- A novel, non-invasive, online-monitoring, versatile and easy plant-based probe for measuring leaf water status (2008)
- A high-precision pressure probe is described which allows non-invasive online-monitoring of the water relations of intact leaves. Real-time recording of the leaf water status occurred by data transfer to an Internet server. The leaf patch clamp pressure probe measures the attenuated pressure, Pp, of a leaf patch in response to a constant clamp pressure, Pclamp. Pp is sensed by a miniaturized silicone pressure sensor integrated into the device. The magnitude of Pp is dictated by the transfer function of the leaf, Tf, which is a function of leaf patch volume and ultimately of cell turgor pressure, Pc, as shown theoretically. The power function Tf=f(Pc) theoretically derived was experimentally confirmed by concomitant Pp and Pc measurements on intact leaflets of the liana Tetrastigma voinierianum under greenhouse conditions. Simultaneous Pp recordings on leaflets up to 10 m height above ground demonstrated that changes in Tf induced by Pc changes due to changes of microclimate and/or of the irrigation regime were sensitively reflected in corresponding changes of Pp. Analysis of the data show that transpirational water loss during the morning hours was associated with a transient rise in turgor pressure gradients within the leaflets. Subsequent recovery of turgescence during the afternoon was much faster than the preceding transpiration-induced water loss if the plants were well irrigated. Our data show the enormous potential of the leaf patch clamp pressure probe for leaf water studies including unravelling of the hydraulic communication between neighbouring leaves and over long distances within tall plants (trees).
- The parallel G-quadruplex structure of vertebrate telomeric repeat sequences is not the preferred folding topology under physiological conditions (2011)
- G-quadruplex topologies of telomeric repeat sequences from vertebrates were investigated in the presence of molecular crowding (MC) mimetics, namely polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG), Ficoll 70 as well as Xenopus laevis egg extract by CD and NMR spectroscopy and native PAGE. Here, we show that the conformational behavior of the telomeric repeats in X. laevis egg extract or in Ficoll is notably different from that observed in the presence of PEG. While the behavior of the telomeric repeat in X. laevis egg extract or in Ficoll resembles results obtained under dilute conditions, PEG promotes the formation of high-order parallel topologies. Our data suggest that PEG should not be used as a MC mimetic.
- Optogenetic long-term manipulation of behavior and animal development (2011)
- Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is widely used for rapid photodepolarization of neurons, yet, as it requires high-intensity blue light for activation, it is not suited for long-term in vivo applications, e.g. for manipulations of behavior, or photoactivation of neurons during development. We used “slow” ChR2 variants with mutations in the C128 residue, that exhibit delayed off-kinetics and increased light sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Following a 1 s light pulse, we could photodepolarize neurons and muscles for minutes (and with repeated brief stimulation, up to days) with low-intensity light. Photoactivation of ChR2(C128S) in command interneurons elicited long-lasting alterations in locomotion. Finally, we could optically induce profound changes in animal development: Long-term photoactivation of ASJ neurons, which regulate larval growth, bypassed the constitutive entry into the “dauer” larval state in daf-11 mutants. These lack a guanylyl cyclase, which possibly renders ASJ neurons hyperpolarized. Furthermore, photostimulated ASJ neurons could acutely trigger dauer-exit. Thus, slow ChR2s can be employed to long-term photoactivate behavior and to trigger alternative animal development.
