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Creators/Authors contains: "Vierling, Elizabeth"

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  1. Abstract

    In adverse environments, the number of fertilizable female gametophytes (FGs) in plants is reduced, leading to increased survival of the remaining offspring. How the maternal plant perceives internal growth cues and external stress conditions to alter FG development remains largely unknown. We report that homeostasis of the stress signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO) plays a key role in controlling FG development under both optimal and stress conditions. NO homeostasis is precisely regulated by S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR). Prior to fertilization, GSNOR protein is exclusively accumulated in sporophytic tissues and indirectly controls FG development in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). In GSNOR null mutants, NO species accumulated in the degenerating sporophytic nucellus, and auxin efflux into the developing FG was restricted, which inhibited FG development, resulting in reduced fertility. Importantly, restoring GSNOR expression in maternal, but not gametophytic tissues, or increasing auxin efflux substrate significantly increased the proportion of normal FGs and fertility. Furthermore, GSNOR overexpression or added auxin efflux substrate increased fertility under drought and salt stress. These data indicate that NO homeostasis is critical to normal auxin transport and maternal control of FG development, which in turn determine seed yield. Understanding this aspect of fertility control could contribute to mediating yield loss under adverse conditions.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 20, 2025

    Alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs) are a group of zinc‐binding enzymes belonging to the medium‐length dehydrogenase/reductase (MDR) protein superfamily. In plants, these enzymes fulfill important functions involving the reduction of toxic aldehydes to the corresponding alcohols (as well as catalyzing the reverse reaction, i.e., alcohol oxidation; ADH1) and the reduction of nitrosoglutathione (GSNO; ADH2/GSNOR). We investigated and compared the structural and biochemical properties of ADH1 and GSNOR fromArabidopsis thaliana. We expressed and purified ADH1 and GSNOR and determined two new structures, NADH‐ADH1 and apo‐GSNOR, thus completing the structural landscape of Arabidopsis ADHs in both apo‐ and holo‐forms. A structural comparison of these Arabidopsis ADHs revealed a high sequence conservation (59% identity) and a similar fold. In contrast, a striking dissimilarity was observed in the catalytic cavity supporting substrate specificity and accommodation. Consistently, ADH1 and GSNOR showed strict specificity for their substrates (ethanol and GSNO, respectively), although both enzymes had the ability to oxidize long‐chain alcohols, with ADH1 performing better than GSNOR. Both enzymes contain a high number of cysteines (12 and 15 out of 379 residues for ADH1 and GSNOR, respectively) and showed a significant and similar responsivity to thiol‐oxidizing agents, indicating that redox modifications may constitute a mechanism for controlling enzyme activity under both optimal growth and stress conditions.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 2, 2025
  3. Abstract

    ATPase family AAA domain–containing 3 (ATAD3) proteins are unique mitochondrial proteins that arose deep in the eukaryotic lineage but that are surprisingly absent in Fungi and Amoebozoa. These ∼600-amino acid proteins are anchored in the inner mitochondrial membrane and are essential in metazoans and Arabidopsis thaliana. ATAD3s comprise a C-terminal ATPases Associated with a variety of cellular Activities (AAA+) matrix domain and an ATAD3_N domain, which is located primarily in the inner membrane space but potentially extends to the cytosol to interact with the ER. Sequence and structural alignments indicate that ATAD3 proteins are most similar to classic chaperone unfoldases in the AAA+ family, suggesting that they operate in mitochondrial protein quality control. A. thaliana has four ATAD3 genes in two distinct clades that appear first in the seed plants, and both clades are essential for viability. The four genes are generally coordinately expressed, and transcripts are highest in growing apices and imbibed seeds. Plants with disrupted ATAD3 have reduced growth, aberrant mitochondrial morphology, diffuse nucleoids and reduced oxidative phosphorylation complex I. These and other pleiotropic phenotypes are also observed in ATAD3 mutants in metazoans. Here, we discuss the distribution of ATAD3 proteins as they have evolved in the plant kingdom, their unique structure, what we know about their function in plants and the challenges in determining their essential roles in mitochondria.

