Cold storage of tubers of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) compromises tuber quality in many cultivars by the accumulation of hexose sugars in a process called cold-induced sweetening. This is caused by the breakdown of starch to sucrose, which is cleaved to glucose and fructose by vacuolar acid invertase. During processing of affected tubers, the high temperatures involved in baking and frying cause the Maillard reaction between reducing sugars and free amino acids, resulting in the accumulation of acrylamide. cDNA clones with deduced proteins homologous to known invertase inhibitors were isolated and the two most abundant forms, termed INH1 and INH2, were shown to possess apoplastic and vacuolar localization, respectively. The INH2 gene showed developmentally regulated alternative splicing, so, in addition to the INH2α transcript encoding the full-length protein, two hybrid mRNAs (INH2β*A and INH2β*B) that encoded deduced vacuolar invertase inhibitors with divergent C-termini were detected, the result of mRNA splicing of an upstream region of INH2 to a downstream region of INH1. Hybrid RNAs are common in animals, where they may add to the diversity of the proteome, but are rarely described in plants. During cold storage, INH2α and the hybrid INH2β mRNAs accumulated to higher abundance in cultivars resistant to cold-induced sweetening than in susceptible cultivars. Increased amounts of invertase inhibitor may contribute to the suppression of acid invertase activity and prevent cleavage of sucrose. Evidence for increased RNA splicing activity was detected in several resistant lines, a mechanism that in some circumstances may generate a range of proteins with additional functional capacity to aid adaptability.
Cold-induced sweetening; cold stress; hybrid RNA; invertase inhibitor; RNA splicing; Solanum tuberosum
Since its discovery more than 100 years ago, potato (Solanum tuberosum) tuber cold-induced sweetening (CIS) has been extensively investigated. Several carbohydrate-associated genes would seem to be involved in the process. However, many uncertainties still exist, as the relative contribution of each gene to the process is often unclear, possibly as the consequence of the heterogeneity of experimental systems. Some enzymes associated with CIS, such as β-amylases and invertases, have still to be identified at a sequence level. In addition, little is known about the early events that trigger CIS and on the involvement/association with CIS of genes different from carbohydrate-associated genes. Many of these uncertainties could be resolved by profiling experiments, but no GeneChip is available for the potato, and the production of the potato cDNA spotted array (TIGR) has recently been discontinued. In order to obtain an overall picture of early transcriptional events associated with CIS, we investigated whether the commercially-available tomato Affymetrix GeneChip could be used to identify which potato cold-responsive gene family members should be further studied in detail by Real-Time (RT)-PCR (qPCR).
A tomato-potato Global Match File was generated for the interpretation of various aspects of the heterologous dataset, including the retrieval of best matching potato counterparts and annotation, and the establishment of a core set of highly homologous genes. Several cold-responsive genes were identified, and their expression pattern was studied in detail by qPCR over 26 days. We detected biphasic behaviour of mRNA accumulation for carbohydrate-associated genes and our combined GeneChip-qPCR data identified, at a sequence level, enzymatic activities such as β-amylases and invertases previously reported as being involved in CIS. The GeneChip data also unveiled important processes accompanying CIS, such as the induction of redox- and ethylene-associated genes.
Our Global Match File strategy proved critical for accurately interpretating heterologous datasets, and suggests that similar approaches may be fruitful for other species. Transcript profiling of early events associated with CIS revealed a complex network of events involving sugars, redox and hormone signalling which may be either linked serially or act in parallel. The identification, at a sequence level, of various enzymes long known as having a role in CIS provides molecular tools for further understanding the phenomenon.
The expression of a heterologous invertase in potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum) in either the cytosol or apoplast leads to a decrease in total sucrose content and to an increase in glucose. Depending on the targeting of the enzyme different changes in phenotype and metabolism of the tubers occur: the cytosolic invertase expressing tubers show an increase in the glycolytic flux, accumulation of amino acids and organic acids, and the appearance of novel disaccharides; however, these changes are not observed when the enzyme is expressed in the apoplast [Roessner et al. (2001). Plant Cell, 13, 11-29]. The analysis of these lines raised several questions concerning the regulation of compartmentation of metabolites in potato tubers. In the current study we addressed these questions by performing comparative subcellular metabolite profiling. We demonstrate that: (i) hexoses accumulate in the vacuole independently of their site of production, but that the cytosolic invertase expression led to a strong increase in the cytosolic glucose concentration and decrease in cytosolic sucrose, whereas these effects were more moderate in the apoplastic expressors; (ii) three out of four of the novel compounds found in the cytosolic overexpressors accumulate in the same compartment; (iii) despite changes in absolute cellular content the subcellular distribution of amino acids was invariant in the invertase overexpressing tubers. These results are discussed in the context of current models of the compartmentation of primary metabolism in heterotrophic plant tissues.
