Members of the ERF transcription factor family play important roles in regulating gene expression in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. In soybean (Glycine max L.), however, only a few ERF genes have been studied so far. In this study, 98 unigenes that contained a complete AP2/ERF domain were identified from 63 676 unique sequences in the DFCI Soybean Gene Index database. The phylogeny, gene structures, and putative conserved motifs in soybean ERF proteins were analysed, and compared with those of Arabidopsis and rice. The members of the soybean ERF family were divided into 12 subgroups, similar to the case for Arabidopsis. AP2/ERF domains were conserved among soybean, Arabidopsis, and rice. Outside the AP2/ERF domain, many soybean-specific conserved motifs were detected. Expression analysis showed that nine unigenes belonging to six ERF family subgroups were induced by both biotic/abiotic stresses and hormone treatment, suggesting that they were involved in cross-talk between biotic and abiotic stress-responsive signalling pathways. Overexpression of two full-length genes from two different subgroups enhanced the tolerances to drought, salt stresses, and/or pathogen infection of the tobacco plants. These results will be useful for elucidating ERF gene-associated stress response signalling pathways in soybean.
ERF family; gene function; phylogeny; soybean; stress response
Members of the ERF transcription-factor family participate in a number of biological processes, viz., responses to hormones, adaptation to biotic and abiotic stress, metabolism regulation, beneficial symbiotic interactions, cell differentiation and developmental processes. So far, no tissue-expression profile of any cucumber ERF protein has been reported in detail. Recent completion of the cucumber full-genome sequence has come to facilitate, not only genome-wide analysis of ERF family members in cucumbers themselves, but also a comparative analysis with those in Arabidopsis and rice. In this study, 103 hypothetical ERF family genes in the cucumber genome were identified, phylogenetic analysis indicating their classification into 10 groups, designated I to X. Motif analysis further indicated that most of the conserved motifs outside the AP2/ERF domain, are selectively distributed among the specific clades in the phylogenetic tree. From chromosomal localization and genome distribution analysis, it appears that tandem-duplication may have contributed to CsERF gene expansion. Intron/exon structure analysis indicated that a few CsERFs still conserved the former intron-position patterns existent in the common ancestor of monocots and eudicots. Expression analysis revealed the widespread distribution of the cucumber ERF gene family within plant tissues, thereby implying the probability of their performing various roles therein. Furthermore, members of some groups presented mutually similar expression patterns that might be related to their phylogenetic groups.
Cucumis sativus L.; ERF; phylogenetic analysis; transcription factor; genome sequence
Expansins are proteins that loosen plant cell walls in a pH-dependent manner, probably by increasing the relative movement among polymers thus causing irreversible expansion. The expansin superfamily (EXP) comprises four distinct families: expansin A (EXPA), expansin B (EXPB), expansin-like A (EXLA) and expansin-like B (EXLB). There is experimental evidence that EXPA and EXPB proteins are required for cell expansion and developmental processes involving cell wall modification, whereas the exact functions of EXLA and EXLB remain unclear. The complete grapevine (Vitis vinifera) genome sequence has allowed the characterization of many gene families, but an exhaustive genome-wide analysis of expansin gene expression has not been attempted thus far.
We identified 29 EXP superfamily genes in the grapevine genome, representing all four EXP families. Members of the same EXP family shared the same exon–intron structure, and phylogenetic analysis confirmed a closer relationship between EXP genes from woody species, i.e. grapevine and poplar (Populus trichocarpa), compared to those from Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa). We also identified grapevine-specific duplication events involving the EXLB family. Global gene expression analysis confirmed a strong correlation among EXP genes expressed in mature and green/vegetative samples, respectively, as reported for other gene families in the recently-published grapevine gene expression atlas. We also observed the specific co-expression of EXLB genes in woody organs, and the involvement of certain grapevine EXP genes in berry development and post-harvest withering.
Our comprehensive analysis of the grapevine EXP superfamily confirmed and extended current knowledge about the structural and functional characteristics of this gene family, and also identified properties that are currently unique to grapevine expansin genes. Our data provide a model for the functional characterization of grapevine gene families by combining phylogenetic analysis with global gene expression profiling.
