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Title: Role of S-nitrosylation in plant salt stress
Author: Fancy, Nurun Nahar
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 1431
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2017
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Salinity stress is one of the main challenges for crop growth and production. The estimated loss of crop yield due to salinity stress is up to 20% worldwide each year. Plants have evolved an array of mechanisms to defend themselves against salinity stress. A key aspect of plant responses to salinity stress is the engagement of a nitrosative burst that results in nitric oxide (NO) accumulation. A major mechanism for the transfer of NO bioactivity is S-nitrosylation which is a modification of the reactive thiol group of a rare but highly active cysteine residue within a protein through the addition of a NO moiety to generate an S-nitrosothiol (SNO). S-nitrosylation can result in altered structure, function and cellular localisation of a protein. Our findings suggest that S-nitrosylation is a key regulator of plant responses to salinity stress. Glutathione (GSH), a tripeptide cellular antioxidant, is S-nitrosylated to form S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), which functions as a stable store of NO bioactivity. Cellular GSNO levels are directly controlled by S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR), thereby, regulating global SNO levels indirectly. The absence of this gene results in high levels of SNOs. In Arabidopsis, previous research has shown that loss-of-function mutation in GSNOR1 results in pathogen susceptibility (Feechan et al., 2005). In our study, we investigated salt tolerance in gsnor1-3 plants. We have found that this line is salt sensitive at various stages of their life cycle. Interestingly, classical salt stress signalling pathways are fully functional in gsnor1-3 plants. We have also explored non-classical pathways involved in salt tolerance. Autophagy is a cellular catabolic process which is involved in the recycling and degradation of unwanted cellular materials under stressed and non-stressed conditions. We have demonstrated that gsnor1-3 plants have impaired autophagy during salt stress. An accumulation of the autophagy marker NBR1 supports the lack of autophagosome formation. We hypothesised that S-nitrosylation might regulate upstream nodes of autophagosome formation. Our study demonstrated that at least one key player involved in autophagosome biogenesis is regulated by S-nitrosylation. ATG7, an E1-like activating enzyme, which regulates ATG8-PE and ATG12-ATG5 ubiquitin like conjugation systems, is S-nitrosylated in vitro and in vivo. S-nitrosylation of ATG7 impairs its function in vitro. We showed that S-nitrosylation of ATG7 is mediated by GSNO. Interestingly, ATG7 is also transnitrosylated by thioredoxin (TRX), another important redox regulatory enzyme. We suggest that similar mechanisms might exist in planta. Finally, work in this study revealed that S-nitrosylation of Cys558 and Cys637 cause the inhibition of ATG7 function. In aggregate, this study revealed a novel mechanism for the redox-based regulation of autophagy during salt stress.
Supervisor: Loake, Gary ; Hudson, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: salt stress ; salinity stress ; S-nitrosylation ; autophagy ; glutathione ; GSNOR1