Identification of three MAPKKKs forming a linear signaling pathway leading to programmed cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade is an evolutionarily ancient mechanism of signal transduction found in eukaryotic cells. In plants, MAPK cascades are associated with responses to various abiotic and biotic stresses such as plant pathogens. MAPK cascades function through sequential phosphorylation: MAPK kinase kinases (MAPKKKs) phosphorylate MAPK kinases (MAPKKs), and phosphorylated MAPKKs phosphorylate MAPKs. Of these three types of kinase, the MAPKKKs exhibit the most divergence in the plant genome. Their great diversity is assumed to allow MAPKKKs to regulate many specific signaling pathways in plants despite the relatively limited number of MAPKKs and MAPKs. Although some plant MAPKKKs, including the MAPKKK? of Nicotiana benthamiana (NbMAPKKK?), are known to play crucial roles in plant defense responses, the functional relationship among MAPKKK genes is poorly understood. Here, we performed a comparative functional analysis of MAPKKKs to investigate the signaling pathway leading to the defense response. RESULTS: We cloned three novel MAPKKK genes from N. benthamiana: NbMAPKKK?, NbMAPKKK?, and NbMAPKKK?2. Transient overexpression of full-length NbMAPKKK? or NbMAPKKK? or their kinase domains in N. benthamiana leaves induced hypersensitive response (HR)-like cell death associated with hydrogen peroxide production. This activity was dependent on the kinase activity of the overexpressed MAPKKK. In addition, virus-induced silencing of NbMAPKKK? or NbMAPKKK? expression significantly suppressed the induction of programmed cell death (PCD) by viral infection. Furthermore, in epistasis analysis of the functional relationships among NbMAPKKK?, NbMAPKKK?, and NbMAPKKK? (previously shown to be involved in plant defense responses) conducted by combining transient overexpression analysis and virus-induced gene silencing, silencing of NbMAPKKK? suppressed cell death induced by the overexpression of the NbMAPKKK? kinase domain or of NbMAPKKK?, but silencing of NbMAPKKK? failed to suppress cell death induced by the overexpression of NbMAPKKK? or NbMAPKKK?. Silencing of NbMAPKKK? suppressed cell death induced by the NbMAPKKK? kinase domain but not that induced by NbMAPKKK?. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that in addition to NbMAPKKK?, NbMAPKKK? and NbMAPKKK? also function as positive regulators of PCD. Furthermore, these three MAPKKKs form a linear signaling pathway leading to PCD; this pathway proceeds from NbMAPKKK? to NbMAPKKK? to NbMAPKKK?.
Project description:Protein phosphorylation is one of the most important mechanisms to control cellular functions in response to external and endogenous signals. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) are universal signaling molecules in eukaryotes that mediate the intracellular transmission of extracellular signals resulting in the induction of appropriate cellular responses. MAPK cascades are composed of four protein kinase modules: MAPKKK kinases (MAPKKKKs), MAPKK kinases (MAPKKKs), MAPK kinases (MAPKKs), and MAPKs. In plants, MAPKs are activated in response to abiotic stresses, wounding, and hormones, and during plant pathogen interactions and cell division. In this report, we performed a complete inventory of MAPK cascades genes in Vitis vinifera, the whole genome of which has been sequenced. By comparison with MAPK, MAPK kinases, MAPK kinase kinases and MAPK kinase kinase kinase kinase members of Arabidopsis thaliana, we revealed the existence of 14 MAPKs, 5 MAPKKs, 62 MAPKKKs, and 7 MAPKKKKs in Vitis vinifera. We identified orthologs of V. vinifera putative MAPKs in different species, and ESTs corresponding to members of MAPK cascades in various tissues. This work represents the first complete inventory of MAPK cascades in V. vinifera and could help elucidate the biological and physiological functions of these proteins in V. vinifera.
Project description:Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling cascades, consisting of three types of reversibly phosphorylated kinases (MAPKKK, MAPKK, and MAPK), are involved in important processes including plant immunity and hormone responses. The MAPKKKs comprise the largest family in the MAPK cascades, yet only a few of these genes have been associated with physiological functions, even in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Canola (Brassica napus L.) is one of the most important oilseed crops in China and worldwide. To explore MAPKKK functions in biotic and abiotic stress responses in canola, 66 MAPKKK genes were identified and 28 of them were cloned. Phylogenetic analysis of these canola MAPKKKs with homologous genes from representative species classified them into three groups (A-C), comprising four MAPKKKs, seven ZIKs, and 17 Raf genes. A further 15 interaction pairs between these MAPKKKs and the downstream BnaMKKs were identified through a yeast two-hybrid assay. The interactions were further validated through bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) analysis. In addition, by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR, it was further observed that some of these BnaMAPKKK genes were regulated by different hormone stimuli, abiotic stresses, or fungal pathogen treatments. Interestingly, two novel BnaMAPKKK genes, BnaMAPKKK18 and BnaMAPKKK19, which could elicit hypersensitive response (HR)-like cell death when transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, were successfully identified. Moreover, it was found that BnaMAPKKK19 probably mediated cell death through BnaMKK9. Overall, the present work has laid the foundation for further characterization of this important MAPKKK gene family in canola.
