An essential role for the VASt domain of the Arabidopsis VAD1 protein in the regulation of defense and cell death in response to pathogens.
ABSTRACT: Several regulators of programmed cell death (PCD) have been identified in plants which encode proteins with putative lipid-binding domains. Among them, VAD1 (Vascular Associated Death) contains a novel protein domain called VASt (VAD1 analog StAR-related lipid transfer) still uncharacterized. The Arabidopsis mutant vad1-1 has been shown to exhibit a lesion mimic phenotype with light-conditional appearance of propagative hypersensitive response-like lesions along the vascular system, associated with defense gene expression and increased resistance to Pseudomonas strains. To test the potential of ectopic expression of VAD1 to influence HR cell death and to elucidate the role of the VASt domain in this function, we performed a structure-function analysis of VAD1 by transient over-expression in Nicotiana benthamiana and by complementation of the mutant vad1-1. We found that (i) overexpression of VAD1 controls negatively the HR cell death and defense expression either transiently in Nicotiana benthamania or in Arabidopsis plants in response to avirulent strains of Pseudomonas syringae, (ii) VAD1 is expressed in multiple subcellular compartments, including the nucleus, and (iii) while the GRAM domain does not modify neither the subcellular localization of VAD1 nor its immunorepressor activity, the domain VASt plays an essential role in both processes. In conclusion, VAD1 acts as a negative regulator of cell death associated with the plant immune response and the VASt domain of this unknown protein plays an essential role in this function, opening the way for the functional analysis of VASt-containing proteins and the characterization of novel mechanisms regulating PCD.
Project description:Several regulators of programmed cell death (PCD) in plants encode proteins with putative lipid-binding domains. Among them, VAD1 is a regulator of PCD propagation harboring a GRAM putative lipid-binding domain. However the function of VAD1 at the subcellular level is unknown and the domain architecture of VAD1 has not been analyzed in details.We analyzed sequence conservation across the plant kingdom in the VAD1 protein and identified an uncharacterized VASt (VAD1 Analog of StAR-related lipid transfer) domain. Using profile hidden Markov models (profile HMMs) and phylogenetic analysis we found that this domain is conserved among eukaryotes and generally associates with various lipid-binding domains. Proteins containing both a GRAM and a VASt domain include notably the yeast Ysp2 cell death regulator and numerous uncharacterized proteins. Using structure-based phylogeny, we found that the VASt domain is structurally related to Bet v1-like domains.We identified a novel protein domain ubiquitous in Eukaryotic genomes and belonging to the Bet v1-like superfamily. Our findings open perspectives for the functional analysis of VASt-containing proteins and the characterization of novel mechanisms regulating PCD.
Project description:Hypersensitive cell death, a form of avirulent pathogen-induced programmed cell death (PCD), is one of the most efficient plant innate immunity. However, its regulatory mechanism is poorly understood. AtLSD1 is an important negative regulator of PCD and only two proteins, AtbZIP10 and AtMC1, have been reported to interact with AtLSD1.To identify a novel regulator of hypersensitive cell death, we investigate the possible role of plant LITAF domain protein GILP in hypersensitive cell death. Subcellular localization analysis showed that AtGILP is localized in the plasma membrane and its plasma membrane localization is dependent on its LITAF domain. Yeast two-hybrid and pull-down assays demonstrated that AtGILP interacts with AtLSD1. Pull-down assays showed that both the N-terminal and the C-terminal domains of AtGILP are sufficient for interactions with AtLSD1 and that the N-terminal domain of AtLSD1 is involved in the interaction with AtGILP. Real-time PCR analysis showed that AtGILP expression is up-regulated by the avirulent pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 avrRpt2 (Pst avrRpt2) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) that trigger PCD. Compared with wild-type plants, transgenic