Identification and characterisation of the E3 ligase, RAP1, in Arabidopsis
Changes in cellular redox status are implicated in the regulation of developmental and defence-related responses. The absence of S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) function in Arabidopsis leads to an accumulation of cellular S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), a mobile reservoir of nitric oxide (NO) which impacts the cellular redox tone. Consequently, the GSNOR knockout mutant, atgsnor1-3 displays defects in growth, time to flowering and pathogen resistance. Although it is now well established that GSNO is a key redox signalling molecule, the molecular mechanisms that underpin GSNO function remains largely unknown. RAP1 (REDOX-ASSOCIATED PROTEIN 1) was identified based on its dynamic changes of expression in atgsnor1-3 and sid2 plants upon avirulent Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000 (avrB) challenge. Pathogen-induced RAP1 expression was shown to be independent of the plant hormones salicylic acid, jasmonic acid, abscisic acid and ethylene. Recombinant RAP1 protein was shown to exhibit E3 ligase activity in vitro. Application of the NO donors (GSNO and Cysteine-NO (CysNO)) reduced the E3 ligase activity of RAP1 significantly. Biotinswitch analysis showed that RAP1 was S-nitrosylated and site-directed mutagenesis of RAP1 suggested that the S-nitrosylated site is the cysteine residue C325. The rap1 line does not show obvious developmental phenotypes, however, overexpressing RAP1 enhanced lateral root branching in young seedlings. Overexpression of a truncated RAP1 (RAP1ΔRING) led to a loss of apical dominance. In addition, rap1/rap2 double mutants showed delayed flowering, suggesting RAP1 might be involved in the regulation of plant growth and development. RAP1 may also be involved in plant defence, as rap1, rap2 and rap1/rap2 mutants exhibited increased susceptibility to PstDC3000 and Arabidopsis powdery mildew. Interestingly, rap1 plants showed enhanced resistance to methyl viologen (MV), which is in line with the phenotype of atgsnor mutants. Also, expression of RAP1 was rapidly inducible by ultraviolet-B (UV-B) light. As RAP1 expression and RAP1 E3 ligase activity are redox-related, it is speculated that RAP1 may be involved in redoxmediated regulation of a broad range of physiological responses.