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Cell Biology

Dr. Stefan Hillmer

Vaddepalli P., Herrmann A., Fulton L., Oelschner M., Hillmer S., Stratil T.F., Fastner A., Hammes U.Z., Ott T., Robinson D.G., Schneitz K. (2014) The C2-domain protein QUIRKY and the receptor-like kinase STRUBBELIG localize to plasmodesmata and mediate tissue morphogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Development 141:4139–4148.
 
Eckert C., Offenborn J.N., Heinz T., Armarego-Marriott T., Schültke S., Zhang C., Hillmer S., Heilmann M., Schumacher K., Bock R. (2014) The vacuolar calcium sensors CBL2 and CBL3 affect seed size and embryonic development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal 78: 146–156.
 
Behnke, H.-D., Hummel, E., Hillmer, S., Sauer-Gürth, H., Gonzalez, J., and Wink, M. (2013).A revision of African Velloziaceae based on leaf anatomy characters and rbcL nucleotide sequences Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 172: 22–94.
 
Montesinos J.C., Langhans M., Sturm S., Hillmer S., Aniento F., Robinson D.G., Marcote M.J. (2013) Putative p24 complexes in Arabidopsis contain members of the delta and beta subfamilies and cycle in the early secretory pathway. Journal of Experimental Botany 64:3147–3167.
 
Romani G., Piotrowski A., Hillmer S., Gurnon J., Van Etten J.L., Moroni A., Thiel G., Hertel B. (2013) A virus-encoded potassium ion channel is a structural protein in the chlorovirus Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 virion. Journal of General Virology 94:2549–2556.
 

Lerich A, Hillmer S, Langhans M, Scheuring D, van Bentum P, Robinson DG. (2012). ER Import Sites and Their Relationship to ER Exit Sites: A New Model for Bidirectional ER-Golgi Transport in Higher Plants. 1. Front Plant Sci. 2012;3:143.

Per definition, ER exit sites are COPII vesiculation events at the surface of the ER and in higher plants are only visualizable in the electron microscope through cryofixation techniques. Fluorescent COPII labeling moves with Golgi stacks and locates to the interface between the ER and the Golgi. In contrast, the domain of the ER where retrograde COPI vesicles fuse, i.e., ER import sites (ERIS), has remained unclear. To identify ERIS we have employed ER-located SNAREs and tethering factors. We screened several SNAREs (SYP81, the SYP7 family, and USE1) to find a SNARE whose overexpression did not disrupt ER-Golgi traffic and which gave rise to discrete fluorescent punctae when expressed with an XFP tag. Only the Qc-SNARE SYP72 fulfilled these criteria. When coexpressed with SYP72-YFP, both the type I-membrane protein RFP-p24δ5 and the luminal marker CFP-HDEL whose ER localization are due to an efficient COPI-mediated recycling, form nodules along the tubular ER network. SYP72-YFP colocalizes with these nodules which are not seen when RFP-p24δ5 or CFP-HDEL is expressed alone or when SYP72-YFP is coexpressed with a mutant form of RFP-p24δ5 that cannot exit the ER. SYP72-YFP does not colocalize with Golgi markers, except when the Golgi stacks are immobilized through actin depolymerization. Endogenous SYP7 SNAREs, also colocalize with immobilized COPII/Golgi. In contrast, XFP-tagged versions of plant homologs to TIP20 of the Dsl1 COPI-tethering factor complex, and the COPII-tethering factor p115 colocalize perfectly with Golgi stacks irrespective of the motile status. These data suggest that COPI vesicle fusion with the ER is restricted to periods when Golgi stacks are stationary, but that when moving both COPII and COPI vesicles are tethered and collect in the ER-Golgi interface. Thus, the Golgi stack and an associated domain of the ER thereby constitute a mobile secretory and recycling unit: a unique feature in eukaryotic cells.

