Browsing by Author "Loedolff, Bianke"
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- ItemFunctional roles of raffinose family oligosaccharides: Arabidopsis case studies in seed physiology, biotic stress and novel carbohydrate engineering(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-12) Loedolff, Bianke; Peters, Shaun; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Genetics. Institute for Plant Biotechnology (IPB)ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The raffinose family of oligosaccharides (RFOs) are α1,6-galactosyl extensions of sucrose (Suc-Galn) unique to the plant kingdom. Their biosynthesis is mediated via α1,6-galactosyltransferases which catalyse the formation of raffinose (Raf, Suc-Gal1), stachyose (Sta, Suc-Gal2) and higher oligomers (Suc-Galn, n ≥ 13) in a stepwise manner. RFOs are well known for their historical roles as phloem translocates and general carbon storage reserves. In recent years their physiological roles have expanded to include potential functions in global plant stress-responses, where correlative mass increases are associated with abiotic stresses such as desiccation, salinity and low temperatures and, to a lesser extent biotic stress (pathogen infection). This study focused on (i) the functional characterisation of a putatively annotated stachyose synthase from Arabidopsis seeds (RS4, At4g01970), (ii) dissection of the proposed functional role of the RFO precursor galactinol in biotic stress tolerance using the Arabidopsis/Botrytis cinerea pathosystem and, (iii) an attempt to engineer long-chain RFOs into Arabidopsis by constitutive over-expression of the unique RFO chain elongation enzyme galactan:galactan galactosyltransferase (ArGGT) from Ajuga reptans. In Arabidopsis Raf is the only RFO known to accumulate in leaves, strictly during conditions of abiotic stress. However, seeds accumulate substantial amounts of both Raf and Sta. While RFO physiology in Arabidopsis leaves and roots is quite well characterised, little is known about the RFO physiology in the seeds. Apart from a single enzyme being described to partially contribute to seed Raf accumulation (RS5, At5g40390), no other RFO biosynthetic genes are known. In this work we functionally characterised an α1,6-galactosyltransferase putatively annotated as a stachyose synthase (RS4, At4g01970) in the Arabidopsis database. Using two insertion mutants (atrs4-1 and 4-2) we demonstrated Sta deficiency in mature seeds. A double mutant with the recently characterised RS5, shown to partially be responsible for Raf accumulation in mature seeds was completely deficient in seed RFOs. This provided the first hint that RS4 could potentially also be involved in Raf biosynthesis. Seed specific expression of RS4 was deregulated by constitutive over-expression in wild-type (Col-0) and the atrs5 mutant background (RS and Raf deficient). Both Raf and Sta unusually accumulated in Col-0 leaves over-expressing RS4, under normal growth conditions. Further, leaf crude extracts from atrs5 insertion mutants (RS and Raf deficient) over-expressing RS4 showed enzyme activities for both RS and SS, in vitro. Collectively our findings have physiologically characterised RS4 as a RFO synthase responsible for Sta and, partially Raf (along with RS5) accumulation during Arabidopsis seed development. The galactosyl donor in RFO biosynthesis, galactinol (Gol) has recently been implicated in biotic stress signalling (pathogen response) in cucumber, tobacco and Arabidopsis. Those studies focused exclusively on Gol in their experimental approaches using both over-expression (tobacco, Arabidopsis) and loss-of-function (Arabidopsis) strategies. However, they did not address the invariable accumulation of Raf that is routinely obtained from such over-expression strategies. We therefore investigated if Raf could play a functional role in induced systemic resistance (ISR), a well-studied mechanism employed by plants to combat necrotrophic pathogens such as Botrytis cinerea. To this end we looked to the RS5 mutant backgrounds (Raf deficient but Gol hyper-accumulating) reasoning that the Gol accumulating mutants should be resistant to B. cinerea (as previously described for transgenic over-expression of GolS1 isoforms in tobacco and Arabidopsis). Such findings would then preclude a role for Raf, since the system would be Raf deficient. Surprisingly, two independent T-DNA insertion mutants for RS5 (atrs5-1 and 5-2) were equally hypersensitive to B. cinerea infection as two independent T-DNA insertion mutants for GolS1 (atgols1-1 and 1-2). The hyper-sensitivity of the GolS1 mutant background has previously been demonstrated. The RS5 mutant backgrounds accumulate substantial amounts of Gol, comparable to those reported for transgenic plants (tobacco and Arabidopsis) where pathogen resistance was reported. Further, during the course of our investigations we discovered that both AtGolS1 mutants also accumulated substantial amounts of both Gol and Raf under normal growing conditions. This was not reported in previous studies. Collectively our findings argue against a role for either Gol or Raf being responsible for the induction/signalling of ISR. However, we do not preclude that the RFO pathway is somehow involved, given the previous reports citing pathogen resistance when GolS1 genes are over-expressed. We are further investigating a potential role for the GolS transcript and/or protein being the component of the suggested signalling function in ISR. The unique enzyme from A. reptans (galactan:galactan galactosyltransferase, ArGGT) is able to catalyse the formation of higher oligomers in the RFO pathway without the use of Gol as a galactosyl donor but rather, using RFOs themselves as galactose donors and acceptors (Gol-independent biosynthesis). We constitutively over-expressed ArGGT in Arabidopsis as a way to engineer long-chain RFO accumulation to further dissect a role for them in improving freezing tolerance. To this end we have been unsuccessful in obtaining RFOs higher than Sta (which occurred in extremely low abundance) in the leaves. Since ArGGT would appear to show substrate preference for Sta, and Arabidopsis seeds accumulate substantial quantities of Sta, we further analysed the seed water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) profiles of three independent transgenic lines but detected no additional RFO oligomers beyond the normally accumulating Raf and Sta. We suggest further strategies to improve this approach (Chapter 4). Collectively this work represents case studies of RFOs in seed physiology, their abilities/requirement in biotic stress and the use of unique enzymes to engineer long-chain RFO accumulation using the Arabidopsis model. At the time of submission of this dissertation the following contributions have been made to the general scientific community: (i) Presentation of chapter 2 at the 26th International Conference for Arabidopsis Research (26th ICAR, 2015, Paris, France) and, (ii) Submission of chapter 2 as a manuscript presently under peer review for possible publication in Plant and Cell Physiology.