- Sucrose- and H+-dependent charge movements associated with the gating of sucrose transporter ZmSUT1 (2010)
- Background: In contrast to man the majority of higher plants use sucrose as mobile carbohydrate. Accordingly proton-driven sucrose transporters are crucial for cell-to-cell and long-distance distribution within the plant body. Generally very negative plant membrane potentials and the ability to accumulate sucrose quantities of more than 1 M document that plants must have evolved transporters with unique structural and functional features. Methodology/Principal Findings: To unravel the functional properties of one specific high capacity plasma membrane sucrose transporter in detail, we expressed the sucrose/H+ co-transporter from maize ZmSUT1 in Xenopus oocytes. Application of sucrose in an acidic pH environment elicited inward proton currents. Interestingly the sucrose-dependent H+ transport was associated with a decrease in membrane capacitance (Cm). In addition to sucrose Cm was modulated by the membrane potential and external protons. In order to explore the molecular mechanism underlying these Cm changes, presteady-state currents (Ipre) of ZmSUT1 transport were analyzed. Decay of Ipre could be best fitted by double exponentials. When plotted against the voltage the charge Q, associated to Ipre, was dependent on sucrose and protons. The mathematical derivative of the charge Q versus voltage was well in line with the observed Cm changes. Based on these parameters a turnover rate of 500 molecules sucrose/s was calculated. In contrast to gating currents of voltage dependent-potassium channels the analysis of ZmSUT1-derived presteady-state currents in the absence of sucrose (I = Q/τ) was sufficient to predict ZmSUT1 transport-associated currents. Conclusions: Taken together our results indicate that in the absence of sucrose, ‘trapped’ protons move back and forth between an outer and an inner site within the transmembrane domains of ZmSUT1. This movement of protons in the electric field of the membrane gives rise to the presteady-state currents and in turn to Cm changes. Upon application of external sucrose, protons can pass the membrane turning presteady-state into transport currents.
- Voltage dependence of proton pumping by bacteriorhodopsin mutants with altered lifetime of the m intermediate (2013)
- The light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin (BR) from Halobacterium salinarum is tightly regulated by the [H+] gradient and transmembrane potential. BR exhibits optoelectric properties, since spectral changes during the photocycle are kinetically controlled by voltage, which predestines BR for optical storage or processing devices. BR mutants with prolonged lifetime of the blue-shifted M intermediate would be advantageous, but the optoelectric properties of such mutants are still elusive. Using expression in Xenopus oocytes and two-electrode voltage-clamping, we analyzed photocurrents of BR mutants with kinetically destabilized (F171C, F219L) or stabilized (D96N, D96G) M intermediate in response to green light (to probe H+ pumping) and blue laser flashes (to probe accumulation/decay of M). These mutants have divergent M lifetimes. As for BR-WT, this strictly correlates with the voltage dependence of H+ pumping. BR-F171C and BR-F219L showed photocurrents similar to BR-WT. Yet, BR-F171C showed a weaker voltage dependence of proton pumping. For both mutants, blue laser flashes applied during and after green-light illumination showed reduced M accumulation and shorter M lifetime. In contrast, BR-D96G and BR-D96N exhibited small photocurrents, with nonlinear current-voltage curves, which increased strongly in the presence of azide. Blue laser flashes showed heavy M accumulation and prolonged M lifetime, which accounts for the strongly reduced H+ pumping rate. Hyperpolarizing potentials augmented these effects. The combination of M-stabilizing and -destabilizing mutations in BR-D96G/F171C/F219L (BR-tri) shows that disruption of the primary proton donor Asp-96 is fatal for BR as a proton pump. Mechanistically, M destabilizing mutations cannot compensate for the disruption of Asp-96. Accordingly, BR-tri and BR-D96G photocurrents were similar. However, BR-tri showed negative blue laser flash-induced currents even without actinic green light, indicating that Schiff base deprotonation in BR-tri exists in the dark, in line with previous spectroscopic investigations. Thus, M-stabilizing mutations, including the triple mutation, drastically interfere with electrochemical H+ gradient generation.
- Light-induced helix movements in channelrhodopsin-2 (2014)
- Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is a cation-selective light-gated channel from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Nagel G, Szellas T, Huhn W, Kateriya S, Adeishvili N, Berthold P, et al. Channelrhodopsin-2, a directly light-gated cation-selective membrane channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2003;100:13940-5), which has become a powerful tool in optogenetics. Two-dimensional crystals of the slow photocycling C128T ChR2 mutant were exposed to 473 nm light and rapidly frozen to trap the open state. Projection difference maps at 6Å resolution show the location, extent and direction of light-induced conformational changes in ChR2 during the transition from the closed state to the ion-conducting open state. Difference peaks indicate that transmembrane helices (TMHs) TMH2, TMH6 and TMH7 reorient or rearrange during the photocycle. No major differences were found near TMH3 and TMH4 at the dimer interface. While conformational changes in TMH6 and TMH7 are known from other microbial-type rhodopsins, our results indicate that TMH2 has a key role in light-induced channel opening and closing in ChR2.