 

 

Montesinos JC, Sturm S, Langhans M, Hillmer S, Marcote MJ, Robinson DG, Aniento F. (2012). Coupled transport of Arabidopsis p24 proteins at the ER-Golgi interface. J Exp Bot. 63(11):4243-61.
Abstract
p24 proteins are a family of type I membrane proteins localized to compartments of the early secretory pathway and to coat protein I (COPI)- and COPII-coated vesicles. They can be classified, by sequence homology, into four subfamilies, named p24α, p24β, p24γ, and p24δ. In contrast to animals and fungi, plants contain only members of the p24β and p24δ subfamilies. It has previously been shown that transiently expressed red fluorescent protein (RFP)-p24δ5 localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as a consequence of highly efficient COPI-based recycling from the Golgi apparatus. Using specific antibodies, endogenous p24δ5 has now been localized to the ER and p24β2 to the Golgi apparatus in Arabidopsis root tip cells by immunogold electron microscopy. The relative contributions of the cytosolic tail and the luminal domains to p24δ5 trafficking have also been characterized. It is demonstrated that whereas the dilysine motif in the cytoplasmic tail determines the location of p24δ5 in the early secretory pathway, the luminal domain may contribute to its distribution downstream of the Golgi apparatus. By using knock-out mutants and co-immunoprecipitation experiments, it is shown that p24δ5 and p24β2 interact with each other. Finally, it is shown that p24δ5 and p24β2 exhibit coupled trafficking at the ER-Golgi interface. It is proposed that p24δ5 and p24β2 interact with each other at ER export sites for ER exit and coupled transport to the Golgi apparatus. Once in the Golgi, p24δ5 interacts very efficiently with the COPI machinery for retrograde transport back to the ER.
Haydon MJ, Kawachi M, Wirtz M, Hillmer S, Hell R, Krämer U. (2012). Vacuolar nicotianamine has critical and distinct roles under iron deficiency and for zinc sequestration in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 24(2):724-37.
Abstract
Comment in Plant Cell. 2012 Feb;24(2):373.
Pubmed 
Hillmer S, Viotti C, Robinson DG. (2012). An improved procedure for low-temperature embedding of high-pressure frozen and freeze-substituted plant tissues resulting in excellent structural preservation and contrast. J Microsc. 247(1):43-7.
Abstract
Here we describe refinements in the processing of high-pressure frozen samples of delicate plant tissues for immuno-electron microscopy. These involve: shortened freeze-substitution schedules, lower temperatures during processing and polymerisation, the avoidance of temperature fluctuations and the optimisation of heat transfer from the specimens using small disposable aluminium containers. The application of these modifications leads to very good structural preservation and selective membrane contrast. As a result, the versatility of the method is increased since not only immuno-electron microscopical studies can be performed but often the quality is also quite suitable for structural investigations.
Pubmed 
Takatsuka C, Inoue Y, Higuchi T, Hillmer S, Robinson DG, Moriyasu Y. (2011). Autophagy in tobacco BY-2 cells cultured under sucrose starvation conditions: isolation of the autolysosome and its characterization. Plant Cell Physiol. 52(12):2074-87.
Abstract
Tobacco culture cells carry out a large-scale degradation of intracellular proteins in order to survive under sucrose starvation conditions. We have previously suggested that this bulk degradation of cellular proteins is performed by autophagy, where autolysosomes formed de novo act as the major lytic compartments. The digestion process in autolysosomes can be retarded by addition of the cysteine protease inhibitor E-64c to the culture medium, resulting in the accumulation of autolysosomes. In the present study, we have investigated several properties of autolysosomes in tobacco cells. Electron microscopy showed that the autolysosomes contain osmiophilic particles, some of which resemble partially degraded mitochondria. It also revealed the presence of two kinds of autolysosome precursor structures; one resembled the isolation membrane and the other the autophagosome of mammalian cells. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that autolysosomes contain acid phosphatase, in accordance with cytochemical enzyme analyses by light and electron microscopy in a previous study. Autolysosomes isolated by cell fractionation on Percoll gradients showed the localization of acid phosphatase, vacuolar H(+)-ATPase and cysteine protease. These results show that starvation-induced autophagy in tobacco cells follows a macroautophagic-type response similar to that described for other eukaryotes. However, our results indicate that, although the plant vacuole is often described as being equivalent to the lysosome of the animal cell, a new low pH lytic compartment-the autolysosome-also contributes to proteolytic degradation when tobacco cells are subjected to sucrose deprivation.
