Publications by authors named "Christian Esser"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Mitochondrial 2-hydroxyglutarate metabolism.

Mitochondrion 2014 Nov 21;19 Pt B:275-81. Epub 2014 Feb 21.

Institut of Developmental and Molecular Biology of Plants, Plant Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology Group, Heinrich-Heine-University, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany; Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Electronic address:

2-Hydroxyglutarate (2-HG) is a five-carbon dicarboxylic acid with a hydroxyl group at the alpha position, which forms a stereocenter in this molecule. Although the existence of mitochondrial D- and L-2HG metabolisms has long been known in different eukaryotes, the biosynthetic pathways, especially in plants, have not been completely elucidated. While D-2HG is involved in intermediary metabolism, L-2HG may not have a cellular function but it needs to be recycled through a metabolic repair reaction. Independent of their metabolic origin, D- and L-2HG are oxidized in plant mitochondria to 2-ketoglutarate through the action of two stereospecific enzymes, D- and L-2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases. While plants are to a large extent unaffected by high cellular concentrations of D-2HG, deficiencies in the metabolism of D- and L-2HG result in fatal disorders in humans. We present current data gathered on plant D- and L-2HG metabolisms and relate it to existing knowledge on 2HG metabolism in other organisms. We focus on the metabolic origin of these compounds, the mitochondrial catabolic steps catalyzed by the stereospecific dehydrogenases, and phylogenetic relationships between different studied 2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mito.2014.02.009DOI Listing
November 2014

Plant and animal glycolate oxidases have a common eukaryotic ancestor and convergently duplicated to evolve long-chain 2-hydroxy acid oxidases.

Mol Biol Evol 2014 May 9;31(5):1089-101. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Institute for Computer Science, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Glycolate oxidase (GOX) is a crucial enzyme of plant photorespiration. The encoding gene is thought to have originated from endosymbiotic gene transfer between the eukaryotic host and the cyanobacterial endosymbiont at the base of plantae. However, animals also possess GOX activities. Plant and animal GOX belong to the gene family of (L)-2-hydroxyacid-oxidases ((L)-2-HAOX). We find that all (L)-2-HAOX proteins in animals and archaeplastida go back to one ancestral eukaryotic sequence; the sole exceptions are green algae of the chlorophyta lineage. Chlorophyta replaced the ancestral eukaryotic (L)-2-HAOX with a bacterial ortholog, a lactate oxidase that may have been obtained through the primary endosymbiosis at the base of plantae; independent losses of this gene may explain its absence in other algal lineages (glaucophyta, rhodophyta, and charophyta). We also show that in addition to GOX, plants possess (L)-2-HAOX proteins with different specificities for medium- and long-chain hydroxyacids (lHAOX), likely involved in fatty acid and protein catabolism. Vertebrates possess lHAOX proteins acting on similar substrates as plant lHAOX; however, the existence of GOX and lHAOX subfamilies in both plants and animals is not due to shared ancestry but is the result of convergent evolution in the two most complex eukaryotic lineages. On the basis of targeting sequences and predicted substrate specificities, we conclude that the biological role of plantae (L)-2-HAOX in photorespiration evolved by co-opting an existing peroxisomal protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msu041DOI Listing
May 2014

Transport proteins regulate the flux of metabolites and cofactors across the membrane of plant peroxisomes.

Front Plant Sci 2012 16;3. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

Department of Plant Biochemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany.

In land plants, peroxisomes play key roles in various metabolic pathways, including the most prominent examples, that is lipid mobilization and photorespiration. Given the large number of substrates that are exchanged across the peroxisomal membrane, a wide spectrum of metabolite and cofactor transporters is required and needs to be efficiently coordinated. These peroxisomal transport proteins are a prerequisite for metabolic reactions inside plant peroxisomes. The entire peroxisomal "permeome" is closely linked to the adaption of photosynthetic organisms during land plant evolution to fulfill and optimize their new metabolic demands in cells, tissues, and organs. This review assesses for the first time the distribution of these peroxisomal transporters within the algal and plant species underlining their evolutionary relevance. Despite the importance of peroxisomal transporters, the majority of these proteins, however, are still unknown at the molecular level in plants as well as in other eukaryotic organisms. Four transport proteins have been recently identified and functionally characterized in Arabidopsis so far: one transporter for the import of fatty acids and three carrier proteins for the uptake of the cofactors ATP and NAD into plant peroxisomes. The transport of the three substrates across the peroxisomal membrane is essential for the degradation of fatty acids and fatty acids-related compounds via β-oxidation. This metabolic pathway plays multiple functions for growth and development in plants that have been crucial in land plant evolution. In this review, we describe the current state of their physiological roles in Arabidopsis and discuss novel features in their putative transport mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2012.00003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355763PMC
August 2012

Cutoffs and k-mers: implications from a transcriptome study in allopolyploid plants.

BMC Genomics 2012 Mar 14;13:92. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Background: Transcriptome analysis is increasingly being used to study the evolutionary origins and ecology of non-model plants. One issue for both transcriptome assembly and differential gene expression analyses is the common occurrence in plants of hybridisation and whole genome duplication (WGD) and hybridization resulting in allopolyploidy. The divergence of duplicated genes following WGD creates near identical homeologues that can be problematic for de novo assembly and also reference based assembly protocols that use short reads (35 - 100 bp).

Results: Here we report a successful strategy for the assembly of two transcriptomes made using 75 bp Illumina reads from Pachycladon fastigiatum and Pachycladon cheesemanii. Both are allopolyploid plant species (2n = 20) that originated in the New Zealand Alps about 0.8 million years ago. In a systematic analysis of 19 different coverage cutoffs and 20 different k-mer sizes we showed that i) none of the genes could be assembled across all of the parameter space ii) assembly of each gene required an optimal set of parameter values and iii) these parameter values could be explained in part by different gene expression levels and different degrees of similarity between genes.

