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1.  Isolation and Characterization of cDNA Encoding Three Dehydrins Expressed During Coffea canephora (Robusta) Grain Development 
Annals of Botany  2006;97(5):755-765.
• Background and Aims Dehydrins, or group 2 late embryogenic abundant proteins (LEA), are hydrophilic Gly-rich proteins that are induced in vegetative tissues in response to dehydration, elevated salt, and low temperature, in addition to being expressed during the late stages of seed maturation. With the aim of characterizing and studying genes involved in osmotic stress tolerance in coffee, several full-length cDNA-encoding dehydrins (CcDH1, CcDH2 and CcDH3) and an LEA protein (CcLEA1) from Coffea canephora (robusta) were isolated and characterized.
• Methods The protein sequences deduced from the full-length cDNA were analysed to classify each dehydrin/LEA gene product and RT–PCR was used to determine the expression pattern of all four genes during pericarp and grain development, and in several other tissues of C. arabica and C. canephora. Primer-assisted genome walking was used to isolate the promoter region of the grain specific dehydrin gene (CcDH2).
• Key Results The CcDH1 and CcDH2 genes encode Y3SK2 dehydrins and the CcDH3 gene encodes an SK3 dehydrin. CcDH1 and CcDH2 are expressed during the final stages of arabica and robusta grain development, but only the CcDH1 transcripts are clearly detected in other tissues such as pericarp, leaves and flowers. CcDH3 transcripts are also found in developing arabica and robusta grain, in addition to being detected in pericarp, stem, leaves and flowers. CcLEA1 transcripts were only detected during a brief period of grain development. Finally, over 1 kb of genomic sequence potentially encoding the entire grain-specific promoter region of the CcDH2 gene was isolated and characterized.
• Conclusions cDNA sequences for three dehydrins and one LEA protein have been obtained and the expression of the associated genes has been determined in various tissues of arabica and robusta coffees. Because induction of dehydrin gene expression is associated with osmotic stress in other plants, the dehydrin sequences presented here will facilitate future studies on the induction and control of the osmotic stress response in coffee. The unique expression pattern observed for CcLEA1, and the expression of a related gene in other plants, suggests that this gene may play an important role in the development of grain endosperm tissue. Genomic DNA containing the grain-specific CcDH2 promoter region has been cloned. Sequence analysis indicates that this promoter contains several putative regulatory sites implicated in the control of both seed- and osmotic stress-specific gene expression. Thus, the CcDH2 promoter is likely to be a useful tool for basic studies on the control of gene expression during both grain maturation and osmotic stress in coffee.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcl032
PMCID: PMC2803416  PMID: 16504969
Dehydrins; late embryogenic abundant protein (LEA); seed development; Coffea; C. canephora; C. arabica; Rubiaceae
2.  Diverse accumulation of several dehydrin-like proteins in cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), Arabidopsis thaliana and yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus) mitochondria under cold and heat stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:181.
Background
Dehydrins represent hydrophilic proteins acting mainly during cell dehydration and stress response. Dehydrins are generally thermostable; however, the so-called dehydrin-like (dehydrin-related) proteins show variable thermolability. Both groups immunoreact with antibodies directed against the K-segment of dehydrins. Plant mitochondrial dehydrin-like proteins are poorly characterized. The purpose of this study was to extend previous reports on plant dehydrins by comparing the level of immunoprecipitated dehydrin-like proteins in cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), Arabidopsis thaliana and yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus) mitochondria under cold and heat stress.
Results
All the analyzed plant species showed constitutive accumulation of thermostable mitochondrial putative dehydrins ranging from 50 to 70 kDa. The mitochondrial dehydrin-like proteins observed in cauliflower and Arabidopsis ranged from 10 to 100 kDa and in lupin imbibed seeds and hypocotyls - from 20 to 90 kDa. Cold treatment increased mainly the accumulation of 10-100 kDa cauliflower and Arabidopsis dehydrin-like proteins, in the patterns different in cauliflower leaf and inflorescence mitochondria. However, in lupin mitochondria, cold affected mainly 25-50 kDa proteins and seemed to induce the appearance of some novel dehydrin-like proteins. The influence of frost stress on cauliflower leaf mitochondrial dehydrin- like proteins was less significant. The impact of heat stress was less significant in lupin and Arabidopsis than in cauliflower inflorescence mitochondria. Cauliflower mitochondrial dehydrin-like proteins are localized mostly in the mitochondrial matrix; it seems that some of them may interact with mitochondrial membranes.
Conclusions
All the results reveal an unexpectedly broad spectrum of dehydrin-like proteins accumulated during some abiotic stress in the mitochondria of the plant species analyzed. They display only limited similarity in size to those reported previously in maize, wheat and rye mitochondria. Some small thermolabile dehydrin-like proteins were induced under stress conditions applied and therefore they are likely to be involved in stress response.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-181
PMCID: PMC3095311  PMID: 20718974
3.  Accumulation of dehydrin-like proteins in the mitochondria of cereals in response to cold, freezing, drought and ABA treatment 
BMC Plant Biology  2002;2:5.
Background
Dehydrins are known as Group II late embryogenesis abundant proteins. Their high hydrophilicity and thermostability suggest that they may be structure stabilizers with detergent and chaperone-like properties. They are localised in the nucleus, cytoplasm, and plasma membrane. We have recently found putative dehydrins in the mitochondria of some cereals in response to cold. It is not known whether dehydrin-like proteins accumulate in plant mitochondria in response to stimuli other than cold stress.
