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Distinct roles for Arabidopsis SUMO protease ESD4 and its closest homolog ELS1

Hermkes, Rebecca, Fu, Yong-Fu, Nürrenberg, Kerstin, Budhiraja, Ruchika, Schmelzer, Elmon, Elrouby, Nabil, Dohmen, R. Jürgen, Bachmair, Andreas, Coupland, George
Planta 2011 v.233 no.1 pp. 63-73
Arabidopsis thaliana, cold, drought, flowering, heterologous gene expression, mutants, pathogens, phenotype, plant growth, proteinases, proteolysis, salicylic acid, salt stress, sequence homology, yeasts
SUMO conjugation affects a broad range of processes in Arabidopsis thaliana, including flower initiation, pathogen defense, and responses to cold, drought and salt stress. We investigated two sequence-related SUMO-specific proteases that are both widely expressed and show that they differ significantly in their properties. The closest homolog of SUMO protease ESD4, ESD4-LIKE SUMO PROTEASE 1 (ELS1, alternatively called AtULP1a) has SUMO-specific proteolytic activity, but is functionally distinct from ESD4, as shown by intracellular localization, mutant phenotype and heterologous expression in yeast mutants. Furthermore, we show that the growth defects caused by loss of ESD4 function are not due to increased synthesis of the stress signal salicylic acid, as was previously shown for a SUMO ligase, indicating that impairment of the SUMO system affects plant growth in different ways. Our results demonstrate that two A. thaliana SUMO proteases showing close sequence similarity have distinct in vivo functions.