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  1. Metaproteomics is a powerful tool for the characterization of metabolism, physiology, and functional interactions in microbial communities, including plant-associated microbiota. However, the metaproteomic methods that have been used to study plant-associated microbiota are very laborious and require large amounts of plant tissue, hindering wider application of these methods. We optimized and evaluated different protein extraction methods for metaproteomics of plant-associated microbiota in two different plant species ( Arabidopsis and maize). Our main goal was to identify a method that would work with low amounts of input material (40 to 70 mg) and that would maximize the number of identified microbial proteins. We tested eight protocols, each comprising a different combination of physical lysis method, extraction buffer, and cell-enrichment method on roots from plants grown with synthetic microbial communities. We assessed the performance of the extraction protocols by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry–based metaproteomics and found that the optimal extraction method differed between the two species. For Arabidopsis roots, protein extraction by beating whole roots with small beads provided the greatest number of identified microbial proteins and improved the identification of proteins from gram-positive bacteria. For maize, vortexing root pieces in the presence of large glass beads yielded the greatest number ofmore »microbial proteins identified. Based on these data, we recommend the use of these two methods for metaproteomics with Arabidopsis and maize. Furthermore, detailed descriptions of the eight tested protocols will enable future optimization of protein extraction for metaproteomics in other dicot and monocot plants. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY 4.0 International license .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  2. TIR domains are NAD-degrading enzymes that function during immune signaling in prokaryotes, plants, and animals. In plants, most TIR domains are incorporated into intracellular immune receptors termed TNLs. In Arabidopsis, TIR-derived small molecules bind and activate EDS1 heterodimers, which in turn activate RNLs, a class of cation channel–forming immune receptors. RNL activation drives cytoplasmic Ca 2+ influx, transcriptional reprogramming, pathogen resistance, and host cell death. We screened for mutants that suppress an RNL activation mimic allele and identified a TNL, SADR1. Despite being required for the function of an autoactivated RNL, SADR1 is not required for defense signaling triggered by other tested TNLs. SADR1 is required for defense signaling initiated by some transmembrane pattern recognition receptors and contributes to the unbridled spread of cell death in lesion simulating disease 1 . Together with RNLs, SADR1 regulates defense gene expression at infection site borders, likely in a non-cell autonomous manner. RNL mutants that cannot sustain this pattern of gene expression are unable to prevent disease spread beyond localized infection sites, suggesting that this pattern corresponds to a pathogen containment mechanism. SADR1 potentiates RNL-driven immune signaling not only through the activation of EDS1 but also partially independently of EDS1. We studied EDS1-independentmore »TIR function using nicotinamide, an NADase inhibitor. Nicotinamide decreased defense induction from transmembrane pattern recognition receptors and decreased calcium influx, pathogen growth restriction, and host cell death following intracellular immune receptor activation. We demonstrate that TIR domains can potentiate calcium influx and defense and are thus broadly required for Arabidopsis immunity.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 14, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  4. BACKGROUND Diverse organisms, from archaea and bacteria to plants and humans, use receptor systems to recognize both pathogens and dangerous self-derived or environmentally derived stimuli. These intricate, well-coordinated immune systems, composed of innate and adaptive components, ensure host survival. In the late 20th century, researchers identified the Toll/interleukin-1/resistance gene (TIR) domain as an evolutionarily conserved component of animal and plant innate immune systems. Today, TIR-domain proteins are known to be broadly distributed across the tree of life. The TIR domain was first recognized as an adaptor for the assembly of macromolecular signaling complexes in mammalian innate immune pathways. Work on axon degeneration in animals—as well as on plant, archaeal, and bacterial immune systems—has uncovered additional enzymatic activities for TIR domains. ADVANCES Mammalian axons initiate a self-destruct program upon injury and during disease that is mediated by the sterile alpha and TIR motif containing 1 (SARM1) protein. The SARM1 TIR domain enzymatically consumes the essential metabolic cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD + ) to promote axonal death. Identification of the SARM1 NAD + -consuming enzyme (NADase) revealed that TIR domains can function as enzymes. Given the evolutionary conservation of TIR domains, studies investigated whether the SARM1 TIR NADase was also conserved.more »Indeed, bacteria, archaea, and plant TIR domains possess NADase activity. In prokaryotes, TIR NADase activity is found in an ancient antiphage immune system. In plants, identification of TIR NADase activity and linkage of TIR enzymatic products to downstream signaling components addressed the question of how nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) receptors trigger hypersensitive cell death during an immune response. Studies in plants show that their TIR domains can cleave nucleic acids and possess 2′,3′ cyclic adenosine monophosphate (2′,3′-cAMP) and 2′,3′ cyclic guanosine monophosphate (2′,3′-cGMP) synthetase activity that aids cell death programs in plant innate immunity. Thus, TIR domains constitute an ancient family of enzymes that are activated in immune and cell death pathways. OUTLOOK The discovery of TIR-domain enzyme activities carries implications for innate immunity and neurodegeneration. The identification of the SARM1 NADase defined a drug target for a wide number of neurodegenerative diseases that is being exploited in both preclinical and clinical studies. Hyperactive mutations in the SARM1 NADase have been discovered in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Future work will seek to clarify the contribution of the SARM1 axon degeneration pathway to ALS pathogenesis. NAD + biology influences cellular processes from metabolism to DNA repair to aging. How TIR enzymes influence the NAD + metabolome and its associated pathways in bacteria, archaea, plants, and animals will be an exciting area for upcoming investigation. The discovery of the diversity of TIR enzymatic products is revealing signaling pathways across kingdoms. Discovery of TIR enzymatic function in plants and animals may yet inspire studies of enzymatic functions for Toll-like receptors in animals. We anticipate that cross-kingdom studies of TIR-domain function will guide interventions that will span the tree of life, from treating human neurodegenerative disorders and bacterial infections to preventing plant diseases. Conserved TIR-domain enzymatic activity. TIR-domain proteins from prokaryotes and eukaryotes cleave NAD + into nicotinamide (Nam), ADP-ribose (ADPR), cyclic ADP-ribose (cADPR), isomers of cyclic ADP-ribose (2′ or 3′cADPR), and related molecules [e.g., phosphoribosyl adenosine monophosphate (pRib-AMP)]. Plant TIR domains also possess a nuclease activity, can degrade DNA and RNA, and can function as a 2′,3′-cAMP or 2′,3′-cGMP synthetase. TIR enzymatic activity drives cell death and immune pathways across kingdoms. TIR activity can kill cells directly through NAD + depletion or indirectly using enzymatic products as signal molecules. The representative TIR domain structure shown here is Protein Data Bank ID 6O0Q. EDS1, enhanced disease susceptibility 1; ThsA, Thoeris A.« less
  5. Abstract

