Katrien Maleux

Ghent University, Gand, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (8)85.4 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In vitro stress assays are commonly used to study responses of plants to abiotic stress and to assess stress tolerance. A literature review reveals that most studies use very high stress levels, and measure criteria such as germination, plant survival, or development of visual symptoms such as bleaching. However, we show that these parameters are indicators of very severe stress, and such studies thus only provide incomplete information about stress sensitivity. Similarly, transcript analysis revealed that typical stress markers are only induced at high stress levels in young seedlings. Therefore, tools are needed to study the effects of mild stress. We found that the commonly used stress-inducing agents mannitol, sorbitol, NaCl and H2O2 impact shoot growth in a highly specific and dose-dependent way. Therefore, shoot growth is a sensitive, relevant and easily measured phenotype to assess stress tolerance over a wide range of stress levels. Finally, our data suggest that care should be taken when using mannitol as an osmoticum.
    Plant physiology 04/2014; · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The transcriptional coactivator ANGUSTIFOLIA3 (AN3) stimulates cell proliferation during Arabidopsis thaliana leaf development, but the molecular mechanism is largely unknown. Here, we show that inducible nuclear localization of AN3 during initial leaf growth results in differential expression of important transcriptional regulators, including GROWTH REGULATING FACTORs (GRFs). Chromatin purification further revealed the presence of AN3 at the loci of GRF5, GRF6, CYTOKININ RESPONSE FACTOR2, CONSTANS-LIKE5 (COL5), HECATE1 (HEC1), and ARABIDOPSIS RESPONSE REGULATOR4 (ARR4). Tandem affinity purification of protein complexes using AN3 as bait identified plant SWITCH/SUCROSE NONFERMENTING (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complexes formed around the ATPases BRAHMA (BRM) or SPLAYED. Moreover, SWI/SNF ASSOCIATED PROTEIN 73B (SWP73B) is recruited by AN3 to the promoters of GRF5, GRF3, COL5, and ARR4, and both SWP73B and BRM occupy the HEC1 promoter. Furthermore, we show that AN3 and BRM genetically interact. The data indicate that AN3 associates with chromatin remodelers to regulate transcription. In addition, modification of SWI3C expression levels increases leaf size, underlining the importance of chromatin dynamics for growth regulation. Our results place the SWI/SNF-AN3 module as a major player at the transition from cell proliferation to cell differentiation in a developing leaf.
    The Plant Cell 01/2014; · 9.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leaf growth is a complex developmental process that is continuously fine-tuned by the environment. Various abiotic stresses, including mild drought stress, have been shown to inhibit leaf growth in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), but the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here we identify the redundant Arabidopsis transcription factors ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR 5 (ERF5) and ERF6 as master regulators which adapt leaf growth to environmental changes. ERF5 and ERF6 gene expression is induced very rapidly and specifically in actively growing leaves after sudden exposure to osmotic stress that mimics mild drought. Subsequently, enhanced ERF6 expression inhibits cell proliferation and leaf growth by a process involving GA and DELLA signaling. Using an ERF6 inducible overexpression line, we demonstrate that the GA-degrading enzyme GA2-OX6 is transcriptionally induced by ERF6 and that consequently DELLA proteins are stabilized. As a result, ERF6 gain-of-function lines are dwarfed and hypersensitive to osmotic stress, while growth of erf5erf6 loss-of-function mutants is less affected by stress. Next to its role in plant growth under stress, ERF6 also activates the expression of a plethora of osmotic stress-responsive genes, including the well-known stress tolerance genes STZ, MYB51 and WRKY33. Interestingly, the activation of the stress tolerance genes by ERF6 occurs independently from the ERF6-mediated growth inhibition. Together, these data fit into a leaf growth regulatory model in which ERF5 and ERF6 form a missing link between the previously observed stress-induced 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) accumulation and DELLA-mediated cell cycle exit and execute a dual role by regulating both stress tolerance and growth-inhibition.
