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1.  Identification of genes differentially expressed in a resistant reaction to Mycosphaerella pinodes in pea using microarray technology 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:28.
Ascochyta blight, caused by Mycosphaerella pinodes is one of the most important pea pathogens. However, little is known about the genes and mechanisms of resistance acting against M. pinodes in pea. Resistance identified so far to this pathogen is incomplete, polygenic and scarce in pea, being most common in Pisum relatives. The identification of the genes underlying resistance would increase our knowledge about M. pinodes-pea interaction and would facilitate the introgression of resistance into pea varieties. In the present study differentially expressed genes in the resistant P. sativum ssp. syriacum accession P665 comparing to the susceptible pea cv. Messire after inoculation with M. pinodes have been identified using a M. truncatula microarray.
Of the 16,470 sequences analysed, 346 were differentially regulated. Differentially regulated genes belonged to almost all functional categories and included genes involved in defense such as genes involved in cell wall reinforcement, phenylpropanoid and phytoalexins metabolism, pathogenesis- related (PR) proteins and detoxification processes. Genes associated with jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene signal transduction pathways were induced suggesting that the response to M. pinodes in pea is regulated via JA and ET pathways. Expression levels of ten differentially regulated genes were validated in inoculated and control plants using qRT-PCR showing that the P665 accession shows constitutively an increased expression of the defense related genes as peroxidases, disease resistance response protein 39 (DRR230-b), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and 6a-hydroxymaackiain methyltransferase.
Through this study a global view of genes expressed during resistance to M. pinodes has been obtained, giving relevant information about the mechanisms and pathways conferring resistance to this important disease. In addition, the M. truncatula microarray represents an efficient tool to identify candidate genes controlling resistance to M. pinodes in pea.
PMCID: PMC3027157  PMID: 21226971
2.  Mining functional microsatellites in legume unigenes 
Bioinformation  2011;7(5):264-270.
Highly polymorphic and transferable microsatellites (SSRs) are important for comparative genomics, genome analysis and phylogenetic studies. Development of novel species-specific microsatellite markers remains a costly and labor-intensive project. Therefore, interest has been shifted from genomic to genic markers owing to their high inter-species transferability as they are developed from conserved coding regions of the genome. This study concentrates on comparative analysis of genic microsatellites in nine important legume (Arachis hypogaea, Cajanus cajan, Cicer arietinum, Glycine max, Lotus japonicus, Medicago truncatula, Phaseolus vulgaris, Pisum sativum and Vigna unguiculata) and two model plant species (Oryza sativa and Arabidopsis thaliana). Screening of a total of 228090 putative unique sequences spanning 219610522 bp using a microsatellite search tool, MISA, identified 12.18% of the unigenes containing 36248 microsatellite motifs excluding mononucleotide repeats. Frequency of legume unigene-derived SSRs was one SSR in every 6.0 kb of analyzed sequences. The trinucleotide repeats were predominant in all the unigenes with the exception of C. cajan, which showed prevalence of dinucleotide repeats over trinucleotide repeats. Dinucleotide repeats along with trinucleotides counted for more than 90% of the total microsatellites. Among dinucleotide and trinucleotide repeats, AG and AAG motifs, respectively, were the most frequent. Microsatellite positive chickpea unigenes were assigned Gene Ontology (GO) terms to identify the possible role of unigenes in various molecular and biological functions. These unigene based microsatellite markers will prove valuable for recording allelic variance across germplasm collections, gene tagging and searching for putative candidate genes.
PMCID: PMC3218422  PMID: 22125396
Microsatellites; SSRs; Unigenes; Legumes; Functional annotation
3.  Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of the highly complex Pisum sativum genome using next generation sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:227.
The garden pea, Pisum sativum, is among the best-investigated legume plants and of significant agro-commercial relevance. Pisum sativum has a large and complex genome and accordingly few comprehensive genomic resources exist.
We analyzed the pea transcriptome at the highest possible amount of accuracy by current technology. We used next generation sequencing with the Roche/454 platform and evaluated and compared a variety of approaches, including diverse tissue libraries, normalization, alternative sequencing technologies, saturation estimation and diverse assembly strategies. We generated libraries from flowers, leaves, cotyledons, epi- and hypocotyl, and etiolated and light treated etiolated seedlings, comprising a total of 450 megabases. Libraries were assembled into 324,428 unigenes in a first pass assembly.
A second pass assembly reduced the amount to 81,449 unigenes but caused a significant number of chimeras. Analyses of the assemblies identified the assembly step as a major possibility for improvement. By recording frequencies of Arabidopsis orthologs hit by randomly drawn reads and fitting parameters of the saturation curve we concluded that sequencing was exhaustive. For leaf libraries we found normalization allows partial recovery of expression strength aside the desired effect of increased coverage. Based on theoretical and biological considerations we concluded that the sequence reads in the database tagged the vast majority of transcripts in the aerial tissues. A pathway representation analysis showed the merits of sampling multiple aerial tissues to increase the number of tagged genes. All results have been made available as a fully annotated database in fasta format.