    Chemical signalling in the plant microbiome can have drastic effects on microbial community structure, and on host growth and development. Previously, we demonstrated that the auxin metabolic signal interference performed by the bacterial genusVariovoraxvia an auxin degradation locus was essential for maintaining stereotypic root development in an ecologically relevant bacterial synthetic community. Here, we dissect theVariovoraxauxin degradation locus to define the genesiadDEas necessary and sufficient for indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) degradation and signal interference. We determine the crystal structures and binding properties of the operon’s MarR-family repressor with IAA and other auxins. Auxin degradation operons were identified across the bacterial tree of life and we define two distinct types on the basis of gene content and metabolic products:iac-like andiad-like. The structures of MarRs from representatives of each auxin degradation operon type establish that each has distinct IAA-binding pockets. Comparison of representative IAA-degrading strains from diverse bacterial genera colonizingArabidopsisplants show that while all degrade IAA, only strains containingiad-like auxin-degrading operons interfere with auxin signalling in a complex synthetic community context. This suggests thatiad-like operon-containing bacterial strains, includingVariovoraxspecies, play a key ecological role in modulating auxins in the plant microbiome.

  6. Abstract

    Drought is a major abiotic stress limiting agricultural productivity. Previous field-level experiments have demonstrated that drought decreases microbiome diversity in the root and rhizosphere. How these changes ultimately affect plant health remains elusive. Toward this end, we combined reductionist, transitional and ecological approaches, applied to the staple cereal crop sorghum to identify key root-associated microbes that robustly affect drought-stressed plant phenotypes. Fifty-threeArabidopsis-associated bacteria were applied to sorghum seeds and their effect on root growth was monitored. TwoArthrobacterstrains caused root growth inhibition (RGI) inArabidopsisand sorghum. In the context of synthetic communities,Variovoraxstrains were able to protect plants fromArthrobacter-caused RGI. As a transitional system, high-throughput phenotyping was used to test the synthetic communities. During drought stress, plants colonized byArthrobacterhad reduced growth and leaf water content. Plants colonized by bothArthrobacterandVariovoraxperformed as well or better than control plants. In parallel, we performed a field trial wherein sorghum was evaluated across drought conditions. By incorporating data on soil properties into the microbiome analysis, we accounted for experimental noise with a novel method and were able to observe the negative correlation between the abundance ofArthrobacterand plant growth. Having validated this approach, we cross-referenced datasets from the high-throughput phenotyping and field experiments and report a list ofmore »bacteria with high confidence that positively associated with plant growth under drought stress. In conclusion, a three-tiered experimental system successfully spanned the lab-to-field gap and identified beneficial and deleterious bacterial strains for sorghum under drought.

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  7. Summary

    Calcium serves as a second messenger in a variety of developmental and physiological processes and has long been identified as important for plant immune responses. We discuss recent discoveries regarding plant immune‐related calcium‐permeable channels and how the two intertwined branches of the plant immune system are intricately linked to one another through calcium signalling. Cell surface immune receptors carefully tap the immense calcium gradient that exists between apoplast and cytoplasm in a short burst via tightly regulated plasma membrane (PM)‐resident cation channels. Intracellular immune receptors form atypical calcium‐permeable cation channels at the PM and mediate a prolonged calcium influx, overcoming the deleterious influence of pathogen effectors and enhancing plant immune responses.

  8. Methodological advances over the past two decades have propelled plant microbiome research, allowing the field to comprehensively test ideas proposed over a century ago and generate many new hypotheses. Studying the distribution of microbial taxa and genes across plant habitats has revealed the importance of various ecological and evolutionary forces shaping plant microbiota. In particular, selection imposed by plant habitats strongly shapes the diversity and composition of microbiota and leads to microbial adaptation associated with navigating the plant immune system and utilizing plant-derived resources. Reductionist approaches have demonstrated that the interaction between plant immunity and the plant microbiome is, in fact, bidirectional and that plants, microbiota, and the environment shape a complex chemical dialogue that collectively orchestrates the plantmicrobiome. The next stage in plant microbiome research will require the integration of ecological and reductionist approaches to establish a general understanding of the assembly and function in both natural and managed environments.