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We have identified and characterized a novel tobacco gene, called ZGT (from the Chinese phrase zhong guang tiaokong, or clock and light controlled), that is regulated by the circadian clock and light. ZGT transcripts have alternate forms that are differentially expressed in different tissues. ZGT is expressed rhythmically in light/dark cycles and in constant light. Constitutive expression of ZGT sustains the expression of the clock-controlled LHCB1*1 gene in constant darkness, when it would normally dampen, but does not affect LHCB1*1 expression in constant light. ZGT expression is induced rapidly by light, and overexpression of ZGT increases the sensitivity of the circadian oscillator to brief light pulses. The ZGT promoter includes a G-box motif that is found in many light-regulated promoters in plants and is the same as the E box described for rhythmically regulated promoters of animal circadian clock genes. The ZGT promoter also includes "evening element" motifs that are correlated with circadian control of plant genes. We postulate that light- and clock-regulated expression of ZGT acts as a coupling agent between the central circadian oscillator and rhythmic LHCB1*1 expression and that it may function as a component in plant phototransduction pathways.
Circadian biological clocks control many biological events, but the pathways by which these events are controlled are largely unknown. Based on a model suggesting that cytosolic-free calcium levels control the expression of the Lhcb gene in plants, we tested whether the circadian oscillation of free calcium is responsible for driving the rhythm of Lhcb expression. We found that these rhythms free-run with different periods in tobacco seedlings in constant conditions. Moreover, robust oscillations of Lhcb promoter activity continued in undifferentiated tobacco calli in the absence of Ca(2+) oscillations. Therefore, these two circadian rhythms are not linked hierarchically. These data provide evidence for separate circadian pacemakers controlling molecular events in plants.
The structure of an intact tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) particle was determined at 2.9 A resolution using fibre diffraction methods. All residues of the coat protein and the three nucleotides of RNA that are bound to each protein subunit were visible in the electron density map. Examination of the structures of TMV, cucumber green mottle mosaic virus and ribgrass mosaic virus, and site-directed mutagenesis experiments in which carboxylate groups were changed to the corresponding amides, showed that initial stages of disassembly are driven by complex electrostatic interactions involving at least seven carboxylate side-chains and a phosphate group. The locations of these interactions can drift during evolution, allowing the viruses to evade plant defensive responses that depend on recognition of the viral coat protein surface.
In this study of the type 2 peroxisomal targeting signal (PTS2) pathway, we examined the apparent discontinuity and conservation of residues within the PTS2 nonapeptide and demonstrated that this topogenic signal is capable of directing heteromultimeric protein import in plant cells. Based on cumulative data showing that at least 26 unique, putative PTS2 nonapeptides occur within 12 diverse peroxisomal-destined proteins, the current (-R/K-L/V/I-X5-H/Q-L/A-) as well as the original (-R-L-X5-H/Q-L-) PTS2 motif appear to be oversimplified. To assess the functionality of residues within the motif, rat liver thiolase (rthio) and various chimeric chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) proteins were expressed transiently in suspension-cultured tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum L.) cv Bright Yellow cells (BY-2), and their subcellular location was determined by immunofluoresence microscopy. Hemagglutinin (HA)-epitope-tagged-CAT subunits, lacking a PTS2 (CAT-HA), were 'piggybacked' into glyoxysomes by PTS2-bearing CAT subunits (rthio-CAT), whereas signal-depleted CAT-HA subunits that were modified to prevent oligomerization did not import into glyoxysomes. These results provided direct evidence that signal-depleted subunits imported into peroxisomes were targeted to the organelle as oligomers (heteromers) by a PTS2. Mutational analysis of residues within PTS2 nonapeptides revealed that a number of amino acid substitutions were capable of maintaining targeting function. Furthermore, functionality of residues within the PTS2 nonapeptide did not appear to require a context-specific environment conferred by adjacent residues. These results collectively suggest that the functional PTS2 is not solely defined as a sequence-specific motif, i.e. -R/K-X6-H/Q-A/L/F-, but defined also by its structural motif that is dependent upon the physiochemical properties of residues within the nonapeptide.