Results
We have found five putative dehydrins in the mitochondria of winter wheat, rye and maize seedlings. Two of these polypeptides had the same molecular masses in all three species (63 and 52 kD) and were thermostable. Drought, freezing, cold, and exogenous ABA treatment led to higher accumulation of dehydrin-like protein (dlp) 63 kD in the rye and wheat mitochondria. Protein 52 kD was induced by cold adaptation and ABA. Some accumulation of these proteins in the maize mitochondria was found after cold exposition only. The other three proteins appeared to be heat-sensitive and were either slightly induced or not induced at all by all treatments used.
Conclusions
We have found that, not only cold, but also drought, freezing and exogenous ABA treatment result in accumulation of the thermostable dehydrins in plant mitochondria. Most cryotolerant species such as wheat and rye accumulate more heat-stable dehydrins than cryosensitive species such as maize. It has been supposed that their function is to stabilize proteins in the membrane or in the matrix. Heat-sensitive putative dehydrins probably are not involved in the stress reaction and adaptation of plants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-2-5
PMCID: PMC116594  PMID: 12057012
4.  Involvement of Multiple Types of Dehydrins in the Freezing Response in Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87575.
Dehydrins (DHNs) are a family of plant proteins typically induced in response to stress conditions that cause cellular dehydration, such as low temperatures, high salinity, and drought. Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a perennial fruit crop that blossoms during winter. Loquat fruitlets are frequently injured by freezing. To evaluate the role of the EjDHNs in freezing resistance in loquat fruitlets, two cultivars of loquat, the freezing-sensitive ‘Ninghaibai’ (FS-NHB) and the freezing-tolerant ‘Jiajiao’ (FT-JJ), were analyzed under induced freezing stress. Freezing stress led to obvious accumulation of reactive oxygen species and considerable lipid peroxidation in membranes during the treatment period. Both these phenomena were more pronounced in ‘FS-NHB’ than in ‘FS-JJ.’ Immunogold labeling of dehydrin protein was performed. DHN proteins were found to be concentrated mainly in the vicinity of the plasma membrane, and the density of the immunogold labeling was significantly higher after freezing treatment, especially in the more freezing-tolerant cultivar ‘FT-JJ.’ Seven DHNs, showing four different structure types, were obtained from loquat fruitlets and used to study the characteristics of different EjDHN proteins. These DHN proteins are all highly hydrophilic, but they differ significantly in size, ranging from 188 to 475 amino acids, and in biochemical properties, such as theoretical pI, aliphatic index, and instability index. Freezing treatment resulted in up-regulation of the expression levels of all seven EjDHNs, regardless of structure type. The accumulation of the transcripts of these EjDHN genes was much more pronounced in ‘FT-JJ’ than in ‘FS-NHB.’ Altogether, this study provides evidence that EjDHNs are involved in the cryoprotection of the plasma membrane during freeze-induced dehydration in loquat fruitlets.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087575
PMCID: PMC3909202  PMID: 24498141
5.  Molecular and functional characterization of cold-responsive C-repeat binding factors from Brachypodium distachyon 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:15.
Background
Adverse environmental conditions severely influence various aspects of plant growth and developmental processes, causing worldwide reduction of crop yields. The C-repeat binding factors (CBFs) are critical transcription factors constituting the gene regulatory network that mediates the acclimation process to low temperatures. They regulate a large number of cold-responsive genes, including COLD-REGULATED (COR) genes, via the CBF-COR regulon. Recent studies have shown that the CBF transcription factors also play a role in plant responses to drought and salt stresses. Putative CBF gene homologues and their downstream genes are also present in the genome of Brachypodium distachyon, which is perceived as a monocot model in recent years. However, they have not been functionally characterized at the molecular level.
Results
Three CBF genes that are responsive to cold were identified from Brachypodium, designated BdCBF1, BdCBF2, and BdCBF3, and they were functionally characterized by molecular biological and transgenic approaches in Brachypodium and Arabidopsis thaliana. Our results demonstrate that the BdCBF genes contribute to the tolerance response of Brachypodium to cold, drought, and salt stresses by regulating downstream targets, such as DEHYDRIN5.1 (Dhn5.1) and COR genes. The BdCBF genes are induced under the environmental stress conditions. The BdCBF proteins possess transcriptional activation activity and bind directly to the promoters of the target genes. Transgenic Brachypodium plants overexpressing the BdCBF genes exhibited enhanced resistance to drought and salt stresses as well as low temperatures, and accordingly endogenous contents of proline and soluble sugars were significantly elevated in the transgenic plants. The BdCBF transcription factors are also functional in the heterologous system Arabidopsis. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing the BdCBF genes were also tolerant to freezing, drought, and salt stresses, and a set of stress-responsive genes was upregulated in the transgenic Arabidopsis plants.
Conclusions
Taken together, our results strongly support that the BdCBF transcription factors are key regulators of cold stress responses in Brachypodium and the CBF-mediated cold stress signaling pathway is conserved in this plant species. We believe that this study would confer great impact on stress biology in monocot species and could be applied to engineer abiotic stress tolerance of bioenergy grass species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-15
PMCID: PMC3898008  PMID: 24405987
Brachypodium distachyon; C-repeat binding factor (CBF); COLD-REGULATED (COR); Abiotic stress tolerance; Arabidopsis thaliana
6.  Identification of the dehydrin gene family from grapevine species and analysis of their responsiveness to various forms of abiotic and biotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:140.
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-140
PMCID: PMC3460772  PMID: 22882870
Grapevine; Dehydrin; Stress-induced expression; Powdery mildew; Promoter
7.  Dehydrin-like Proteins in the Necrotrophic Fungus Alternaria brassicicola Have a Role in Plant Pathogenesis and Stress Response 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75143.