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  4. Abstract

    Heat shock protein 101 (HSP101) in plants, and bacterial and yeast orthologs, is essential for thermotolerance. To investigate thermotolerance mechanisms involving HSP101, we performed a suppressor screen in Arabidopsis thaliana of a missense HSP101 allele (hot1–4). hot1–4 plants are sensitive to acclimation heat treatments that are otherwise permissive for HSP101 null mutants, indicating that the hot1–4 protein is toxic. We report one suppressor (shot2, suppressor of hot1–4 2) has a missense mutation of a conserved residue in CLEAVAGE STIMULATION FACTOR77 (CstF77), a subunit of the polyadenylation complex critical for mRNA 3′ end maturation. We performed ribosomal RNA depletion RNA-Seq and captured transcriptional readthrough with a custom bioinformatics pipeline. Acclimation heat treatment caused transcriptional readthrough in hot1–4 shot2, with more readthrough in heat-induced genes, reducing the levels of toxic hot1–4 protein and suppressing hot1–4 heat sensitivity. Although shot2 mutants develop like the wild type in the absence of stress and survive mild heat stress, reduction of heat-induced genes and decreased HSP accumulation makes shot2 in HSP101 null and wild-type backgrounds sensitive to severe heat stress. Our study reveals the critical function of CstF77 for 3′ end formation of mRNA and the dominant role of HSP101 in dictating the outcome of severe heat stress.

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  5. Protein cysteines (Cys) undergo a multitude of different reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive sulfur species (RSS), and/or reactive nitrogen species (RNS)-derived modifications. S-nitrosation (also referred to as nitrosylation), the addition of a nitric oxide (NO) group to reactive Cys thiols, can alter protein stability and activity and can result in changes of protein subcellular localization. Although it is clear that this nitrosative posttranslational modification (PTM) regulates multiple signal transduction pathways in plants, the enzymatic systems that catalyze the reverse S-denitrosation reaction are poorly understood. This review provides an overview of the biochemistry and regulation of nitro-oxidative modifications of protein Cys residues with a focus on NO production and S-nitrosation. In addition, the importance and recent advances in defining enzymatic systems proposed to be involved in regulating S-denitrosation are addressed, specifically cytosolic thioredoxins (TRX) and the newly identified aldo-keto reductases (AKR). 
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  6. Nitric oxide (NO) is a short-lived radical gas that acts as a signaling molecule in all higher organisms, and that is involved in multiple plant processes, including germination, root growth, and fertility. Regulation of NO-levels is predominantly achieved by reaction of oxidation products of NO with glutathione to form S -nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), the principal bioactive form of NO. The enzyme S -nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) is a major route of NADH-dependent GSNO catabolism and is critical to NO homeostasis. Here, we performed a proteomic analysis examining changes in the total leaf proteome of an Arabidopsis thaliana GSNOR null mutant ( hot5-2/gsnor1-3 ). Significant increases or decreases in proteins associated with chlorophyll metabolism and with redox and stress metabolism provide insight into phenotypes observed in hot5-2/gsnor1-3 plants. Importantly, we identified a significant increase in proteins that belong to the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) protein superfamily, AKR4C8 and 9. Because specific AKRs have been linked to NO metabolism in mammals, we expressed and purified A. thaliana AKR4C8 and 9 and close homologs AKR4C10 and 11 and determined that they have NADPH-dependent activity in GSNO and S -nitroso-coenzyme A (SNO-CoA) reduction. Further, we found an increase of NADPH-dependent GSNO reduction activity in hot5-2/gsnor1-3 mutant plants. These data uncover a new, NADPH-dependent component of NO metabolism that may be integrated with NADH-dependent GSNOR activity to control NO homeostasis in plants. 
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  7. Summary

    As rapid changes in climate threaten global crop yields, an understanding of plant heat stress tolerance is increasingly relevant. Heat stress tolerance involves the coordinated action of many cellular processes and is particularly energy demanding. We acquired a knockout mutant and generated knockdown lines inArabidopsis thalianaof the d subunit of mitochondrial ATP synthase (gene name:ATPQ, AT3G52300, referred to hereafter asATPd), a subunit of the peripheral stalk, and used these to investigate the phenotypic significance of this subunit in normal growth and heat stress tolerance. Homozygous knockout mutants forATPdcould not be obtained due to gametophytic defects, while heterozygotes possess no visible phenotype. Therefore, we used RNA interference to create knockdown plant lines for further studies. Proteomic analysis and blue native gels revealed thatATPddownregulation impairs only subunits of the mitochondrial ATP synthase (complex V). Knockdown plants were more sensitive to heat stress, had abnormal leaf morphology, and were severely slow growing compared to wild type. These results indicate that ATPd plays a crucial role in proper function of the mitochondrial ATP synthase holoenzyme, which, when reduced, leads to wide‐ranging defects in energy‐demanding cellular processes. In knockdown plants, more hydrogen peroxide accumulated and mitochondrial dysfunction stimulon (MDS) genes were activated. These data establish the essential structural role of ATPd and support the importance of complex V in normal plant growth, and provide new information about its requirement for heat stress tolerance.

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