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Compartmentation; Plant heterotrophic carbon metabolism; Maltose biosynthesis; Metabolite profiling
Complex characters of plants such as starch and sugar content of seeds, fruits, tubers and roots are controlled by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Understanding their molecular basis will facilitate diagnosis and combination of superior alleles in crop improvement programs (“precision breeding”). Association genetics based on candidate genes is one approach toward this goal. Tetraploid potato varieties and breeding clones related by descent were evaluated for 2 years for chip quality before and after cold storage, tuber starch content, yield and starch yield. Chip quality is inversely correlated with tuber sugar content. A total of 36 loci on 11 potato chromosomes were evaluated for natural DNA variation in 243 individuals. These loci included microsatellites and genes coding for enzymes that function in carbohydrate metabolism or transport (candidate loci). The markers were used to analyze population structure and were tested for association with the tuber quality traits. Highly significant and robust associations of markers with 1–4 traits were identified. Most frequent were associations with chip quality and tuber starch content. Alleles increasing tuber starch content improved chip quality and vice versa. With two exceptions, the most significant and robust associations (q < 0.01) were observed with DNA variants in genes encoding enzymes that function in starch and sugar metabolism or transport. Comparing linkage and linkage disequilibrium between loci provided evidence for the existence of large haplotype blocks in the breeding materials analyzed.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-008-0746-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Acrylamide is produced in starchy foods that are baked, roasted or fried at high temperatures. Concerns about the potential health issues associated with the dietary intake of this reactive compound led us to reduce the accumulation of asparagine, one of its main precursors, in the tubers of potato (Solanum tuberosum). This metabolic change was accomplished by silencing two asparagine synthetase genes through ‘all-native DNA’ transformation. Glasshouse-grown tubers of the transformed intragenic plants contained up to 20-fold reduced levels of free asparagine. This metabolic change coincided with a small increase in the formation of glutamine and did not affect tuber shape or yield. Heat-processed products derived from the low-asparagine tubers were also indistinguishable from their untransformed counterparts in terms of sensory characteristics. However, both French fries and potato chips accumulated as little as 5% of the acrylamide present in wild-type controls. Given the important role of processed potato products in the modern Western diet, a replacement of current varieties with intragenic potatoes could reduce the average daily intake of acrylamide by almost one-third.
acrylamide; intragenic; plant biotechnology; potato
Natural variation of plant pathogen resistance is often quantitative. This type of resistance can be genetically dissected in quantitative resistance loci (QRL). To unravel the molecular basis of QRL in potato (Solanum tuberosum), we employed the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for functional analysis of natural variants of potato allene oxide synthase 2 (StAOS2). StAOS2 is a candidate gene for QRL on potato chromosome XI against the oömycete Phytophthora infestans causing late blight, and the bacterium Erwinia carotovora ssp. atroseptica causing stem black leg and tuber soft rot, both devastating diseases in potato cultivation. StAOS2 encodes a cytochrome P450 enzyme that is essential for biosynthesis of the defense signaling molecule jasmonic acid. Allele non-specific dsRNAi-mediated silencing of StAOS2 in potato drastically reduced jasmonic acid production and compromised quantitative late blight resistance. Five natural StAOS2 alleles were expressed in the null Arabidopsis aos mutant under control of the Arabidopsis AOS promoter and tested for differential complementation phenotypes. The aos mutant phenotypes evaluated were lack of jasmonates, male sterility and susceptibility to Erwinia carotovora ssp. carotovora. StAOS2 alleles that were associated with increased disease resistance in potato complemented all aos mutant phenotypes better than StAOS2 alleles associated with increased susceptibility. First structure models of ‘quantitative resistant’ versus ‘quantitative susceptible’ StAOS2 alleles suggested potential mechanisms for their differential activity. Our results demonstrate how a candidate gene approach in combination with using the homologous Arabidopsis mutant as functional reporter can help to dissect the molecular basis of complex traits in non model crop plants.
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Black leg; Jasmonic acid; Late blight; Natural variation; Potato; Quantitative resistance; Soft rot
We show that two invertase genes in potato, like most other plant invertase genes, include a very short second exon of 9 bp which encodes the central three amino acids of a motif highly conserved in invertases of diverse origin. This mini-exon is one of the smallest known in plants and pre-mRNA from these genes may be susceptible to alternative splicing, because of a potential requirement for specialized interaction with the splicing machinery to ensure correct processing for the production of a mature mRNA. No evidence of aberrant post-transcriptional processing was observed during normal invertase gene expression in potato. The fidelity of post-transcriptional processing of the pre-mRNA from one of the genes was perturbed by cold stress, resulting in the deletion of the mini-exon from some transcripts. This alternative splicing event occurred under cold stress in both leaf and stem, but was not induced by wounding. This adds an example of exon skipping and the induction of alternative processing by cold stress to the small number of transcripts which have been shown to exhibit alternative splicing in plants. The differential sensitivity of post-transcriptional processing to cold stress observed for the two transcripts examined will permit further dissection of the nucleotide sequence requirements for their accurate splicing.
