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IRHS

Functional characterization of a new family of secreted peptides involved in defense and development control in Arabidopsis thaliana.

The SCOOP12 peptide regulates defense response and root elongation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Plant responses to pests and pathogens are coordinated by regulatory proteins and hormones. Among these actors, small secreted peptides, also named peptide phytohormones or phytocytokines, may directly interact with pathogens or act in signalling and cell-to-cell communication. However, only a small fraction of the gene space liable to encode such signalling peptides has been described and their structural and functional diversity appears to be largely underestimated. Therefore, a huge part of the whole array of plant genetic defences is still unexploited. In this context, by combining meta-analysis of transcriptomes, bioinformatics predictions and experimental assays on mutants and synthetic peptides, we have identified a gene family of 14 paralogs in Arabidopsis thaliana encoding precursors of putative secreted peptides, hereinafter referred as SCOOP.

fig1

The PROSCOOP family. (A) Gene organization: coding exons and introns are represented by blue boxes and blue broken lines respectively. Remains of transposable elements (Helitron type) are represented by orange boxes and the green one indicates a putative non-coding RNA of unknown function. (B) Transcription of PROSCOOP family. Significant (p-value<0.001) differential expression induced by specific perturbations (upper panel) and transcription level in different Arabidopsis organs (lower panel) are based on RNA-seq data obtained from the Genevestigator platform (Hruz et al., 2008). (C) Conserved motifs identified in the PROSCOOP family proteins. The predicted signal peptides are represented by green boxes. 
(Gully, Pelletier et al., 2019)

We have already shown that among them, SCOOP12 is involved in the control of defense pathway and the root elongation through the regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) responses (Gully, Pelletier et al., 2019). Our first results open the way to novel investigations on the role of the SCOOP family at the boundaries of development- and stress-signalling pathways.

fig2

Putative model explaining the SCOOP12 functions in root development and biotic stress response through the inhibition of protection against oxidative stress. (Gully, Pelletier et al., 2019).

The PROSCOOP family that we have recently identified presents exciting specificities: a lower sequence conservation of the mature peptides between paralogs and an original specificity to the Brassicaceae plant family. Furthermore, paralogs have contrasted transcriptional profiles and can produce divergent peptides suggest a neo-functionalization process in the family leading to the involvement of PROSCOOP genes in different physiological pathways. The objectives of this PhD project benefit from these first results to further characterize the whole pathway of this new phytocytokine family and its effects on plant development and stress response. The questions we want to address are: What is the active form of the SCOOP12 peptide in vivo, and where is it localized at the sub-cellular level? Which co-receptor of BAK1 for SCOOP12? Which actual role of the SCOOP12 pathway on root growth and stress response through ROS balance? Any role for other members of the SCOOP family?