We conclude that the approach taken resulted in a high quality - dataset which serves well as a first comprehensive reference set for the model legume pea. We suggest future deep sequencing transcriptome projects of species lacking a genomics backbone will need to concentrate mainly on resolving the issues of redundancy and paralogy during transcriptome assembly.
PMCID: PMC3224338  PMID: 21569327
4.  Efficient production of human acidic fibroblast growth factor in pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants by agroinfection of germinated seeds 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:45.
For efficient and large scale production of recombinant proteins in plants transient expression by agroinfection has a number of advantages over stable transformation. Simple manipulation, rapid analysis and high expression efficiency are possible. In pea, Pisum sativum, a Virus Induced Gene Silencing System using the pea early browning virus has been converted into an efficient agroinfection system by converting the two RNA genomes of the virus into binary expression vectors for Agrobacterium transformation.
By vacuum infiltration (0.08 Mpa, 1 min) of germinating pea seeds with 2-3 cm roots with Agrobacteria carrying the binary vectors, expression of the gene for Green Fluorescent Protein as marker and the gene for the human acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) was obtained in 80% of the infiltrated developing seedlings. Maximal production of the recombinant proteins was achieved 12-15 days after infiltration.
Compared to the leaf injection method vacuum infiltration of germinated seeds is highly efficient allowing large scale production of plants transiently expressing recombinant proteins. The production cycle of plants for harvesting the recombinant protein was shortened from 30 days for leaf injection to 15 days by applying vacuum infiltration. The synthesized aFGF was purified by heparin-affinity chromatography and its mitogenic activity on NIH 3T3 cells confirmed to be similar to a commercial product.
PMCID: PMC3112411  PMID: 21548923
5.  Genetically Modified α-Amylase Inhibitor Peas Are Not Specifically Allergenic in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52972.
Weevils can devastate food legumes in developing countries, but genetically modified peas (Pisum sativum), chickpeas and cowpeas expressing the gene for alpha-amylase inhibitor-1 (αAI) from the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) are completely protected from weevil destruction. αAI is seed-specific, accumulated at high levels and undergoes post-translational modification as it traverses the seed endomembrane system. This modification was thought to be responsible for the reported allergenicity in mice of the transgenic pea but not the bean. Here, we observed that transgenic αAI peas, chickpeas and cowpeas as well as non-transgenic beans were all allergenic in BALB/c mice. Even consuming non-transgenic peas lacking αAI led to an anti-αAI response due to a cross-reactive response to pea lectin. Our data demonstrate that αAI transgenic peas are not more allergenic than beans or non-transgenic peas in mice. This study illustrates the importance of repeat experiments in independent laboratories and the potential for unexpected cross-reactive allergic responses upon consumption of plant products in mice.
PMCID: PMC3541390  PMID: 23326368
6.  Pea p68, a DEAD-Box Helicase, Provides Salinity Stress Tolerance in Transgenic Tobacco by Reducing Oxidative Stress and Improving Photosynthesis Machinery 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98287.
The DEAD-box helicases are required mostly in all aspects of RNA and DNA metabolism and they play a significant role in various abiotic stresses, including salinity. The p68 is an important member of the DEAD-box proteins family and, in animal system, it is involved in RNA metabolism including pre-RNA processing and splicing. In plant system, it has not been well characterized. Here we report the cloning and characterization of p68 from pea (Pisum sativum) and its novel function in salinity stress tolerance in plant.
The pea p68 protein self-interacts and is localized in the cytosol as well as the surrounding of cell nucleus. The transcript of pea p68 is upregulated in response to high salinity stress in pea. Overexpression of p68 driven by constitutive cauliflower mosaic virus-35S promoter in tobacco transgenic plants confers enhanced tolerances to salinity stress by improving the growth, photosynthesis and antioxidant machinery. Under stress treatment, pea p68 overexpressing tobacco accumulated higher K+ and lower Na+ level than the wild-type plants. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation was remarkably regulated by the overexpression of pea p68 under salinity stress conditions, as shown from TBARS content, electrolyte leakage, hydrogen peroxide accumulation and 8-OHdG content and antioxidant enzyme activities.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first direct report, which provides the novel function of pea p68 helicase in salinity stress tolerance. The results suggest that p68 can also be exploited for engineering abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants of economic importance.
PMCID: PMC4039504  PMID: 24879307
7.  The plastid outer envelope protein OEP16 affects metabolic fluxes during ABA-controlled seed development and germination 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;63(5):1919-1936.