In this study, the roles of fungal dehydrin-like proteins in pathogenicity and protection against environmental stresses were investigated in the necrotrophic seed-borne fungus Alternaria brassicicola. Three proteins (called AbDhn1, AbDhn2 and AbDhn3), harbouring the asparagine-proline-arginine (DPR) signature pattern and sharing the characteristic features of fungal dehydrin-like proteins, were identified in the A. brassicicola genome. The expression of these genes was induced in response to various stresses and found to be regulated by the AbHog1 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. A knock-out approach showed that dehydrin-like proteins have an impact mainly on oxidative stress tolerance and on conidial survival upon exposure to high and freezing temperatures. The subcellular localization revealed that AbDhn1 and AbDhn2 were associated with peroxisomes, which is consistent with a possible perturbation of protective mechanisms to counteract oxidative stress and maintain the redox balance in AbDhn mutants. Finally, we show that the double deletion mutant ΔΔabdhn1-abdhn2 was highly compromised in its pathogenicity. By comparison to the wild-type, this mutant exhibited lower aggressiveness on B. oleracea leaves and a reduced capacity to be transmitted to Arabidopsis seeds via siliques. The double mutant was also affected with respect to conidiation, another crucial step in the epidemiology of the disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075143
PMCID: PMC3788798  PMID: 24098369
8.  A dehydration-inducible gene in the truffle Tuber borchii identifies a novel group of dehydrins 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:39.
Background
The expressed sequence tag M6G10 was originally isolated from a screening for differentially expressed transcripts during the reproductive stage of the white truffle Tuber borchii. mRNA levels for M6G10 increased dramatically during fruiting body maturation compared to the vegetative mycelial stage.
Results
Bioinformatics tools, phylogenetic analysis and expression studies were used to support the hypothesis that this sequence, named TbDHN1, is the first dehydrin (DHN)-like coding gene isolated in fungi. Homologs of this gene, all defined as "coding for hypothetical proteins" in public databases, were exclusively found in ascomycetous fungi and in plants. Although complete (or almost complete) fungal genomes and EST collections of some Basidiomycota and Glomeromycota are already available, DHN-like proteins appear to be represented only in Ascomycota. A new and previously uncharacterized conserved signature pattern was identified and proposed to Uniprot database as the main distinguishing feature of this new group of DHNs. Expression studies provide experimental evidence of a transcript induction of TbDHN1 during cellular dehydration.
Conclusion
Expression pattern and sequence similarities to known plant DHNs indicate that TbDHN1 is the first characterized DHN-like protein in fungi. The high similarity of TbDHN1 with homolog coding sequences implies the existence of a novel fungal/plant group of LEA Class II proteins characterized by a previously undescribed signature pattern.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-39
PMCID: PMC1550403  PMID: 16512918
9.  Transcriptome profiling in conifers and the PiceaGenExpress database show patterns of diversification within gene families and interspecific conservation in vascular gene expression 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:434.
Background
Conifers have very large genomes (13 to 30 Gigabases) that are mostly uncharacterized although extensive cDNA resources have recently become available. This report presents a global overview of transcriptome variation in a conifer tree and documents conservation and diversity of gene expression patterns among major vegetative tissues.
Results
An oligonucleotide microarray was developed from Picea glauca and P. sitchensis cDNA datasets. It represents 23,853 unique genes and was shown to be suitable for transcriptome profiling in several species. A comparison of secondary xylem and phelloderm tissues showed that preferential expression in these vascular tissues was highly conserved among Picea spp. RNA-Sequencing strongly confirmed tissue preferential expression and provided a robust validation of the microarray design. A small database of transcription profiles called PiceaGenExpress was developed from over 150 hybridizations spanning eight major tissue types. In total, transcripts were detected for 92% of the genes on the microarray, in at least one tissue. Non-annotated genes were predominantly expressed at low levels in fewer tissues than genes of known or predicted function. Diversity of expression within gene families may be rapidly assessed from PiceaGenExpress. In conifer trees, dehydrins and late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) osmotic regulation proteins occur in large gene families compared to angiosperms. Strong contrasts and low diversity was observed in the dehydrin family, while diverse patterns suggested a greater degree of diversification among LEAs.
Conclusion
Together, the oligonucleotide microarray and the PiceaGenExpress database represent the first resource of this kind for gymnosperm plants. The spruce transcriptome analysis reported here is expected to accelerate genetic studies in the large and important group comprised of conifer trees.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-434
PMCID: PMC3534630  PMID: 22931377
10.  Giving drought the cold shoulder: a relationship between drought tolerance and fall dormancy in an agriculturally important crop 
AoB Plants  2014;6:plu012.
Fall dormant/freezing tolerant plants often also exhibit superior tolerance to drought conditions compared to their non-fall dormant/freezing intolerant counterparts. This experiment aimed to investigate this phenomenon in an agriculturally important crop. Seven alfalfa cultivars with varying levels of fall dormancy/freezing tolerance were exposed to a water deficit. The more fall dormant cultivars had superior tolerance to a mild water deficit. Two genes, CAS18 (encodes for a dehydrin like protein) and CorF (encodes for a galactinol synthase), were up regulated in association with this drought tolerance. Both these genes are early response genes, providing clues to the stress signalling pathways involved.