In the study, a gene encoding a putative ethylene response factor of AP2/EREBP family was isolated from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and designated as GhERF12. Sequence alignment showed that GhERF12 protein contains a central AP2/ERF domain (58 amino acids) with two functional conserved amino acid residues (ala14 and asp19). Transactivation assay indicated that GhERF12 displayed strong transcription activation activity in yeast cells, suggesting that this protein may be a transcriptional activator in cotton. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that GhERF12 expression in cotton was induced by ACC and IAA. Overexpression of GhERF12 in Arabidopsis affected seedling growth and development. The GhERF12 transgenic plants grew slowly, and displayed a dwarf phenotype. The mean bolting time of the transgenic plants was delayed for about 10 days, compared with that of wild type. Further study revealed that some ethylene-related and auxin-related genes were dramatically up-regulated in the transgenic plants, compared with those of wild type. Collectively, we speculated that GhERF12, as a transcription factor, may be involved in regulation of plant growth and development by activating the constitutive ethylene response likely related to auxin biosynthesis and/or signaling.
Ethylene-responsive element-binding factor (ERF) genes constitute one of the largest transcription factor gene families in plants. In Arabidopsis and rice, only a few ERF genes have been characterized so far. Flower senescence is associated with increased ethylene production in many flowers. However, the characterization of ERF genes in flower senescence has not been reported. In this study, 13 ERF cDNAs were cloned from petunia. Based on the sequence characterization, these PhERFs could be classified into four of the 12 known ERF families. Their predicted amino acid sequences exhibited similarities to ERFs from other plant species. Expression analyses of PhERF mRNAs were performed in corollas and gynoecia of petunia flower. The 13 PhERF genes displayed differential expression patterns and levels during natural flower senescence. Exogenous ethylene accelerates the transcription of the various PhERF genes, and silver thiosulphate (STS) decreased the transcription of several PhERF genes in corollas and gynoecia. PhERF genes of group VII showed a strong association with the rise in ethylene production in both petals and gynoecia, and might be associated particularly with flower senescence in petunia. The effect of sugar, methyl jasmonate, and the plant hormones abscisic acid, salicylic acid, and 6-benzyladenine in regulating the different PhERF transcripts was investigated. Functional nuclear localization signal analyses of two PhERF proteins (PhERF2 and PhERF3) were carried out using fluorescence microscopy. These results supported a role for petunia PhERF genes in transcriptional regulation of petunia flower senescence processes.
ERF; ethylene; flower senescence; gene expression; petunia
Seven ERF cDNAs were cloned from two Japanese plum (Prunus salicina L.) cultivars, ‘Early Golden’ (EG) and ‘Shiro’ (SH). Based on the sequence characterization, these Ps-ERFs could be classified into three of the four known ERF families. Their predicted amino acid sequences exhibited similarities to ERFs from other plant species. Functional nuclear localization signal analyses of two Ps-ERF proteins (Ps-ERF1a and -1b) were carried out using confocal microscopy. Expression analyses of Ps-ERF mRNAs were studied in the two plum cultivars in order to determine the role of this gene family in fruit development and ripening. The seven Ps-ERFs displayed differential expression pattern and levels throughout the various stages of flower and fruit development. The diversity in Ps-ERFs accumulation was largely due to the differences in their responses to the levels of ethylene production. However, other plant hormones such as cytokinin and auxin, which accumulate strongly throughout the various developmental stages, also influence the Ps-ERFs expression. The effect of the plant hormones, gibberellin, cytokinin, auxin, and ethylene in regulating the different Ps-ERF transcripts was investigated. A model was proposed in which the role played by the plant hormone auxin is as important as that of ethylene in initiating and determining the date and rate of ripening in Japanese plums.
Double sigmoid curve growth pattern; ethylene-responsive factor (ERF); plant hormones; plum fruit development and ripening
The ethylene response factor (ERF) family in Arabidopsis thaliana comprises 122 members in 12 groups, yet the biological functions of the majority remain unknown. Of the group IX ERFs, the IXc subgroup has been studied the most, and includes ERF1, ERF14 and ORA59, which play roles in plant innate immunity. Here we investigate the biological functions of two members of the less studied IXb subgroup: ERF5 and ERF6. In order to identify potential targets of these transcription factors, microarray analyses were performed on plants constitutively expressing either ERF5 or ERF6. Expression of defense genes, JA/Et-responsive genes and genes containing the GCC box promoter motif were significantly upregulated in both ERF5 and ERF6 transgenic plants, suggesting that ERF5 and ERF6 may act as positive regulators of JA-mediated defense and potentially overlap in their function. Since defense against necrotrophic pathogens is generally mediated through JA/Et-signalling, resistance against the fungal necrotroph Botrytis cinerea was examined. Constitutive expression of ERF5 or ERF6 resulted in significantly increased resistance. Although no significant difference in susceptibility to B. cinerea was observed in either erf5 or erf6 mutants, the erf5 erf6 double mutant showed a significant increase in susceptibility, which was likely due to compromised JA-mediated gene expression, since JA-induced gene expression was reduced in the double mutant. Taken together these data suggest that ERF5 and ERF6 play positive but redundant roles in defense against B. cinerea. Since mutual antagonism between JA/Et and salicylic acid (SA) signalling is well known, the UV-C inducibility of an SA-inducible gene, PR-1, was examined. Reduced inducibilty in both ERF5 and ERF6 constitutive overexepressors was consistent with suppression of SA-mediated signalling, as was an increased susceptibility to avirulent Pseudomonas syringae. These data suggest that ERF5 and ERF6 may also play a role in the antagonistic crosstalk between the JA/Et and SA signalling pathways.
