School of BioSciences - Research Publications

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    Germline mutations in mitochondrial complex I reveal genetic and targetable vulnerability in IDH1-mutant acute myeloid leukaemia.
    Bassal, MA ; Samaraweera, SE ; Lim, K ; Benard, BA ; Bailey, S ; Kaur, S ; Leo, P ; Toubia, J ; Thompson-Peach, C ; Nguyen, T ; Maung, KZY ; Casolari, DA ; Iarossi, DG ; Pagani, IS ; Powell, J ; Pitson, S ; Natera, S ; Roessner, U ; Lewis, ID ; Brown, AL ; Tenen, DG ; Robinson, N ; Ross, DM ; Majeti, R ; Gonda, TJ ; Thomas, D ; D'Andrea, RJ (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-05-12)
    The interaction of germline variation and somatic cancer driver mutations is under-investigated. Here we describe the genomic mitochondrial landscape in adult acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and show that rare variants affecting the nuclear- and mitochondrially-encoded complex I genes show near-mutual exclusivity with somatic driver mutations affecting isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1), but not IDH2 suggesting a unique epistatic relationship. Whereas AML cells with rare complex I variants or mutations in IDH1 or IDH2 all display attenuated mitochondrial respiration, heightened sensitivity to complex I inhibitors including the clinical-grade inhibitor, IACS-010759, is observed only for IDH1-mutant AML. Furthermore, IDH1 mutant blasts that are resistant to the IDH1-mutant inhibitor, ivosidenib, retain sensitivity to complex I inhibition. We propose that the IDH1 mutation limits the flexibility for citrate utilization in the presence of impaired complex I activity to a degree that is not apparent in IDH2 mutant cells, exposing a mutation-specific metabolic vulnerability. This reduced metabolic plasticity explains the epistatic relationship between the germline complex I variants and oncogenic IDH1 mutation underscoring the utility of genomic data in revealing metabolic vulnerabilities with implications for therapy.
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    Salt stress alters membrane lipid content and lipid biosynthesis pathways in the plasma membrane and tonoplast
    Guo, Q ; Liu, L ; Rupasinghe, TWT ; Roessner, U ; Barkla, BJ (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2022-03-15)
    Plant cell membranes are the sites of sensing and initiation of rapid responses to changing environmental factors including salinity stress. Understanding the mechanisms involved in membrane remodeling is important for studying salt tolerance in plants. This task remains challenging in complex tissue due to suboptimal subcellular membrane isolation techniques. Here, we capitalized on the use of a surface charge-based separation method, free flow electrophoresis, to isolate the tonoplast (TP) and plasma membrane (PM) from leaf tissue of the halophyte ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.). Results demonstrated a membrane-specific lipidomic remodeling in this plant under salt conditions, including an increased proportion of bilayer forming lipid phosphatidylcholine in the TP and an increase in nonbilayer forming and negatively charged lipids (phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine) in the PM. Quantitative proteomics showed salt-induced changes in proteins involved in fatty acid synthesis and desaturation, glycerolipid, and sterol synthesis, as well as proteins involved in lipid signaling, binding, and trafficking. These results reveal an essential plant mechanism for membrane homeostasis wherein lipidome remodeling in response to salt stress contributes to maintaining the physiological function of individual subcellular compartments.
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    Low doses of the organic insecticide spinosad trigger lysosomal defects, elevated ROS, lipid dysregulation, and neurodegeneration in flies.
    Martelli, F ; Hernandes, NH ; Zuo, Z ; Wang, J ; Wong, C-O ; Karagas, NE ; Roessner, U ; Rupasinghe, T ; Robin, C ; Venkatachalam, K ; Perry, T ; Batterham, P ; Bellen, HJ (eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd, 2022-02-22)
    Large-scale insecticide application is a primary weapon in the control of insect pests in agriculture. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that it is contributing to the global decline in population sizes of many beneficial insect species. Spinosad emerged as an organic alternative to synthetic insecticides and is considered less harmful to beneficial insects, yet its mode of action remains unclear. Using Drosophila, we show that low doses of spinosad antagonize its neuronal target, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit alpha 6 (nAChRα6), reducing the cholinergic response. We show that the nAChRα6 receptors are transported to lysosomes that become enlarged and increase in number upon low doses of spinosad treatment. Lysosomal dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial stress and elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the central nervous system where nAChRα6 is broadly expressed. ROS disturb lipid storage in metabolic tissues in an nAChRα6-dependent manner. Spinosad toxicity is ameliorated with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine amide. Chronic exposure of adult virgin females to low doses of spinosad leads to mitochondrial defects, severe neurodegeneration, and blindness. These deleterious effects of low-dose exposures warrant rigorous investigation of its impacts on beneficial insects.
