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1.  Identification of new polymorphic regions and differentiation of cultivated olives (Olea europaea L.) through plastome sequence comparison 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:211.
Background
The cultivated olive (Olea europaea L.) is the most agriculturally important species of the Oleaceae family. Although many studies have been performed on plastid polymorphisms to evaluate taxonomy, phylogeny and phylogeography of Olea subspecies, only few polymorphic regions discriminating among the agronomically and economically important olive cultivars have been identified. The objective of this study was to sequence the entire plastome of olive and analyze many potential polymorphic regions to develop new inter-cultivar genetic markers.
Results
The complete plastid genome of the olive cultivar Frantoio was determined by direct sequence analysis using universal and novel PCR primers designed to amplify all overlapping regions. The chloroplast genome of the olive has an organisation and gene order that is conserved among numerous Angiosperm species and do not contain any of the inversions, gene duplications, insertions, inverted repeat expansions and gene/intron losses that have been found in the chloroplast genomes of the genera Jasminum and Menodora, from the same family as Olea.
The annotated sequence was used to evaluate the content of coding genes, the extent, and distribution of repeated and long dispersed sequences and the nucleotide composition pattern. These analyses provided essential information for structural, functional and comparative genomic studies in olive plastids. Furthermore, the alignment of the olive plastome sequence to those of other varieties and species identified 30 new organellar polymorphisms within the cultivated olive.
Conclusions
In addition to identifying mutations that may play a functional role in modifying the metabolism and adaptation of olive cultivars, the new chloroplast markers represent a valuable tool to assess the level of olive intercultivar plastome variation for use in population genetic analysis, phylogenesis, cultivar characterisation and DNA food tracking.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-211
PMCID: PMC2956560  PMID: 20868482
2.  1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Study of Olive Oils Commercially Available as Italian Products in the United States of America 
Nutrients  2012;4(5):343-355.
Multivariate analysis of 1H NMR data has been used for the characterization of 12 blended olive oils commercially available in the U.S. as Italian products. Chemometric methods such as unsupervised Principal Component Analysis (PCA) allowed good discrimination and gave some affinity indications for the U.S. market olive oils compared to other single cultivars of extra virgin olive oil such as Coratina and Ogliarola from Apulia, one of Italy’s leading olive oil producers, Picual (Spain), Kalamata (Greece) and Sfax (Tunisia). The olive oils commercially available as Italian products in the U.S. market clustered into 3 groups. Among them only the first (7 samples) and the second group (2 samples) showed PCA ranges similar to European references. Two oils of the third group (3 samples) were more similar to Tunisian references. In conclusion, our study revealed that most EVOO (extra virgin olive oils) tested were closer to Greek (in particular) and Spanish olive oils than Apulia EVOO. The PCA loadings disclose the components responsible for the discrimination as unsaturated (oleic, linoleic, linolenic) and saturated fatty acids. All are of great importance because of their nutritional value and differential effects on the oxidative stability of oils. It is evident that this approach has the potential to reveal the origin of EVOO, although the results support the need for a larger database, including EVOO from other Italian regions.
doi:10.3390/nu4050343
PMCID: PMC3367261  PMID: 22690321
NMR spectroscopy; extra virgin olive oil; U.S. market oils; food origin characterization
3.  Nutrition Metabolism Plays an Important Role in the Alternate Bearing of the Olive Tree (Olea europaea L.) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59876.
The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is widely known for its strong tendency for alternate bearing, which severely affects the fruit yield from year to year. Microarray based gene expression analysis using RNA from olive samples (on-off years leaves and ripe-unripe fruits) are particularly useful to understand the molecular mechanisms influencing the periodicity in the olive tree. Thus, we carried out genome wide transcriptome analyses involving different organs and temporal stages of the olive tree using the NimbleGen Array containing 136,628 oligonucleotide probe sets. Cluster analyses of the genes showed that cDNAs originated from different organs could be sorted into separate groups. The nutritional control had a particularly remarkable impact on the alternate bearing of olive, as shown by the differential expression of transcripts under different temporal phases and organs. Additionally, hormonal control and flowering processes also played important roles in this phenomenon. Our analyses provide further insights into the transcript changes between ”on year” and “off year” leaves along with the changes from unrpipe to ripe fruits, which shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying the olive tree alternate bearing. These findings have important implications for the breeding and agriculture of the olive tree and other crops showing periodicity. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the development and use of an olive array to document the gene expression profiling associated with the alternate bearing in olive tree.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059876
PMCID: PMC3610735  PMID: 23555820
4.  Comparative Transcriptome Analysis of Two Olive Cultivars in Response to NaCl-Stress 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42931.