The transcription factor family intimately regulates gene expression in response to hormones, biotic and abiotic factors, symbiotic interactions, cell differentiation, and stress signalling pathways in plants. In this study, 170 AP2/ERF family genes are identified by phylogenetic analysis of the rice genome (Oryza sativa l. japonica) and they are divided into a total of 11 groups, including four major groups (AP2, ERF, DREB, and RAV), 10 subgroups, and two soloists. Gene structure analysis revealed that, at position-6, the amino acid threonine (Thr-6) is conserved in the double domain AP2 proteins compared to the amino acid arginine (Arg-6), which is preserved in the single domain of ERF proteins. In addition, the histidine (His) amino acid is found in both domains of the double domain AP2 protein, which is missing in single domain ERF proteins. Motif analysis indicates that most of the conserved motifs, apart from the AP2/ERF domain, are exclusively distributed among the specific clades in the phylogenetic tree and regulate plausible functions. Expression analysis reveals a widespread distribution of the rice AP2/ERF family genes within plant tissues. In the vegetative organs, the transcripts of these genes are found most abundant in the roots followed by the leaf and stem; whereas, in reproductive tissues, the gene expression of this family is observed high in the embryo and lemma. From chromosomal localization, it appears that repetition and tandem-duplication may contribute to the evolution of new genes in the rice genome. In this study, interspecies comparisons between rice and wheat reveal 34 rice loci and unveil the extent of collinearity between the two genomes. It was subsequently ascertained that chromosome-9 has more orthologous loci for CRT/DRE genes whereas chromosome-2 exhibits orthologs for ERF subfamily members. Maximum conserved synteny is found in chromosome-3 for AP2 double domain subfamily genes. Macrosynteny between rice and Arabidopsis, a distant, related genome, uncovered 11 homologs/orthologs loci in both genomes. The distribution of AP2/ERF family gene paralogs in Arabidopsis was most frequent in chromosome-1 followed by chromosome-5. In Arabidopsis, ERF subfamily gene orthologs are found on chromosome-1, chromosome-3, and chromosome-5, whereas DRE subfamily genes are found on chromosome-2 and chromosome-5. Orthologs for RAV and AP2 with double domains in Arabidopsis are located on chromosome-1 and chromosome-3, respectively. In conclusion, the data generated in this survey will be useful for conducting genomic research to determine the precise role of the AP2/ERF gene during stress responses with the ultimate goal of improving crops.
AP2/ERF; CBF/DREB; RAV; phylogenetic analysis; rice; wheat; Arabidopsis
MicroRNAs are short (~21 base) single stranded RNAs that, in plants, are generally coded by specific genes and cleaved specifically from hairpin precursors. MicroRNAs are critical for the regulation of multiple developmental, stress related and other physiological processes in plants. The recent annotation of the genome of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) allowed the identification of many putative conserved microRNA precursors, grouped into multiple gene families.
Here we use oligonucleotide arrays to provide the first indication that many of these microRNAs show differential expression patterns between tissues and during the maturation of fruit in the grapevine. Furthermore we demonstrate that whole transcriptome sequencing and deep-sequencing of small RNA fractions can be used both to identify which microRNA precursors are expressed in different tissues and to estimate genomic coordinates and patterns of splicing and alternative splicing for many primary miRNA transcripts.
Our results show that many microRNAs are differentially expressed in different tissues and during fruit maturation in the grapevine. Furthermore, the demonstration that whole transcriptome sequencing can be used to identify candidate splicing events and approximate primary microRNA transcript coordinates represents a significant step towards the large-scale elucidation of mechanisms regulating the expression of microRNAs at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels.