Project description:Programmed cell death (PCD) associated with immunity is triggered when a plant disease resistance (R) protein recognizes a corresponding pathogen virulence protein. In tomato, detection by the host Pto kinase of the Pseudomonas syringae proteins AvrPto or AvrPtoB causes localized PCD. Previously, we reported that both MAPKKK? (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase) and the tomato 14-3-3 protein 7 (TFT7) positively regulate Pto-mediated PCD in tomato and Nicotiana benthamiana. In addition, in contrast to MAPKKK?, TFT7 is required for PCD mediated by four other R proteins. Here we investigate why TFT7 is required for PCD induced by diverse R proteins in plants. We discovered that a MAPKK, SlMKK2, which acts downstream of SlMAPKKK?, also interacts with TFT7 in plant cells. Gene silencing experiments revealed that the orthologous genes of both SlMKK2 and TFT7 in N. benthamiana are required for PCD mediated by the same set of R proteins. SlMKK2 and its orthologs contain a 14-3-3 binding site in their N terminus, and Thr(33) in this site is required for interaction with TFT7 in vivo. Like the structurally similar human 14-3-3? protein, TFT7 forms a homodimer in vivo. Because TFT7 interacts with both SlMAPKKK? and SlMKK2 and also forms a homodimer, we propose that TFT7 may coordinately recruit these client proteins for efficient signal transfer, leading to PCD induction.
Project description:The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade consists of three types of reversibly phosphorylated kinases, namely, MAPK, MAPK kinase (MAPKK/MEK), and MAPK kinase kinase (MAPKKK/MEKK), playing important roles in plant growth, development, and defense response. The MAPK cascade genes have been investigated in detail in model plants, including Arabidopsis, rice, and tomato, but poorly characterized in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), a major popular vegetable in Cucurbitaceae crops, which is highly susceptible to environmental stress and pathogen attack.A genome-wide analysis revealed the presence of at least 14 MAPKs, 6 MAPKKs, and 59 MAPKKKs in the cucumber genome. Phylogenetic analyses classified all the CsMAPK and CsMAPKK genes into four groups, whereas the CsMAPKKK genes were grouped into the MEKK, RAF, and ZIK subfamilies. The expansion of these three gene families was mainly contributed by segmental duplication events. Furthermore, the ratios of non-synonymous substitution rates (Ka) and synonymous substitution rates (Ks) implied that the duplicated gene pairs had experienced strong purifying selection. Real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that some MAPK, MAPKK and MAPKKK genes are preferentially expressed in specific organs or tissues. Moreover, the expression levels of most of these genes significantly changed under heat, cold, drought, and Pseudoperonospora cubensis treatments. Exposure to abscisic acid and jasmonic acid markedly affected the expression levels of these genes, thereby implying that they may play important roles in the plant hormone network.A comprehensive genome-wide analysis of gene structure, chromosomal distribution, and evolutionary relationship of MAPK cascade genes in cucumber are present here. Further expression analysis revealed that these genes were involved in important signaling pathways for biotic and abiotic stress responses in cucumber, as well as the response to plant hormones. Our first systematic description of the MAPK, MAPKK, and MAPKKK families in cucumber will help to elucidate their biological roles in plant.
Project description:Plant mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades play important roles in development and stress responses. In previous studies, we have systematically investigated the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MKK) and MAPK gene families in cotton. However, the complete interactions between MAPK gene family members in MAPK signaling cascade is poorly characterized. Herein, we investigated the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) family members and identified a total of 89 MAPKKK genes in the Gossypium raimondii genome. We cloned 51 MAPKKKs in G. hirsutum and investigated the interactions between MKK and MAPKKK proteins through yeast-two hybrid assays. A total of 18 interactive protein pairs involved in 14 MAPKKKs and six MKKs were found. Among these, 13 interactive pairs had not been reported previously. Gene expression patterns revealed that 12 MAPKKKs were involved in diverse signaling pathways triggered by hormone treatments or abiotic stresses. By combining the MKK-MAPK and MKK-MAPKKK protein interactions with gene expression patterns, 38 potential MAPK signaling modules involved in the complicated cross-talks were identified, which provide a basis on elucidating biological function of the MAPK cascade in response to hormonal and/or stress responses. The systematic investigation in MAPK signaling cascades will lay a foundation for understanding the functional roles of different MAPK cascades in signal transduction pathways, and for the improvement of various defense responses in cotton.