Scheuring D, Viotti C, Krüger F, Künzl F, Sturm S, Bubeck J, Hillmer S, Frigerio L, Robinson DG, Pimpl P, Schumacher K. (2011). Multivesicular bodies mature from the trans-Golgi network/early endosome in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 23(9):3463-81.
Abstract
The plant trans-Golgi network/early endosome (TGN/EE) is a major hub for secretory and endocytic trafficking with complex molecular mechanisms controlling sorting and transport of cargo. Vacuolar transport from the TGN/EE to multivesicular bodies/late endosomes (MVBs/LEs) is assumed to occur via clathrin-coated vesicles, although direct proof for their participation is missing. Here, we present evidence that post-TGN transport toward lytic vacuoles occurs independently of clathrin and that MVBs/LEs are derived from the TGN/EE through maturation. We show that the V-ATPase inhibitor concanamycin A significantly reduces the number of MVBs and causes TGN and MVB markers to colocalize in Arabidopsis thaliana roots. Ultrastructural analysis reveals the formation of MVBs from the TGN/EE and their fusion with the vacuole. The localization of the ESCRT components VPS28, VPS22, and VPS2 at the TGN/EE and MVBs/LEs indicates that the formation of intraluminal vesicles starts already at the TGN/EE. Accordingly, a dominant-negative mutant of VPS2 causes TGN and MVB markers to colocalize and blocks vacuolar transport. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of the annexin ANNAT3 also yields the same phenotype. Together, these data indicate that MVBs originate from the TGN/EE in a process that requires the action of ESCRT for the formation of intraluminal vesicles and annexins for the final step of releasing MVBs as a transport carrier to the vacuole.
Sorieul M, Langhans M, Guetzoyan L, Hillmer S, Clarkson G, Lord JM, Roberts LM, Robinson DG, Spooner RA, Frigerio L. (2011). An Exo2 derivative affects ER and Golgi morphology and vacuolar sorting in a tissue-specific manner in arabidopsis. Traffic. 12(11):1552-62.
Abstract
We screened a panel of compounds derived from Exo2 - a drug that perturbs post-Golgi compartments and trafficking in mammalian cells - for their effect on the secretory pathway in Arabidopsis root epidermal cells. While Exo2 and most related compounds had no significant effect, one Exo2 derivative, named LG8, induced severe morphological alterations in both the Golgi (at high concentrations) and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). LG8 causes the ER to form foci of interconnecting tubules, which at the ultrastructural level appear similar to those previously reported in Arabidopsis roots after treatment with the herbicide oryzalin. In cotyledonary leaves, LG8 causes redistribution of a trans Golgi network (TGN) marker to the vacuole. LG8 affects the anterograde secretory pathway by inducing secretion of vacuolar cargo and preventing the brassinosteroid receptor BRI1 from reaching the plasma membrane. Uptake and arrival at the TGN of the endocytic marker FM4-64 is not affected. Unlike the ADP ribosylation factor-GTP exchange factor (ARF-GEF) inhibitor brefeldin A (BFA), LG8 affects these post-Golgi events without causing the formation of BFA bodies. Up to concentrations of 50 µm, the effects of LG8 are reversible.
Pubmed 
Wang H, Zhuang XH, Hillmer S, Robinson DG, Jiang LW. (2011). Vacuolar sorting receptor (VSR) proteins reach the plasma membrane in germinating pollen tubes. Mol Plant. 4(5):845-53.
Abstract
Vacuolar sorting receptors (VSRs) are type I integral membrane proteins that mediate the vacuolar transport of soluble cargo proteins via prevacuolar compartments (PVCs) in plants. Confocal immunofluorescent and immunogold Electron Microscope (EM) studies have localized VSRs to PVCs or multivesicular bodies (MVBs) and trans-Golgi network (TGN) in various plant cell types, including suspension culture cells, root cells, developing and germinating seeds. Here, we provide evidence that VSRs reach plasma membrane (PM) in growing pollen tubes. Both immunofluorescent and immunogold EM studies with specific VSR antibodies show that, in addition to the previously demonstrated PVC/MVB localization, VSRs also localize to PM in lily and tobacco pollen tubes prepared from chemical fixation or high-pressure freezing/frozen substitution. Such a PM localization suggests an additional role of VSR proteins in mediating protein transport to PM and endocytosis in growing pollen tubes. Using a high-speed Spinning Disc Confocal Microscope, the possible fusion between VSR-positive PVC organelles and the PM was also observed in living tobacco pollen tubes transiently expressing the PVC reporter GFP-VSR. In contrast, the lack of a prominent PM localization of GFP-VSR in living pollen tubes may be due to the highly dynamic situation of vesicular transport in this fast-growing cell type.