Grape is one of the most important fruit crops worldwide. The suitable geographical locations and productivity of grapes are largely limited by temperature. Vitis amurensis is a wild grapevine species with remarkable cold-tolerance, exceeding that of Vitis vinifera, the dominant cultivated species of grapevine. However, the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the enhanced freezing tolerance of V. amurensis remain unknown. Here we used deep sequencing data from restriction endonuclease-generated cDNA fragments to evaluate the whole genome wide modification of transcriptome of V. amurensis under cold treatment. Vitis vinifera cv. Muscat of Hamburg was used as control to help investigate the distinctive features of V. amruensis in responding to cold stress. Approximately 9 million tags were sequenced from non-cold treatment (NCT) and cold treatment (CT) cDNA libraries in each species of grapevine sampled from shoot apices. Alignment of tags into V. vinifera cv. Pinot noir (PN40024) annotated genome identified over 15,000 transcripts in each library in V. amruensis and more than 16,000 in Muscat of Hamburg. Comparative analysis between NCT and CT libraries indicate that V. amurensis has fewer differential expressed genes (DEGs, 1314 transcripts) than Muscat of Hamburg (2307 transcripts) when exposed to cold stress. Common DEGs (408 transcripts) suggest that some genes provide fundamental roles during cold stress in grapes. The most robust DEGs (more than 20-fold change) also demonstrated significant differences between two kinds of grapevine, indicating that cold stress may trigger species specific pathways in V. amurensis. Functional categories of DEGs indicated that the proportion of up-regulated transcripts related to metabolism, transport, signal transduction and transcription were more abundant in V. amurensis. Several highly expressed transcripts that were found uniquely accumulated in V. amurensis are discussed in detail. This subset of unique candidate transcripts may contribute to the excellent cold-hardiness of V. amurensis.
In grapevine Vitis vinifera L. cv Pinot noir, the Pathogenesis-Related (PR) proteins CHI4D and TL3 are among the most abundant extractable PR proteins of ripe berries and accumulate during berry ripening from véraison until full maturation. Evidence was supplied in favor of the involvement of these two protein families in plant defense mechanisms and plant development. In order to better understand CHI4D and TL3 function in grapevine, we analyzed their temporal and spatial pattern of expression during maturation and after an abiotic stress (UV-C) by in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistolocalization. In ripening berries, CHI4D and TL3 genes were mainly expressed in the exocarp and around vascular bundles of the mesocarp. In UV-C exposed berries, CHI4D and TL3 gene expression was strongly induced before véraison. Corresponding proteins localized in the exocarp and, to a lesser extent, around vascular bundles of the mesocarp. The spatial and temporal accumulation of the two PR proteins during berry maturation and after an abiotic stress is discussed in relation to their putative roles in plant defense.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is one of the oldest and most important perennial crops being considered as a fruit ligneous tree model system in which the water status appears crucial for high fruit and wine quality, controlling productivity and alcohol level. V. vinifera genome contains 28 genes coding for aquaporins, which acting in a concerted and regulated manner appear relevant for plant withstanding extremely unfavorable drought conditions essential for the quality of berries and wine. Several Vv aquaporins have been reported to be expressed in roots, shoots, berries and leaves with clear cultivar differences in their expression level, making their in vivo biochemical characterization a difficult task. In this work V. vinifera cv. Touriga nacional VvTnPIP1;1, VvTnPIP2;2 and VvTnTIP2;1 were expressed in yeast and water transport activity was characterized in intact cells of the transformants. The three aquaporins were localized in the yeast plasma membrane but only VvTnTIP2;1 expression enhanced the water permeability with a concomitant decrease of the activation energy of water transport. Acidification of yeast cytosol resulted in loss of VvTnTIP2;1 activity. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of a His131 residue, unusual in TIPs. By site directed mutagenesis, replacement of this residue by aspartic acid or alanine resulted in loss of pHin dependence while replacement by lysine resulted in total loss of activity. In addition to characterization of VvTn aquaporins, these results shed light on the gating of a specific tonoplast aquaporin by cytosolic pH.
Genomic data release for the grapevine has increased exponentially in the last five years. The Vitis vinifera genome has been sequenced and Vitis EST, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic tools and data sets continue to be developed. The next critical challenge is to provide biological meaning to this tremendous amount of data by annotating genes and integrating them within their biological context. We have developed and validated a system of Grapevine Molecular Networks (VitisNet).