plants overexpressing AtGILP exhibited significantly less cell death when inoculated with Pst avrRpt2, indicating that AtGILP negatively regulates hypersensitive cell death.These results suggest that the LITAF domain protein AtGILP localizes in the plasma membrane, interacts with AtLSD1, and is involved in negatively regulating PCD. We propose that AtGILP functions as a membrane anchor, bringing other regulators of PCD, such as AtLSD1, to the plasma membrane. Human LITAF domain protein may be involved in the regulation of PCD, suggesting the evolutionarily conserved function of LITAF domain proteins in the regulation of PCD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR (ERF) 8 is a member of one of the largest transcription factor families in plants, the APETALA2/ETHYLENE RESPONSIVE FACTOR (AP2/ERF) superfamily. Members of this superfamily have been implicated in a wide variety of processes such as development and environmental stress responses. RESULTS:In this study we demonstrated that ERF8 is involved in both ABA and immune signaling. ERF8 overexpression induced programmed cell death (PCD) in Arabidopsis and Nicotiana benthamiana. This PCD was salicylic acid (SA)-independent, suggesting that ERF8 acts downstream or independent of SA. ERF8-induced PCD was abolished by mutations within the ERF-associated amphiphilic repression (EAR) motif, indicating ERF8 induces cell death through its transcriptional repression activity. Two immunity-related mitogen-activated protein kinases, MITOGEN-ACTIVATED PROTEIN KINASE 4 (MPK4) and MPK11, were identified as ERF8-interacting proteins and directly phosphorylated ERF8 in vitro. Four putative MPK phosphorylation sites were identified in ERF8, one of which (Ser103) was determined to be the predominantly phosphorylated residue in vitro, while mutation of all four putative phosphorylation sites partially suppressed ERF8-induced cell death in N. benthamiana. Genome-wide transcriptomic analysis and pathogen growth assays confirmed a positive role of ERF8 in mediating immunity, as ERF8 knockdown or overexpression lines conferred compromised or enhanced resistance against the hemibiotrophic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Together these data reveal that the ABA-inducible transcriptional repressor ERF8 has dual roles in ABA signaling and pathogen defense, and further highlight the complex influence of ABA on plant-microbe interactions.
Project description: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:'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' (CLas) is one of the causal agents of citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), a bacterial disease of citrus trees that greatly reduces fruit yield and quality. CLas strains produce an array of currently uncharacterized Sec-dependent secretory proteins. In this study, the conserved chromosomally encoded protein CLIBASIA_03875 was identified as a novel Sec-dependent secreted protein. We show that CLIBASIA_03875 contains a putative Sec- secretion signal peptide (SP), a 29 amino acid residue located at the N-terminus, with a mature protein (m3875) of 22 amino acids found to localize in multiple subcellular components of the leaf epidermal cells of Nicotiana benthamiana. When overexpressed via a Potato virus X (PVX)-based expression vector in N. benthamiana, m3875 suppressed programmed cell death (PCD) and the H2O2 accumulation triggered by the pro-apoptotic mouse protein BAX and the Phytophthora infestans elicitin INF1. Overexpression also resulted in a phenotype of dwarfing, leaf deformation and mosaics, suggesting that m3875 has roles in plant immune response, growth, and development. Substitution mutagenesis of the charged amino acid (D7, R9, R11, and K22) with alanine within m3875 did not recover the phenotypes for PCD and normal growth. In addition, the transiently overexpressed m3875 regulated the transcriptional levels of N. benthamiana orthologs of CNGCs (cyclic nucleotide-gated channels), BI-1 (Bax-inhibitor 1), and WRKY33 that are involved in plant defense mechanisms. To our knowledge, m3875 is the first PCD suppressor identified from CLas. Studying the function of this protein provides insight as to how CLas attenuates the host immune responses to proliferate and cause Huanglongbing disease in citrus plants.
