Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are extracellular chromatin structures that can trap and degrade microbes. They arise from neutrophils that have activated a cell death program called NET cell death, or NETosis. Activation of NETosis has been shown to involve NADPH oxidase activity, disintegration of the nuclear envelope and most granule membranes, decondensation of nuclear chromatin and formation of NETs. We report that in phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-stimulated neutrophils, intracellular chromatin decondensation and NET formation follow autophagy and superoxide production, both of which are required to mediate PMA-induced NETosis and occur independently of each other. Neutrophils from patients with chronic granulomatous disease, which lack NADPH oxidase activity, still exhibit PMA-induced autophagy. Conversely, PMA-induced NADPH oxidase activity is not affected by pharmacological inhibition of autophagy. Interestingly, inhibition of either autophagy or NADPH oxidase prevents intracellular chromatin decondensation, which is essential for NETosis and NET formation, and results in cell death characterized by hallmarks of apoptosis. These results indicate that apoptosis might function as a backup program for NETosis when autophagy or NADPH oxidase activity is prevented.
Autophagy and apoptosis are two important and interconnected stress-response mechanisms. However, the molecular interplay between these two pathways is not fully understood. To study the fate and function of autophagic proteins at the onset of apoptosis, we used a cellular model system in which autophagy precedes apoptosis. IL-3 depletion of Ba/F3 cells caused caspase (casp)-mediated cleavage of Beclin-1 and PI3KC3, two crucial components of the autophagy-inducing complex. We identified two casp cleavage sites in Beclin-1, TDVD133 and DQLD149, cleavage at which yields fragments lacking the autophagy-inducing capacity. Noteworthy, the C-terminal fragment, Beclin-1-C, localized predominantly at the mitochondria and sensitized the cells to apoptosis. Moreover, on isolated mitochondria, recombinant Beclin-1-C was able to induce the release of proapoptotic factors. These findings point to a mechanism by which casp-dependent generation of Beclin-1-C creates an amplifying loop enhancing apoptosis upon growth factor withdrawal.
The first enzyme of the phenylpropanoid pathway, Phe ammonia-lyase (PAL), is encoded by four genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Whereas PAL function is well established in various plants, an insight into the functional significance of individual gene family members is lacking. We show that in the absence of clear phenotypic alterations in the Arabidopsis pal1 and pal2 single mutants and with limited phenotypic alterations in the pal1 pal2 double mutant, significant modifications occur in the transcriptome and metabolome of the pal mutants. The disruption of PAL led to transcriptomic adaptation of components of the phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, and amino acid metabolism, revealing complex interactions at the level of gene expression between these pathways. Corresponding biochemical changes included a decrease in the three major flavonol glycosides, glycosylated vanillic acid, scopolin, and two novel feruloyl malates coupled to coniferyl alcohol. Moreover, Phe overaccumulated in the double mutant, and the levels of many other amino acids were significantly imbalanced. The lignin content was significantly reduced, and the syringyl/guaiacyl ratio of lignin monomers had increased. Together, from the molecular phenotype, common and specific functions of PAL1 and PAL2 are delineated, and PAL1 is qualified as being more important for the generation of phenylpropanoids.
Auxin-binding protein 1 (ABP1) was discovered nearly 40 years ago and was shown to be essential for plant development and morphogenesis, but its mode of action remains unclear. Here, we report that the plasma membrane–localized transmembrane kinase (TMK) receptor–like kinases interact with ABP1 and transduce auxin signal to activate plasma membrane–associated ROPs [Rho-like guanosine triphosphatases (GTPase) from plants], leading to changes in the cytoskeleton and the shape of leaf pavement cells in Arabidopsis. The interaction between ABP1 and TMK at the cell surface is induced by auxin and requires ABP1 sensing of auxin. These findings show that TMK proteins and ABP1 form a cell surface auxin perception complex that activates ROP signaling pathways, regulating nontranscriptional cytoplasmic responses and associated fundamental processes.
Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR) catalyzes the penultimate step in monolignol biosynthesis. We show that downregulation of CCR in transgenic poplar (Populus tremula 3 Populus alba) was associated with up to 50% reduced lignin content and an orange-brown, often patchy, coloration of the outer xylem. Thioacidolysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), immunocytochemistry of lignin epitopes, and oligolignol profiling indicated that lignin was relatively more reduced in syringyl than in guaiacyl units. The cohesion of the walls was affected, particularly at sites that are generally richer in syringyl units in wild-type poplar. Ferulic acid was incorporated into the lignin via ether bonds, as evidenced independently by thioacidolysis and by NMR. A synthetic lignin incorporating ferulic acid had a red-brown coloration, suggesting that the xylem coloration was due to the presence of ferulic acid during lignification. Elevated ferulic acid levels were also observed in the form of esters. Transcript and metabolite profiling were used as comprehensive phenotyping tools to investigate how CCR downregulation impacted metabolism and the biosynthesis of other cell wall polymers. Both methods suggested reduced biosynthesis and increased breakdown or remodeling of noncellulosic cell wall polymers, which was further supported by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and wet chemistry analysis. The reduced levels of lignin and hemicellulose were associated with an increased proportion of cellulose. Furthermore, the transcript and metabolite profiling data pointed toward a stress response induced by the altered cell wall structure. Finally, chemical pulping of wood derived from 5-year-old, field-grown transgenic lines revealed improved pulping characteristics, but growth was affected in all transgenic lines tested.
Plastids are DNA-containing organelles unique to plant cells. In Arabidopsis, one-third of the genes required for embryo development encode plastid-localized proteins. To help understand the role of plastids in embryogenesis and postembryonic development, we characterized proteins of the mitochondrial transcription termination factor (mTERF) family, which in animal models, comprises DNA-binding regulators of mitochondrial transcription. Of 35 Arabidopsis mTERF proteins, 11 are plastid-localized. Genetic complementation shows that at least one plastidic mTERF, BELAYA SMERT' (BSM), is required for embryogenesis. The main postembryonic phenotypes of genetic mosaics with the bsm mutation are severe abnormalities in leaf development. Mutant bsm cells are albino, are compromised in growth, and suffer defects in global plastidic gene expression. The bsm phenotype could be phenocopied by inhibition of plastid translation with spectinomycin. Plastid translation is essential for cell viability in dicotyledonous species such as tobacco but not in monocotyledonous maize. Here, genetic interactions between BSM and the gene encoding plastid homomeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase ACC2 suggest that there is a functional redundancy in malonyl-CoA biosynthesis that permits bsm cell survival in Arabidopsis. Overall, our results indicate that biosynthesis of malonyl-CoA and plastid-derived systemic growth-promoting compounds are the processes that link plant development and plastid gene expression. organellar gene expression | splicing | ClpPR protease | myrosinase | digitonin
The role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in homeostasis of the immune system is incompletely understood. Here we found that dendritic cells (DCs) constitutively activated the UPR sensor IRE-1α and its target, the transcription factor XBP-1, in the absence of ER stress. Loss of XBP-1 in CD11c+ cells led to defects in phenotype, ER homeostasis and antigen presentation by CD8α+ conventional DCs, yet the closely related CD11b+ DCs were unaffected. Whereas the dysregulated ER in XBP-1-deficient DCs resulted from loss of XBP-1 transcriptional activity, the phenotypic and functional defects resulted from regulated IRE-1α-dependent degradation (RIDD) of mRNAs, including those encoding CD18 integrins and components of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I machinery. Thus, a precisely regulated feedback circuit involving IRE-1α and XBP-1 controls the homeostasis of CD8α+ conventional DCs.
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