Background
Olive (Olea europaea L.) cultivation is rapidly expanding and low quality saline water is often used for irrigation. The molecular basis of salt tolerance in olive, though, has not yet been investigated at a system level. In this study a comparative transcriptomics approach was used as a tool to unravel gene regulatory networks underlying salinity response in olive trees by simulating as much as possible olive growing conditions in the field. Specifically, we investigated the genotype-dependent differences in the transcriptome response of two olive cultivars, a salt-tolerant and a salt-sensitive one.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A 135-day long salinity experiment was conducted using one-year old trees exposed to NaCl stress for 90 days followed by 45 days of post-stress period during the summer. A cDNA library made of olive seedling mRNAs was sequenced and an olive microarray was constructed. Total RNA was extracted from root samples after 15, 45 and 90 days of NaCl-treatment as well as after 15 and 45 days of post-treatment period and used for microarray hybridizations. SAM analysis between the NaCl-stress and the post-stress time course resulted in the identification of 209 and 36 differentially expressed transcripts in the salt–tolerant and salt–sensitive cultivar, respectively. Hierarchical clustering revealed two major, distinct clusters for each cultivar. Despite the limited number of probe sets, transcriptional regulatory networks were constructed for both cultivars while several hierarchically-clustered interacting transcription factor regulators such as JERF and bZIP homologues were identified.
Conclusions/Significance
A systems biology approach was used and differentially expressed transcripts as well as regulatory interactions were identified. The comparison of the interactions among transcription factors in olive with those reported for Arabidopsis might indicate similarities in the response of a tree species with Arabidopsis at the transcriptional level under salinity stress.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042931
PMCID: PMC3431368  PMID: 22952621
5.  Validation of reference genes for gene expression analysis in olive (Olea europaea) mesocarp tissue by quantitative real-time RT-PCR 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:304.
Background
Gene expression analysis using quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) is a robust method wherein the expression levels of target genes are normalised using internal control genes, known as reference genes, to derive changes in gene expression levels. Although reference genes have recently been suggested for olive tissues, combined/independent analysis on different cultivars has not yet been tested. Therefore, an assessment of reference genes was required to validate the recent findings and select stably expressed genes across different olive cultivars.
Results
A total of eight candidate reference genes [glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), serine/threonine-protein phosphatase catalytic subunit (PP2A), elongation factor 1 alpha (EF1-alpha), polyubiquitin (OUB2), aquaporin tonoplast intrinsic protein (TIP2), tubulin alpha (TUBA), 60S ribosomal protein L18-3 (60S RBP L18-3) and polypyrimidine tract-binding protein homolog 3 (PTB)] were chosen based on their stability in olive tissues as well as in other plants. Expression stability was examined by qRT-PCR across 12 biological samples, representing mesocarp tissues at various developmental stages in three different olive cultivars, Barnea, Frantoio and Picual, independently and together during the 2009 season with two software programs, GeNorm and BestKeeper. Both software packages identified GAPDH, EF1-alpha and PP2A as the three most stable reference genes across the three cultivars and in the cultivar, Barnea. GAPDH, EF1-alpha and 60S RBP L18-3 were found to be most stable reference genes in the cultivar Frantoio while 60S RBP L18-3, OUB2 and PP2A were found to be most stable reference genes in the cultivar Picual.
Conclusions
The analyses of expression stability of reference genes using qRT-PCR revealed that GAPDH, EF1-alpha, PP2A, 60S RBP L18-3 and OUB2 are suitable reference genes for expression analysis in developing Olea europaea mesocarp tissues, displaying the highest level of expression stability across three different olive cultivars, Barnea, Frantoio and Picual, however the combination of the three most stable reference genes do vary amongst individual cultivars. This study will provide guidance to other researchers to select reference genes for normalization against target genes by qPCR across tissues obtained from the mesocarp region of the olive fruit in the cultivars, Barnea, Frantoio and Picual.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-304
PMCID: PMC4062307  PMID: 24884716
Reference genes; qRT-PCR; Olea europaea; Gene expression
6.  PNA microarrays for hybridisation of unlabelled DNA samples 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(19):e119.
Several strategies have been developed for the production of peptide nucleic acid (PNA) microarrays by parallel probe synthesis and selective coupling of full-length molecules. Such microarrays were used for direct detection of the hybridisation of unlabelled DNA by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. PNAs were synthesised by an automated process on filter-bottom microtitre plates. The resulting molecules were released from the solid support and attached without any purification to microarray surfaces via the terminal amino group itself or via modifications, which had been chemically introduced during synthesis. Thus, only full-length PNA oligomers were attached whereas truncated molecules, produced during synthesis because of incomplete condensation reactions, did not bind. Different surface chemistries and fitting modifications of the PNA terminus were tested. For an examination of coupling selectivity, bound PNAs were cleaved off microarray surfaces and analysed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Additionally, hybridisation experiments were performed to compare the attachment chemistries, with fully acetylated PNAs spotted as controls. Upon hybridisation of unlabelled DNA to such microarrays, binding events could be detected by visualisation of phosphates, which are an integral part of nucleic acids but missing entirely in PNA probes. Overall best results in terms of selectivity and sensitivity were obtained with thiol-modified PNAs on maleimide surfaces.
doi:10.1093/nar/gng120
PMCID: PMC206485  PMID: 14500847
7.  Centennial olive trees as a reservoir of genetic diversity 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(5):797-807.
