Engineering the phototropin photocycle improves photoreceptor performance and plant biomass production.
ABSTRACT: The ability to enhance photosynthetic capacity remains a recognized bottleneck to improving plant productivity. Phototropin blue light receptors (phot1 and phot2) optimize photosynthetic efficiency in Arabidopsis thaliana by coordinating multiple light-capturing processes. In this study, we explore the potential of using protein engineering to improve photoreceptor performance and thereby plant growth. We demonstrate that targeted mutagenesis can decrease or increase the photocycle lifetime of Arabidopsis phototropins in vitro and show that these variants can be used to reduce or extend the duration of photoreceptor activation in planta Our findings show that slowing the phototropin photocycle enhanced several light-capturing responses, while accelerating it reduced phototropin's sensitivity for chloroplast accumulation movement. Moreover, plants engineered to have a slow-photocycling variant of phot1 or phot2 displayed increased biomass production under low-light conditions as a consequence of their improved sensitivity. Together, these findings demonstrate the feasibility of engineering photoreceptors to manipulate plant growth and offer additional opportunities to enhance photosynthetic competence, particularly under suboptimal light regimes.
Project description:We examined the impact of UV-B irradiation on chloroplast movements in Arabidopsis leaves. Directional chloroplast movements induced by blue light have been described in multiple plant species. In weak light, chloroplasts accumulate at periclinal cell walls to increase light capture. In strong light, chloroplasts exhibit the avoidance response, as they move towards anticlinal walls to protect the photosynthetic apparatus from light-induced damage. In Arabidopsis, chloroplast movements are triggered by phototropins, phot1 and phot2, which are known as blue/UV-A photoreceptors. We found that irradiation with UV-B of 3.3 µmol·m-2·s-1 induced chloroplast accumulation in wild-type plants. UV-B-triggered accumulation was dependent on the presence of phototropins, especially phot1, but not on UVR8 (the canonical UV-B photoreceptor). Irradiation with strong UV-B of 20 µmol·m-2·s-1 did not induce substantial chloroplast relocations in wild-type leaves. However, in the jac1 mutant, which is defective in chloroplast accumulation, strong UV-B elicited chloroplast avoidance. This indicated that UV-B can also activate signaling to the avoidance response. To assess the possibility of indirect effects of UV-B on chloroplast movements, we examined the impact of UV-B on the actin cytoskeleton, which serves as the motile system for chloroplast movements. While irradiation with UV-B of 3.3 µmol·m-2·s-1 did not affect the actin cytoskeleton, strong UV-B disrupted its structure as shown using an Arabidopsis line expressing Lifeact-green fluorescent protein (GFP). In wild-type plants, pretreatment with strong UV-B attenuated chloroplast responses triggered by subsequent blue light irradiation, further indicating that this UV-B intensity also indirectly affects chloroplast movements. Taken together, our results suggest that the effect of UV-B on chloroplast movement is twofold: it directly induces phototropin-mediated movements; however, at higher intensities, it attenuates the movements in a nonspecific manner.
Project description:Phototropism, or plant growth in response to unidirectional light, is an adaptive response of crucial importance. Lateral differences in low fluence rates of blue light are detected by phototropin 1 (phot1) in Arabidopsis. Only NONPHOTOTROPIC HYPOCOTYL 3 (NPH3) and root phototropism 2, both belonging to the same family of proteins, have been previously identified as phototropin-interacting signal transducers involved in phototropism. PHYTOCHROME KINASE SUBSTRATE (PKS) 1 and PKS2 are two phytochrome signaling components belonging to a small gene family in Arabidopsis (PKS1-PKS4). The strong enhancement of PKS1 expression by blue light and its light induction in the elongation zone of the hypocotyl prompted us to study the function of this gene family during phototropism. Photobiological experiments show that the PKS proteins are critical for hypocotyl phototropism. Furthermore, PKS1 interacts with phot1 and NPH3 in vivo at the plasma membrane and in vitro, indicating that the PKS proteins may function directly with phot1 and NPH3 to mediate phototropism. The phytochromes are known to influence phototropism but the mechanism involved is still unclear. We show that PKS1 induction by a pulse of blue light is phytochrome A-dependent, suggesting that the PKS proteins may provide a molecular link between these two photoreceptor families.