Loos A, Van Droogenbroeck B, Hillmer S, Grass J, Pabst M, Castilho A, Kunert R, Liang M, Arcalis E, Robinson DG, Depicker A, Steinkellner H. (2011). Expression of antibody fragments with a controlled N-glycosylation pattern and induction of endoplasmic reticulum-derived vesicles in seeds of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 155(4):2036-48.
Abstract
Intracellular trafficking and subcellular deposition are critical factors influencing the accumulation and posttranslational modifications of proteins. In seeds, these processes are not yet fully understood. In this study, we set out to investigate the intracellular transport, final destination, N-glycosylation status, and stability of the fusion of recombinant single-chain variable fragments to the crystallizing fragment of an antibody (scFv-Fc) of two antiviral monoclonal antibodies (2G12 and HA78). The scFv-Fcs were expressed in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seeds and leaves both as secretory molecules and tagged with an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal. We demonstrate differential proteolytic degradation of scFv-Fcs in leaves versus seeds, with higher degradation in the latter organ. In seeds, we show that secretory versions of HA78 scFv-Fcs are targeted to the extracellular space but are deposited in newly formed ER-derived vesicles upon KDEL tagging. These results are in accordance with the obtained N-glycosylation profiles: complex-type and ER-typical oligomannosidic N-glycans, respectively. HA78 scFv-Fcs, expressed in seeds of an Arabidopsis glycosylation mutant lacking plant-specific N-glycans, exhibit custom-made human-type N-glycosylation. In contrast, 2G12 scFv-Fcs carry exclusively ER-typical oligomannosidic N-glycans and were deposited in newly formed ER-derived vesicles irrespective of the targeting signals. HA78 scFv-Fcs exhibited efficient virus neutralization activity, while 2G12 scFv-Fcs were inactive. We demonstrate the efficient generation of scFv-Fcs with a controlled N-glycosylation pattern. However, our results also reveal aberrant subcellular deposition and, as a consequence, unexpected N-glycosylation profiles. Our attempts to elucidate intracellular protein transport in seeds contributes to a better understanding of this basic cell biological mechanism and is a step toward the versatile use of Arabidopsis seeds as an alternative expression platform for pharmaceutically relevant proteins.
Loos A, Van Droogenbroeck B, Hillmer S, Grass J, Kunert R, Cao J, Robinson DG, Depicker A, Steinkellner H. (2011). Production of monoclonal antibodies with a controlled N-glycosylation pattern in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Biotechnol J. 9(2):179-92.
Abstract
Seed-specific expression is an appealing alternative technology for the production of recombinant proteins in transgenic plants. Whereas attractive yields of recombinant proteins have been achieved by this method, little attention has been paid to the intracellular deposition and the quality of such products. Here, we demonstrate a comparative study of two antiviral monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) (HA78 against Hepatitis A virus; 2G12 against HIV) expressed in seeds of Arabidopsis wild-type (wt) plants and glycosylation mutants lacking plant specific N-glycan residues. We demonstrate that 2G12 is produced with complex N-glycans at great uniformity in the wt as well as in the glycosylation mutant, carrying a single dominant glycosylation species, GnGnXF and GnGn, respectively. HA78 in contrast, contains additionally to complex N-glycans significant amounts of oligo-mannosidic structures, which are typical for endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-retained proteins. A detailed subcellular localization study demonstrated the deposition of both antibodies virtually exclusively in the extracellular space, illustrating their efficient secretion. In addition, although a KDEL-tagged version of 2G12 exhibited an ER-typical N-glycosylation pattern, it was surprisingly detected in protein storage vacuoles. The different antibody variants showed different levels of degradation with hardly any degradation products detectable for HA78 carrying GnGnXF glycans. Finally, we demonstrate functional integrity of the HA78 and 2G12 glycoforms using viral inhibition assays. Our data therefore demonstrate the usability of transgenic seeds for the generation of mAbs with a controlled N-glycosylation pattern, thus expanding the possibilities for the production of optimally glycosylated proteins with enhanced biological activities for the use as human therapeutics.
Pubmed 
Schott A, Ravaud S, Keller S, Radzimanowski J, Viotti C, Hillmer S, Sinning I, Strahl S. (2010). Arabidopsis stromal-derived Factor2 (SDF2) is a crucial target of the unfolded protein response in the endoplasmic reticulum. J Biol Chem. 285(23):18113-21.
Abstract

