Functional Analysis of Plant Glutamate Receptors
Price, Michelle Beth
MetadataShow full item record
The plant glutamate receptors (GLRs) are homologs of mammalian ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) and are hypothesized to be potential amino acid sensors in plants. Since their first discovery in 1998, the members of plant GLRs have been implicated in diverse processes such as C/N ratio sensing, root formation, pollen germination and plant-pathogen interaction. However, the exact properties of these channels, such as the spectrum of ligands, ion specificities, and subunit compositions are still not well understood. It is well established that animal iGluRs form homo- or hetero-tetramers in order to form ligand-gated cation channels. The first aspect of this research was to determine if plant GLRs likewise require different subunits to form functional channels. A modified yeast-2-hybrid system approach was initially taken and applied to 14 of the 20 AtGLRs to identify a number of candidate interactors in yeast. Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET), which measures the transfer of energy between interacting molecules, was performed in mammalian cells to confirm interaction between a few of those candidates. Interestingly, despite an abundance of overlapping co-localization between heteromeric combinations, only homomeric interactions were identified between GLRs 1.1 and 3.4 in HEK293 cells. Further, amino acids have been implicated in signaling between plants and microbes, but the mechanisms for amino acid perception in defense responses are far from being understood. Recently it was demonstrated that calcium responses initiated by bacterial and fungal microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) were diminished in seedlings treated with known agonists and antagonists of mammalian iGluRs, suggesting potential roles of GLRs in pathogen responses. Analysis of publicly available microarray data shows altered gene expression of a sub-fraction of GLRs in response to pathogen infection and bacterial elicitors. Thus, the second goal of my PhD research was aimed at determining whether GLRs are involved in the interaction between plants and pathogens. Gene expression changes of a number of candidate GLRs as well as pathogen growth was examined in response to the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Interestingly, single gene and multi-gene deficient plants responded differently with regards to pathogen susceptibility, likely as a result of functional compensation between GLRs.
- Doctoral Dissertations