The growth of fall dormant/freezing tolerant plants often surpasses the growth of non-fall dormant/non-freezing tolerant types of the same species under water-limited conditions, while under irrigated conditions non-fall dormant types exhibit superior yield performance. To investigate the mechanism behind this phenomenon, we exposed seven diverse alfalfa (Medicago sativa) cultivars to water-limited and fully watered conditions and measured their shoot growth, shoot water potential and gas exchange parameters and the relative abundance of taproot RNA transcripts associated with chilling stress/freezing tolerance. Fall dormant cultivars had greater shoot growth relative to the fully watered controls under a mild water deficit (a cumulative water deficit of 625 mL pot−1) and did not close their stomata until lower shoot water potentials compared with the more non-fall dormant cultivars. Several gene transcripts previously associated with freezing tolerance increased in abundance when plants were exposed to a mild water deficit. Two transcripts, corF (encodes galactinol synthase) and cas18 (encodes a dehydrin-like protein), increased in abundance in fall dormant cultivars only. Once water deficit stress became severe (a cumulative water deficit of 2530 mL pot−1), the difference between fall dormancy groups disappeared with the exception of the expression of a type 1 sucrose synthase gene, which decreased in fall dormant cultivars. The specific adaptation of fall dormant cultivars to mild water deficit conditions and the increase in abundance of specific genes typically associated with freezing tolerance in these cultivars is further evidence of a link between freezing tolerance/fall dormancy and adaption to drought conditions in this species.
doi:10.1093/aobpla/plu012
PMCID: PMC4038438  PMID: 24790133
Alfalfa; forage legumes; gene expression; lucerne; moisture stress.
11.  Natural antisense transcripts of Trifolium repens dehydrins 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(12):e27674.
The recently described complex nature of some dehydrin-coding sequences in Trifolium repens could explain the considerable variability among transcripts originating from a single gene.1 For some of the sequences the existence of natural antisense transcripts (NATs), which could form sense-antisense (SAS) pairs, was predicted. The present study demonstrates that cis-natural antisense transcripts of 2 dehydrin types (YnKn and YnSKn) accumulate in white clover plants subjected to treatments with polyethylene glycol (PEG), abscisic acid (ABA), and high salt concentration. The isolated YnKn cis-NATs mapped to sequence site enriched in alternative start codons. Some of the sense-antisense pairs exhibited inverse expression with differing profiles which depended on the applied stress. A natural antisense transcript coding for an ABC F family protein (a trans-NAT) which shares short sequence homology with YnSKn dehydrin was identified in plants subjected to salt stress. Forthcoming experiments will evaluate the impact of NATs on transcript abundances, elucidating the role of transcriptional and post-transcriptional interferences in the regulation of dehydrin levels under various abiotic stresses.
doi:10.4161/psb.27674
PMCID: PMC4091226  PMID: 24390012
Dehydrins; natural antisense transcripts; sense-antisense pairs; splice variants; Trifolium repens
12.  PR-10, defensin and cold dehydrin genes are among those over expressed in Oxytropis (Fabaceae) species adapted to the arctic 
Functional & Integrative Genomics  2011;11(3):497-505.
In many studied plants, typical responses to cold treatment include up-regulating the hydrophilic COR/LEA genes and down-regulating photosynthesis-related genes, carbohydrate metabolism, GDSL-motif lipase, hormone metabolism and oxidative regulation genes. However, next to nothing is known about gene expression in arctic plants, which are actually adapted to a harsh, cold environment. The molecular mechanisms behind the many specific adaptations of arctic plants, such as slow growth, well-developed root systems and short stature, are not well understood. In this study, we examine whole plantlet transcriptome differences between two arctic and two temperate Oxytropis (Fabaceae) species, grown under their respective controlled environmental conditions. Gene expression differences are analyzed using cDNA library subtraction followed by expressed sequence tags sequencing and annotation. Sequences from a total of nearly 2,000 clones cluster into 121 and 368 unique genes from the arctic and from the temperate plants, respectively. The predominant biological process for genes from the arctic-enriched library is “response to stimulus”. A concurrent overexpression of pathogenesis-related class 10 proteins (PR-10), plant defensin and cold dehydrin genes is a novel feature for species adapted to stressful growth environment. The temperate-enriched genes are involved in photosynthesis, translation and nucleosome assembly. Interestingly, both arctic and temperate-enriched libraries also contain genes involved in ribosome biogenesis and assembly, however of different types. Real-time reverse transcription PCR of cold dehydrin and two PR-10 genes, as well as the light harvesting complex b1 genes demonstrates that the gene expression is dependent on species and growth conditions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10142-011-0223-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10142-011-0223-6
PMCID: PMC3156302  PMID: 21499864
Arctic; Plant; Gene expression; Oxytropis; Library subtraction; Defence response
13.  LEA (Late Embryogenesis Abundant) proteins and their encoding genes in Arabidopsis thaliana 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:118.
Background
LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) proteins have first been described about 25 years ago as accumulating late in plant seed development. They were later found in vegetative plant tissues following environmental stress and also in desiccation tolerant bacteria and invertebrates. Although they are widely assumed to play crucial roles in cellular dehydration tolerance, their physiological and biochemical functions are largely unknown.
Results
We present a genome-wide analysis of LEA proteins and their encoding genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. We identified 51 LEA protein encoding genes in the Arabidopsis genome that could be classified into nine distinct groups. Expression studies were performed on all genes at different developmental stages, in different plant organs and under different stress and hormone treatments using quantitative RT-PCR. We found evidence of expression for all 51 genes. There was only little overlap between genes expressed in vegetative tissues and in seeds and expression levels were generally higher in seeds. Most genes encoding LEA proteins had abscisic acid response (ABRE) and/or low temperature response (LTRE) elements in their promoters and many genes containing the respective promoter elements were induced by abscisic acid, cold or drought. We also found that 33% of all Arabidopsis LEA protein encoding genes are arranged in tandem repeats and that 43% are part of homeologous pairs. The majority of LEA proteins were predicted to be highly hydrophilic and natively unstructured, but some were predicted to be folded.
