as well as lower water-loss rates under dehydration conditions. In-gel kinase assays revealed that MKK4 regulates the activity of MPK3 upon NaCl exposure. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that expression of NCED3 and RD29A was lower and higher in mkk4 mutants and MKK4-overexpressing transgenic plants, respectively. Taken together, our results suggest that MKK4 is involved in the osmotic-stress response via its regulation of MPK3 activity.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2011; 412(1):150-4. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C2 domain is a Ca(2+)/phospholipid-binding motif found in many proteins involved in signal transduction or membrane trafficking. OsERG3 is a homolog of OsERG1, a gene encoding a small C2-domain protein in rice.
OsERG3 Ca(2+)-binding and phospholipid-binding assays were carried out using (3)H-labeled phospholipid liposomes and a (45)Ca(2+) overlay assay, respectively. Cytosolic expression of OsERG3 was investigated by Western blot analysis and the OsERG3::smGFP transient expression assay.
OsERG3 transcript levels were greatly enhanced by treatment with a fungal elicitor and Ca(2+)-ionophore. OsERG3 protein proved unable to interact with phospholipids regardless of the presence or absence of Ca(2+) ions. Nonetheless, OsERG3 displayed calcium-binding activity in an in vitro(45)Ca(2+)-binding assay, a property not observed with OsERG1. The cytosolic location of OsERG3 was not altered by the presence of fungal elicitor or Ca(2+)-ionophore.
OsERG3 encodes a small C2-domain protein consisting of a single C2 domain. OsERG3 binds Ca(2+) ions but not phospholipids. OsERG3 is a cytosolic soluble protein. The OsERG3 gene may play a role in signaling pathway involving Ca(2+) ions.
The data demonstrate that OsERG3 is an unusual small C2-domain protein containing a Ca(2+)-binding module but lacking phospholipid-binding properties.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/2011; 1810(12):1317-22. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reversible conjugation of the small ubiquitin modifier (SUMO) peptide to proteins (SUMOylation) plays important roles in cellular processes in animals and yeasts. However, little is known about plant SUMO targets. To identify SUMO substrates in Arabidopsis and to probe for biological functions of SUMO proteins, we constructed 6xHis-3xFLAG fused AtSUMO1 (HFAtSUMO1) controlled by the CaMV35S promoter for transformation into Arabidopsis Col-0. After heat treatment, an increased sumoylation pattern was detected in the transgenic plants. SUMO1-modified proteins were selected after two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) image analysis and identified using matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). We identified 27 proteins involved in a variety of processes such as nucleic acid metabolism, signaling, metabolism, and including proteins of unknown functions. Binding and sumoylation patterns were confirmed independently. Surprisingly, MCM3 (At5G46280), a DNA replication licensing factor, only interacted with and became sumoylated by AtSUMO1, but not by SUMO1ΔGG or AtSUMO3. The results suggest specific interactions between sumoylation targets and particular sumoylation enzymes.
Molecules and Cells 05/2011; 32(2):143-51. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arabidopsis MAP kinase phosphatase 1 (AtMKP1) is a member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MPK) phosphatase family, which negatively regulates AtMPKs. We have previously shown that AtMKP1 is regulated by calmodulin (CaM). Here, we examined the phosphorylation of AtMKP1 by its substrate AtMPK6. Intriguingly, AtMKP1 was phosphorylated by AtMPK6, one of AtMKP1 substrates. Four phosphorylation sites were identified by phosphoamino acid analysis, TiO(2) chromatography and mass spectrometric analysis. Site-directed mutation of these residues in AtMKP1 abolished the phosphorylation by AtMPK6. In addition, AtMKP1 interacted with AtMPK6 as demonstrated by the yeast two-hybrid system. Finally, the phosphatase activity of AtMKP1 increased approximately twofold following phosphorylation by AtMPK6. By in-gel kinase assays, we showed that AtMKP1 could be rapidly phosphorylated by AtMPK6 in plants. Our results suggest that the catalytic activity of AtMKP1 in plants can be regulated not only by Ca(2+)/CaM, but also by its physiological substrate, AtMPK6.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants express many calmodulins (CaMs) and calmodulin-like (CML) proteins that sense and transduce different Ca(2+) signals. Previously, we reported divergent soybean (Glycine max) CaM isoforms (GmCaM4/5) with differential abilities to activate CaM-dependent enzymes. To elucidate biological functions of divergent CaM proteins, we isolated a cDNA encoding a CML protein, AtCML8, from Arabidopsis. AtCML8 shows highest identity with GmCaM4 at the protein sequence level. Expression of AtCML8 was high in roots, leaves, and flowers but low in stems. In addition, the expression of AtCML8 was induced by exposure to salicylic acid or NaCl. AtCML8 showed typical characteristics of CaM such as Ca(2+)-dependent electrophoretic mobility shift and Ca(2+) binding ability. In immunoblot analyses, AtCML8 was recognized only by antiserum against GmCaM4 but not by GmCaM1 antibodies. Interestingly, AtCML8 was able to activate phosphodiesterase (PDE) but did not activate NAD kinase. These results suggest that AtCML8 acts as a CML protein in Arabidopsis with characteristics similar to soybean divergent GmCaM4 at the biochemical levels.