- ItemIsolation and partial characterisation of PHT1;5, a putative high affinity phosphate transporter from Arabidopsis thaliana(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2012-03) Loedolff, Bianke; Kossmann, J. M.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of AgriSciences. Dept. of Genetics. Institute for Plant Biotechnology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Inorganic Phosphate (Pi) is one of the key nutrients required by all living organisms on earth. This nutrient is of vital importance to higher plants but it is not readily available for uptake from the soil, implying constant stress on plants. During photosynthetic dark and light reactions, phosphate is a prerequisite for all reactions to occur and to ensure plant survival. This statement implies that a careful homeostatic control of this nutrient is necessary in order to maintain a balanced carbon flow in all sub-cellular plant compartments. Phosphate limitation is a threat to plant survival and one way of addressing this nutritional hurdle is by feeding plants with fertilizer. This method of crop development and general plant maintenance by humans has a devastating effect on the environment, as phosphate causes eutrophication and various other consequences which are detrimental to animal life. Plants, however, are naturally equipped with Pi transporters which are activated conditionally depending on the external Pi availability. These transporters are present in most sub-cellular compartments and some of them have been identified and characterised, while others remain to be a prediction. If these transporters are characterised accordingly it might eventually mean that the use of fertilizers may no longer be necessary. In order to contribute to successful Pi-efficient crop development, a clearer understanding of P-dynamics in the soil and its recycling ability inside the plant itself is necessary. During this study it was attempted to characterise a putative high affinity Pi transporter, PHT1;5, from Arabidopsis thaliana via a Escherichia coli and yeast heterologous expression system and its Km value predicted in order to verify/hypothesise whether it is a high or low affinity transporter. This transporter is expressed in leaves and could be a promising tool for future carbon partitioning studies during phosphate limitation.
- ItemRepression of sex4 and like sex four2 orthologs in potato increases tuber starch bound phosphate with concomitant alterations in starch properties physical(Frontiers Media, 2018-07-23) Samodien, Ebrahim; Jewell, Jonathan F.; Loedolff, Bianke; Oberlander, Kenneth; George, Gavin M.; Zeeman, Samuel C.; Damberger, Fred F.; Van Der Vyver, Christell; Kossmann, Jens; Lloyd, James R.To examine the roles of starch phosphatases in potatoes, transgenic lines were produced where orthologs of SEX4 and LIKE SEX FOUR2 (LSF2) were repressed using RNAi constructs. Although repression of either SEX4 or LSF2 inhibited leaf starch degradation, it had no effect on cold-induced sweetening in tubers. Starch amounts were unchanged in the tubers, but the amount of phosphate bound to the starch was significantly increased in all the lines, with phosphate bound at the C6 position of the glucosyl units increased in lines repressed in StSEX4 and in the C3 position in lines repressed in StLSF2 expression. This was accompanied by a reduction in starch granule size and an alteration in the constituent glucan chain lengths within the starch molecule, although no obvious alteration in granule morphology was observed. Starch from the transgenic lines contained fewer chains with a degree of polymerization (DP) of less than 17 and more with a DP between 17 and 38. There were also changes in the physical properties of the starches. Rapid viscoanalysis demonstrated that both the holding strength and the final viscosity of the high phosphate starches were increased indicating that the starches have increased swelling power due to an enhanced capacity for hydration.
- ItemToward the identification of a phytocannabinoid-like compound in the flowers of a South African medicinal plant (Leonotis leonurus)(BMC (part of Springer Nature), 2020-11-10) Hunter, E.; Stander, M.; Kossmann, J.; Chakraborty, S.; Prince, S.; Peters, S.; Loedolff, BiankeObjective: Current global trends on natural therapeutics suggest an increasing market interest toward the use and discovery of new plant-derived therapeutic compounds, often referred to as traditional medicine (TM). The Cannabis industry is currently one such focal area receiving attention, owing to the occurrence of phytocannabinoids (pCBs) which have shown promise in health-promotion and disease prevention. However, the occurrence of pCBs in other plant species are often overlooked and rarely studied. Leonotis leonurus (L.) R. Br. is endemic to South Africa with a rich history of use in TM practices amongst indigenous people and, has been recorded to induce mild psychoactive effects akin to Cannabis. While the leaves have been well-reported to contain therapeutic phytochemicals, little information exists on the flowers. Consequently, as part of a larger research venture, we targeted the flowers of L. leonurus for the identification of potential pCB or pCB-like compounds. Results: Flower extracts were separated and analyzed using high performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC). A single pCB candidate was isolated from HPTLC plates and, using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS), we could successfully group this compound as a fatty amide and tentatively identified as 7,10,13,16-Docosatetraenoylethanolamine (adrenoyl-EA), a known bioactive compound.