Project description:Phototropins are UVA/blue-light receptors involved in controlling the light-dependent physiological responses which serve to optimize the photosynthetic activity of plants and promote growth. The phototropin-induced phosphoinositide (PI) metabolism has been shown to be essential for stomatal opening and phototropism. However, the role of PIs in phototropin-induced chloroplast movements remains poorly understood. The aim of this work is to determine which PI species are involved in the control of chloroplast movements in Arabidopsis and the nature of their involvement. We present the effects of the inactivation of phospholipase C (PLC), PI3-kinase (PI3K) and PI4-kinase (PI4K) on chloroplast relocations in Arabidopsis. The inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphospahte [PI(4,5)P2]-PLC pathway, using neomycin and U73122, suppressed the phot2-mediated chloroplast accumulation and avoidance responses, without affecting movement responses controlled by phot1. On the other hand, PI3K and PI4K activities are more restricted to phot1- and phot2-induced weak-light responses. The inactivation of PI3K and PI4K by wortmannin and LY294002 severely affected the weak blue-light-activated accumulation response but had little effect on the strong blue-light-activated avoidance response. The inhibitory effect observed with PI metabolism inhibitors is, at least partly, due to a disturbance in Ca(2+) ((c)) signaling. Using the transgenic aequorin system, we show that the application of these inhibitors suppresses the blue-light-induced transient Ca(2+) ((c)) rise. These results demonstrate the importance of PIs in chloroplast movements, with the PI(4,5)P2-PLC pathway involved in phot2 signaling while PI3K and PI4K are required for the phot1- and phot2-induced accumulation response. Our results suggest that these PIs modulate cytosolic Ca(2+) signaling during movements.
Project description:Phototropism allows plants to redirect their growth towards the light to optimize photosynthesis under reduced light conditions. Phototropin 1 (phot1) is the primary low blue light-sensing receptor triggering phototropism in Arabidopsis. Light-induced autophosphorylation of phot1, an AGC-class protein kinase, constitutes an essential step for phototropism. However, apart from the receptor itself, substrates of phot1 kinase activity are less clearly established. Phototropism is also influenced by the cryptochromes and phytochromes photoreceptors that do not provide directional information but influence the process through incompletely characterized mechanisms. Here, we show that Phytochrome Kinase Substrate 4 (PKS4), a known element of phot1 signalling, is a substrate of phot1 kinase activity in vitro that is phosphorylated in a phot1-dependent manner in vivo. PKS4 phosphorylation is transient and regulated by a type 2-protein phosphatase. Moreover, phytochromes repress the accumulation of the light-induced phosphorylated form of PKS4 showing a convergence of photoreceptor activity on this signalling element. Our physiological analyses suggest that PKS4 phosphorylation is not essential for phototropism but is part of a negative feedback mechanism.
Project description:Phototropins are plasma membrane‐associated photoreceptors of blue light. Arabidopsis thaliana genome has two genes, PHOT1 and PHOT2, encoding two phototropins that mediate phototropism, chloroplast positioning and stomatal opening. They are well characterized in terms of photomorphogenetic processes, but so far little was known about their involvement in photosynthesis and response to stress factors triggering oxidative stress and cell death. This work fills the gap in our understanding of PHOT1 and PHOT2 involvement in these processes. We used UV-C treatment to promote oxidative stress and cell death in Arabidopsis thaliana wild-type (Col-0 gl1), phot1, phot2 and phot1/phot2 mutants. Using RNAseq we identified genes differentially expressed in phot mutants, in comparison to the wild-type, in both non-stress conditions and after UV-C stress. Overall design: Four genotypes (wild-type, phot1, phot2, phot1/phot2) x two conditions (non-treated and UV-treated)
Project description:Cryptochromes (CRY) are blue light photoreceptors that mediate various light-induced responses in plants and animals. Arabidopsis CRY (CRY1 and CRY2) functions through negatively regulating constitutive photomorphogenic (COP) 1, a repressor of photomorphogenesis. Water evaporation and photosynthesis are regulated by the stomatal pores in plants, which are closed in darkness but open in response to blue light. There is evidence only for the phototropin blue light receptors (PHOT1 and PHOT2) in mediating blue light regulation of stomatal opening. Here, we report a previously uncharacterized role for Arabidopsis CRY and COP1 in the regulation of stomatal opening. Stomata of the cry1 cry2 double mutant showed reduced blue light response, whereas those of the CRY1-overexpressing plants showed hypersensitive response to blue light. In addition, stomata of the phot1 phot2 double mutant responded to blue light, but those of the cry1 cry2 phot1 phot2 quadruple mutant hardly responded. Strikingly, stomata of the cop1 mutant were constitutively open in darkness and stomata of the cry1 cry2 cop1 and phot1 phot2 cop1 triple mutants were open as wide as those of the cop1 single mutant under blue light. These results indicate that CRY functions additively with PHOT in mediating blue light-induced stomatal opening and that COP1 is a repressor of stomatal opening and likely acts downstream of CRY and PHOT signaling pathways.