Most agronomic plant traits result from complex molecular networks involving multiple genes and from environmental factors. One such trait is the enzymatic discoloration of fruit and tuber tissues initiated by mechanical impact (bruising). Tuber susceptibility to bruising is a complex trait of the cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) that is crucial for crop quality. As phenotypic evaluation of bruising is cumbersome, the application of diagnostic molecular markers would empower the selection of low bruising potato varieties. The genetic factors and molecular networks underlying enzymatic tissue discoloration are sparsely known. Hitherto there is no association study dealing with tuber bruising and diagnostic markers for enzymatic discoloration are rare.
The natural genetic diversity for bruising susceptibility was evaluated in elite middle European potato germplasm in order to elucidate its molecular basis. Association genetics using a candidate gene approach identified allelic variants in genes that function in tuber bruising and enzymatic browning. Two hundred and five tetraploid potato varieties and breeding clones related by descent were evaluated for two years in six environments for tuber bruising susceptibility, specific gravity, yield, shape and plant maturity. Correlations were found between different traits. In total 362 polymorphic DNA fragments, derived from 33 candidate genes and 29 SSR loci, were scored in the population and tested for association with the traits using a mixed model approach, which takes into account population structure and kinship. Twenty one highly significant (p < 0.001) and robust marker-trait associations were identified.
The observed trait correlations and associated marker fragments provide new insight in the molecular basis of bruising susceptibility and its natural variation. The markers diagnostic for increased or decreased bruising susceptibility will facilitate the combination of superior alleles in breeding programs. In addition, this study presents novel candidates that might control enzymatic tissue discoloration and tuber bruising. Their validation and characterization will increase the knowledge about the underlying biological processes.
Association mapping using DNA-based markers is a novel tool in plant genetics for the analysis of complex traits. Potato tuber yield, starch content, starch yield and chip color are complex traits of agronomic relevance, for which carbohydrate metabolism plays an important role. At the functional level, the genes and biochemical pathways involved in carbohydrate metabolism are among the best studied in plants. Quantitative traits such as tuber starch and sugar content are therefore models for association genetics in potato based on candidate genes. In an association mapping experiment conducted with a population of 243 tetraploid potato varieties and breeding clones, we previously identified associations between individual candidate gene alleles and tuber starch content, starch yield and chip quality. In the present paper, we tested 190 DNA markers at 36 loci scored in the same association mapping population for pairwise statistical epistatic interactions. Fifty marker pairs were associated mainly with tuber starch content and/or starch yield, at a cut-off value of q ≤ 0.20 for the experiment-wide false discovery rate (FDR). Thirteen marker pairs had an FDR of q ≤ 0.10. Alleles at loci encoding ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activase (Rca), sucrose phosphate synthase (Sps) and vacuolar invertase (Pain1) were most frequently involved in statistical epistatic interactions. The largest effect on tuber starch content and starch yield was observed for the paired alleles Pain1-8c and Rca-1a, explaining 9 and 10% of the total variance, respectively. The combination of these two alleles increased the means of tuber starch content and starch yield. Biological models to explain the observed statistical epistatic interactions are discussed.
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Quality traits such as flavour and texture are assuming a greater importance in crop breeding programmes. This study takes advantage of potato germplasm differentiated in tuber flavour and texture traits. A recently developed 44 000-element potato microarray was used to identify tuber gene expression profiles that correspond to differences in tuber flavour and texture as well as carotenoid content and dormancy characteristics. Gene expression was compared in two Solanum tuberosum group Phureja cultivars and two S. tuberosum group Tuberosum cultivars; 309 genes were significantly and consistently up-regulated in Phureja, whereas 555 genes were down-regulated. Approximately 46% of the genes in these lists can be identified from their annotation and amongst these are candidates that may underpin the Phureja/Tuberosum trait differences. For example, a clear difference in the cooked tuber volatile profile is the higher level of the sesquiterpene α-copaene in Phureja compared with Tuberosum. A sesquiterpene synthase gene was identified as being more highly expressed in Phureja tubers and its corresponding full-length cDNA was demonstrated to encode α-copaene synthase. Other potential ‘flavour genes’, identified from their differential expression profiles, include those encoding branched-chain amino acid aminotransferase and a ribonuclease suggesting a mechanism for 5′-ribonucleotide formation in potato tubers on cooking. Major differences in the expression levels of genes involved in cell wall biosynthesis (and potentially texture) were also identified, including genes encoding pectin acetylesterase, xyloglucan endotransglycosylase and pectin methylesterase. Other gene expression differences that may impact tuber carotenoid content and tuber life-cycle phenotypes are discussed.