To investigate the molecular role of the tobacco mosaic tobamovirus (TMV) coat protein (CP) in conferring cross-protection, a potato X potexvirus (PVX) vector (S. Chapman, Plant J. 2, 549-557, 1992) was used to systemically express a set of TMV mutant CPs in Nicotiana benthamiana prior to challenge inoculation with TMV. PVX-expressed wild-type TMV CP delayed TMV accumulation for up to 2 weeks compared to unprotected plants or plants preinfected with the unmodified PVX vector. Similar delays in TMV accumulation were obtained using TMV CPs that were deficient in virion formation but competent to assemble into helical aggregates. In contrast, TMV CPs that were incapable of helical aggregation or unable to bind viral RNA did not delay the accumulation of TMV. Furthermore, TMV CPs with enhanced intersubunit interactions that favor helical aggregation produced significantly greater delays in the accumulation of challenge TMV than obtained from the wild-type CP. Thus the capabilities of TMV CP to interact with viral RNA and self-associate in a helical fashion appear to be essential to its ability to confer protection. Taken together, these findings support a model for CP-mediated resistance in which the protecting CP recoats the challenge virus RNA as it disassembles.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether the plant type 1 peroxisomal targeting signal (PTS1) utilizes amino acid residues that do not strictly adhere to the serine-lysine-leucine (SKL) motif (small-basic-hydrophobic residues). Selected residues were appended to the C terminus of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) and were tested for their ability to target CAT fusion proteins to glyoxysomes in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) cv Bright Yellow 2 suspension-cultured cells. CAT was redirected from the cytosol into glyoxysomes by a wide range of residues, i.e. A/C/G/S/T-H/K/ L/N/R-I/L/M/Y. Although L and N at the -2 position (-SLL, -ANL) do not conform to the SKL motif, both functioned, but in a temporally less-efficient manner. Other SKL divergent residues, however, did not target CAT to glyoxysomes, i.e. F or P at the -3 position (-FKL, -PKL), S or T at the -2 position (-SSI, STL), or D at the -1 position (-SKD). The targeting inefficiency of CAT-ANL could be ameliorated when K was included at the -4 position (-KANL). In summary, the plant PTS1 mostly conforms to the SKL motif. For those PTS1s that possess nonconforming residue(s), other residues upstream of the PTS1 appear to function as accessory sequences that enhance the temporal efficiency of peroxisomal targeting.
Alterations in the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) coat protein affect the elicitation of the N' gene hypersensitive response (HR) in Nicotiana sylvestris. To investigate this structure-function relationship, amino acid substitutions with predicted structural effects were created throughout the known structure of the TMV coat protein. Substitutions that resulted in the elicitation of the HR resided within and would predictably interfere with interface regions located between adjacent subunits in ordered aggregates of coat protein. Substitutions that did not result in the elicitation of the HR were either conservative or located outside these interface regions. In vitro analysis of coat protein aggregates demonstrated HR-eliciting coat proteins to have reduced aggregate stability in comparison with non-HR-eliciting coat proteins and a correlation existed between the strength of the elicited HR and the ability of a substitution to interfere with ordered aggregate formation. This finding corresponded with the predicted structural effects of HR-eliciting substitutions. Radical substitutions that predictably disrupted coat protein tertiary structure were found to prevent HR elicitation. These findings demonstrate that structural alterations that affect the stability of coat protein quaternary structure but not tertiary structure lead to host cell recognition and HR elicitation. A model for HR elicitation is proposed, in which disassembly of coat protein aggregates exposes a host "receptor" binding site.
Electrostatic repulsion between carboxylate groups across subunit interfaces has for many years been recognized as important in the disassembly of simple plant viruses. In the coat protein of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), the amino acids Glu50 and Asp77 have been proposed as examples of such carboxylate groups. Site-directed mutagenesis has been used to replace these amino acids by Gln and Asn, respectively. Increased virion stability, together with reduced infectivity and reduced capacity for long-distance transport within the host plant confirms that the negative charges on the side chains of these amino acids are involved in the disassembly of TMV. Mixing purified mutant coat proteins with wild-type virions under appropriate conditions stabilizes the virions to alkaline disassembly and reduces their infectivity. It is suggested that transgenic plants expressing such mutant coat proteins could have enhanced resistance to virus infection.
Human cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes are involved in the oxidation of natural products found in foods, beverages, and tobacco products and their catalytic activities can also be modulated by components of the materials. The microsomal activation of aflatoxin B1 to the exo-8,9-epoxide is stimulated by flavone and 7,8-benzoflavone, and attenuated by the flavonoid naringenin, a major component of grapefruit. P4502E1 has been demonstrated to play a potentially major role in the activation of a number of very low-molecular weight cancer suspects, including ethyl carbamate (urethan), which is present in alcoholic beverages and particularly stone brandies. The enzyme (P4502E1) is also known to be inducible by ethanol. Tobacco contains a large number of potential carcinogens. In human liver microsomes a significant role for P4501A2 can be demonstrated in the activation of cigarette smoke condensate. Some of the genotoxicity may be due to arylamines. P4501A2 is also inhibited by components of crude cigarette smoke condensate. The tobacco-specific nitrosamines are activated by a number of P450 enzymes. Of those known to be present in human liver, P4501A2, 2A6, and 2E1 can activate these nitrosamines to genotoxic products.
Monocyclic aromatic amines are environmental contaminants and many are promutagens and procarcinogens. Cultured tobacco cells, strain TX1, activated m-phenylenediamine into a frameshift mutagen that reverted the hisD3052 allele in Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and YG1024. However, the plant-activated products were refractory in strain TA98/1,8-DNP6. This indicated that these plant-activated products were substrates for bacterial acetyl-CoA: N-hydroxyarylamine O-acetyltransferase. A stable, high molecular weight (> 300 kDa) proximal mutagen was isolated by molecular ultrafiltration membranes. No parent compound was associated with the isolated mutagenic fraction. The high molecular weight fraction induced mutation in S. typhimurium strains TA98, YG1021 and YG1024. From these data we propose a model for the plant-activation of aromatic amine promutagens.