Background and Aims
Genetic characterization and phylogenetic analysis of the oldest trees could be a powerful tool both for germplasm collection and for understanding the earliest origins of clonally propagated fruit crops. The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is a suitable model to study the origin of cultivars due to its long lifespan, resulting in the existence of both centennial and millennial trees across the Mediterranean Basin.
Methods
The genetic identity and diversity as well as the phylogenetic relationships among the oldest wild and cultivated olives of southern Spain were evaluated by analysing simple sequence repeat markers. Samples from both the canopy and the roots of each tree were analysed to distinguish which trees were self-rooted and which were grafted. The ancient olives were also put into chronological order to infer the antiquity of traditional olive cultivars.
Key Results
Only 9·6 % out of 104 a priori cultivated ancient genotypes matched current olive cultivars. The percentage of unidentified genotypes was higher among the oldest olives, which could be because they belong to ancient unknown cultivars or because of possible intra-cultivar variability. Comparing the observed patterns of genetic variation made it possible to distinguish which trees were grafted onto putative wild olives.
Conclusions
This study of ancient olives has been fruitful both for germplasm collection and for enlarging our knowledge about olive domestication. The findings suggest that grafting pre-existing wild olives with olive cultivars was linked to the beginnings of olive growing. Additionally, the low number of genotypes identified in current cultivars points out that the ancient olives from southern Spain constitute a priceless reservoir of genetic diversity.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcr194
PMCID: PMC3177672  PMID: 21852276
Olea europaea; wild olives; traditional cultivars; microsatellite markers; intracultivar variability; domestication; in situ conservation
8.  Valuable Nutrients and Functional Bioactives in Different Parts of Olive (Olea europaea L.)—A Review 
The Olive tree (Olea europaea L.), a native of the Mediterranean basin and parts of Asia, is now widely cultivated in many other parts of the world for production of olive oil and table olives. Olive is a rich source of valuable nutrients and bioactives of medicinal and therapeutic interest. Olive fruit contains appreciable concentration, 1–3% of fresh pulp weight, of hydrophilic (phenolic acids, phenolic alchohols, flavonoids and secoiridoids) and lipophilic (cresols) phenolic compounds that are known to possess multiple biological activities such as antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antidyslipidemic, cardiotonic, laxative, and antiplatelet. Other important compounds present in olive fruit are pectin, organic acids, and pigments. Virgin olive oil (VOO), extracted mechanically from the fruit, is also very popular for its nutritive and health-promoting potential, especially against cardiovascular disorders due to the presence of high levels of monounsaturates and other valuable minor components such as phenolics, phytosterols, tocopherols, carotenoids, chlorophyll and squalene. The cultivar, area of production, harvest time, and the processing techniques employed are some of the factors shown to influence the composition of olive fruit and olive oil. This review focuses comprehensively on the nutrients and high-value bioactives profile as well as medicinal and functional aspects of different parts of olives and its byproducts. Various factors affecting the composition of this food commodity of medicinal value are also discussed.
doi:10.3390/ijms13033291
PMCID: PMC3317714  PMID: 22489153
Mediterranean diet; high-value components; bioactives; phytochemicals; virgin olive oil; medicinal uses; therapeutic potential
9.  Affinity Purification of DNA and RNA from Environmental Samples with Peptide Nucleic Acid Clamps 
Bispeptide nucleic acids (bis-PNAs; PNA clamps), PNA oligomers, and DNA oligonucleotides were evaluated as affinity purification reagents for subfemtomolar 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and rRNA targets in soil, sediment, and industrial air filter nucleic acid extracts. Under low-salt hybridization conditions (10 mM NaPO4, 5 mM disodium EDTA, and 0.025% sodium dodecyl sulfate [SDS]) a PNA clamp recovered significantly more target DNA than either PNA or DNA oligomers. The efficacy of PNA clamps and oligomers was generally enhanced in the presence of excess nontarget DNA and in a low-salt extraction-hybridization buffer. Under high-salt conditions (200 mM NaPO4, 100 mM disodium EDTA, and 0.5% SDS), however, capture efficiencies with the DNA oligomer were significantly greater than with the PNA clamp and PNA oligomer. Recovery and detection efficiencies for target DNA concentrations of ≥100 pg were generally >20% but depended upon the specific probe, solution background, and salt condition. The DNA probe had a lower absolute detection limit of 100 fg of target (830 zM [1 zM = 10−21 M]) in high-salt buffer. In the absence of exogenous DNA (e.g., soil background), neither the bis-PNA nor the PNA oligomer achieved the same absolute detection limit even under a more favorable low-salt hybridization condition. In the presence of a soil background, however, both PNA probes provided more sensitive absolute purification and detection (830 zM) than the DNA oligomer. In varied environmental samples, the rank order for capture probe performance in high-salt buffer was DNA > PNA > clamp. Recovery of 16S rRNA from environmental samples mirrored quantitative results for DNA target recovery, with the DNA oligomer generating more positive results than either the bis-PNA or PNA oligomer, but PNA probes provided a greater incidence of detection from environmental samples that also contained a higher concentration of nontarget DNA and RNA. Significant interactions between probe type and environmental sample indicate that the most efficacious capture system depends upon the particular sample type (and background nucleic acid concentration), target (DNA or RNA), and detection objective.
