Calmodulin As a Regulator of Circadian Clock Function and Photoperiodic Flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Murphy, Andrew James
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Discrete changes in the amplitude, frequency, and cellular localisation of Calcium ion (Ca2+) transients encode information about numerous stimuli and function to mediate stimulus-specific responses. Cytoplasmic Ca2+ (Ca2+cyt) undergoes circadian oscillations in concentration that appear to be under the control of the same endogenous oscillator that regulates expression of genes in the photoperiodic-flowering pathway. It is currently not known whether these circadian [Ca2+cyt] oscillations are biochemical artefacts or are decoded and function to transduce clock dependent responses. Calmodulin (CaM) is a primary node in Ca2+ signalling in plants and as such is a promising target for investigating the role of Ca2+ in clock-controlled processes. In this study, Arabidopsis thaliana were treated with experimentally validated concentrations of pharmacological CaM inhibitors. Under inductive photoperiods (16 h light : 8 h dark), CaM inhibition was found to increase developmental flowering time, whilst under non-inductive photoperiods no such changes were evident. Inhibition of CaM led to changes in expression of the key clock gene TIMING OF CAB EXPRESSION 1 and flowering time genes, CONSTANS and FLOWERING LOCUS T and removed repression of flowering in darkness. These observations are consistent with CaM modulating the activity of the putative clock component GIGANTEA and the proteasomal targeting protein SUPPRESSOR OF PHYA-105. Due to the unwanted side effects often generated by chemical CaM inhibitors, a peptide inhibitor of CaM comprising a green fluorescent protein / calspermin fusion and labelled smGN was developed. Surface plasmon resonance analysis and affinity chromatography showed smGN to have extremely high selectivity for, and affinity to, CaM and to function as a powerful inhibitor of CaM in vitro. Further work on the methodology used to deploy smGN as a recombinant alternative to chemical CaM inhibitors in planta is also described.
Murphy, A. J., Kemp, F., Love, J., (2008). Surface Plasmon Resonance Characterization of Calspermin-Calmodulin Binding Kinetics. Analytical Biochemistry, 376; 61-72.
PhD in Biological Sciences