α-Copaene; flavour; microarray; Solanum tuberosum group Phureja; Solanum tuberosum group Tuberosum; texture; volatile
Utilization of the natural genetic variation in traditional breeding programs remains a major challenge in crop plants. The identification of candidate genes underlying, or associated with, phenotypic trait QTLs is desired for effective marker assisted breeding. With the advent of high throughput -omics technologies, screening of entire populations for association of gene expression with targeted traits is becoming feasible but remains costly. Here we present the identification of novel candidate genes for different potato tuber quality traits by employing a pooling approach reducing the number of hybridizations needed. Extreme genotypes for a quantitative trait are collected and the RNA from contrasting bulks is then profiled with the aim of finding differentially expressed genes.
We have successfully implemented the pooling strategy for potato quality traits and identified candidate genes associated with potato tuber flesh color and tuber cooking type. Elevated expression level of a dominant allele of the β-carotene hydroxylase (bch) gene was associated with yellow flesh color through mapping of the gene under a major QTL for flesh color on chromosome 3. For a second trait, a candidate gene with homology to a tyrosine-lysine rich protein (TLRP) was identified based on allele specificity of the probe on the microarray. TLRP was mapped on chromosome 9 in close proximity to a QTL for potato cooking type strengthening its significance as a candidate gene. Furthermore, we have performed a profiling experiment targeting a polygenic trait, by pooling individual genotypes based both on phenotypic and marker data, allowing the identification of candidate genes associated with the two different linkage groups.
A pooling approach for RNA-profiling with the aim of identifying novel candidate genes associated with tuber quality traits was successfully implemented. The identified candidate genes for tuber flesh color (bch) and cooking type (tlrp) can provide useful markers for breeding schemes in the future. Strengths and limitations of the approach are discussed.
ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (ADP-Glc PPase) catalyzes the first committed step in the synthesis of glycogen in bacteria and starch in algae and plants. In oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, ADP-Glc PPase is mainly activated by 3-phosphoglycerate (3-PGA) and to a lesser extent by other metabolites. In this work, we analyzed the activation promiscuity of ADP-Glc PPase subunits from the cyanobacterium Anabaena PCC 7120, the green alga Ostreococcus tauri, and potato (Solanum tuberosum) tuber by comparing a specificity constant for 3-PGA, fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP), fructose-6-phosphate, and glucose-6-phosphate.
The 3-PGA specificity constant for the enzymes from Anabaena (homotetramer), O. tauri, and potato tuber was considerably higher than for other activators. O. tauri and potato tuber enzymes were heterotetramers comprising homologous small and large subunits. Conversely, the O. tauri small subunit (OtaS) homotetramer was more promiscuous because its FBP specificity constant was similar to that for 3-PGA. To explore the role of both OtaS and OtaL (O. tauri large subunit) in determining the specificity of the heterotetramer, we knocked out the catalytic activity of each subunit individually by site-directed mutagenesis. Interestingly, the mutants OtaSD148A/OtaL and OtaS/OtaLD171A had higher specificity constants for 3-PGA than for FBP.
After gene duplication, OtaS seemed to have lost specificity for 3-PGA compared to FBP. This was physiologically and evolutionarily feasible because co-expression of both subunits restored the specificity for 3-PGA of the resulting heterotetrameric wild type enzyme. This widespread promiscuity seems to be ancestral and intrinsic to the enzyme family. Its presence could constitute an efficient evolutionary mechanism to accommodate the ADP-Glc PPase regulation to different metabolic needs.
Zebra complex (ZC) disease on potatoes is associated with Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLs), an α-proteobacterium that resides in the plant phloem and is transmitted by the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc). The name ZC originates from the brown striping in fried chips of infected tubers, but the whole plants also exhibit a variety of morphological features and symptoms for which the physiological or molecular basis are not understood. We determined that compared to healthy plants, stems of ZC-plants accumulate starch and more than three-fold total protein, including gene expression regulatory factors (e.g. cyclophilin) and tuber storage proteins (e.g., patatins), indicating that ZC-affected stems are reprogrammed to exhibit tuber-like physiological properties. Furthermore, the total phenolic content in ZC potato stems was elevated two-fold, and amounts of polyphenol oxidase enzyme were also high, both serving to explain the ZC-hallmark rapid brown discoloration of air-exposed damaged tissue. Newly developed quantitative and/or conventional PCR demonstrated that the percentage of psyllids in laboratory colonies containing detectable levels of CLs and its titer could fluctuate over time with effects on colony prolificacy, but presumed reproduction-associated primary endosymbiont levels remained stable. Potato plants exposed in the laboratory to psyllid populations with relatively low-CLs content survived while exposure of plants to high-CLs psyllids rapidly culminated in a lethal collapse. In conclusion, we identified plant physiological biomarkers associated with the presence of ZC and/or CLs in the vegetative potato plant tissue and determined that the titer of CLs in the psyllid population directly affects the rate of disease development in plants.