PMCID: PMC92168  PMID: 10919804
10.  SNP Discovery by Illumina-Based Transcriptome Sequencing of the Olive and the Genetic Characterization of Turkish Olive Genotypes Revealed by AFLP, SSR and SNP Markers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73674.
Background
The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is a diploid (2n = 2x = 46) outcrossing species mainly grown in the Mediterranean area, where it is the most important oil-producing crop. Because of its economic, cultural and ecological importance, various DNA markers have been used in the olive to characterize and elucidate homonyms, synonyms and unknown accessions. However, a comprehensive characterization and a full sequence of its transcriptome are unavailable, leading to the importance of an efficient large-scale single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery in olive. The objectives of this study were (1) to discover olive SNPs using next-generation sequencing and to identify SNP primers for cultivar identification and (2) to characterize 96 olive genotypes originating from different regions of Turkey.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Next-generation sequencing technology was used with five distinct olive genotypes and generated cDNA, producing 126,542,413 reads using an Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx. Following quality and size trimming, the high-quality reads were assembled into 22,052 contigs with an average length of 1,321 bases and 45 singletons. The SNPs were filtered and 2,987 high-quality putative SNP primers were identified. The assembled sequences and singletons were subjected to BLAST similarity searches and annotated with a Gene Ontology identifier. To identify the 96 olive genotypes, these SNP primers were applied to the genotypes in combination with amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and simple sequence repeats (SSR) markers.
Conclusions/Significance
This study marks the highest number of SNP markers discovered to date from olive genotypes using transcriptome sequencing. The developed SNP markers will provide a useful source for molecular genetic studies, such as genetic diversity and characterization, high density quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis, association mapping and map-based gene cloning in the olive. High levels of genetic variation among Turkish olive genotypes revealed by SNPs, AFLPs and SSRs allowed us to characterize the Turkish olive genotype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073674
PMCID: PMC3772808  PMID: 24058483
11.  Population genetics of Mediterranean and Saharan olives: geographic patterns of differentiation and evidence for early generations of admixture 
Annals of Botany  2013;112(7):1293-1302.
Background and Aims
The olive (Olea europaea subsp. europaea) was domesticated in the Mediterranean area but its wild relatives are distributed over three continents, from the Mediterranean basin to South Africa and south-western Asia. Recent studies suggested that this crop originated in the Levant while a secondary diversification occurred in most westward areas. A possible contribution of the Saharan subspecies (subsp. laperrinei) has been highlighted, but the data available were too limited to draw definite conclusions. Here, patterns of genetic differentiation in the Mediterranean and Saharan olives are analysed to test for recent admixture between these taxa.
Methods
Nuclear microsatellite and plastid DNA (ptDNA) data were compiled from previous studies and completed for a sample of 470 cultivars, 390 wild Mediterranean trees and 270 Saharan olives. A network was reconstructed for the ptDNA haplotypes, while a Bayesian clustering method was applied to identify the main gene pools in the data set and then simulate and test for early generations of admixture between Mediterranean and Saharan olives.
Key Results
Four lineages of ptDNA haplotypes are recognized: three from the Mediterranean basin and one from the Sahara. Only one haplotype, primarily distributed in the Sahara, is shared between laperrinei and europaea. This haplotype is detected once in ‘Dhokar’, a cultivar from the Maghreb. Nuclear microsatellites show geographic patterns of genetic differentiation in the Mediterranean olive that reflect the primary origins of cultivars in the Levant, and indicate a high genetic differentiation between europaea and laperrinei. No first-generation hybrid between europaea and laperrinei is detected, but recent, reciprocal admixture between Mediterranean and Saharan subspecies is found in a few accessions, including ‘Dhokar’.
Conclusions
This study reports for the first time admixture between Mediterranean and Saharan olives. Although its contribution remains limited, Laperrine's olive has been involved in the diversification of cultivated olives.
doi:10.1093/aob/mct196
PMCID: PMC3806528  PMID: 24013386
Admixture; domestication; Laperrine's olive; Mediterranean basin; microsatellite; Olea europaea; population genetic simulations; Sahara; secondary diversification; wild genetic resources
12.  Hybridisation based DNA screening on peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligomer arrays. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1997;25(14):2792-2799.
