School of BioSciences - Research Publications

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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.
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    Characterization of Epidermal Bladder Cells in Chenopodium quinoa
    Otterbach, S ; Khoury, H ; Rupasinghe, T ; Mendis, H ; Kwan, K ; Lui, V ; Natera, S ; Klaiber, I ; Allen, N ; Jarvis, D ; Tester, M ; Roessner, U ; Schmöckel, S ( 2021-05-10)
    Chenopodium quinoa (quinoa) is considered a superfood, as it has favourable nutrient composition and is gluten free. Quinoa has high tolerance to several abiotic stresses, i.e. 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 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. Although we found only few changes in the metabolic composition of bladders in response to abiotic stresses, metabolites related with heat, cold and high-light treatments, but not salt stress, were changed significantly. Na concentrations were low in EBCs with all treatments, and approximately two orders of magnitude lower than K concentrations.
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    Spatially Enriched Paralog Rearrangements Argue Functionally Diverse Ribosomes Arise during Cold Acclimation in Arabidopsis
    Martinez-Seidel, F ; Beine-Golovchuk, O ; Hsieh, Y-C ; Eshraky, KE ; Gorka, M ; Cheong, B-E ; Jimenez-Posada, EV ; Walther, D ; Skirycz, A ; Roessner, U ; Kopka, J ; Pereira Firmino, AA (MDPI, 2021-06-01)
    Ribosome biogenesis is essential for plants to successfully acclimate to low temperature. Without dedicated steps supervising the 60S large subunits (LSUs) maturation in the cytosol, e.g., Rei-like (REIL) factors, plants fail to accumulate dry weight and fail to grow at suboptimal low temperatures. Around REIL, the final 60S cytosolic maturation steps include proofreading and assembly of functional ribosomal centers such as the polypeptide exit tunnel and the P-Stalk, respectively. In consequence, these ribosomal substructures and their assembly, especially during low temperatures, might be changed and provoke the need for dedicated quality controls. To test this, we blocked ribosome maturation during cold acclimation using two independent reil double mutant genotypes and tested changes in their ribosomal proteomes. Additionally, we normalized our mutant datasets using as a blank the cold responsiveness of a wild-type Arabidopsis genotype. This allowed us to neglect any reil-specific effects that may happen due to the presence or absence of the factor during LSU cytosolic maturation, thus allowing us to test for cold-induced changes that happen in the early nucleolar biogenesis. As a result, we report that cold acclimation triggers a reprogramming in the structural ribosomal proteome. The reprogramming alters the abundance of specific RP families and/or paralogs in non-translational LSU and translational polysome fractions, a phenomenon known as substoichiometry. Next, we tested whether the cold-substoichiometry was spatially confined to specific regions of the complex. In terms of RP proteoforms, we report that remodeling of ribosomes after a cold stimulus is significantly constrained to the polypeptide exit tunnel (PET), i.e., REIL factor binding and functional site. In terms of RP transcripts, cold acclimation induces changes in RP families or paralogs that are significantly constrained to the P-Stalk and the ribosomal head. The three modulated substructures represent possible targets of mechanisms that may constrain translation by controlled ribosome heterogeneity. We propose that non-random ribosome heterogeneity controlled by specialized biogenesis mechanisms may contribute to a preferential or ultimately even rigorous selection of transcripts needed for rapid proteome shifts and successful acclimation.
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    The Metabolic Response of Brachypodium Roots to the Interaction with Beneficial Bacteria Is Affected by the Plant Nutritional Status
    Schillaci, M ; Kehelpannala, C ; Martinez-Seidel, F ; Smith, PMC ; Arsova, B ; Watt, M ; Roessner, U (MDPI, 2021-06-01)
    The potential of plant growth promoting (PGP) bacteria in improving the performance of plants in suboptimal environments is increasingly acknowledged, but little information is available on the mechanisms underlying this interaction, particularly when plants are subjected to a combination of stresses. In this study, we investigated the effects of the inoculation with the PGP bacteria Azospirillum brasilense (Azospirillum) on the metabolism of the model cereal Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) grown at low temperatures and supplied with insufficient phosphorus. Investigating polar metabolite and lipid fluctuations during early plant development, we found that the bacteria initially elicited a defense response in Brachypodium roots, while at later stages Azospirillum reduced the stress caused by phosphorus deficiency and improved root development of inoculated plants, particularly by stimulating the growth of branch roots. We propose that the interaction of the plant with Azospirillum was influenced by its nutritional status: bacteria were sensed as pathogens while plants were still phosphorus sufficient, but the interaction became increasingly beneficial for the plants as their phosphorus levels decreased. Our results provide new insights on the dynamics of the cereal-PGP bacteria interaction, and contribute to our understanding of the role of beneficial microorganisms in the growth of cereal crops in suboptimal environments.