Previously, the OEP16.1 channel pore in the outer envelope membrane of mature pea (Pisum sativum) chloroplasts in vitro has been characterized to be selective for amino acids. Isolation of OEP16.2, a second OEP16 isoform from pea, in the current study allowed membrane localization and gene expression of OEP16 to be followed throughout seed development and germination of Arabidopsis thaliana and P. sativum. Thereby it can be shown on the transcript and protein level that the isoforms OEP16.1 and OEP16.2 in both plant species are alternating: whereas OEP16.1 is prominent in early embryo development and first leaves of the growing plantlet, OEP16.2 dominates in late seed development stages, which are associated with dormancy and desiccation, as well as early germination events. Further, OEP16.2 expression in seeds is under control of the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA), leading to an ABA-hypersensitive phenotype of germinating oep16 knockout mutants. In consequence, the loss of OEP16 causes metabolic imbalance, in particular that of amino acids during seed development and early germination. It is thus concluded that in vivo OEP16 most probably functions in shuttling amino acids across the outer envelope of seed plastids.
PMCID: PMC3295387  PMID: 22155670
Abscisic acid; amino acid transport; Arabidopsis; outer envelope protein; pea; plastid; seed development; seed metabolite content
8.  Guanosine tetra- and pentaphosphate synthase activity in chloroplasts of a higher plant: association with 70S ribosomes and inhibition by tetracycline 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(19):5732-5741.
Chloroplasts possess bacterial-type systems for transcription and translation. On the basis of the identification of a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii gene encoding a RelA-SpoT homolog (RSH) that catalyzes the synthesis of guanosine tetra- or pentaphosphate [(p)ppGpp], we have previously suggested the operation of stringent control in the chloroplast genetic system. Although RSH genes have also been identified in several higher plants, the activities of the encoded enzymes and their mode of action in chloroplasts have remained uncharacterized. We have now characterized the intrinsic (p)ppGpp synthase activity of chloroplast extracts prepared from pea (Pisum sativum). Fractionation by ultracentrifugation suggested that the (p)ppGpp synthase activity of a translationally active chloroplast stromal extract was associated with 70S ribosomes. Furthermore, this enzymatic activity was inhibited by tetracycline, as was the peptide elongation activity of the extract. Structural comparisons between rRNA molecules of Escherichia coli and pea chloroplasts revealed the conservation of putative tetracycline-binding sites. These observations demonstrate the presence of a ribosome-associated (p)ppGpp synthase activity in the chloroplasts of a higher plant, further implicating (p)ppGpp in a genetic system of chloroplasts similar to that operative in bacteria.
PMCID: PMC528801  PMID: 15507686
9.  Compatibility of Rhizobial Genotypes within Natural Populations of Rhizobium leguminosarum Biovar viciae for Nodulation of Host Legumes 
Populations of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae were sampled from two bulk soils, rhizosphere, and nodules of host legumes, fava bean (Vicia faba) and pea (Pisum sativum) grown in the same soils. Additional populations nodulating peas, fava beans, and vetches (Vicia sativa) grown in other soils and fava bean-nodulating strains from various geographic sites were also analyzed. The rhizobia were characterized by repetitive extragenomic palindromic-PCR fingerprinting and/or PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of 16S-23S ribosomal DNA intergenic spacers as markers of the genomic background and PCR-RFLP of a nodulation gene region, nodD, as a marker of the symbiotic component of the genome. Pairwise comparisons showed differences among the genetic structures of the bulk soil, rhizosphere, and nodule populations and in the degree of host specificity within the Vicieae cross-inoculation group. With fava bean, the symbiotic genotype appeared to be the preponderant determinant of the success in nodule occupancy of rhizobial genotypes independently of the associated genomic background, the plant genotype, and the soil sampled. The interaction between one particular rhizobial symbiotic genotype and fava bean seems to be highly specific for nodulation and linked to the efficiency of nitrogen fixation. By contrast with bulk soil and fava bean-nodulating populations, the analysis of pea-nodulating populations showed preferential associations between genomic backgrounds and symbiotic genotypes. Both components of the rhizobial genome may influence competitiveness for nodulation of pea, and rhizosphere colonization may be a decisive step in competition for nodule occupancy.
PMCID: PMC154822  PMID: 12676710
10.  Transfer of the Pea Symbiotic Plasmid pJB5JI in Nonsterile Soil † 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1991;57(11):3264-3269.
Transfer of the pea (Pisum sativum L.) symbiotic plasmid pJB5JI between strains of rhizobia was examined in sterile and nonsterile silt loam soil. Sinorhizobium fredii USDA 201 and HH003 were used as plasmid donors, and symbiotic plasmid-cured Rhizobium leguminosarum 6015 was used as the recipient. The plasmid was carried but not expressed in S. fredii strains, whereas transfer of the plasmid to R. leguminosarum 6015 rendered the recipient capable of nodulating pea plants. Confirmation of plasmid transfer was obtained by acquisition of plasmid-encoded antibiotic resistance genes, nodulation of pea plants, and plasmid profiles. Plasmid transfer in nonsterile soil occurred at frequencies of up to 10−4 per recipient and appeared to be highest at soil temperatures and soil moisture levels optimal for rhizobial growth. Conjugation frequencies were usually higher in sterile soil than in nonsterile soil. In nonsterile soil, transconjugants were recovered only with strain USDA 201 as the plasmid donor. Increasing the inoculum levels of donor and recipient strains up to 109 cells g of soil−1 increased the number of transconjugants; peak plasmid transfer frequencies, however, were found at the lower inoculum level of 107 cells g of soil−1. Plasmid transfer frequencies were raised in the presence of the pea rhizosphere or by additions of plant material. Transconjugants formed by the USDA 201(pJB5JI) × 6015 mating in soil formed effective nodules on peas.