Conclusion
The analyses indicate a wide range of sequence diversity, intracellular localizations, and expression patterns. The high fraction of retained duplicate genes and the inferred functional diversification indicate that they confer an evolutionary advantage for an organism under varying stressful environmental conditions. This comprehensive analysis will be an important starting point for future efforts to elucidate the functional role of these enigmatic proteins.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-118
PMCID: PMC2292704  PMID: 18318901
14.  Identification of Cis-Acting Promoter Elements in Cold- and Dehydration-Induced Transcriptional Pathways in Arabidopsis, Rice, and Soybean 
The genomes of three plants, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), rice (Oryza sativa), and soybean (Glycine max), have been sequenced, and their many genes and promoters have been predicted. In Arabidopsis, cis-acting promoter elements involved in cold- and dehydration-responsive gene expression have been extensively analysed; however, the characteristics of such cis-acting promoter sequences in cold- and dehydration-inducible genes of rice and soybean remain to be clarified. In this study, we performed microarray analyses using the three species, and compared characteristics of identified cold- and dehydration-inducible genes. Transcription profiles of the cold- and dehydration-responsive genes were similar among these three species, showing representative upregulated (dehydrin/LEA) and downregulated (photosynthesis-related) genes. All (46 = 4096) hexamer sequences in the promoters of the three species were investigated, revealing the frequency of conserved sequences in cold- and dehydration-inducible promoters. A core sequence of the abscisic acid-responsive element (ABRE) was the most conserved in dehydration-inducible promoters of all three species, suggesting that transcriptional regulation for dehydration-inducible genes is similar among these three species, with the ABRE-dependent transcriptional pathway. In contrast, for cold-inducible promoters, the conserved hexamer sequences were diversified among these three species, suggesting the existence of diverse transcriptional regulatory pathways for cold-inducible genes among the species.
doi:10.1093/dnares/dsr040
PMCID: PMC3276264  PMID: 22184637
plant genome; cis-acting promoter elements; cold; dehydration; microarray
15.  LEA polypeptide profiling of recalcitrant and orthodox legume seeds reveals ABI3-regulated LEA protein abundance linked to desiccation tolerance 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(14):4559-4573.
In contrast to orthodox seeds that acquire desiccation tolerance during maturation, recalcitrant seeds are unable to survive drying. These desiccation-sensitive seeds constitute an interesting model for comparative analysis with phylogenetically close species that are desiccation tolerant. Considering the importance of LEA (late embryogenesis abundant) proteins as protective molecules both in drought and in desiccation tolerance, the heat-stable proteome was characterized in cotyledons of the legume Castanospermum australe and it was compared with that of the orthodox model legume Medicago truncatula. RNA sequencing identified transcripts of 16 homologues out of 17 LEA genes for which polypeptides are detected in M. truncatula seeds. It is shown that for 12 LEA genes, polypeptides were either absent or strongly reduced in C. australe cotyledons compared with M. truncatula seeds. Instead, osmotically responsive, non-seed-specific dehydrins accumulated to high levels in the recalcitrant cotyledons compared with orthodox seeds. Next, M. truncatula mutants of the ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3) gene were characterized. Mature Mtabi3 seeds were found to be desiccation sensitive when dried below a critical water content of 0.4g H2O g DW–1. Characterization of the LEA proteome of the Mtabi3 seeds revealed a subset of LEA proteins with severely reduced abundance that were also found to be reduced or absent in C. australe cotyledons. Transcripts of these genes were indeed shown to be ABI3 responsive. The results highlight those LEA proteins that are critical to desiccation tolerance and suggest that comparable regulatory pathways responsible for their accumulation are missing in both desiccation-sensitive genotypes, revealing new insights into the mechanistic basis of the recalcitrant trait in seeds.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ert274
PMCID: PMC3808335  PMID: 24043848
abi3; Castanospermum australe; desiccation tolerance; late embryogenesis abundant proteins; Medicago truncatula; proteomics; recalcitrant seed; RNAseq.
16.  Proteomic and phosphoproteomic analysis of polyethylene glycol-induced osmotic stress in root tips of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(18):5569-5586.
Previous studies have shown that polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced osmotic stress (OS) reduces cell-wall (CW) porosity and limits aluminium (Al) uptake by root tips of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). A subsequent transcriptomic study suggested that genes related to CW processes are involved in adjustment to OS. In this study, a proteomic and phosphoproteomic approach was applied to identify OS-induced protein regulation to further improve our understanding of how OS affects Al accumulation. Analysis of total soluble proteins in root tips indicated that, in total, 22 proteins were differentially regulated by OS; these proteins were functionally categorized. Seventy-seven per- cent of the total expressed proteins were involved in metabolic pathways, particularly of carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. An analysis of the apoplastic proteome revealed that OS reduced the level of five proteins and increased that of seven proteins. Investigation of the total soluble phosphoproteome suggested that dehydrin responded to OS with an enhanced phosphorylation state without a change in abundance. A cellular immunolocalization analysis indicated that dehydrin was localized mainly in the CW. This suggests that dehydrin may play a major protective role in the OS-induced physical breakdown of the CW structure and thus maintenance of the reversibility of CW extensibility during recovery from OS. The proteomic and phosphoproteomic analyses provided novel insights into the complex mechanisms of OS-induced reduction of Al accumulation in the root tips of common bean and highlight a key role for modification of CW structure.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ert328
PMCID: PMC3871817  PMID: 24123251
Apoplast; cell wall; common bean; dehydrin; phosphoproteomics; proteomics; root tips.
17.  A transient assay system for the assessment of cell-autonomous gene function in dehydration-stressed barley 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2008;59(12):3359-3369.