Arrays of up to some 1000 PNA oligomers of individual sequence were synthesised on polymer membranes using a robotic device originally designed for peptide synthesis. At approximately 96%, the stepwise synthesis efficiency was comparable to standard PNA synthesis procedures. Optionally, the individual, fully deprotected PNA oligomers could be removed from the support for further use, because an enzymatically cleavable but otherwise stable linker was used. Since PNA arrays could form powerful tools for hybridisation based DNA screening assays due to some favourable features of the PNA molecules, the hybridisation behaviour of DNA probes to PNA arrays was investigated for a precise understanding of PNA-DNA interactions on solid support. Hybridisation followed the Watson-Crick base pairing rules with higher duplex stabilities than on corresponding DNA oligonucleotide sensors. Both the affinity and specificity of DNA hybridisation to the PNA oligomers depended on the hybridisation conditions more than expected. Successful discrimination between hybridisation to full complementary PNA sequences and truncated or mismatched versions was possible at salt concentrations down to 10 mM Na+and below, although an increasing tendency to unspecific DNA binding and few strong mismatch hybridisation events were observed.
PMCID: PMC146815  PMID: 9207026
13.  Improvement of sequence selectivity in triple helical recognition of RNA by phenylalanine-derived PNA 
Artificial DNA, PNA & XNA  2013;4(3):69-76.
Modified peptide nucleic acids (PNA) containing one or two thymine PNA monomers derived from phenylalanine were synthesized. Triple helix formation by these modified PNAs with RNA and DNA hairpins having a variable base pair in the middle of the helix were studied using isothermal titration calorimetry and compared with triple helix formation by non-modified PNAs. While unmodified PNA had low sequence selectivity against mismatched hairpins, introduction of one or two phenylalanine-derived monomers significantly increased the mismatch discrimination and sequence selectivity of the modified PNA. Consistent with our previous observations, PNA formed more stable triple helices with RNA than with DNA. Interestingly, the phenylalanine modification further improved the preference of PNA for RNA over DNA hairpin.
doi:10.4161/adna.26599
PMCID: PMC3962516  PMID: 24104925
PNA backbone modification; PNA-RNA triple helix; isothermal titration calorimetry; peptide nucleic acid; recognition of double-stranded RNA
14.  Peptide Nucleic Acid-Based Array for Detecting and Genotyping Human Papillomaviruses▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(6):1785-1790.
We describe a novel array for accurate and reliable genotyping of human papillomavirus (HPV) using peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes. In order to exploit the superior hybridization properties of PNA with target HPV DNAs, we developed a novel PNA array (PANArray HPV). PANArray HPV enables the detection and genotyping of HPVs using 32 type-specific PNA capture probes for medically important HPVs. All tested HPV types showed highly unique hybridization patterns with type-specific PNA probes. PNA array results showed stable specificities and sensitivities after up to 13 months of storage at room temperature. Also, we demonstrated the superior specificity, sensitivity, and stability of PNA arrays for HPV genotyping. We compared the genotyping results of the PNA array to sequencing with MY09/11 PCR products derived from 72 clinical samples. The results showed excellent agreement between the PNA array and sequencing, except for samples reflecting multiple infections. The results from the PNA array were compared with those of type-specific PCR when discrepant results occurred owing to multiple infections. The results for the PNA array matched those of type-specific PCR in all cases. Newly developed PNA arrays show excellent specificity and sensitivity and long shelf life. Our results suggest that the PNA array represents a reliable alternative to conventional DNA arrays for HPV genotyping, as well as for diagnostics.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01398-08
PMCID: PMC2691110  PMID: 19369432
15.  Generation and Analysis of Expressed Sequence Tags from Olea europaea L. 
Olive (Olea europaea L.) is an important source of edible oil which was originated in Near-East region. In this study, two cDNA libraries were constructed from young olive leaves and immature olive fruits for generation of ESTs to discover the novel genes and search the function of unknown genes of olive. The randomly selected 3840 colonies were sequenced for EST collection from both libraries. Readable 2228 sequences for olive leaf and 1506 sequences for olive fruit were assembled into 205 and 69 contigs, respectively, whereas 2478 were singletons. Putative functions of all 2752 differentially expressed unique sequences were designated by gene homology based on BLAST and annotated using BLAST2GO. While 1339 ESTs show no homology to the database, 2024 ESTs have homology (under 80%) with hypothetical proteins, putative proteins, expressed proteins, and unknown proteins in NCBI-GenBank. 635 EST's unique genes sequence have been identified by over 80% homology to known function in other species which were not previously described in Olea family. Only 3.1% of total EST's was shown similarity with olive database existing in NCBI. This generated EST's data and consensus sequences were submitted to NCBI as valuable source for functional genome studies of olive.
doi:10.1155/2010/757512
PMCID: PMC3004401  PMID: 21197085
16.  Gene expression changes in mononuclear cells in patients with metabolic syndrome after acute intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:253.
Background
Previous studies have shown that acute intake of high-phenol virgin olive oil reduces pro-inflammatory, pro-oxidant and pro-thrombotic markers compared with low phenols virgin olive oil, but it still remains unclear whether effects attributed to its phenolic fraction are exerted at transcriptional level in vivo. To achieve this goal, we aimed at identifying expression changes in genes which could be mediated by virgin olive oil phenol compounds in the human.