The sequences from the Vitis vinifera (cv. Pinot Noir PN40024) genome sequencing project and ESTs from the Vitis genus have been paired and the 39,424 resulting unique sequences have been manually annotated. Among these, 13,145 genes have been assigned to 219 networks. The pathway sets include 88 “Metabolic”, 15 “Genetic Information Processing”, 12 “Environmental Information Processing”, 3 “Cellular Processes”, 21 “Transport”, and 80 “Transcription Factors”. The quantitative data is loaded onto molecular networks, allowing the simultaneous visualization of changes in the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome for a given experiment.
VitisNet uses manually annotated networks in SBML or XML format, enabling the integration of large datasets, streamlining biological functional processing, and improving the understanding of dynamic processes in systems biology experiments. VitisNet is grounded in the Vitis vinifera genome (currently at 8x coverage) and can be readily updated with subsequent updates of the genome or biochemical discoveries. The molecular network files can be dynamically searched by pathway name or individual genes, proteins, or metabolites through the MetNet Pathway database and web-portal at http://metnet3.vrac.iastate.edu/. All VitisNet files including the manual annotation of the grape genome encompassing pathway names, individual genes, their genome identifier, and chromosome location can be accessed and downloaded from the VitisNet tab at http://vitis-dormancy.sdstate.org.
Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) are molecular switches that bind Ca2+, ATP, and protein substrates, acting as sensor relays and responders that convert Ca2+ signals, created by developmental processes and environmental stresses, into phosphorylation events. The precise functions of the CDPKs in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) are largely unknown. We therefore investigated the phylogenetic relationships and expression profiles of the 17 CDPK genes identified in the 12x grapevine genome sequence, resolving them into four subfamilies based on phylogenetic tree topology and gene structures. The origins of the CDPKs during grapevine evolution were characterized, involving 13 expansion events. Transcriptomic analysis using 54 tissues and developmental stages revealed three types of CDPK gene expression profiles: constitutive (housekeeping CDPKs), partitioned functions, and prevalent in pollen/stamen. We identified two duplicated CDPK genes that had evolved from housekeeping to pollen-prevalent functions and whose origin correlated with that of seed plants, suggesting neofunctionalization with an important role in pollen development and also potential value in the breeding of seedless varieties. We also found that CDPKs were involved in three abiotic stress signaling pathways and could therefore be used to investigate the crosstalk between stress responses.
A new member of the AP2/ERF transcription factor family, GmERF3, was isolated from soybean. Sequence analysis showed that GmERF3 contained an AP2/ERF domain of 58 amino acids and two putative nuclear localization signal (NLS) domains. It belonged to a group IV protein in the ERF (ethylene response factor) subfamily as typified by a conserved N-terminal motif [MCGGAI(I/L)]. Expression of GmERF3 was induced by treatments with high salinity, drought, abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), ethylene (ET), and soybean mosaic virus (SMV), whereas there was no significant GmERF3 mRNA accumulation under cold stress treatment. GmERF3 could bind to the GCC box and DRE/CRT element, and was targeted to the nucleus when transiently expressed in onion epidermal cells. The GmERF3 protein fused to the GAL4 DNA-binding domain to activate transcription of reporter genes in yeast. Ectopic expression of the GmERF3 gene in transgenic tobacco plants induced the expression of some PR genes and enhanced resistance against infection by Ralstonia solanacearum, Alternaria alternata, and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), and gave tolerance to high salinity and dehydration stresses. Furthermore, overexpression of GmERF3 in transgenic tobacco led to higher levels of free proline and soluble carbohydrates compared to wild-type plants under drought conditions. The overall results suggested that GmERF3 as an AP2/ERF transcription factor may play dual roles in response to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants.
Abiotic stress; biotic stress; ethylene response factor; pathogen
The phytohormone ethylene is involved in a wide range of developmental processes and in mediating plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Ethylene signalling acts via a linear transduction pathway leading to the activation of Ethylene Response Factor genes (ERF) which represent one of the largest gene families of plant transcription factors. How an apparently simple signalling pathway can account for the complex and widely diverse plant responses to ethylene remains yet an unanswered question. Building on the recent release of the complete tomato genome sequence, the present study aims at gaining better insight on distinctive features among ERF proteins.
A set of 28 cDNA clones encoding ERFs in the tomato (Solanum lycopersicon) were isolated and shown to fall into nine distinct subclasses characterised by specific conserved motifs most of which with unknown function. In addition of being able to regulate the transcriptional activity of GCC-box containing promoters, tomato ERFs are also shown to be active on promoters lacking this canonical ethylene-responsive-element. Moreover, the data reveal that ERF affinity to the GCC-box depends on the nucleotide environment surrounding this cis-acting element. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that the nature of the flanking nucleotides can either enhance or reduce the binding affinity, thus conferring the binding specificity of various ERFs to target promoters.