Drought is a serious, worldwide problem for crop production and also affects yields of barley and wheat, together with other stressors such as frost, viral diseases, or fungal pathogens. Although a number of candidate genes have been identified by transcriptome approaches in recent years, only very few have been tested in functional assays for a beneficial effect on drought tolerance. Here, a transient assay system in microprojectile-bombarded barley leaves is described that allows the functional testing of dehydration stress-related candidate genes by RNA interference (RNAi) or overexpression. Cellular stress or damage in dedydrated leaves is reported by a reduced accumulation of slowly maturing, native red-fluorescing protein DsRed that is known to be sensitive to denaturing conditions. After a dehydration-stress period of 4 d during which the relative fresh weight of leaves was kept at 60–66% of initial fresh weight, a reproducible reduction of normalized DsRed fluorescence was observed. In order to obtain proof of concept, a number of barley mRNAs homologous to drought response genes were selected and targeted by transient induced gene silencing (TIGS). TIGS of four tested genes resulted in a significantly stronger decrease of normalized DsRed fluorescence in dehydration-stressed leaves, whereas they had no effect in fully turgescent control leaves. These genes encode barley drought-responsive factor HvDRF1 (DREB2-like), dehydrin 6, late embryogenesis-abundant protein HVA1, and the vacuolar sodium/proton antiporter HvHNX1. The four targeted transcripts were also found to accumulate rapidly in dehydration-stressed barley leaf segments. The results suggest a value of the TIGS system for functional pre-screening of larger numbers of drought or dehydration stress-related candidate genes in barley.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ern186
PMCID: PMC2529241  PMID: 18641397
DsRed; particle bombardment; RNAi; single cell
18.  OsLEA3-2, an Abiotic Stress Induced Gene of Rice Plays a Key Role in Salt and Drought Tolerance 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45117.
Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are involved in tolerance to drought, cold and high salinity in many different organisms. In this report, a LEA protein producing full-length gene OsLEA3-2 was identified in rice (Oryza sativa) using the Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE) method. OsLEA3-2 was found to be only expressed in the embryo and can be induced by abiotic stresses. The coding protein localizes to the nucleus and overexpression of OsLEA3-2 in yeast improved growth performance compared with control under salt- and osmotic-stress conditions. OsLEA3-2 was also inserted into pHB vector and overexpressed in Arabidopsis and rice. The transgenic Arabidopsis seedlings showed better growth on MS media supplemented with 150 mM mannitol or 100 mM NaCl as compared with wild type plants. The transgenic rice also showed significantly stronger growth performance than control under salinity or osmotic stress conditions and were able to recover after 20 days of drought stress. In vitro analysis showed that OsLEA3-2 was able to protect LDH from aggregation on freezing and inactivation on desiccation. These results indicated that OsLEA3-2 plays an important role in tolerance to abiotic stresses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045117
PMCID: PMC3443202  PMID: 23024799
19.  The rehydration transcriptome of the desiccation-tolerant bryophyte Tortula ruralis: transcript classification and analysis 
BMC Genomics  2004;5:89.
Background
The cellular response of plants to water-deficits has both economic and evolutionary importance directly affecting plant productivity in agriculture and plant survival in the natural environment. Genes induced by water-deficit stress have been successfully enumerated in plants that are relatively sensitive to cellular dehydration, however we have little knowledge as to the adaptive role of these genes in establishing tolerance to water loss at the cellular level. Our approach to address this problem has been to investigate the genetic responses of plants that are capable of tolerating extremes of dehydration, in particular the desiccation-tolerant bryophyte, Tortula ruralis. To establish a sound basis for characterizing the Tortula genome in regards to desiccation tolerance, we analyzed 10,368 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from rehydrated rapid-dried Tortula gametophytes, a stage previously determined to exhibit the maximum stress induced change in gene expression.
Results
The 10, 368 ESTs formed 5,563 EST clusters (contig groups representing individual genes) of which 3,321 (59.7%) exhibited similarity to genes present in the public databases and 2,242 were categorized as unknowns based on protein homology scores. The 3,321 clusters were classified by function using the Gene Ontology (GO) hierarchy and the KEGG database. The results indicate that the transcriptome contains a diverse population of transcripts that reflects, as expected, a period of metabolic upheaval in the gametophyte cells. Much of the emphasis within the transcriptome is centered on the protein synthetic machinery, ion and metabolite transport, and membrane biosynthesis and repair. Rehydrating gametophytes also have an abundance of transcripts that code for enzymes involved in oxidative stress metabolism and phosphorylating activities. The functional classifications reflect a remarkable consistency with what we have previously established with regards to the metabolic activities that are important in the recovery of the gametophytes from desiccation. A comparison of the GO distribution of Tortula clusters with an identical analysis of 9,981 clusters from the desiccation sensitive bryophyte species Physcomitrella patens, revealed, and accentuated, the differences between stressed and unstressed transcriptomes. Cross species sequence comparisons indicated that on the whole the Tortula clusters were more closely related to those from Physcomitrella than Arabidopsis (complete genome BLASTx comparison) although because of the differences in the databases there were more high scoring matches to the Arabidopsis sequences. The most abundant transcripts contained within the Tortula ESTs encode Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins that are normally associated with drying plant tissues. This suggests that LEAs may also play a role in recovery from desiccation when water is reintroduced into a dried tissue.
Conclusion
The establishment of a rehydration EST collection for Tortula ruralis, an important plant model for plant stress responses and vegetative desiccation tolerance, is an important step in understanding the genome level response to cellular dehydration. The type of transcript analysis performed here has laid the foundation for more detailed functional and genome level analyses of the genes involved in desiccation tolerance in plants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-5-89
PMCID: PMC535811  PMID: 15546486
20.  Sequence Evolution and Expression Regulation of Stress-Responsive Genes in Natural Populations of Wild Tomato 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78182.