Results
Postprandial gene expression microarray analysis was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells during postprandial period. Two virgin olive oil-based breakfasts with high (398 ppm) and low (70 ppm) content of phenolic compounds were administered to 20 patients suffering from metabolic syndrome following a double-blinded, randomized, crossover design. To eliminate the potential effect that might exist in their usual dietary habits, all subjects followed a similar low-fat, carbohydrate rich diet during the study period. Microarray analysis identified 98 differentially expressed genes (79 underexpressed and 19 overexpressed) when comparing the intake of phenol-rich olive oil with low-phenol olive oil. Many of these genes seem linked to obesity, dyslipemia and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Among these, several genes seem involved in inflammatory processes mediated by transcription factor NF-κB, activator protein-1 transcription factor complex AP-1, cytokines, mitogen-activated protein kinases MAPKs or arachidonic acid pathways.
Conclusion
This study shows that intake of virgin olive oil based breakfast, which is rich in phenol compounds is able to repress in vivo expression of several pro-inflammatory genes, thereby switching activity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to a less deleterious inflammatory profile. These results provide at least a partial molecular basis for reduced risk of cardiovascular disease observed in Mediterranean countries, where virgin olive oil represents a main source of dietary fat. Admittedly, other lifestyle factors are also likely to contribute to lowered risk of cardiovascular disease in this region.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-253
PMCID: PMC2874810  PMID: 20406432
17.  Incorporation of thio-pseudoisocytosine into triplex-forming peptide nucleic acids for enhanced recognition of RNA duplexes 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(6):4008-4018.
Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) have been developed for applications in biotechnology and therapeutics. There is great potential in the development of chemically modified PNAs or other triplex-forming ligands that selectively bind to RNA duplexes, but not single-stranded regions, at near-physiological conditions. Here, we report on a convenient synthesis route to a modified PNA monomer, thio-pseudoisocytosine (L), and binding studies of PNAs incorporating the monomer L. Thermal melting and gel electrophoresis studies reveal that L-incorporated 8-mer PNAs have superior affinity and specificity in recognizing the duplex region of a model RNA hairpin to form a pyrimidine motif major-groove RNA2–PNA triplex, without appreciable binding to single-stranded regions to form an RNA–PNA duplex or, via strand invasion, forming an RNA–PNA2 triplex at near-physiological buffer condition. In addition, an L-incorporated 8-mer PNA shows essentially no binding to single-stranded or double-stranded DNA. Furthermore, an L-modified 6-mer PNA, but not pseudoisocytosine (J) modified or unmodified PNA, binds to the HIV-1 programmed −1 ribosomal frameshift stimulatory RNA hairpin at near-physiological buffer conditions. The stabilization of an RNA2–PNA triplex by L modification is facilitated by enhanced van der Waals contacts, base stacking, hydrogen bonding and reduced dehydration energy. The destabilization of RNA–PNA and DNA–PNA duplexes by L modification is due to the steric clash and loss of two hydrogen bonds in a Watson–Crick-like G–L pair. An RNA2–PNA triplex is significantly more stable than a DNA2–PNA triplex, probably because the RNA duplex major groove provides geometry compatibility and favorable backbone–backbone interactions with PNA. Thus, L-modified triplex-forming PNAs may be utilized for sequence-specifically targeting duplex regions in RNAs for biological and therapeutic applications.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1367
PMCID: PMC3973316  PMID: 24423869
18.  Variability of Virgin Olive Oil Phenolic Compounds in a Segregating Progeny from a Single Cross in Olea europaea L. and Sensory and Nutritional Quality Implications 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92898.
Virgin olive oil phenolic compounds are responsible for its nutritional and sensory quality. The synthesis of phenolic compounds occurs when enzymes and substrates meet as olive fruit is crushed during the industrial process to obtain the oil. The genetic variability of the major phenolic compounds of virgin olive oil was studied in a progeny of the cross of Picual x Arbequina olive cultivars (Olea europaea L.). They belong to four different groups: compounds that included tyrosol or hydroxytyrosol in their molecules, lignans, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Data of phenolics in the oils showed that the progeny displayed a large degree of variability, widely transgressing the genitor levels. This high variability can be of interest on breeding programs. Thus, multivariate analysis allowed to identify genotypes within the progeny particularly interesting in terms of phenolic composition and deduced organoleptic and nutritional quality. The present study has demonstrated that it is possible to obtain enough degree of variability with a single cross of olive cultivars for compounds related to the nutritional and organoleptic properties of virgin olive oil.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092898
PMCID: PMC3961445  PMID: 24651694
19.  Varietal Tracing of Virgin Olive Oils Based on Plastid DNA Variation Profiling 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70507.