Based on their expression pattern, ERF genes can be clustered in two main clades given their preferential expression in reproductive or vegetative tissues. The regulation of several tomato ERF genes by both ethylene and auxin, suggests their potential contribution to the convergence mechanism between the signalling pathways of the two hormones.
The data reveal that regions flanking the core GCC-box sequence are part of the discrimination mechanism by which ERFs selectively bind to their target promoters. ERF tissue-specific expression combined to their responsiveness to both ethylene and auxin bring some insight on the complexity and fine regulation mechanisms involving these transcriptional mediators. All together the data support the hypothesis that ERFs are the main component enabling ethylene to regulate a wide range of physiological processes in a highly specific and coordinated manner.
Ethylene; ERF; Transcriptional regulation; cis-regulatory elements; Tomato
Grafting is particularly important to the cultivation of perennial crops such as grapevine (Vitis vinifera) because rootstocks can provide resistance to soil-borne pests and diseases as well as improve tolerance to some abiotic stresses. Successful grafting is a complex biochemical and structural process beginning with the adhesion of the two grafted partners, followed by callus formation and the establishment of a functional vascular system. At the molecular level, the sequence of events underlying graft union formation remains largely uncharacterized. The present study investigates the transcriptome of grapevine rootstock and graft interface tissues sampled 3 d and 28 d after grafting of over-wintering stems in the spring. Many genes were differentially expressed over time, from 3 d to 28 d after grafting, which could be related to the activation of stem growth and metabolic activity in the spring. This hypothesis is supported by the up-regulation of many genes associated with cell wall synthesis, and phloem and xylem development. Generally, there was an up-regulation of gene expression in the graft interface tissue compared with the rootstock, particularly genes involved in cell wall synthesis, secondary metabolism, and signalling. Although there was overlap between the genes differentially expressed over time (from 3 d to 28 d after grafting) with the gene differentially expressed between the rootstock and the graft interface, numerous graft interface-specific genes were identified.
Gene expression; grafting; grapevine; perennial plant; spring; stem.
Plants are sessile organisms, and they can not move away under abiotic or biotic stresses. Thus plants have evolved a set of genes that response to adverse environment to modulate gene expression. In this study, we characterized and functionally studied an ERF transcription factor from Artemisia annua, AaERF1, which plays an important role in biotic stress responses. The AaERF1 promoter had been cloned and GUS staining results of AaERF1 promoter-GUS transgenic A. annua showed that AaERF1 is expressed ubiquitiously in all organs. Several putative cis-acting elements such as W-box, TGA-box and Py-rich element, which are involved in defense responsiveness, are present in the promoter. The expression of AaERF1 can be induced vigorously by methyl jasmonate as well as by ethephon and wounding, implying that AaERF1 may activate some of the defense genes via the jasmonic acid and ethylene signaling pathways of A. annua. The results of electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and yeast one-hybrid experiments showed that AaERF1 was able to bind to the GCC box cis-acting element in vitro and in yeast. Ectopic expression of AaERF1 could enhance the expression levels of the defense marker genes PLANT DEFENSIN1.2 (PDF1.2) and BASIC CHITINASE (ChiB), and increase the resistance to Botrytis cinerea in the 35S::AaERF1 transgenic Arabidopsis. The down-regulated expression level of AaERF1 evidently reduced the resistance to B. cinerea in A. annua. The overall results showed that AaERF1 positively regulated the resistance to B. cinerea in A. annua.
Grapevine (Vitis species) is among the most important fruit crops in terms of cultivated area and economic impact. Despite this relevance, little is known about the transcriptional changes and the regulatory circuits underlying the biochemical and physical changes occurring during berry development.
Fruit ripening in the non-climacteric crop species Vitis vinifera L. has been investigated at the transcriptional level by the use of the Affymetrix Vitis GeneChip® which contains approximately 14,500 unigenes. Gene expression data obtained from berries sampled before and after véraison in three growing years, were analyzed to identify genes specifically involved in fruit ripening and to investigate seasonal influences on the process. From these analyses a core set of 1477 genes was found which was similarly modulated in all seasons. We were able to separate ripening specific isoforms within gene families and to identify ripening related genes which appeared strongly regulated also by the seasonal weather conditions. Transcripts annotation by Gene Ontology vocabulary revealed five overrepresented functional categories of which cell wall organization and biogenesis, carbohydrate and secondary metabolisms and stress response were specifically induced during the ripening phase, while photosynthesis was strongly repressed. About 19% of the core gene set was characterized by genes involved in regulatory processes, such as transcription factors and transcripts related to hormonal metabolism and signal transduction. Auxin, ethylene and light emerged as the main stimuli influencing berry development. In addition, an oxidative burst, previously not detected in grapevine, characterized by rapid accumulation of H2O2 starting from véraison and by the modulation of many ROS scavenging enzymes, was observed.