PMCID: PMC183958  PMID: 16348589
11.  Highly-multiplexed SNP genotyping for genetic mapping and germplasm diversity studies in pea 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:468.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) can be used as genetic markers for applications such as genetic diversity studies or genetic mapping. New technologies now allow genotyping hundreds to thousands of SNPs in a single reaction.
In order to evaluate the potential of these technologies in pea, we selected a custom 384-SNP set using SNPs discovered in Pisum through the resequencing of gene fragments in different genotypes and by compiling genomic sequence data present in databases. We then designed an Illumina GoldenGate assay to genotype both a Pisum germplasm collection and a genetic mapping population with the SNP set.
We obtained clear allelic data for more than 92% of the SNPs (356 out of 384). Interestingly, the technique was successful for all the genotypes present in the germplasm collection, including those from species or subspecies different from the P. sativum ssp sativum used to generate sequences. By genotyping the mapping population with the SNP set, we obtained a genetic map and map positions for 37 new gene markers.
Our results show that the Illumina GoldenGate assay can be used successfully for high-throughput SNP genotyping of diverse germplasm in pea. This genotyping approach will simplify genotyping procedures for association mapping or diversity studies purposes and open new perspectives in legume genomics.
PMCID: PMC3091664  PMID: 20701750
12.  UTILLdb, a Pisum sativum in silico forward and reverse genetics tool 
Genome Biology  2008;9(2):R43.
UTILLdb is a database of phenotypic and sequence information on mutant genes from a reference Pisum sativum EMS-mutant population.
The systematic characterization of gene functions in species recalcitrant to Agrobacterium-based transformation, like Pisum sativum, remains a challenge. To develop a high throughput forward and reverse genetics tool in pea, we have constructed a reference ethylmethane sulfonate mutant population and developed a database, UTILLdb, that contains phenotypic as well as sequence information on mutant genes. UTILLdb can be searched online for TILLING alleles, through the BLAST tool, or for phenotypic information about mutants by keywords.
PMCID: PMC2374714  PMID: 18302733
13.  QTL meta-analysis provides a comprehensive view of loci controlling partial resistance to Aphanomyces euteiches in four sources of resistance in pea 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:45.
Development of durable plant genetic resistance to pathogens through strategies of QTL pyramiding and diversification requires in depth knowledge of polygenic resistance within the available germplasm. Polygenic partial resistance to Aphanomyces root rot, caused by Aphanomyces euteiches, one of the most damaging pathogens of pea worldwide, was previously dissected in individual mapping populations. However, there are no data available regarding the diversity of the resistance QTL across a broader collection of pea germplasm. In this study, we performed a meta-analysis of Aphanomyces root rot resistance QTL in the four main sources of resistance in pea and compared their genomic localization with genes/QTL controlling morphological or phenological traits and with putative candidate genes.
Meta-analysis, conducted using 244 individual QTL reported previously in three mapping populations (Puget x 90–2079, Baccara x PI180693 and Baccara x 552) and in a fourth mapping population in this study (DSP x 90–2131), resulted in the identification of 27 meta-QTL for resistance to A. euteiches. Confidence intervals of meta-QTL were, on average, reduced four-fold compared to mean confidence intervals of individual QTL. Eleven consistent meta-QTL, which highlight seven highly consistent genomic regions, were identified. Few meta-QTL specificities were observed among mapping populations, suggesting that sources of resistance are not independent. Seven resistance meta-QTL, including six of the highly consistent genomic regions, co-localized with six of the meta-QTL identified in this study for earliness and plant height and with three morphological genes (Af, A, R). Alleles contributing to the resistance were often associated with undesirable alleles for dry pea breeding. Candidate genes underlying six main meta-QTL regions were identified using colinearity between the pea and Medicago truncatula genomes.
QTL meta-analysis provided an overview of the moderately low diversity of loci controlling partial resistance to A. euteiches in four main sources of resistance in pea. Seven highly consistent genomic regions with potential use in marker-assisted-selection were identified. Confidence intervals at several main QTL regions were reduced and co-segregation among resistance and morphological/phenological alleles was identified. Further work will be required to identify the best combinations of QTL for durably increasing partial resistance to A. euteiches.
PMCID: PMC3680057  PMID: 23497245
Aphanomyces root rot; Pisum sativum; Meta-QTL; QTL diversity; Consistent genomic regions; Resistance alleles; Undesirable alleles
14.  Identification of distinct quantitative trait loci associated with defence against the closely related aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum and A. kondoi in Medicago truncatula  
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(10):3913-3922.