Corky ringspot disease (CRS) of potato (Solanum tuberosum) is caused by the tobacco rattle virus (TRV), which is vectored by stubby-root nematodes, Paratrichodorus spp. and Trichodorus spp., and is a significant threat to potato quality and production in many areas of the western United States. Between 2002 and 2005, fields with a history of CRS were planted to potato and treated with various combinations of in-furrow (IF) and chemigated (water run, WR) oxamyl [Methyl N'N'-dimethyl-N-[(methyl carbamoyl)oxy]-1-thiooxamimidate] applications. Soil samples were collected to determine how Paratrichodorus allius populations responded to the various treatment regimes (2002-2004); potato tubers were evaluated for symptoms of CRS in 2004-2005. Applications of oxamyl to potato (1.1 kg a.i./ha) did not cause significant mortality of P. allius but did prevent the populations from increasing. Oxamyl applications that began at 55 days after planting (DAP) or later did not control CRS and were not different from the untreated control. However, application schedules that began early-season, either IF at planting, early WR (33 – 41 DAP), or both, significantly reduced CRS expression in cv. Yukon Gold. Therefore, oxamyl applications must be made early in the growing season to be effective in controlling CRS. Effects of oxamyl on CRS may be due to nematostatic action that suppresses feeding activity during early field season when most virus transmission probably occurs.
corky ringspot; CRS; oxamyl; population dynamics; potato; Solanum tuberosum; stubby-root nematodes; Paratrichodorus spp.; Trichodorus spp.; tobacco rattle virus; TRV; Yukon Gold
In a previous study, anthocyanin levels in potato plants were increased by manipulating genes connected with the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway. However, starch content and tuber yield were dramatically reduced in the transgenic plants, which over-expressed dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR).
Transgenic plants over-expressing dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) were subsequently transformed with the cDNA coding for the glycosyltransferase (UGT) of Solanum sogarandinum in order to obtain plants with a high anthocyanin content without reducing tuber yield and quality. Based on enzyme studies, the recombinant UGT is a 7-O-glycosyltransferase whose natural substrates include both anthocyanidins and flavonols such as kaempferol and quercetin. In the super-transformed plants, tuber production was much higher than in the original transgenic plants bearing only the transgene coding for DFR, and was almost the same as in the control plants. The anthocyanin level was lower than in the initial plants, but still higher than in the control plants. Unexpectedly, the super-transformed plants also produced large amounts of kaempferol, chlorogenic acid, isochlorogenic acid, sinapic acid and proanthocyanins.
In plants over-expressing both the transgene for DFR and the transgene for UGT, the synthesis of phenolic acids was diverted away from the anthocyanin branch. This represents a novel approach to manipulating phenolic acids synthesis in plants.
The Solanaceae family contains a number of important crop species including potato (Solanum tuberosum) which is grown for its underground storage organ known as a tuber. Albeit the 4th most important food crop in the world, other than a collection of ~220,000 Expressed Sequence Tags, limited genomic sequence information is currently available for potato and advances in potato yield and nutrition content would be greatly assisted through access to a complete genome sequence. While morphologically diverse, Solanaceae species such as potato, tomato, pepper, and eggplant share not only genes but also gene order thereby permitting highly informative comparative genomic analyses.
In this study, we report on analysis 89.9 Mb of potato genomic sequence representing 10.2% of the genome generated through end sequencing of a potato bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone library (87 Mb) and sequencing of 22 potato BAC clones (2.9 Mb). The GC content of potato is very similar to Solanum lycopersicon (tomato) and other dicotyledonous species yet distinct from the monocotyledonous grass species, Oryza sativa. Parallel analyses of repetitive sequences in potato and tomato revealed substantial differences in their abundance, 34.2% in potato versus 46.3% in tomato, which is consistent with the increased genome size per haploid genome of these two Solanum species. Specific classes and types of repetitive sequences were also differentially represented between these two species including a telomeric-related repetitive sequence, ribosomal DNA, and a number of unclassified repetitive sequences. Comparative analyses between tomato and potato at the gene level revealed a high level of conservation of gene content, genic feature, and gene order although discordances in synteny were observed.