The time-course gene expression analysis of grapevine berry development has identified the occurrence of two well distinct phases along the process. The pre-véraison phase represents a reprogramming stage of the cellular metabolism, characterized by the expression of numerous genes involved in hormonal signalling and transcriptional regulation. The post-véraison phase is characterized by the onset of a ripening-specialized metabolism responsible for the phenotypic traits of the ripe berry. Between the two phases, at véraison, an oxidative burst and the concurrent modulation of the anti-oxidative enzymatic network was observed. The large number of regulatory genes we have identified represents a powerful new resource for dissecting the mechanisms of fruit ripening control in non-climacteric plants.
Most of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cultivars grown today are those selected centuries ago, even though grapevine is one of the most important fruit crops in the world. Grapevine has therefore not benefited from the advances in modern plant breeding nor more recently from those in molecular genetics and genomics: genes controlling important agronomic traits are practically unknown. A physical map is essential to positionally clone such genes and instrumental in a genome sequencing project.
We report on the first whole genome physical map of grapevine built using high information content fingerprinting of 49,104 BAC clones from the cultivar Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir, as most grape varieties, is highly heterozygous at the sequence level. This resulted in the two allelic haplotypes sometimes assembling into separate contigs that had to be accommodated in the map framework or in local expansions of contig maps. We performed computer simulations to assess the effects of increasing levels of sequence heterozygosity on BAC fingerprint assembly and showed that the experimental assembly results are in full agreement with the theoretical expectations, given the heterozygosity levels reported for grape. The map is anchored to a dense linkage map consisting of 994 markers. 436 contigs are anchored to the genetic map, covering 342 of the 475 Mb that make up the grape haploid genome.
We have developed a resource that makes it possible to access the grapevine genome, opening the way to a new era both in grape genetics and breeding and in wine making. The effects of heterozygosity on the assembly have been analyzed and characterized by using several complementary approaches which could be easily transferred to the study of other genomes which present the same features.
The genus Vitis (the grapevine) is a group of highly diverse, diploid woody perennial vines consisting of approximately 60 species from across the northern hemisphere. It is the world’s most valuable horticultural crop with ~8 million hectares planted, most of which is processed into wine. To gain insights into the use of wild Vitis species during the past century of interspecific grape breeding and to provide a foundation for marker-assisted breeding programmes, we present a principal components analysis (PCA) based ancestry estimation method to calculate admixture proportions of hybrid grapes in the United States Department of Agriculture grape germplasm collection using genome-wide polymorphism data. We find that grape breeders have backcrossed to both the domesticated V. vinifera and wild Vitis species and that reasonably accurate genome-wide ancestry estimation can be performed on interspecific Vitis hybrids using a panel of fewer than 50 ancestry informative markers (AIMs). We compare measures of ancestry informativeness used in selecting SNP panels for two-way admixture estimation, and verify the accuracy of our method on simulated populations of admixed offspring. Our method of ancestry deconvolution provides a first step towards selection at the seed or seedling stage for desirable admixture profiles, which will facilitate marker-assisted breeding that aims to introgress traits from wild Vitis species while retaining the desirable characteristics of elite V. vinifera cultivars.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced in plant cells in response to diverse biotic and abiotic stresses as well as during normal growth and development. Although a large number of transcription factor (TF) genes are up- or down-regulated by ROS, currently very little is known about the functions of these TFs during oxidative stress. In this work, we examined the role of ERF6 (ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR6), an AP2/ERF domain-containing TF, during oxidative stress responses in Arabidopsis. Mutant analyses showed that NADPH oxidase (RbohD) and calcium signaling are required for ROS-responsive expression of ERF6. erf6 insertion mutant plants showed reduced growth and increased H2O2 and anthocyanin levels. Expression analyses of selected ROS-responsive genes during oxidative stress identified several differentially expressed genes in the erf6 mutant. In particular, a number of ROS responsive genes, such as ZAT12, HSFs, WRKYs, MAPKs, RBOHs, DHAR1, APX4, and CAT1 were more strongly induced by H2O2 in erf6 plants than in wild-type. In contrast, MDAR3, CAT3, VTC2 and EX1 showed reduced expression levels in the erf6 mutant. Taken together, our results indicate that ERF6 plays an important role as a positive antioxidant regulator during plant growth and in response to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Plant cell cultures have been shown as feasible systems for the production of secondary metabolites, being the elicitation with biotic or abiotic stimuli the most efficient strategy to increase the production of those metabolites. Vitaceae phytoalexins constitute a group of molecules belonging to the stilbene family which are derivatives of the trans-resveratrol structure and are produced by plants and cell cultures as a response to biotic and abiotic stresses. The potential benefits of resveratrol on human health have made it one of the most thoroughly studied phytochemical molecules. The aim of this study was to evaluate the elicitor effect of both cyclodextrin (CD) and methyljasmonate (MeJA) on grapevine cell cultures by carrying out a quantitative analysis of their role on resveratrol production and on the expression of stilbene biosynthetic genes in Vitis vinifera cv Monastrell albino cell suspension cultures.