Aphids are a major family of plant insect pests. Medicago truncatula and Acyrthosiphon pisum (pea aphid, PA) are model species with a suite of resources available to help dissect the mechanism underlying plant–aphid interactions. A previous study focused on monogenic and relatively strong resistance in M. truncatula to PA and other aphid species. In this study a moderate resistance to PA was characterized in detail in the M. truncatula line A17 and compared with the highly susceptible line A20 and the more resistant line Jester. The results show that PA resistance in A17 involves both antibiosis and tolerance, and that resistance is phloem based. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population (n=114) from a cross between A17 and A20 revealed that one locus, which co-segregated with AIN (Acyrthosiphon-induced necrosis) on chromosome 3, is responsible for the reduction of aphid biomass (indicator of antibiosis) for both PA and bluegreen aphid (BGA, A. kondoi), albeit to a lesser degree for PA than BGA. Interestingly, two independent loci on chromosomes 5 and 3 were identified for the plant biomass reduction (indicator of plant tolerance) by PA and BGA, respectively, demonstrating that the plant’s tolerance response to these two closely related aphid species is distinct. Together with previously identified major resistant (R) genes, the QTLs identified in this study are powerful tools to understand fully the spectrum of plant defence against sap-sucking insects and provide opportunities for breeders to generate effective and sustainable strategies for aphid control.
PMCID: PMC3388833  PMID: 22442407
Antibiosis; antixenosis; EPG; herbivory; hypersensitive response; necrosis; phloem; sap-sucking insect
15.  Rapid transcriptome characterization and parsing of sequences in a non-model host-pathogen interaction; pea-Sclerotinia sclerotiorum 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:668.
White mold, caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is one of the most important diseases of pea (Pisum sativum L.), however, little is known about the genetics and biochemistry of this interaction. Identification of genes underlying resistance in the host or pathogenicity and virulence factors in the pathogen will increase our knowledge of the pea-S. sclerotiorum interaction and facilitate the introgression of new resistance genes into commercial pea varieties. Although the S. sclerotiorum genome sequence is available, no pea genome is available, due in part to its large genome size (~3500 Mb) and extensive repeated motifs. Here we present an EST data set specific to the interaction between S. sclerotiorum and pea, and a method to distinguish pathogen and host sequences without a species-specific reference genome.
10,158 contigs were obtained by de novo assembly of 128,720 high-quality reads generated by 454 pyrosequencing of the pea-S. sclerotiorum interactome. A method based on the tBLASTx program was modified to distinguish pea and S. sclerotiorum ESTs. To test this strategy, a mixture of known ESTs (18,490 pea and 17,198 S. sclerotiorum ESTs) from public databases were pooled and parsed; the tBLASTx method successfully separated 90.1% of the artificial EST mix with 99.9% accuracy. The tBLASTx method successfully parsed 89.4% of the 454-derived EST contigs, as validated by PCR, into pea (6,299 contigs) and S. sclerotiorum (2,780 contigs) categories. Two thousand eight hundred and forty pea ESTs and 996 S. sclerotiorum ESTs were predicted to be expressed specifically during the pea-S. sclerotiorum interaction as determined by homology search against 81,449 pea ESTs (from flowers, leaves, cotyledons, epi- and hypocotyl, and etiolated and light treated etiolated seedlings) and 57,751 S. sclerotiorum ESTs (from mycelia at neutral pH, developing apothecia and developing sclerotia). Among those ESTs specifically expressed, 277 (9.8%) pea ESTs were predicted to be involved in plant defense and response to biotic or abiotic stress, and 93 (9.3%) S. sclerotiorum ESTs were predicted to be involved in pathogenicity/virulence. Additionally, 142 S. sclerotiorum ESTs were identified as secretory/signal peptides of which only 21 were previously reported.
We present and characterize an EST resource specific to the pea-S. sclerotiorum interaction. Additionally, the tBLASTx method used to parse S. sclerotiorum and pea ESTs was demonstrated to be a reliable and accurate method to distinguish ESTs without a reference genome.
PMCID: PMC3534286  PMID: 23181755
Pisum sativum; Sclerotinia sclerotiorum; Transcriptome; Parsing of host-pathogen sequences; Non-model organism
16.  SNP marker discovery, linkage map construction and identification of QTLs for enhanced salinity tolerance in field pea (Pisum sativum L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:161.
Field pea (Pisum sativum L.) is a self-pollinating, diploid, cool-season food legume. Crop production is constrained by multiple biotic and abiotic stress factors, including salinity, that cause reduced growth and yield. Recent advances in genomics have permitted the development of low-cost high-throughput genotyping systems, allowing the construction of saturated genetic linkage maps for identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with traits of interest. Genetic markers in close linkage with the relevant genomic regions may then be implemented in varietal improvement programs.