Genomic level analyses of potato and tomato confirm that gene sequence and gene order are conserved between these solanaceous species and that this conservation can be leveraged in genomic applications including cross-species annotation and genome sequencing initiatives. While tomato and potato share genic features, they differ in their repetitive sequence content and composition suggesting that repetitive sequences may have a more significant role in shaping speciation than previously reported.
The cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is an important food crop, but highly susceptible to many pathogens. The major threat to potato production is the Irish famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans, which causes the devastating late blight disease. Potato breeding makes use of germplasm from wild relatives (wild germplasm) to introduce resistances into cultivated potato. The Solanum section Petota comprises tuber-bearing species that are potential donors of new disease resistance genes. The aim of this study was to explore Solanum section Petota for resistance genes and generate a widely accessible resource that is useful for studying and implementing disease resistance in potato.
The SolRgene database contains data on resistance to P. infestans and presence of R genes and R gene homologues in Solanum section Petota. We have explored Solanum section Petota for resistance to late blight in high throughput disease tests under various laboratory conditions and in field trials. From resistant wild germplasm, segregating populations were generated and assessed for the presence of resistance genes. All these data have been entered into the SolRgene database. To facilitate genetic and resistance gene evolution studies, phylogenetic data of the entire SolRgene collection are included, as well as a tool for generating phylogenetic trees of selected groups of germplasm. Data from resistance gene allele-mining studies are incorporated, which enables detection of R gene homologs in related germplasm. Using these resources, various resistance genes have been detected and some of these have been cloned, whereas others are in the cloning pipeline. All this information is stored in the online SolRgene database, which allows users to query resistance data, sequences, passport data of the accessions, and phylogenic classifications.
Solanum section Petota forms the basis of the SolRgene database, which contains a collection of resistance data of an unprecedented size and precision. Complemented with R gene sequence data and phylogenetic tools, SolRgene can be considered the primary resource for information on R genes from potato and wild tuber-bearing relatives.
Five cropping regimes involving combinations of 2 legumes, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and yellow sweet dover (Melilotus officinalis), 2 monocots, corn (Zea mays) and sudax (Sorghum halupeuse × Sorghum sudanese), and potato (Solanum tuberosum cv. Superior) were tested for their impact on potato yields in a field infested with Pratylenchus penetrans and Verticillium dahliae. No differences in 1990 tuber yields were observed among the five cropping regimes (P < 0.05). In 1991, yields following 1 year of corn, sudax, sweet clover, or alfalfa and 2 years of potato were not different from that of 3 years of continuous potato (P < 0.05). Two years of sweet clover or alfalfa followed by potato resulted in significantly increased potato tuber yields compared with 3 years of potato (P < 0.05). The 2-year legume and 2-year grain rotations resulted in lower P. penetrans population densities at the end of the 3-year rotation compared with 3 years of continuous potato (P < 0.01). The highest preplant V. dahliae population density (34 cfu/g soil), together with a P. penetrans density of 12/100 cm³ of soil was in the sudax-sudax-potato cropping regime and resulted in the lowest potato tuber yield. The highest preplant P. penetrans population density (54/100 cm³ soil), together with a V. dahliae population density of 19.5 cfu/g soil was observed in the corn-corn-potato cropping regime and resulted in the second lowest potato tuber yield in 1991. After 3 years, potato tuber yields were negatively related to preplant densities of V. dahliae (r² = 0.237), P. penetrans (r² = 0.175), and both pathogens (r² = 0.380). A comprehensive regression model was developed to isolate pathogen effects on potato yields from cropping regime effects encompassing all 10 cropping regimes (r² = 0.915).
cropping regime; interaction; nematode; potato tuber yield; Pratylenchus penetrans; lesion nematode; Solanum tuberosum; Verticillium dahliae; verticillium wilt
Quantitative phenotypic variation of agronomic characters in crop plants is controlled by environmental and genetic factors (quantitative trait loci = QTL). To understand the molecular basis of such QTL, the identification of the underlying genes is of primary interest and DNA sequence analysis of the genomic regions harboring QTL is a prerequisite for that. QTL mapping in potato (Solanum tuberosum) has identified a region on chromosome V tagged by DNA markers GP21 and GP179, which contains a number of important QTL, among others QTL for resistance to late blight caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans and to root cyst nematodes.