    Plant physiology 04/2013; · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is a large multiprotein E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of key cell cycle regulatory proteins, including the destruction of mitotic cyclins at the metaphase-to-anaphase transition. Despite its importance, the role of the APC/C in plant cells and the regulation of its activity during cell division remain poorly understood. Here, we describe the identification of a plant-specific negative regulator of the APC/C complex, designated SAMBA. In Arabidopsis thaliana, SAMBA is expressed during embryogenesis and early plant development and plays a key role in organ size control. Samba mutants produced larger seeds, leaves, and roots, which resulted from enlarged root and shoot apical meristems, and, additionally, they had a reduced fertility attributable to a hampered male gametogenesis. Inactivation of SAMBA stabilized A2-type cyclins during early development. Our data suggest that SAMBA regulates cell proliferation during early development by targeting CYCLIN A2 for APC/C-mediated proteolysis.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2012; 109(34):13853-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drought is responsible for considerable yield losses in agriculture due to its detrimental effects on growth. Drought responses have been extensively studied, but mostly on the level of complete plants or mature tissues. However, stress responses were shown to be highly tissue and developmental stage specific, and dividing tissues have developed unique mechanisms to respond to stress. Previously, we studied the effects of osmotic stress on dividing leaf cells in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and found that stress causes early mitotic exit, in which cells end their mitotic division and start endoreduplication earlier. In this study, we analyzed this phenomenon in more detail. Osmotic stress induces changes in gibberellin metabolism, resulting in the stabilization of DELLAs, which are responsible for mitotic exit and earlier onset of endoreduplication. Consequently, this response is absent in mutants with altered gibberellin levels or DELLA activity. Mitotic exit and onset of endoreduplication do not correlate with an up-regulation of known cell cycle inhibitors but are the result of reduced levels of DP-E2F-LIKE1/E2Fe and UV-B-INSENSITIVE4, both inhibitors of the developmental transition from mitosis to endoreduplication by modulating anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome activity, which are down-regulated rapidly after DELLA stabilization. This work fits into an emerging view of DELLAs as regulators of cell division by regulating the transition to endoreduplication and differentiation.
    Plant physiology 04/2012; 159(2):739-47. · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite its relevance for agricultural production, environmental stress-induced growth inhibition, which is responsible for significant yield reductions, is only poorly understood. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying cell cycle inhibition in young proliferating leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana when subjected to mild osmotic stress. A detailed cellular analysis demonstrated that as soon as osmotic stress is sensed, cell cycle progression rapidly arrests, but cells are kept in a latent ambivalent state allowing a quick recovery (pause). Remarkably, cell cycle arrest coincides with an increase in 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate levels and the activation of ethylene signaling. Our work showed that ethylene acts on cell cycle progression via inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase A activity independently of EIN3 transcriptional control. When the stress persists, cells exit the mitotic cell cycle and initiate the differentiation process (stop). This stop is reflected by early endoreduplication onset, in a process independent of ethylene. Nonetheless, the potential to partially recover the decreased cell numbers remains due to the activity of meristemoids. Together, these data present a conceptual framework to understand how environmental stress reduces plant growth.
    The Plant Cell 05/2011; 23(5):1876-88. · 9.25 Impact Factor
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    Nature Biotechnology 03/2011; 29(3):212-4. · 32.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plants respond to environmental stress by dynamically reprogramming their growth. Whereas stress onset is accompanied by rapid growth inhibition leading to smaller organs, growth will recover and adapt once the stress conditions become stable and do no threaten plant survival. Here, adaptation of growing Arabidopsis thaliana leaves to mild and prolonged osmotic stress was investigated by means of a complete metabolic labeling strategy with the (15)N-stable isotope as a complement to a previously published transcript and metabolite profiling. Global analysis of protein changes revealed that plastidial ATPase, Calvin cycle, and photorespiration were down-regulated, but mitochondrial ATP synthesis was up-regulated, indicating the importance of mitochondria in preserving plastid functions during water stress. Although transcript and protein data correlated well with the stable and prolonged character of the applied stress, numerous proteins were clearly regulated at the post-transcriptional level that could, at least partly, be related to changes in protein synthesis and degradation. In conclusion, proteomics using the (15)N labeling helped understand the mechanisms underlying growth adaptation to osmotic stress and allowed the identification of candidate genes to improve plant growth under limited water.
    Journal of Proteome Research 01/2011; 10(3):1018-29. · 5.06 Impact Factor