Project description:Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are involved in plant development, stress responses and hormonal signal transduction. MAPK kinases (MAPKKs), as the key nodes in these cascades, link MAPKs and MAPKK kinases (MAPKKKs). In this study, GhMKK4, a novel group C MAPKK gene from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), was isolated and identified. Its expression can be induced by various stresses and signalling molecules. The overexpression of GhMKK4 in Nicotiana benthamiana enhanced its susceptibility to bacterial and fungal pathogens, but had no significant effects on salt or drought tolerance. Notably, the overexpressing plants showed increased sensitivity to abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin A3 (GA3), and ABA and gibberellin (GA) signalling were affected on infection with Ralstonia solanacearum bacteria. Furthermore, the overexpressing plants showed more reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation and stronger inhibition of catalase (CAT), a ROS-scavenging enzyme, than control plants after salicylic acid (SA) treatment. Interestingly, two genes encoding ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (SAMDC), the key enzymes in polyamine synthesis, exhibited reduced R. solanacearum-induced expression in overexpressing plants. These findings broaden our knowledge about the functions of MAPKKs in diverse signalling pathways and the negative regulation of disease resistance in the cotton crop.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The contribution of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades to plant growth and development has been widely studied, but this knowledge has not yet been extended to the medicinal plant Salvia miltiorrhiza, which produces a number of pharmacologically active secondary metabolites. RESULTS:In this study, we performed a genome-wide survey and identified six MAPKKK kinases (MAPKKKKs), 83 MAPKK kinases (MAPKKKs), nine MAPK kinases (MAPKKs) and 18 MAPKs in the S. miltiorrhiza genome. Within each class of genes, a small number of subfamilies were recognized. A transcriptional analysis revealed differences in the genes' behaviour with respect to both their site of transcription and their inducibility by elicitors and phytohormones. Two genes were identified as strong candidates for playing roles in phytohormone signalling. A gene-to-metabolite network was constructed based on correlation analysis, highlighting the likely involvement of two of the cascades in the synthesis of two key groups of pharmacologically active secondary metabolites: phenolic acids and tanshinones. CONCLUSION:The data provide insight into the functional diversification and conservation of MAPK cascades in S. miltiorrhiza.
Project description:Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade signal transduction modules play crucial roles in regulating many biological processes in plants. These cascades are composed of three classes of hierarchically organized protein kinases, MAPKKKs, MAPKKs and MAPKs. Here, we analyzed gene retention, phylogenetic, evolution and expression patterns of MAPK cascade genes in Brassica rapa. We further found that the MAPK branches, classes III and IV, appeared after the split of bryophytes and green algae after analyzing the MAPK cascade genes in 8 species, and their rapid expansion led to the great size of the families of MAPKs. In contrast, the ancestral class I subfamily of MAPKK gene families have been highly conserved from algae to angiosperms. For the MAPKKK family, the MEKK and Raf subfamily share a common evolutionary origin, and Raf plays a major role in the expansion of the MAPKKK gene family. The cis-elements and interaction network analyses showed the important function of MAPK cascade genes in development and stress responses in B. rapa. This study provides a solid foundation for molecular evolution analyses of MAPK cascade genes.
Project description:Cytokinesis is regulated to ensure the precise partitioning of cytoplasm and duplicated chromosomes to daughter cells. The NACK-PQR pathway, which includes NACK1 kinesin-like protein (KLP) and a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade, plays a key role in cytokinesis in tobacco cells. Although HINKEL/AtNACK1 (HIK) KLP, ANP MAP kinase kinase kinases (MAPKKKs) and MKK6/ ANQ MAP kinase kinase (MAPKK) have been identified independently as regulators of cytokinesis in Arabidopsis thaliana, the involvement of HIK, ANPs and MKK6/ANQ in a regulatory cascade remains to be demonstrated. Here we provide details of the protein kinase pathway that controls cytokinesis in A. thaliana. Analysis of the subcellular distribution of six MAPKKs of A. thaliana that had been fused to green fluorescent protein revealed that only MKK6/ANQ protein was concentrated at the equatorial plane of the phragmoplast, at the site of localization of HIK. Expression of MKK6/ANQ in yeast cells replaced the growth-control function of the MAPKK encoded by yeast PBS2, provided that both ANP1 MAPKKK and HIK [or TETRASPORE/AtNACK2 (TES)] KLP were coexpressed, suggesting that ANP1 activates MKK6/ANQ in the presence of HIK (or TES). Coexpression of HIK and ANP3 (another member of the ANP MAPKKK family) weakly activated MKK6/ANQ but that of TES and ANP3 did not. MKK6/ANQ phosphorylated MPK4 MAPK in vitro to activate the latter kinase. Thus cytokinesis in A. thaliana is controlled by a pathway that consists of ANP MAPKKKs that can be activated by HIK and MKK6/ANQ MAPKK, with MPK4 MAPK being a probable target of MKK6/ANQ.
Project description:Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are highly conserved signal transduction model in animals, yeast and plants. Plant MAPK cascades have been implicated in development and stress responses. Although MAPKKKs have been investigated in several plant species including Arabidopsis and rice, no systematic analysis has been conducted in maize. In this study, we performed a bioinformatics analysis of the entire maize genome and identified 74 MAPKKK genes. Phylogenetic analyses of MAPKKKs from maize, rice and Arabidopsis have classified them into three subgroups, which included Raf, ZIK and MEKK. Evolutionary relationships within subfamilies were also supported by exon-intron organizations and the conserved protein motifs. Further expression analysis of the MAPKKKs in microarray databases revealed that MAPKKKs were involved in important signaling pathways in maize different organs and developmental stages. Our genomics analysis of maize MAPKKK genes provides important information for evolutionary and functional characterization of this family in maize.