Olive oil traceability remains a challenge nowadays. DNA analysis is the preferred approach to an effective varietal identification, without any environmental influence. Specifically, olive organelle genomics is the most promising approach for setting up a suitable set of markers as they would not interfere with the pollinator variety DNA traces. Unfortunately, plastid DNA (cpDNA) variation of the cultivated olive has been reported to be low. This feature could be a limitation for the use of cpDNA polymorphisms in forensic analyses or oil traceability, but rare cpDNA haplotypes may be useful as they can help to efficiently discriminate some varieties. Recently, the sequencing of olive plastid genomes has allowed the generation of novel markers. In this study, the performance of cpDNA markers on olive oil matrices, and their applicability on commercial Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) oils were assessed. By using a combination of nine plastid loci (including multi-state microsatellites and short indels), it is possible to fingerprint six haplotypes (in 17 Spanish olive varieties), which can discriminate high-value commercialized cultivars with PDO. In particular, a rare haplotype was detected in genotypes used to produce a regional high-value commercial oil. We conclude that plastid haplotypes can help oil traceability in commercial PDO oils and set up an experimental methodology suitable for organelle polymorphism detection in the complex olive oil matrices.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070507
PMCID: PMC3737381  PMID: 23950947
20.  Computational annotation of genes differentially expressed along olive fruit development 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:128.
Background
Olea europaea L. is a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean basin with a worldwide economical high impact. Differently from other fruit tree species, little is known about the physiological and molecular basis of the olive fruit development and a few sequences of genes and gene products are available for olive in public databases. This study deals with the identification of large sets of differentially expressed genes in developing olive fruits and the subsequent computational annotation by means of different software.
Results
mRNA from fruits of the cv. Leccino sampled at three different stages [i.e., initial fruit set (stage 1), completed pit hardening (stage 2) and veraison (stage 3)] was used for the identification of differentially expressed genes putatively involved in main processes along fruit development. Four subtractive hybridization libraries were constructed: forward and reverse between stage 1 and 2 (libraries A and B), and 2 and 3 (libraries C and D). All sequenced clones (1,132 in total) were analyzed through BlastX against non-redundant NCBI databases and about 60% of them showed similarity to known proteins. A total of 89 out of 642 differentially expressed unique sequences was further investigated by Real-Time PCR, showing a validation of the SSH results as high as 69%. Library-specific cDNA repertories were annotated according to the three main vocabularies of the gene ontology (GO): cellular component, biological process and molecular function. BlastX analysis, GO terms mapping and annotation analysis were performed using the Blast2GO software, a research tool designed with the main purpose of enabling GO based data mining on sequence sets for which no GO annotation is yet available. Bioinformatic analysis pointed out a significantly different distribution of the annotated sequences for each GO category, when comparing the three fruit developmental stages. The olive fruit-specific transcriptome dataset was used to query all known KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes) metabolic pathways for characterizing and positioning retrieved EST records. The integration of the olive sequence datasets within the MapMan platform for microarray analysis allowed the identification of specific biosynthetic pathways useful for the definition of key functional categories in time course analyses for gene groups.
Conclusion
The bioinformatic annotation of all gene sequences was useful to shed light on metabolic pathways and transcriptional aspects related to carbohydrates, fatty acids, secondary metabolites, transcription factors and hormones as well as response to biotic and abiotic stresses throughout olive drupe development. These results represent a first step toward both functional genomics and systems biology research for understanding the gene functions and regulatory networks in olive fruit growth and ripening.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-128
PMCID: PMC2774695  PMID: 19852839
21.  High Genetic Diversity Detected in Olives beyond the Boundaries of the Mediterranean Sea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93146.
Background
Olive trees (Olea europaea subsp. europaea var. europaea) naturally grow in areas spanning the Mediterranean basin and towards the East, including the Middle East. In the Iranian plateau, the presence of olives has been documented since very ancient times, though the early history of the crop in this area is shrouded in uncertainty.
Methods
The varieties presently cultivated in Iran and trees of an unknown cultivation status, surviving under extreme climate and soil conditions, were sampled from different provinces and compared with a set of Mediterranean cultivars. All samples were analyzed using SSR and chloroplast markers to establish the relationships between Iranian olives and Mediterranean varieties, to shed light on the origins of Iranian olives and to verify their contribution to the development of the current global olive variation.
Results
Iranian cultivars and ecotypes, when analyzed using SSR markers, clustered separately from Mediterranean cultivars and showed a high number of private alleles, on the contrary, they shared the same single chlorotype with the most widespread varieties cultivated in the Mediterranean.
Conclusion
We hypothesized that Iranian and Mediterranean olive trees may have had a common origin from a unique center in the Near East region, possibly including the western Iranian area. The present pattern of variation may have derived from different environmental conditions, distinct levels and selection criteria, and divergent breeding opportunities found by Mediterranean and Iranian olives.These unexpected findings emphasize the importance of studying the Iranian olive germplasm as a promising but endangered source of variation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093146
PMCID: PMC3977848  PMID: 24709858
22.  The Effect of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Soybean on DNA, Cytogenicity and Some Antioxidant Enzymes in Rats 
Nutrients  2014;6(6):2376-2386.