To obtain genomic sequence for the targeted region on chromosome V, two local BAC (bacterial artificial chromosome) contigs were constructed and sequenced, which corresponded to parts of the homologous chromosomes of the diploid, heterozygous genotype P6/210. Two contiguous sequences of 417,445 and 202,781 base pairs were assembled and annotated. Gene-by-gene co-linearity was disrupted by non-allelic insertions of retrotransposon elements, stretches of diverged intergenic sequences, differences in gene content and gene order. The latter was caused by inversion of a 70 kbp genomic fragment. These features were also found in comparison to orthologous sequence contigs from three homeologous chromosomes of Solanum demissum, a wild tuber bearing species. Functional annotation of the sequence identified 48 putative open reading frames (ORF) in one contig and 22 in the other, with an average of one ORF every 9 kbp. Ten ORFs were classified as resistance-gene-like, 11 as F-box-containing genes, 13 as transposable elements and three as transcription factors. Comparing potato to Arabidopsis thaliana annotated proteins revealed five micro-syntenic blocks of three to seven ORFs with A. thaliana chromosomes 1, 3 and 5.
Comparative sequence analysis revealed highly conserved collinear regions that flank regions showing high variability and tandem duplicated genes. Sequence annotation revealed that the majority of the ORFs were members of multiple gene families. Comparing potato to Arabidopsis thaliana annotated proteins suggested fragmented structural conservation between these distantly related plant species.
Cytosolic (U-IN-2) or apoplasmic (U-IN-1) targeting of yeast invertase in potato tubers leads to a reduction in sucrose and an increase in glucose content, but specific phenotypical changes are dependent on the subcellular targeting of the enzyme. Cytosolic expression leads to a more severe phenotype with the most striking aspects being reduced starch content and increased respiration. Despite extensive research, the regulatory mechanisms leading to these changes remain obscure. Recent technological advancements regarding potato transcriptional and genomic research presented us with the opportunity to revisit these lines and perform detailed gene expression analysis, in combination with extensive metabolic profiling, to identify regulatory networks underlying the observed changes. Our results indicate that in both genotypes reduced UDP-glucose production is associated with a reduced expression of cell wall biosynthetic genes. In addition, U-IN-1 tubers are characterized by elevated expression of senescence-associated genes, coupled to reduced expression of genes related to photosynthesis and the cytoskeleton. We provide evidence that increased respiration, observed specifically in U-IN-2 tubers, might be due to sugar signaling via released trehalose-6-phosphate inhibition of the SnRK1 complex. In both genotypes, expression of the plastidic glucose-6-phosphate transporter (GPT) is significantly down-regulated. This leads to a shift in the cytosolic to plastidic glucose-6-phosphate ratio and hence might limit starch synthesis but also the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway. This might explain the observed changes in several additional plastid localized pathways, most notably reduced expression of fatty acid biosynthetic genes and an accumulation of shikimate. Interestingly, a strict negative correlation between invertase and GPT expression could be observed in a wide range of potato tubers. This reciprocal regulation may be part of a more general switch controlling energy versus storage metabolism, suggesting that the fate of assimilate utilization is coordinated at the level of sucrose degradation.
starch; potato; invertase; genomics; transcriptome
Sugar acts as a signal molecule and plays a pivotal role in plant development and stress response. Neutral/alkaline invertases found only in photosynthetic bacteria and plants is sucrose-specific enzymes cleave sucrose into glucose and fructose. We have identified a gene for neutral/alkaline invertase in Arabidopsis designated as AtCYT-INV1 which is involved in sugar/ABA signaling and plays multiple roles in plant development and osmotic stress-induced inhibition on lateral root growth.
Arabidopsis thaliana; AtCTY-INV1; sugar signaling
Micro RNAs (miRNAs) represent a class of short, non-coding, endogenous RNAs which play important roles in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. While the diverse functions of miRNAs in model plants have been well studied, the impact of miRNAs in crop plant biology is poorly understood. Here we used high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to analyze miRNAs in the tuber bearing crop potato (Solanum tuberosum). Small RNAs were analysed from leaf and stolon tissues. 28 conserved miRNA families were found and potato-specific miRNAs were identified and validated by RNA gel blot hybridization. The size, origin and predicted targets of conserved and potato specific miRNAs are described. The large number of miRNAs and complex population of small RNAs in potato suggest important roles for these non-coding RNAs in diverse physiological and metabolic pathways.
Integrating QTL results from independent experiments performed on related species helps to survey the genetic diversity of loci/alleles underlying complex traits, and to highlight potential targets for breeding or QTL cloning. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) late blight resistance has been thoroughly studied, generating mapping data for many Rpi-genes (R-genes to Phytophthora infestans) and QTLs (quantitative trait loci). Moreover, late blight resistance was often associated with plant maturity. To get insight into the genomic organization of late blight resistance loci as compared to maturity QTLs, a QTL meta-analysis was performed for both traits.