In this study, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers associated with expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were developed and used to generate comprehensive linkage maps for field pea. From a set of 36,188 variant nucleotide positions detected through in silico analysis, 768 were selected for genotyping of a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population. A total of 705 SNPs (91.7%) successfully detected segregating polymorphisms. In addition to SNPs, genomic and EST-derived simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were assigned to the genetic map in order to obtain an evenly distributed genome-wide coverage. Sequences associated with the mapped molecular markers were used for comparative genomic analysis with other legume species. Higher levels of conserved synteny were observed with the genomes of Medicago truncatula Gaertn. and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) than with soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.), Lotus japonicus L. and pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan [L.] Millsp.). Parents and RIL progeny were screened at the seedling growth stage for responses to salinity stress, imposed by addition of NaCl in the watering solution at a concentration of 18 dS m-1. Salinity-induced symptoms showed normal distribution, and the severity of the symptoms increased over time. QTLs for salinity tolerance were identified on linkage groups Ps III and VII, with flanking SNP markers suitable for selection of resistant cultivars. Comparison of sequences underpinning these SNP markers to the M. truncatula genome defined genomic regions containing candidate genes associated with saline stress tolerance.
The SNP assays and associated genetic linkage maps developed in this study permitted identification of salinity tolerance QTLs and candidate genes. This constitutes an important set of tools for marker-assisted selection (MAS) programs aimed at performance enhancement of field pea cultivars.
PMCID: PMC4015884  PMID: 24134188
Grain legume; Genetic marker; Trait dissection; Comparative genomics; Abiotic stress; Breeding
17.  Identification of Mendel's White Flower Character 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13230.
The genetic regulation of flower color has been widely studied, notably as a character used by Mendel and his predecessors in the study of inheritance in pea.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used the genome sequence of model legumes, together with their known synteny to the pea genome to identify candidate genes for the A and A2 loci in pea. We then used a combination of genetic mapping, fast neutron mutant analysis, allelic diversity, transcript quantification and transient expression complementation studies to confirm the identity of the candidates.
We have identified the pea genes A and A2. A is the factor determining anthocyanin pigmentation in pea that was used by Gregor Mendel 150 years ago in his study of inheritance. The A gene encodes a bHLH transcription factor. The white flowered mutant allele most likely used by Mendel is a simple G to A transition in a splice donor site that leads to a mis-spliced mRNA with a premature stop codon, and we have identified a second rare mutant allele. The A2 gene encodes a WD40 protein that is part of an evolutionarily conserved regulatory complex.
PMCID: PMC2952588  PMID: 20949001
18.  Widespread Selection Across Coding and Noncoding DNA in the Pea Aphid Genome 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;3(6):993-1001.
Genome-wide patterns of diversity and selection are critical measures for understanding how evolution has shaped the genome. Yet, these population genomic estimates are available for only a limited number of model organisms. Here we focus on the population genomics of the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum). The pea aphid is an emerging model system that exhibits a range of intriguing biological traits not present in classic model systems. We performed low-coverage genome resequencing of 21 clonal pea aphid lines collected from alfalfa host plants in North America to characterize genome-wide patterns of diversity and selection. We observed an excess of low-frequency polymorphisms throughout coding and noncoding DNA, which we suggest is the result of a founding event and subsequent population expansion in North America. Most gene regions showed lower levels of Tajima’s D than synonymous sites, suggesting that the majority of the genome is not evolving neutrally but rather exhibits significant constraint. Furthermore, we used the pea aphid’s unique manner of X-chromosome inheritance to assign genomic scaffolds to either autosomes or the X chromosome. Comparing autosomal vs. X-linked sequence variation, we discovered that autosomal genes show an excess of low frequency variants indicating that purifying selection acts more efficiently on the X chromosome. Overall, our results provide a critical first step in characterizing the genetic diversity and evolutionary pressures on an aphid genome.
PMCID: PMC3689810  PMID: 23589520
pea aphid; Acyrthosiphon; population genomics; sex chromosome; selection
19.  Molecular dissection of the pea shoot apical meristem* 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2009;60(14):4201-4213.
The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is responsible for the development of all the above-ground parts of a plant. Our understanding of the SAM at the molecular level is incomplete. This study investigates the gene expression repertoire of SAMs in the garden pea (Pisum sativum). To this end, 10 346 EST sequences representing 7610 unique genes were generated from SAM cDNA libraries. These sequences, together with previously reported pea ESTs, were used to construct a 12K oligonucleotide array to identify genes with differential SAM expression, as compared to axillary meristems, root apical meristems, or non-meristematic tissues. A number of genes were identified, predominantly expressed in specific cell layers or domains of the SAM and thus are likely components of the gene networks involved in stem cell maintenance or the initiation of lateral organs. Further in situ hybridization analysis confirmed the spatial localization of some of these genes within the SAM. Our data also indicate the diversification of some gene expression patterns and hence functions in legume crop plants. A number of transcripts highly expressed in all three meristems have also been uncovered and these candidates may provide valuable insight into molecular networks that underpin the maintenance of meristematic functionality.
