Poly(ADP‐ribosyl)ation, or PARylation, was first described over 50 years ago. Since then, our understanding of the biochemistry and enzymology of this protein modification has significantly progressed. PARylation has long been associated with DNA damage and DNA repair as well as genotoxic stress , . However, over the last two decades this has expanded to chromatin remodelling, DNA replication, transcriptional regulation, telomere cohesion and mitotic spindle formation during cell division, intracellular trafficking and energy metabolism . Most eukaryotes, except yeasts, have genes encoding poly(ADP‐ribose) polymerases (PARPs) and poly(ADP‐ribose) glycohydrolases (PARGs), and our knowledge on PARylation is primarily based on studies in metazoans. In plants, however, mechanistic understanding of the role of ADP‐ribosylation in stress response is still lacking. In this issue of EMBO Reports, Feng et al  identify the first set of PARylated plant proteins and show that in vivo PARylation of one of these proteins, a factor named DAWDLE, is important for its role in plant immunity.
See also: B Feng et al (December 2016)
PARP activity was described in wheat and tobacco nuclear extracts as early as the mid‐70s, but histones have been the only known PARylated proteins described in plants until now . Enzymes of the PARP family add ADP‐ribose mostly on the side chains of glutamate, aspartate and lysine using nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and generating mono‐ or poly‐(ADP‐ribosyl)ated modifications. Adding to the complexity is that poly(ADP‐ribose) chains can be linear or branched, although the significance of this has yet to be determined. PARGs remove ADP‐ribose units by trimming down …
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