Nineteen QTL publications for late blight resistance were considered, seven of them reported maturity QTLs. Twenty-one QTL maps and eight reference maps were compiled to construct a 2,141-marker consensus map on which QTLs were projected and clustered into meta-QTLs. The whole-genome QTL meta-analysis reduced by six-fold late blight resistance QTLs (by clustering 144 QTLs into 24 meta-QTLs), by ca. five-fold maturity QTLs (by clustering 42 QTLs into eight meta-QTLs), and by ca. two-fold QTL confidence interval mean. Late blight resistance meta-QTLs were observed on every chromosome and maturity meta-QTLs on only six chromosomes.
Meta-analysis helped to refine the genomic regions of interest frequently described, and provided the closest flanking markers. Meta-QTLs of late blight resistance and maturity juxtaposed along chromosomes IV, V and VIII, and overlapped on chromosomes VI and XI. The distribution of late blight resistance meta-QTLs is significantly independent from those of Rpi-genes, resistance gene analogs and defence-related loci. The anchorage of meta-QTLs to the potato genome sequence, recently publicly released, will especially improve the candidate gene selection to determine the genes underlying meta-QTLs. All mapping data are available from the Sol Genomics Network (SGN) database.
Emeritus Campbell-Bascom Professor Stanley J. Peloquin was an internationally renowned plant geneticist and breeder who made exceptional contributions to the quantity, quality and sustainable supply of food for the world from his innovative and extensive scientific contributions. For five decades, Dr Peloquin merged basic research in plant reproduction, cytology, cytogenetics, genetics, potato (Solanum tuberosum) improvement and education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Successive advances across these five decades redefined scientific comprehension of reproductive variation, its genetic control, genetic effects, evolutionary impact and utility for breeding. In concert with the International Potato Center (CIP), he and others translated the advances into application, resulting in large benefits on food production worldwide, exemplifying the importance of integrated innovative university research and graduate education to meet domestic and international needs.
Dr Peloquin is known to plant breeders, geneticists, international agricultural economists and potato researchers for his enthusiastic and incisive contributions to genetic enhancement of potato using haploids, 2n gametes and wild Solanum species; for his pioneering work on potato cultivation through true seed; and as mentor of a new generation of plant breeders worldwide. The genetic enhancement of potato, the fourth most important food crop worldwide, benefited significantly from expanded germplasm utilization and advanced reproductive genetic knowledge, which he and co-workers, including many former students, systematically transformed into applied breeding methods. His research on plant sexual reproduction included subjects such as haploidization and polyploidization, self- and cross-incompatibility, cytoplasmic male sterility and restorer genes, gametophytic/sporophytic heterozygosity and male fertility, as well as endosperm dosages and seed development. By defining methods of half-tetrad analysis and new cytological techniques, he elucidated modes, mechanisms and genetic controls and effects of 2n gametes in Solanum. Ramifications extend to many other crops and plants, in both basic and applied sciences.
Based upon a foundation of genetics, cytogenetics and plant reproductive biology, Dr Peloquin and co-workers developed methods to use 2n gametes and haploids for breeding, and used them to move genes for important horticultural traits from wild tuber-bearing Solanum species to cultivated potato for the betterment of agriculture. The resulting potato germplasm included combinations of yield, adaptation, quality and disease resistance traits that were previously unavailable. This elite plant germplasm was utilized and distributed to 85 countries by the CIP, because it not only increased potato yields and quality, it also broadened the adaptation of potato to lowland tropical regions, where humanity has benefited from this addition to their food supply.
2n gametes; endosperm balance number; haploid; Solanum; true potato seed
The soil fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene gave good to excellent control of the Columbia root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne chitwoodi, on potato, Solanum tuberosum L. Nonfumigant nematicides (aldicarb, fensulfothion, carbofuran, ethoprop, and phenamiphos) were less effective in controlling M. chitwoodi, since the nematode affects tuber quality more than quantity. Soil temperature during the growing season affected parasitism of M. chitwoodi on potato more than did the initial nematode population. There were positive linear correlations between degree-days and infected and galled tubers (r = 0.92), degree-days and nematode generations (r = 1.00), and infected and galled tubers and nematode generations (r = 0.91). Differences in degree-days and resultant nematode reproduction caused great variability in infection and galling of potato tubers during four growing seasons: 89% for 1979, 0% for 1980, 13% for 1981, and 18% for 1982, giving positive linear correlation (r = 0.99) between final nematode soil population (Pf) and percentage of infected and galled tubers. Corresponding increases in the soil populations of second-stage juveniles (J2) during the growing season were 9,700% in 1979, 170% in 1980,552% in 1981, and 326% in 1982. There was a negative linear correlation (r = -0.87) between initial soil J2 populations (Pi) and the degree of parasitism (infection and galling) of potato tubers, Pi being of secondary importance to degree-days.
Columbia root-knot nematode; Solanum tuberosum; soil temperature; reproduction; generations; degree-days; chemicals; population densities; control