Project description:Heterodera avenae is one of the most important plant pathogens and causes vast losses in cereal crops. As a sedentary endoparasitic nematode, H. avenae secretes effectors that modify plant defenses and promote its biotrophic infection of its hosts. However, the number of effectors involved in the interaction between H. avenae and host defenses remains unclear. Here, we report the identification of putative effectors in H. avenae that regulate plant defenses on a large scale. Our results showed that 78 of the 95 putative effectors suppressed programmed cell death (PCD) triggered by BAX and that 7 of the putative effectors themselves caused cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana. Among the cell-death-inducing effectors, three were found to be dependent on their specific domains to trigger cell death and to be expressed in esophageal gland cells by in situ hybridization. Ten candidate effectors that suppressed BAX-triggered PCD also suppressed PCD triggered by the elicitor PsojNIP and at least one R-protein/cognate effector pair, suggesting that they are active in suppressing both pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI). Notably, with the exception of isotig16060, these putative effectors could also suppress PCD triggered by cell-death-inducing effectors from H. avenae, indicating that those effectors may cooperate to promote nematode parasitism. Collectively, our results indicate that the majority of the tested effectors of H. avenae may play important roles in suppressing cell death induced by different elicitors in N. benthamiana.
Project description:Programmed cell death (PCD) is of fundamental importance to development and defense in animals and plants. In plants, a well-recognized form of PCD is hypersensitive response (HR) triggered by pathogens, which involves the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other signaling molecules. While the mitochondrion is a master regulator of PCD in animals, the chloroplast is known to regulate PCD in plants. Arabidopsis Mosaic Death 1 (MOD1), an enoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) reductase essential for fatty acid biosynthesis in chloroplasts, negatively regulates PCD in Arabidopsis. Here we report that PCD in mod1 results from accumulated ROS and can be suppressed by mutations in mitochondrial complex I components, and that the suppression is confirmed by pharmaceutical inhibition of the complex I-generated ROS. We further show that intact mitochondria are required for full HR and optimum disease resistance to the Pseudomonas syringae bacteria. These findings strongly indicate that the ROS generated in the electron transport chain in mitochondria plays a key role in triggering plant PCD and highlight an important role of the communication between chloroplast and mitochondrion in the control of PCD in plants.
Project description:Different abiotic and biotic stresses lead to the production and accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in various cell organelles such as in mitochondria, resulting in oxidative stress, inducing defense responses or programmed cell death (PCD) in plants. In response to oxidative stress, cells activate various cytoprotective responses, enhancing the antioxidant system, increasing the activity of alternative oxidase and degrading the oxidized proteins. Oxidative stress responses are orchestrated by several phytohormones such as salicylic acid (SA). The biomolecule SA is a key regulator in mitochondria-mediated defense signaling and PCD, but the mode of its action is not known in full detail. In this review, the current knowledge on the multifaceted role of SA in mitochondrial ROS metabolism is summarized to gain a better understanding of SA-regulated processes at the subcellular level in plant defense responses.
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:Plants activate distinct defense responses depending on the lifestyle of the attacker encountered. In these responses, salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) play important signaling roles. SA induces defense against biotrophic pathogens that feed and reproduce on live host cells, whereas JA activates defense against necrotrophic pathogens that kill host cells for nutrition and reproduction. Cross-talk between these defense signaling pathways has been shown to optimize the response against a single attacker. However, its role in defense against multiple pathogens with distinct lifestyles is unknown. Here we show that infection with biotrophic Pseudomonas syringae, which induces SA-mediated defense, rendered plants more susceptible to the necrotrophic pathogen Alternaria brassicicola by suppression of the JA signaling pathway. This process was partly dependent on the cross-talk modulator NPR1. Surprisingly, this tradeoff was restricted to tissues adjacent to the site of initial infection; A. brassicicola infection in systemic tissue was not affected. Even more surprisingly, tradeoff occurred only with the virulent Pseudomonas strain. Avirulent strains that induced programmed cell death (PCD), an effective plant-resistance mechanism against biotrophs, did not cause suppression of JA-dependent defense. This result might be advantageous to the plant by preventing necrotrophic pathogen growth in tissues undergoing PCD. Our findings show that plants tightly control cross-talk between SA- and JA-dependent defenses in a previously unrecognized spatial and pathogen type-specific fashion. This process allows them to prevent unfavorable signal interactions and maximize their ability to concomitantly fend off multiple pathogens.