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Keywords:

  • salicylic acid;
  • salicylic acid-binding protein;
  • photoaffinity labeling;
  • surface plasmon resonance;
  • glutathione S-transferase;
  • α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase;
  • Arabidopsis thaliana ;
  • technical advance

Summary

Salicylic acid (SA) is a small phenolic molecule that not only is the active ingredient in the multi-functional drug aspirin, but also serves as a plant hormone that affects diverse processes during growth, development, responses to abiotic stresses and disease resistance. Although a number of SA-binding proteins (SABPs) have been identified, the underlying mechanisms of action of SA remain largely unknown. Efforts to identify additional SA targets, and thereby elucidate the complex SA signaling network in plants, have been hindered by the lack of effective approaches. Here, we report two sensitive approaches that utilize SA analogs in conjunction with either a photoaffinity labeling technique or surface plasmon resonance-based technology to identify and evaluate candidate SABPs from Arabidopsis. Using these approaches, multiple proteins, including the E2 subunit of α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase and the glutathione S-transferases GSTF2, GSTF8, GSTF10 and GSTF11, were identified as SABPs. Their association with SA was further substantiated by the ability of SA to inhibit their enzymatic activity. The photoaffinity labeling and surface plasmon resonance-based approaches appear to be more sensitive than the traditional approach for identifying plant SABPs using size-exclusion chromatography with radiolabeled SA, as these proteins exhibited little to no SA-binding activity in such an assay. The development of these approaches therefore complements conventional techniques and helps dissect the SA signaling network in plants, and may also help elucidate the mechanisms through which SA acts as a multi-functional drug in mammalian systems.