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    Modulators or facilitators? Roles of lipids in plant root-microbe interactions
    Macabuhay, A ; Arsova, B ; Walker, R ; Johnson, A ; Watt, M ; Roessner, U (ELSEVIER SCIENCE LONDON, 2022-02-01)
    Lipids have diverse functions in regulating the plasma membrane's cellular processes and signaling mediation. Plasma membrane lipids are also involved in the plant's complex interactions with the surrounding microorganisms, with which plants are in various forms of symbiosis. The roles of lipids influence the whole microbial colonization process, thus shaping the rhizomicrobiome. As chemical signals, lipids facilitate the stages of rhizospheric interactions - from plant root to microbe, microbe to microbe, and microbe to plant root - and modulate the plant's defense responses upon perception or contact with either beneficial or phytopathogenic microorganisms. Although studies have come a long way, further investigation is needed to discover more lipid species and elucidate novel lipid functions and profiles under various stages of plant root-microbe interactions.
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    Metabolomics as an emerging tool to study plant- microbe interactions
    Gupta, S ; Schillaci, M ; Roessner, U (PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2022-02-22)
    In natural environments, interaction between plant roots and microorganisms are common. These interactions between microbial species and plants inhabited by them are being studied using various techniques. Metabolomics research based on mass spectrometric techniques is one of the crucial approaches that underpins system biology and relies on precision instrument analysis. In the last decade, this emerging field has received extensive attention. It provides a qualitative and quantitative approach for determining the mechanisms of symbiosis of bacteria and fungi with plants and also helps to elucidate the tolerance mechanisms of host plants against various abiotic stresses. However, this -omics application and its tools in plant-microbe interaction studies is still underutilized compared with genomic and transcriptomic methods. Therefore, it is crucial to bring this field forward to bear on the study of plant resistance and susceptibility. This review describes the current status of methods and progress in metabolomics applications for plant-microbe interaction studies discussing current challenges and future prospects.
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    Characterization of epidermal bladder cells in Chenopodium quinoa
    Otterbach, SL ; Khoury, H ; Rupasinghe, T ; Mendis, H ; Kwan, KH ; Lui, V ; Natera, SHA ; Klaiber, I ; Allen, NM ; Jarvis, DE ; Tester, M ; Roessner, U ; Schmoeckel, SM (WILEY, 2021-10-05)
    Chenopodium quinoa (quinoa) is considered a superfood with its favourable nutrient composition and being gluten free. Quinoa has high tolerance to abiotic stresses, such as salinity, water deficit (drought) and cold. The tolerance mechanisms are yet to be elucidated. Quinoa has epidermal bladder cells (EBCs) that densely cover the shoot surface, particularly the younger parts of the plant. Here, we report on the EBC's primary and secondary metabolomes, as well as the lipidome in control conditions and in response to abiotic stresses. EBCs were isolated from plants after cold, heat, high-light, water deficit and salt treatments. We used untargeted gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyse metabolites and untargeted and targeted liquid chromatography-MS (LC-MS) for lipids and secondary metabolite analyses. We identified 64 primary metabolites, including sugars, organic acids and amino acids, 19 secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds, betanin and saponins and 240 lipids categorized in five groups including glycerolipids and phospholipids. We found only few changes in the metabolic composition of EBCs in response to abiotic stresses; these were metabolites related with heat, cold and high-light treatments but not salt stress. Na+ concentrations were low in EBCs with all treatments and approximately two orders of magnitude lower than K+ concentrations.
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    Reproductive Stage Drought Tolerance in Wheat: Importance of Stomatal Conductance and Plant Growth Regulators
    Onyemaobi, O ; Sangma, H ; Garg, G ; Wallace, X ; Kleven, S ; Suwanchaikasem, P ; Roessner, U ; Dolferus, R (MDPI, 2021-11-01)
    Drought stress requires plants to adjust their water balance to maintain tissue water levels. Isohydric plants ('water-savers') typically achieve this through stomatal closure, while anisohydric plants ('water-wasters') use osmotic adjustment and maintain stomatal conductance. Isohydry or anisohydry allows plant species to adapt to different environments. In this paper we show that both mechanisms occur in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Wheat lines with reproductive drought-tolerance delay stomatal closure and are temporarily anisohydric, before closing stomata and become isohydric at higher threshold levels of drought stress. Drought-sensitive wheat is isohydric from the start of the drought treatment. The capacity of the drought-tolerant line to maintain stomatal conductance correlates with repression of ABA synthesis in spikes and flag leaves. Gene expression profiling revealed major differences in the drought response in spikes and flag leaves of both wheat lines. While the isohydric drought-sensitive line enters a passive growth mode (arrest of photosynthesis, protein translation), the tolerant line mounts a stronger stress defence response (ROS protection, LEA proteins, cuticle synthesis). The drought response of the tolerant line is characterised by a strong response in the spike, displaying enrichment of genes involved in auxin, cytokinin and ethylene metabolism/signalling. While isohydry may offer advantages for longer term drought stress, anisohydry may be more beneficial when drought stress occurs during the critical stages of wheat spike development, ultimately improving grain yield.
