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CSB Departmental Seminar – Professor Tai-ping Sun, Duke University
April 26 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
CSB Departmental Seminar
Professor Tai-ping Sun,
“DELLAcate Balance for Plant Growth by Sugar Modifications”
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at RW 432
Plant development requires strict coordination among complex internal signaling networks to enhance adaptation to changing environments. The conserved transcription regulators DELLA proteins play a central role in this process via direct protein-protein interactions with key transcription factors. Recent studies using genetic and physiological analyses together with chemical biology methods indicate that DELLA’s binding affinity to interacting proteins are oppositely regulated by two types of O-linked glycosylation on specific Ser/Thr residues: O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modification, and O-fucosylation (O-Fuc). These two distinct sugar modifications on DELLA are catalyzed by two paralogs in Arabidopsis: SECRET AGENT (SEC), an O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) that reduces DELLA activity, and SPINDLY (SPY), a novel protein O-fucosyltransferase (POFUT) that enhances DELLA activity. These studies uncovered direct roles of OGT (SEC) and POFUT (SPY) in fine-tuning plant development by modulating DELLA interactions with key regulators in multiple signaling pathways. OGT-mediated protein O-GlcNAcylation has been studied extensively in animals, and is known to play a key role in regulating a plethora of intracellular signaling events in response to nutrient status. In contrast, the physiological functions of OGT in plants are largely unknown. Moreover, SPY is the first POFUT identified for O-fucosylation of nuclear proteins, uncovering a novel mechanism for transcriptional regulation. The dynamic interplay between O-GlcNAc/O-Fuc modifications in regulating the nuclear growth repressor DELLA activity may provide a new paradigm in linking metabolic status to gene expression and cell growth in response to internal and external cues.