Ethylene response factors (ERFs) are plant transcriptional regulators mediating ethylene-dependent gene expression via binding to the GCC motif found in the promoter region of ethylene-regulated genes. We report here on the structural and functional characterization of the tomato Sl-ERF2 gene that belongs to a distinct class of the large ERF gene family. Both spliced and unspliced versions of Sl-ERF2 transcripts were amplified from RNA samples and the search in the public tomato expressed sequence tag (EST) database confirmed the existence of the two transcript species in a number of cDNA libraries. The unspliced transcript contains two open reading frames yielding two hypothetical proteins, a small highly truncated version lacking the APETALA2 domain and a bigger protein lacking the N-terminal MCGGAAI(I)/(L) consensus peptide specific to ERF members from subfamily IV. Nevertheless, functional Sl-ERF2 protein may only derive from spliced transcripts since, depending on the tissue, the level of the spliced transcript is much higher than that of the unspliced transcript. Sl-ERF2 is expressed in all plant tissues tested, though its transcript accumulates preferentially in germinating seeds and ripening fruit. Overexpression of the Sl-ERF2 gene in transgenic tomato lines results in premature seed germination and enhanced hook formation of dark-grown seedlings, which is indicative of increased ethylene sensitivity. The expression of the mannanase2 gene is upregulated in Sl-ERF2-overexpressing seeds, suggesting that Sl-ERF2 stimulates seed germination through the induction of the mannanase2 gene. It is noteworthy that the exaggerated hook phenotype is abolished when ethylene perception is blocked, strongly suggesting that Sl-ERF2 requires other ethylene-dependent components to impact the hook formation process.
Elucidating molecular links between cell-fate regulatory networks and dynamic patterning modules is a key for understanding development. Auxin is important for plant patterning, particularly in roots, where it establishes positional information for cell-fate decisions. PIN genes encode plasma membrane proteins that serve as auxin efflux transporters; mutations in members of this gene family exhibit smaller roots with altered root meristems and stem-cell patterning. Direct regulators of PIN transcription have remained elusive. Here, we establish that a MADSbox gene (XAANTAL2, XAL2/AGL14) controls auxin transport via PIN transcriptional regulation during Arabidopsis root development; mutations in this gene exhibit altered stem-cell patterning, root meristem size, and root growth. XAL2 is necessary for normal shootward and rootward auxin transport, as well as for maintaining normal auxin distribution within the root. Furthermore, this MADS-domain transcription factor upregulates PIN1 and PIN4 by direct binding to regulatory regions and it is required for PIN4-dependent auxin response. In turn, XAL2 expression is regulated by auxin levels thus establishing a positive feedback loop between auxin levels and PIN regulation that is likely to be important for robust root patterning.
The Multiprotein Bridging Factor 1 (MBF1) proteins are transcription co-factors whose molecular function is to form a bridge between transcription factors and the basal machinery of transcription. MBF1s are present in most archaea and all eukaryotes, and numerous reports show that they are involved in developmental processes and in stress responses. In this review we summarize almost three decades of research on the plant MBF1 family, which has mainly focused on their role in abiotic stress responses, in particular the heat stress response. However, despite the amount of information available, there are still many questions that remain about how plant MBF1 genes, transcripts, and proteins respond to stress, and how they in turn modulate stress response transcriptional pathways.
The mitochondrial proteome is mostly composed of nuclear-encoded proteins. Such polypeptides are synthesized with signals that guide their intracellular transport to the surface of the organelle and later within the different mitochondrial subcompartments until they reach their functional destination. It has been suggested that the nascent-polypeptide associated complex (NAC) - a cytosolic chaperone that recognizes nascent chains on translationally active ribosomes - has a role in the import of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the NAC-mediated cotranslational import are still not clear. Here, we show that a particular NAC heterodimer formed by subunits α and β' in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is specifically involved in the process of mitochondrial import and functionally cooperates with Sam37, an outer membrane protein subunit of the sorting and assembly machinery complex. Mutants in both components display growth defects, incorrectly accumulate precursor forms of mitochondrial proteins in the cytosol, and have an altered mitochondrial protein content. We propose that αβ'-NAC and Sam37 are members of the system that recognizes mitochondrial proteins at early stages of their synthesis, escorting them to the import machinery of mitochondria.
In most eukaryotic cells mitochondria are essential organelles involved in a great variety of cellular functions. One of the physiological processes linked to mitochondria is aging, a gradual process of damage accumulation that eventually promotes cell death. Aging depends on a balance between mitochondrial biogenesis, function and degradation. It has been previously shown that Tor1, Sch9 and Ras2 are activated in response to nutrient availability and regulate cell growth and division. A deficiency in any of these genes promotes lifespan extension and cell protection during oxidative and heat shock stress. In this work we report that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the uncharacterized mitochondrial protein Slm35 is functionally linked with the TOR signaling pathway. A Δtor1Δslm35 strain shows a severe decrease in lifespan and is unable to contend with oxidative and heat shock stresses. Specifically, this mutant shows decreased catalase activity indicating a misregulation of ROS scavenging mechanisms. In this study we show that Slm35 is also relevant for mitochondrial network dynamics and mitophagy. The results presented here suggest that Slm35 plays an important role connecting mitochondrial function with cytosolic responses and cell adaptation to stress and aging.
An experimental Taenia crassiceps mouse model was used to assess the role of Taenia solium metacestode factor (Fac) in human neurocysticercosis. Intraperitoneal infection with T. crassiceps metacestodes or subcutaneous inoculation with a T. crassiceps metacestode factor (Fac) produced significant impairment of performance (learning) in the Barnes maze and induced bilateral hippocampal sclerosis in mice. Several staining techniques revealed important cell dispersion, extensive apoptosis and cell loss in the dentate gyrus, hilus and CA1-CA3 regions of both hippocampi, as well as intense deterioration of the adjacent cortex. An outstanding disruption of its histoarchitecture in the surrounding tissue of all these regions and apoptosis of the endothelial cells were also observed.
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