Project description:Phototropins are plant photoreceptors which regulate numerous responses to blue light, including chloroplast relocation. Weak blue light induces chloroplast accumulation, whereas strong light leads to an avoidance response. Two Arabidopsis phototropins are characterized by different light sensitivities. Under continuous light, both can elicit chloroplast accumulation, but the avoidance response is controlled solely by phot2. As well as continuous light, brief light pulses also induce chloroplast displacements. Pulses of 0.1s and 0.2s of fluence rate saturating the avoidance response lead to transient chloroplast accumulation. Longer pulses (up to 20s) trigger a biphasic response, namely transient avoidance followed by transient accumulation. This work presents a detailed study of transient chloroplast responses in Arabidopsis. Phototropin mutants display altered chloroplast movements as compared with the wild type: phot1 is characterized by weaker responses, while phot2 exhibits enhanced chloroplast accumulation, especially after 0.1s and 0.2s pulses. To determine the cause of these differences, the abundance and phosphorylation levels of both phototropins, as well as the interactions between phototropin molecules are examined. The formation of phototropin homo- and heterocomplexes is the most plausible explanation of the observed phenomena. The physiological consequences of this interplay are discussed, suggesting the universal character of this mechanism that fine-tunes plant reactions to blue light. Additionally, responses in mutants of different protein phosphatase 2A subunits are examined to assess the role of protein phosphorylation in signaling of chloroplast movements.
Project description:In Arabidopsis thaliana, chloroplasts move towards the periclinal cell walls upon exposure to low blue light intensities and to anticlinal walls under high light. The regulation of these chloroplast movements involves members of both the phototropin and phytochrome families of photoreceptors. Examination of fluence-rate response dependencies in phot1 and phot2 mutants revealed that although both photoreceptors are capable of inducing chloroplast accumulation under low-light conditions, the signals from these photoreceptors appear to be antagonistic. Chloroplast movements in wild-type plants were intermediate between those of the single phot mutants, consistent with each operating through separate signalling cascades. Mutants in phot2 showed transient chloroplast avoidance responses upon exposure to intense blue light, and slow but sustained chloroplast avoidance under intense white light, indicating that in the absence of phot2, phot1 is capable of generating both a low and a high-light response signal. Mutations in phytochrome B (phyB) caused an enhanced avoidance response at intermediate and high light intensities. Examination of phyB, phot1phyB, and phot2phyB mutants indicated that this enhancement is caused by PhyB inhibition of the high-light avoidance response in wild-type plants. In addition, our results suggest that the inhibition by PhyB is not exclusive to either of the phot1 or phot2 signalling pathways.
Project description:Phototropin (phot1) is a blue light-activated plasma membrane-associated kinase that acts as the principal photoreceptor for shoot phototropism in Arabidopsis in conjunction with the signalling component Non-Phototropic Hypocotyl 3 (NPH3). PHOT1 is uniformly expressed throughout the Arabidopsis hypocotyl, yet decapitation experiments have localized the site of light perception to the upper hypocotyl. This prompted us to investigate in more detail the functional role of the hypocotyl apex, and the regions surrounding it, in establishing phototropism. We used a non-invasive approach where PHOT1-GFP (P1-GFP) expression was targeted to the hypocotyl apex of the phot-deficient mutant using the promoters of CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON 3 (CUC3) and AINTEGUMENTA (ANT). Expression of CUC3::P1-GFP was clearly visible at the hypocotyl apex, with weaker expression in the cotyledons, whereas ANT::P1-GFP was specifically targeted to the developing leaves. Both lines showed impaired curvature to 0.005 ?mol m-2 sec-1 unilateral blue light, indicating that regions below the apical meristem are necessary for phototropism. Curvature was however apparent at higher fluence rates. Moreover, CUC3::P1-GFP partially or fully complemented petiole positioning, leaf flattening and chloroplast accumulation, but not stomatal opening. Yet, tissue analysis of NPH3 de-phosphorylation showed that CUC3::P1-GFP and ANT::P1-GFP mis-express very low levels of phot1 that likely account for this responsiveness. Our spatial targeting approach therefore excludes the hypocotyl apex as the site for light perception for phototropism and shows that phot1-mediated NPH3 de-phosphorylation is tissue autonomous and occurs more prominently in the basal hypocotyl.
Project description:Light harvested by plants is essential for the survival of most life forms. This light perception ability requires the activities of proteins termed photoreceptors. We report a function for photoreceptors in mediating resistance (R) protein-derived plant defense. The blue-light photoreceptors, cryptochrome (CRY) 2 and phototropin (PHOT) 2, are required for the stability of the R protein HRT, and thereby resistance to Turnip Crinkle virus (TCV). Exposure to darkness or blue-light induces degradation of CRY2, and in turn HRT, resulting in susceptibility. Overexpression of HRT can compensate for the absence of PHOT2 but not CRY2. HRT does not directly associate with either CRY2 or PHOT2 but does bind the CRY2-/PHOT2-interacting E3 ubiquitin ligase, COP1. Application of the proteasome inhibitor, MG132, prevents blue-light-dependent degradation of HRT, consequently these plants show resistance to TCV under blue-light. We propose that CRY2/PHOT2 negatively regulate the proteasome-mediated degradation of HRT, likely via COP1, and blue-light relieves this repression resulting in HRT degradation.