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    The metabolic environment of the developing embryo: A multidisciplinary approach on oilseed rapeseed
    Rolletschek, H ; Mayer, S ; Boughton, B ; Wagner, S ; Ortleb, S ; Kiel, C ; Roessner, U ; Borisjuk, L (ELSEVIER GMBH, 2021-09-01)
    Brassicaceae seeds consist of three genetically distinct structures: the embryo, endosperm and seed coat, all of which are involved in assimilate allocation during seed development. The complexity of their metabolic interrelations remains unresolved to date. In the present study, we apply state-of-the-art imaging and analytical approaches to assess the metabolic environment of the Brassica napus embryo. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provided volumetric data on the living embryo and endosperm, revealing how the endosperm envelops the embryo, determining endosperm's priority in assimilate uptake from the seed coat during early development. MRI analysis showed higher levels of sugars in the peripheral endosperm facing the seed coat, but a lower sugar content within the central vacuole and the region surrounding the embryo. Feeding intact siliques with 13C-labeled sucrose allowed tracing of the post-phloem route of sucrose transfer within the seed at the heart stage of embryogenesis, by means of mass spectrometry imaging. Quantification of over 70 organic and inorganic compounds in the endosperm revealed shifts in their abundance over different stages of development, while sugars and potassium were the main determinants of osmolality throughout these stages. Our multidisciplinary approach allows access to the hidden aspects of endosperm metabolism, a task which remains unattainable for the small-seeded model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
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    Lipidomics reveal the protective effects of a vegetable-derived isothiocyanate against retinal degeneration
    Kwa, FA ; Dulull, NK ; Roessner, U ; Dias, DA ; Rupasinghe, TW (F1000 Research Ltd, 2020-02-20)
    Background:Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in the ageing population. Without effective treatment strategies that can prevent disease progression, there is an urgent need for novel therapeutic interventions to reduce the burden of vision loss and improve patients’ quality of life. Dysfunctional innate immune responses to oxidative stress observed in AMD can be caused by the formation of oxidised lipids, whilst polyunsaturated fatty acids have shown to increase the risk of AMD and disease progression in affected individuals. Previously, our laboratory has shown that the vegetable-derived isothiocyanate, L-sulforaphane (LSF), can protect human adult pigment epithelial cells from oxidative damage by upregulating gene expression of the oxidative stress enzyme Glutathione-S-Transferase µ1. This study aims to validate the protective effects of LSF on human retinal cells under oxidative stress conditions and to reveal the key players in fatty acid and lipid metabolism that may facilitate this protection.Methods:Thein vitrooxidative stress model of AMD was based on the exposure of an adult retinal pigment epithelium-19 cell line to 200µM hydrogen peroxide. Percentage cell proliferation following LSF treatment was measured using tetrazolium salt-based assays. Untargeted fatty acid profiling was performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Untargeted lipid profiling was performed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.Results:Under hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress conditions, LSF treatment induced dose-dependent cell proliferation. The key fatty acids that were increased by LSF treatment of the retinal cells include oleic acid and eicosatrienoic acid. LSF treatment also increased levels of the lipid classes phosphatidylcholine, cholesteryl ester and oxo-phytodienoic acid but decreased levels of phosphatidylethanolamine lipids.Conclusions:We propose that retinal cells at risk of oxidative damage and apoptosis can be pre-conditioned with LSF to regulate levels of selected fatty acids and lipids known to be implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of AMD.
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    Lipidomics reveal the protective effects of a vegetable-derived isothiocyanate against retinal degeneration
    Kwa, FA ; Dulull, NK ; Roessner, U ; Dias, DA ; Rupasinghe, TW (F1000 Research Ltd, 2020-08-04)
    Background:Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in the ageing population. Without effective treatment strategies that can prevent disease progression, there is an urgent need for novel therapeutic interventions to reduce the burden of vision loss and improve patients’ quality of life. Dysfunctional innate immune responses to oxidative stress observed in AMD can be caused by the formation of oxidised lipids, whilst polyunsaturated fatty acids have shown to increase the risk of AMD and disease progression in affected individuals. Previously, our laboratory has shown that the vegetable-derived isothiocyanate, L-sulforaphane (LSF), can protect human adult pigment epithelial cells from oxidative damage by upregulating gene expression of the oxidative stress enzyme Glutathione-S-Transferase µ1. This study aims to validate the protective effects of LSF on human retinal cells under oxidative stress conditions and to reveal the key players in fatty acid and lipid metabolism that may facilitate this protection.Methods:Thein vitrooxidative stress model of AMD was based on the exposure of an adult retinal pigment epithelium-19 cell line to 200µM hydrogen peroxide. Percentage cell proliferation following LSF treatment was measured using tetrazolium salt-based assays. Untargeted fatty acid profiling was performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Untargeted lipid profiling was performed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.Results:Under hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress conditions, LSF treatment induced dose-dependent cell proliferation. The key fatty acids that were increased by LSF treatment of the retinal cells include oleic acid and eicosatrienoic acid. LSF treatment also increased levels of the lipid classes phosphatidylcholine, cholesteryl ester and oxo-phytodienoic acid but decreased levels of phosphatidylethanolamine lipids.Conclusions:We propose that retinal cells at risk of oxidative damage and apoptosis can be pre-conditioned with LSF to regulate levels of selected fatty acids and lipids known to be implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of AMD.