Stresses increasing the load of unfolded proteins that enter the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) trigger a protective response termed the unfolded protein response (UPR). Stromal cell-derived factor2 (SDF2)-type proteins are highly conserved throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. In this study we have characterized AtSDF2 as crucial component of the UPR in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using a combination of biochemical and cell biological methods, we demonstrate that SDF2 is induced in response to ER stress conditions causing the accumulation of unfolded proteins. Transgenic reporter plants confirmed induction of SDF2 during ER stress. Under normal growth conditions SDF2 is highly expressed in fast growing, differentiating cells and meristematic tissues. The increased production of SDF2 due to ER stress and in tissues that require enhanced protein biosynthesis and secretion, and its association with the ER membrane qualifies SDF2 as a downstream target of the UPR. Determination of the SDF2 three-dimensional crystal structure at 1.95 A resolution revealed the typical beta-trefoil fold with potential carbohydrate binding sites. Hence, SDF2 might be involved in the quality control of glycoproteins. Arabidopsis sdf2 mutants display strong defects and morphological phenotypes during seedling development specifically under ER stress conditions, thus establishing that SDF2-type proteins play a key role in the UPR.

Wang J, Ding Y, Wang J, Hillmer S, Miao Y, Lo SW, Wang X, Robinson DG, Jiang L. (2010). EXPO, an exocyst-positive organelle distinct from multivesicular endosomes and autophagosomes, mediates cytosol to cell wall exocytosis in Arabidopsis and tobacco cells. Plant Cell. 22(12):4009-30.

 

Abstract
The exocyst protein complex mediates vesicle fusion with the plasma membrane. By expressing an (X)FP-tagged Arabidopsis thaliana homolog of the exocyst protein Exo70 in suspension-cultured Arabidopsis and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) BY-2 cells, and using antibodies specific for Exo70, we detected a compartment, which we term EXPO (for exocyst positive organelles). Standard markers for the Golgi apparatus, the trans-Golgi network/early endosome, and the multivesicular body/late endosome in plants do not colocalize with EXPO. Inhibitors of the secretory and endocytic pathways also do not affect EXPO. Exo70E2-(X)FP also locates to the plasma membrane (PM) as discrete punctae and is secreted outside of the cells. Immunogold labeling of sections cut from high-pressure frozen samples reveal EXPO to be spherical double membrane structures resembling autophagosomes. However, unlike autophagosomes, EXPOs are not induced by starvation and do not fuse with the lytic compartment or with endosomes. Instead, they fuse with the PM, releasing a single membrane vesicle into the cell wall. EXPOs are also found in other cell types, including root tips, root hair cells, and pollen grains. EXPOs therefore represent a form of unconventional secretion unique to plants.

 


/var/www/cos/ / http://www.cos.uni-heidelberg.de/ Dr. Stefan Hillmer _e