PMCID: PMC2755034  PMID: 19706781
Garden pea; meristem; Pisum sativum; transcript profiling
20.  Transcriptome sequencing for high throughput SNP development and genetic mapping in Pea 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:126.
Pea has a complex genome of 4.3 Gb for which only limited genomic resources are available to date. Although SNP markers are now highly valuable for research and modern breeding, only a few are described and used in pea for genetic diversity and linkage analysis.
We developed a large resource by cDNA sequencing of 8 genotypes representative of modern breeding material using the Roche 454 technology, combining both long reads (400 bp) and high coverage (3.8 million reads, reaching a total of 1,369 megabases). Sequencing data were assembled and generated a 68 K unigene set, from which 41 K were annotated from their best blast hit against the model species Medicago truncatula. Annotated contigs showed an even distribution along M. truncatula pseudochromosomes, suggesting a good representation of the pea genome. 10 K pea contigs were found to be polymorphic among the genetic material surveyed, corresponding to 35 K SNPs.
We validated a subset of 1538 SNPs through the GoldenGate assay, proving their ability to structure a diversity panel of breeding germplasm. Among them, 1340 were genetically mapped and used to build a new consensus map comprising a total of 2070 markers. Based on blast analysis, we could establish 1252 bridges between our pea consensus map and the pseudochromosomes of M. truncatula, which provides new insight on synteny between the two species.
Our approach created significant new resources in pea, i.e. the most comprehensive genetic map to date tightly linked to the model species M. truncatula and a large SNP resource for both academic research and breeding.
PMCID: PMC3925251  PMID: 24521263
Pisum sativum; Medicago truncatula; Next generation sequencing; Genetic diversity; Composite genetic map; Synteny; Marker assisted selection
21.  Rhizobium leguminosarum Biovar viciae 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-Carboxylate Deaminase Promotes Nodulation of Pea Plants 
Ethylene inhibits nodulation in various legumes. In order to investigate strategies employed by Rhizobium to regulate nodulation, the 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase gene was isolated and characterized from one of the ACC deaminase-producing rhizobia, Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae 128C53K. ACC deaminase degrades ACC, the immediate precursor of ethylene in higher plants. Through the action of this enzyme, ACC deaminase-containing bacteria can reduce ethylene biosynthesis in plants. Insertion mutants with mutations in the rhizobial ACC deaminase gene (acdS) and its regulatory gene, a leucine-responsive regulatory protein-like gene (lrpL), were constructed and tested to determine their abilities to nodulate Pisum sativum L. cv. Sparkle (pea). Both mutants, neither of which synthesized ACC deaminase, showed decreased nodulation efficiency compared to that of the parental strain. Our results suggest that ACC deaminase in R. leguminosarum bv. viciae 128C53K enhances the nodulation of P. sativum L. cv. Sparkle, likely by modulating ethylene levels in the plant roots during the early stages of nodule development. ACC deaminase might be the second described strategy utilized by Rhizobium to promote nodulation by adjusting ethylene levels in legumes.
PMCID: PMC169147  PMID: 12902221
22.  Transcriptional profiling of the pea shoot apical meristem reveals processes underlying its function and maintenance 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:73.
Despite the importance of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) in plant development and organ formation, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling its function is limited. Genomic tools have the potential to unravel the molecular mysteries of the SAM, and legume systems are increasingly being used in plant-development studies owing to their unique characteristics such as nitrogen fixation, secondary metabolism, and pod development. Garden pea (Pisum sativum) is a well-established classic model species for genetics studies that has been used since the Mendel era. In addition, the availability of a plethora of developmental mutants makes pea an ideal crop legume for genomics studies. This study aims to utilise genomics tools in isolating genes that play potential roles in the regulation of SAM activity.
In order to identify genes that are differentially expressed in the SAM, we generated 2735 ESTs from three cDNA libraries derived from freshly micro-dissected SAMs from 10-day-old garden peas (Pisum sativum cv Torsdag). Custom-designed oligonucleotide arrays were used to compare the transcriptional profiles of pea SAMs and non-meristematic tissues. A total of 184 and 175 transcripts were significantly up- or down-regulated in the pea SAM, respectively. As expected, close to 61% of the transcripts down-regulated in the SAM were found in the public database, whereas sequences from the same source only comprised 12% of the genes that were expressed at higher levels in the SAM. This highlights the under-representation of transcripts from the meristematic tissues in the current public pea protein database, and demonstrates the utility of our SAM EST collection as an essential genetic resource for revealing further information on the regulation of this developmental process. In addition to unknowns, many of the up-regulated transcripts are known to encode products associated with cell division and proliferation, epigenetic regulation, auxin-mediated responses and microRNA regulation.
The presented data provide a picture of the transcriptional profile of the pea SAM, and reveal possible roles of differentially expressed transcripts in meristem function and maintenance.
PMCID: PMC2478663  PMID: 18590528
23.  Nickel availability to pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants limits hydrogenase activity of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae bacteroids by affecting the processing of the hydrogenase structural subunits. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(17):5297-5303.
Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae UPM791 induces the synthesis of an [NiFe] hydrogenase in pea (Pisum sativum L.) bacteroids which oxidizes the H2 generated by the nitrogenase complex inside the root nodules. The synthesis of this hydrogenase requires the genes for the small and large hydrogenase subunits (hupS and hupL, respectively) and 15 accessory genes clustered in a complex locus in the symbiotic plasmid. We show here that the bacteroid hydrogenase activity is limited by the availability of nickel to pea plants. Addition of Ni2+ to plant nutrient solutions (up to 10 mg/liter) resulted in sharp increases (up to 15-fold) in hydrogenase activity. This effect was not detected when other divalent cations (Zn2+, Co2+, Fe2+, and Mn2+) were added at the same concentrations. Determinations of the steady-state levels of hupSL-specific mRNA indicated that this increase in hydrogenase activity was not due to stimulation of transcription of structural genes. Immunoblot analysis with antibodies raised against the large and small subunits of the hydrogenase enzyme demonstrated that in the low-nickel situation, both subunits are mainly present in slow-migrating, unprocessed forms. Supplementation of the plant nutrient solution with increasing nickel concentrations caused the conversion of the slow-migrating forms of both subunits into fast-moving, mature forms. This nickel-dependent maturation process of the hydrogenase subunits is mediated by accessory gene products, since bacteroids from H2 uptake-deficient mutants carrying Tn5 insertions in hupG and hupK and in hypB and hypE accumulated the immature forms of both hydrogenase subunits even in the presence of high nickel levels.
PMCID: PMC196714  PMID: 8071205
24.  Repetitive DNA in the pea (Pisum sativum L.) genome: comprehensive characterization using 454 sequencing and comparison to soybean and Medicago truncatula 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:427.
Extraordinary size variation of higher plant nuclear genomes is in large part caused by differences in accumulation of repetitive DNA. This makes repetitive DNA of great interest for studying the molecular mechanisms shaping architecture and function of complex plant genomes. However, due to methodological constraints of conventional cloning and sequencing, a global description of repeat composition is available for only a very limited number of higher plants. In order to provide further data required for investigating evolutionary patterns of repeated DNA within and between species, we used a novel approach based on massive parallel sequencing which allowed a comprehensive repeat characterization in our model species, garden pea (Pisum sativum).
Analysis of 33.3 Mb sequence data resulted in quantification and partial sequence reconstruction of major repeat families occurring in the pea genome with at least thousands of copies. Our results showed that the pea genome is dominated by LTR-retrotransposons, estimated at 140,000 copies/1C. Ty3/gypsy elements are less diverse and accumulated to higher copy numbers than Ty1/copia. This is in part due to a large population of Ogre-like retrotransposons which alone make up over 20% of the genome. In addition to numerous types of mobile elements, we have discovered a set of novel satellite repeats and two additional variants of telomeric sequences. Comparative genome analysis revealed that there are only a few repeat sequences conserved between pea and soybean genomes. On the other hand, all major families of pea mobile elements are well represented in M. truncatula.
We have demonstrated that even in a species with a relatively large genome like pea, where a single 454-sequencing run provided only 0.77% coverage, the generated sequences were sufficient to reconstruct and analyze major repeat families corresponding to a total of 35–48% of the genome. These data provide a starting point for further investigations of legume plant genomes based on their global comparative analysis and for the development of more sophisticated approaches for data mining.
PMCID: PMC2206039  PMID: 18031571
25.  Characterization and structural analysis of wild type and a non-abscission mutant at the development funiculus (Def) locus in Pisum sativum L 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:76.
In pea seeds (Pisum sativum L.), the Def locus defines an abscission event where the seed separates from the funicle through the intervening hilum region at maturity. A spontaneous mutation at this locus results in the seed failing to abscise from the funicle as occurs in wild type peas. In this work, structural differences between wild type peas that developed a distinct abscission zone (AZ) between the funicle and the seed coat and non-abscission def mutant were characterized.
A clear abscission event was observed in wild type pea seeds that were associated with a distinct double palisade layers at the junction between the seed coat and funicle. Generally, mature seeds fully developed an AZ, which was not present in young wild type seeds. The AZ was formed exactly below the counter palisade layer. In contrast, the palisade layers at the junction of the seed coat and funicle were completely absent in the def mutant pea seeds and the cells in this region were seen to be extensions of surrounding parenchymatous cells.
The Def wild type developed a distinct AZ associated with palisade layer and counterpalisade layer at the junction of the seed coat and funicle while the def mutant pea seed showed non-abscission and an absence of the double palisade layers in the same region. We conclude that the presence of the double palisade layer in the hilum of the wild type pea seeds plays an important structural role in AZ formation by delimiting the specific region between the seed coat and the funicle and may play a structural role in the AZ formation and subsequent detachment of the seed from the funicle.
PMCID: PMC2717967  PMID: 19549315

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