The wild tomato species Solanum chilense and S. peruvianum are a valuable non-model system for studying plant adaptation since they grow in diverse environments facing many abiotic constraints. Here we investigate the sequence evolution of regulatory regions of drought and cold responsive genes and their expression regulation. The coding regions of these genes were previously shown to exhibit signatures of positive selection. Expression profiles and sequence evolution of regulatory regions of members of the Asr (ABA/water stress/ripening induced) gene family and the dehydrin gene pLC30-15 were analyzed in wild tomato populations from contrasting environments. For S. chilense, we found that Asr4 and pLC30-15 appear to respond much faster to drought conditions in accessions from very dry environments than accessions from more mesic locations. Sequence analysis suggests that the promoter of Asr2 and the downstream region of pLC30-15 are under positive selection in some local populations of S. chilense. By investigating gene expression differences at the population level we provide further support of our previous conclusions that Asr2, Asr4, and pLC30-15 are promising candidates for functional studies of adaptation. Our analysis also demonstrates the power of the candidate gene approach in evolutionary biology research and highlights the importance of wild Solanum species as a genetic resource for their cultivated relatives.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078182
PMCID: PMC3799731  PMID: 24205149
21.  A R2R3-type MYB gene, OsMYB2, is involved in salt, cold, and dehydration tolerance in rice 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(7):2541-2556.
MYB-type transcription factors play a diverse role in plant development and response to abiotic stress. This study isolated a rice R2R3-type MYB gene, OsMYB2, and functionally characterized its role in tolerance to abiotic stress by generating transgenic rice plants with overexpressing and RNA interference OsMYB2. Expression of OsMYB2 was up-regulated by salt, cold, and dehydration stress. OsMYB2 was localized in the nucleus with transactivation activity. No difference in growth and development between the OsMYB2-overexpressing and wild-type plants was observed under normal growth conditions, but the OsMYB2-overexpressing plants were more tolerant to salt, cold, and dehydration stresses and more sensitive to abscisic acid than wild-type plants. The OsMYB2-overexpressing plants accumulated greater amounts of soluble sugars and proline than wild-type plants under salt stress. Overexpression of OsMYB2 enhanced up-regulation of genes encoding proline synthase and transporters. The OsMYB2-overexpressing plants accumulated less amounts of H2O2 and malondialdehyde. The enhanced activities of antioxidant enzymes, including peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase, may underlie the lower H2O2 contents in OsMYB2-overexpressing plants. There was greater up-regulation of stress-related genes, including OsLEA3, OsRab16A, and OsDREB2A, in the OsMYB2-overexpressing plants. Microarray analysis showed that expression of numerous genes involving diverse functions in stress response was altered in the OsMYB2-overexpressing plants. These findings suggest that OsMYB2 encodes a stress-responsive MYB transcription factor that plays a regulatory role in tolerance of rice to salt, cold, and dehydration stress.
doi:10.1093/jxb/err431
PMCID: PMC3346221  PMID: 22301384
Abiotic stress; MYB; OsMYB2; oxidative stress; proline; rice; soluble sugars
22.  Differentially expressed genes between drought-tolerant and drought-sensitive barley genotypes in response to drought stress during the reproductive stage 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2009;60(12):3531-3544.
Drought tolerance is a key trait for increasing and stabilizing barley productivity in dry areas worldwide. Identification of the genes responsible for drought tolerance in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) will facilitate understanding of the molecular mechanisms of drought tolerance, and also facilitate the genetic improvement of barley through marker-assisted selection or gene transformation. To monitor the changes in gene expression at the transcriptional level in barley leaves during the reproductive stage under drought conditions, the 22K Affymetrix Barley 1 microarray was used to screen two drought-tolerant barley genotypes, Martin and Hordeum spontaneum 41-1 (HS41-1), and one drought-sensitive genotype Moroc9-75. Seventeen genes were expressed exclusively in the two drought-tolerant genotypes under drought stress, and their encoded proteins may play significant roles in enhancing drought tolerance through controlling stomatal closure via carbon metabolism (NADP malic enzyme, NADP-ME, and pyruvate dehydrogenase, PDH), synthesizing the osmoprotectant glycine-betaine (C-4 sterol methyl oxidase, CSMO), generating protectants against reactive-oxygen-species scavenging (aldehyde dehydrogenase,ALDH, ascorbate-dependent oxidoreductase, ADOR), and stabilizing membranes and proteins (heat-shock protein 17.8, HSP17.8, and dehydrin 3, DHN3). Moreover, 17 genes were abundantly expressed in Martin and HS41-1 compared with Moroc9-75 under both drought and control conditions. These genes were possibly constitutively expressed in drought-tolerant genotypes. Among them, seven known annotated genes might enhance drought tolerance through signalling [such as calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK) and membrane steroid binding protein (MSBP)], anti-senescence (G2 pea dark accumulated protein, GDA2), and detoxification (glutathione S-transferase, GST) pathways. In addition, 18 genes, including those encoding Δl-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS), protein phosphatase 2C-like protein (PP2C), and several chaperones, were differentially expressed in all genotypes under drought; thus they were more likely to be general drought-responsive genes in barley. These results could provide new insights into further understanding of drought-tolerance mechanisms in barley.
doi:10.1093/jxb/erp194
PMCID: PMC2724701  PMID: 19561048
Barley; drought stress; drought tolerance; microarray; reproductive stage
23.  Inducible Expression of Arabidopsis Response Regulator 22 (ARR22), a Type-C ARR, in Transgenic Arabidopsis Enhances Drought and Freezing Tolerance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79248.