Conclusions: To obtain optimal transcriptome assemblies for allopolyploid plants, k-mer size and k-mer coverage need to be considered simultaneously across a broad parameter space. This is important for assembling a maximum number of full length ESTs and for avoiding chimeric assemblies of homeologous and paralogous gene copies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-13-92DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3378427PMC
March 2012

Supertrees and symbiosis in eukaryote genome evolution.

Trends Microbiol 2007 Oct 19;15(10):435-7. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

Institute of Botany III, University of Düsseldorf, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

If we took all of the single copy genes in all sequenced genomes, made phylogenetic trees from them individually, and then made the supertree of those trees, what would we get? Recently, David Pisani and colleagues did that experiment and their results are likely to spark much discussion. Their prokaryote tree looks very familiar, but the genome history of eukaryotes appears dominated by genes of cyanobacterial (plastid) and alpha-proteobacterial (mitochondrial) origin, while the host component branches within the archaebacteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2007.09.001DOI Listing
October 2007

The origin of mitochondria in light of a fluid prokaryotic chromosome model.

Biol Lett 2007 Apr;3(2):180-4

Institut für Botanik III, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

Biologists agree that the ancestor of mitochondria was an alpha-proteobacterium. But there is no consensus as to what constitutes an alpha-proteobacterial gene. Is it a gene found in all or several alpha-proteobacteria, or in only one? Here, we examine the proportion of alpha-proteobacterial genes in alpha-proteobacterial genomes by means of sequence comparisons. We find that each alpha-proteobacterium harbours a particular collection of genes and that, depending upon the lineage examined, between 97 and 33% are alpha-proteobacterial by the nearest-neighbour criterion. Our findings bear upon attempts to reconstruct the mitochondrial ancestor and upon inferences concerning the collection of genes that the mitochondrial ancestor possessed at the time that it became an endosymbiont.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2006.0582DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2375920PMC
April 2007

A genome phylogeny for mitochondria among alpha-proteobacteria and a predominantly eubacterial ancestry of yeast nuclear genes.

Mol Biol Evol 2004 Sep 21;21(9):1643-60. Epub 2004 May 21.

Institute of Botany III, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Analyses of 55 individual and 31 concatenated protein data sets encoded in Reclinomonas americana and Marchantia polymorpha mitochondrial genomes revealed that current methods for constructing phylogenetic trees are insufficiently sensitive (or artifact-insensitive) to ascertain the sister of mitochondria among the current sample of eight alpha-proteobacterial genomes using mitochondrially-encoded proteins. However, Rhodospirillum rubrum came as close to mitochondria as any alpha-proteobacterium investigated. This prompted a search for methods to directly compare eukaryotic genomes to their prokaryotic counterparts to investigate the origin of the mitochondrion and its host from the standpoint of nuclear genes. We examined pairwise amino acid sequence identity in comparisons of 6,214 nuclear protein-coding genes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae to 177,117 proteins encoded in sequenced genomes from 45 eubacteria and 15 archaebacteria. The results reveal that approximately 75% of yeast genes having homologues among the present prokaryotic sample share greater amino acid sequence identity to eubacterial than to archaebacterial homologues. At high stringency comparisons, only the eubacterial component of the yeast genome is detectable. Our findings indicate that at the levels of overall amino acid sequence identity and gene content, yeast shares a sister-group relationship with eubacteria, not with archaebacteria, in contrast to the current phylogenetic paradigm based on ribosomal RNA. Among eubacteria and archaebacteria, proteobacterial and methanogen genomes, respectively, shared more similarity with the yeast genome than other prokaryotic genomes surveyed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msh160DOI Listing
September 2004

Phylogenomics of the reproductive parasite Wolbachia pipientis wMel: a streamlined genome overrun by mobile genetic elements.

PLoS Biol 2004 Mar 16;2(3):E69. Epub 2004 Mar 16.

The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland, USA.

The complete sequence of the 1,267,782 bp genome of Wolbachia pipientis wMel, an obligate intracellular bacteria of Drosophila melanogaster, has been determined. Wolbachia, which are found in a variety of invertebrate species, are of great interest due to their diverse interactions with different hosts, which range from many forms of reproductive parasitism to mutualistic symbioses. Analysis of the wMel genome, in particular phylogenomic comparisons with other intracellular bacteria, has revealed many insights into the biology and evolution of wMel and Wolbachia in general. For example, the wMel genome is unique among sequenced obligate intracellular species in both being highly streamlined and containing very high levels of repetitive DNA and mobile DNA elements. This observation, coupled with multiple evolutionary reconstructions, suggests that natural selection is somewhat inefficient in wMel, most likely owing to the occurrence of repeated population bottlenecks. Genome analysis predicts many metabolic differences with the closely related Rickettsia species, including the presence of intact glycolysis and purine synthesis, which may compensate for an inability to obtain ATP directly from its host, as Rickettsia can. Other discoveries include the apparent inability of wMel to synthesize lipopolysaccharide and the presence of the most genes encoding proteins with ankyrin repeat domains of any prokaryotic genome yet sequenced. Despite the ability of wMel to infect the germline of its host, we find no evidence for either recent lateral gene transfer between wMel and D. melanogaster or older transfers between Wolbachia and any host. Evolutionary analysis further supports the hypothesis that mitochondria share a common ancestor with the alpha-Proteobacteria, but shows little support for the grouping of mitochondria with species in the order Rickettsiales. With the availability of the complete genomes of both species and excellent genetic tools for the host, the wMel-D. melanogaster symbiosis is now an ideal system for studying the biology and evolution of Wolbachia infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0020069DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC368164PMC
March 2004
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