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    An Arabidopsis lipid map reveals differences between tissues and dynamic changes throughout development
    Kehelpannala, C ; Rupasinghe, T ; Pasha, A ; Esteban, E ; Hennessy, T ; Bradley, D ; Ebert, B ; Provart, NJ ; Roessner, U (WILEY, 2021-05-24)
    Mass spectrometry is the predominant analytical tool used in the field of plant lipidomics. However, there are many challenges associated with the mass spectrometric detection and identification of lipids because of the highly complex nature of plant lipids. Studies into lipid biosynthetic pathways, gene functions in lipid metabolism, lipid changes during plant growth and development, and the holistic examination of the role of plant lipids in environmental stress responses are often hindered. Here, we leveraged a robust pipeline that we previously established to extract and analyze lipid profiles of different tissues and developmental stages from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We analyzed seven tissues at several different developmental stages and identified more than 200 lipids from each tissue analyzed. The data were used to create a web-accessible in silico lipid map that has been integrated into an electronic Fluorescent Pictograph (eFP) browser. This in silico library of Arabidopsis lipids allows the visualization and exploration of the distribution and changes of lipid levels across selected developmental stages. Furthermore, it provides information on the characteristic fragments of lipids and adducts observed in the mass spectrometer and their retention times, which can be used for lipid identification. The Arabidopsis tissue lipid map can be accessed at http://bar.utoronto.ca/efp_arabidopsis_lipid/cgi-bin/efpWeb.cgi.
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    Membrane-Enriched Proteomics Link Ribosome Accumulation and Proteome Reprogramming With Cold Acclimation in Barley Root Meristems
    Martinez-Seidel, F ; Suwanchaikasem, P ; Nie, S ; Leeming, MG ; Pereira Firmino, AA ; Williamson, NA ; Kopka, J ; Roessner, U ; Boughton, BA (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-04-30)
    Due to their sessile nature, plants rely on root systems to mediate many biotic and abiotic cues. To overcome these challenges, the root proteome is shaped to specific responses. Proteome-wide reprogramming events are magnified in meristems due to their active protein production. Using meristems as a test system, here, we study the major rewiring that plants undergo during cold acclimation. We performed tandem mass tag-based bottom-up quantitative proteomics of two consecutive segments of barley seminal root apexes subjected to suboptimal temperatures. After comparing changes in total and ribosomal protein (RP) fraction-enriched contents with shifts in individual protein abundances, we report ribosome accumulation accompanied by an intricate translational reprogramming in the distal apex zone. Reprogramming ranges from increases in ribosome biogenesis to protein folding factors and suggests roles for cold-specific RP paralogs. Ribosome biogenesis is the largest cellular investment; thus, the vast accumulation of ribosomes and specific translation-related proteins during cold acclimation could imply a divergent ribosomal population that would lead to a proteome shift across the root. Consequently, beyond the translational reprogramming, we report a proteome rewiring. First, triggered protein accumulation includes spliceosome activity in the root tip and a ubiquitous upregulation of glutathione production and S-glutathionylation (S-GSH) assemblage machineries in both root zones. Second, triggered protein depletion includes intrinsically enriched proteins in the tip-adjacent zone, which comprise the plant immune system. In summary, ribosome and translation-related protein accumulation happens concomitantly to a proteome reprogramming in barley root meristems during cold acclimation. The cold-accumulated proteome is functionally implicated in feedbacking transcript to protein translation at both ends and could guide cold acclimation.