The Arabidopsis two-component signaling system, which is comprised of sensor histidine kinases, histidine phosphotransfer proteins, and response regulators, mediates cytokinin response as well as various other plant responses including abiotic stress responses. Arabidopsis response regulators (ARRs) are classified into type-A, -B, and -C. Although the roles of type-A and -B ARRs are well established in Arabidopsis plant signaling, roles of type-C ARRs, ARR22 and ARR24, remain elusive. ARR22, a preferentially cytosolic protein, interacts with certain Arabidopsis histidine phosphotransfer proteins (AHPs) and displays phosphatase activity on AHP5. ARR22 is induced by cold and dehydration. Here, we show that inducible overexpression of ARR22 in Arabidopsis enhanced dehydration, drought, and cold tolerance in a dexamethasone-dependent manner, whereas mutation of the putative phospho-accepting Asp to Asn in ARR22 (ARR22D74N) abolished these tolerance phenotypes. Overexpression of ARR22 decreased electrolyte leakage in dehydration-, drought-, or cold-stressed transgenic Arabidopsis plants compared with that of ARR22D74N or compared with wild-type plants. Transpiration rates and stomatal apertures were not affected by ARR22 overexpression. No significant difference in both dehydration and freezing tolerance was observed between wild-type and arr22 mutants with or without cytokinin preincubation, consistent with the lack of phenotypes of arr22 mutants in their vegetative development. Meta-profile analyses of the microarray data on ARR22-responsive genes indicate that ARR22 modulates expression of a variety of abiotic stress-responsive genes, which might contribute to increasing drought and freezing tolerance. Taken together, these results suggest that ARR22 plays a positive role in the stress tolerance response in part via enhancing cell membrane integrity and that phospho-histidine phosphatase activity of ARR22 may be required for this function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079248
PMCID: PMC3828410  PMID: 24244460
24.  Resurrection plants of the genus Ramonda: prospective survival strategies – unlock further capacity of adaptation, or embark on the path of evolution? 
Paleoendemic species of the monophyletic genus Ramonda (R. myconi, R. serbica and R.~nathaliae) are the remnants of the Tertiary tropical and subtropical flora in Europe. They are the rare resurrection plants of Northern Hemisphere temperate zone. Ramonda serbica and R. nathaliae are chorologically differentiated in the Balkan Peninsula and occupy similar habitats in calcareous, northward slopes in canyons and mountainsides. They remain well-hydrated during spring, late autumn and even in winter. In summer and early autumn when plants are subjected to drought and thermal stress, their desiccation tolerance comes into operation and they fall into anabiosis. Investigations revealed the permanent presence of ubiquitine and its conjugates, high amounts of oxalic acid and proline. Both species are homoiochlorophyllous. It enables them to rapidly resume photosynthesis upon rehydration, but also makes them susceptible to reactive oxygen species formation. Dehydration induces activation of antioxidative enzymes (ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, polyphenol oxidase), increase in amounts of AsA and GSH, phenolic acids, dehydrins, sucrose, and inorganic ions. Plasma membranes, characterized by high amount of cholesterol, are subjected to decrease in membrane fluidity mostly on account of increased level of lipid saturation. Cytogenetic analysis revealed that R. nathaliae is a diploid (2n = 48) and probably evolutionary older species, while R. serbica is a hexaploid (2n = 144). Two species live together in only two localities forming hybrid individuals (2n = 96). Polyploidization is the major evolutionary mechanism in the genus Ramonda that together with hybridization ability indicates that these relict species which have preserved an ancient survival strategy are not the evolutionary “dead end.”The species of the genus Ramonda are promising sources of data important for understanding the complex strategy of resurrection plants’ survival, appraised through a prism of their evolutionary and adaptive potential for multiple environmental stresses.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2013.00550
PMCID: PMC3887321  PMID: 24454318
resurrection plants; Ramonda serbica; Ramonda nathaliae; dehydration; rehydration
25.  Comparative Functional Analysis of Wheat (Triticum aestivum) Zinc Finger-Containing Glycine-Rich RNA-Binding Proteins in Response to Abiotic Stresses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96877.
Although the functional roles of zinc finger-containing glycine-rich RNA-binding proteins (RZs) have been characterized in several plant species, including Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa), the physiological functions of RZs in wheat (Triticum aestivum) remain largely unknown. Here, the functional roles of the three wheat RZ family members, named TaRZ1, TaRZ2, and TaRZ3, were investigated using transgenic Arabidopsis plants under various abiotic stress conditions. Expression of TaRZs was markedly regulated by salt, dehydration, or cold stress. The TaRZ1 and TaRZ3 proteins were localized to the nucleus, whereas the TaRZ2 protein was localized to the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasm. Germination of all three TaRZ-expressing transgenic Arabidopsis seeds was retarded compared with that of wild-type seeds under salt stress conditions, whereas germination of TaRZ2- or TaRZ3-expressing transgenic Arabidopsis seeds was retarded under dehydration stress conditions. Seedling growth of TaRZ1-expressing transgenic plants was severely inhibited under cold or salt stress conditions, and seedling growth of TaRZ2-expressing plants was inhibited under salt stress conditions. By contrast, expression of TaRZ3 did not affect seedling growth of transgenic plants under any of the stress conditions. In addition, expression of TaRZ2 conferred freeze tolerance in Arabidopsis. Taken together, these results suggest that different TaRZ family members play various roles in seed germination, seedling growth, and freeze tolerance in plants under abiotic stress.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096877
PMCID: PMC4011930  PMID: 24800811

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