MeJA and CD significantly but transiently induced the expression of stilbene biosynthetic genes when independently used to treat grapevine cells. This expression correlated with resveratrol production in CD-treated cells but not in MeJA-treated cells, which growth was drastically affected. In the combined treatment of CD and MeJA cell growth was similarly affected, however resveratrol production was almost one order of magnitude higher, in correlation with maximum expression values for stilbene biosynthetic genes.
The effect of MeJA on cell division combined with a true and strong elicitor like CD could be responsible for the observed synergistic effect of both compounds on resveratrol production and on the expression of genes in the stilbene pathway.
Dehydrins (DHNs) protect plant cells from desiccation damage during environmental stress, and also participate in host resistance to various pathogens. In this study, we aimed to identify and characterize the DHN gene families from Vitis vinifera and wild V. yeshanensis, which is tolerant to both drought and cold, and moderately resistant to powdery mildew.
Four DHN genes were identified in both V. vinifera and V. yeshanensis, which shared a high sequence identity between the two species but little homology between the genes themselves. These genes were designated DHN1, DHN2, DHN3 and DHN4. All four of the DHN proteins were highly hydrophilic and were predicted to be intrinsically disordered, but they differed in their isoelectric points, kinase selectivities and number of functional motifs. Also, the expression profiles of each gene differed appreciably from one another. Grapevine DHN1 was not expressed in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions, but was induced by drought, cold, heat, embryogenesis, as well as the application of abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), and methyl jasmonate (MeJA). It was expressed earlier in V. yeshanensis under drought conditions than in V. vinifera, and also exhibited a second round of up-regulation in V. yeshanensis following inoculation with Erysiphe necator, which was not apparent in V. vinifera. Like DHN1, DHN2 was induced by cold, heat, embryogenesis and ABA; however, it exhibited no responsiveness to drought, E. necator infection, SA or MeJA, and was also expressed constitutively in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions. Conversely, DHN3 was only expressed during seed development at extremely low levels, and DHN4 was expressed specifically during late embryogenesis. Neither DHN3 nor DHN4 exhibited responsiveness to any of the treatments carried out in this study. Interestingly, the presence of particular cis-elements within the promoter regions of each gene was positively correlated with their expression profiles.
The grapevine DHN family comprises four divergent members. While it is likely that their functions overlap to some extent, it seems that DHN1 provides the main stress-responsive function. In addition, our results suggest a close relationship between expression patterns, physicochemical properties, and cis-regulatory elements in the promoter regions of the DHN genes.
Grapevine; Dehydrin; Stress-induced expression; Powdery mildew; Promoter
MLOs belong to the largest family of seven-transmembrane (7TM) domain proteins found in plants. The Arabidopsis and rice genomes contain 15 and 12 MLO family members, respectively. Although the biological function of most MLO family members remains elusive, a select group of MLO proteins have been demonstrated to negatively regulate defence responses to the obligate biotrophic pathogen, powdery mildew, thereby acting as “susceptibility” genes. Recently we identified a family of 17 putative VvMLO genes in the genome of the cultivated winegrape species, Vitis vinifera. Expression analysis indicated that the VvMLO family members respond differently to biotic and abiotic stimuli. Infection of V. vinifera by grape powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) specifically upregulates four VvMLO genes that are orthologous to the Arabidopsis and tomato MLOs previously demonstrated to be required for powdery mildew susceptibility. We postulate that one or more of these E. necator responsive VvMLOs may have a role in the powdery mildew susceptibility of grapevine.
MLO; powdery mildew; resistance; susceptibility; grapevine