We investigated the effect of extra virgin (EV) olive oil and genetically modified (GM) soybean on DNA, cytogenicity and some antioxidant enzymes in rodents. Forty adult male albino rats were used in this study and divided into four groups. The control group of rodents was fed basal ration only. The second group was given basal ration mixed with EV olive oil (30%). The third group was fed basal ration mixed with GM (15%), and the fourth group survived on a combination of EV olive oil, GM and the basal ration for 65 consecutive days. On day 65, blood samples were collected from each rat for antioxidant enzyme analysis. In the group fed on basal ration mixed with GM soyabean (15%), there was a significant increase in serum level of lipid peroxidation, while glutathione transferase decreased significantly. Interestingly, GM soyabean increased not only the percentage of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (MPCE), but also the ratio of polychromatic erythrocytes to normochromatic erythrocytes (PEC/NEC); however, the amount of DNA and NCE were significantly decreased. Importantly, the combination of EV olive oil and GM soyabean significantly altered the tested parameters towards normal levels. This may suggest an important role for EV olive oil on rodents’ organs and warrants further investigation in humans.
doi:10.3390/nu6062376
PMCID: PMC4073157  PMID: 24959949
soybean; olive oil; supplements; rats
23.  Diagnosis of HNF-1α mutations on a PNA zip-code microarray by single base extension 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(2):e19.
In the present study, we exploited the superior features of peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) to develop an efficient PNA zip-code microarray for the detection of hepatocyte nuclear factor-1α (HNF-1α) mutations that cause type 3 maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY). A multi-epoxy linker compound was synthesized and used to achieve an efficient covalent linking of amine-modified PNA to an aminated glass surface. PCR was performed to amplify the genomic regions containing the mutation sites. The PCR products were then employed as templates in a subsequent multiplex single base extension reaction using chimeric primers with 3′ complementarity to the specific mutation site and 5′ complementarity to the respective PNA zip-code sequence on the microarray. The primers were extended by a single base at each corresponding mutation site in the presence of biotin-labeled ddNTPs, and the products were hybridized to the PNA microarray. Compared to the corresponding DNA, the PNA zip-code sequence showed a much higher duplex specificity for the complementary DNA sequence. The PNA zip-code microarray was finally stained with streptavidin-R-phycoerythrin to generate a fluorescent signal. Using this strategy, we were able to correctly diagnose several mutation sites in exon 2 of HNF-1α with a wild-type and mutant samples including a MODY3 patient. This work represents one of the few successful applications of PNA in DNA chip technology.
doi:10.1093/nar/gni020
PMCID: PMC548378  PMID: 15687377
24.  Quantitative and Sensitive Detection of GNAS Mutations Causing McCune-Albright Syndrome with Next Generation Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60525.
Somatic activating GNAS mutations cause McCune-Albright syndrome (MAS). Owing to low mutation abundance, mutant-specific enrichment procedures, such as the peptide nucleic acid (PNA) method, are required to detect mutations in peripheral blood. Next generation sequencing (NGS) can analyze millions of PCR amplicons independently, thus it is expected to detect low-abundance GNAS mutations quantitatively. In the present study, we aimed to develop an NGS-based method to detect low-abundance somatic GNAS mutations. PCR amplicons encompassing exons 8 and 9 of GNAS, in which most activating mutations occur, were sequenced on the MiSeq instrument. As expected, our NGS-based method could sequence the GNAS locus with very high read depth (approximately 100,000) and low error rate. A serial dilution study with use of cloned mutant and wildtype DNA samples showed a linear correlation between dilution and measured mutation abundance, indicating the reliability of quantification of the mutation. Using the serially diluted samples, the detection limits of three mutation detection methods (the PNA method, NGS, and combinatory use of PNA and NGS [PNA-NGS]) were determined. The lowest detectable mutation abundance was 1% for the PNA method, 0.03% for NGS and 0.01% for PNA-NGS. Finally, we analyzed 16 MAS patient-derived leukocytic DNA samples with the three methods, and compared the mutation detection rate of them. Mutation detection rate of the PNA method, NGS and PNA-NGS in 16 patient-derived peripheral blood samples were 56%, 63% and 75%, respectively. In conclusion, NGS can detect somatic activating GNAS mutations quantitatively and sensitively from peripheral blood samples. At present, the PNA-NGS method is likely the most sensitive method to detect low-abundance GNAS mutation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060525
PMCID: PMC3607597  PMID: 23536913
25.  Genomic profiling of plastid DNA variation in the Mediterranean olive tree 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:80.
Background
Characterisation of plastid genome (or cpDNA) polymorphisms is commonly used for phylogeographic, population genetic and forensic analyses in plants, but detecting cpDNA variation is sometimes challenging, limiting the applications of such an approach. In the present study, we screened cpDNA polymorphism in the olive tree (Olea europaea L.) by sequencing the complete plastid genome of trees with a distinct cpDNA lineage. Our objective was to develop new markers for a rapid genomic profiling (by Multiplex PCRs) of cpDNA haplotypes in the Mediterranean olive tree.
Results
Eight complete cpDNA genomes of Olea were sequenced de novo. The nucleotide divergence between olive cpDNA lineages was low and not exceeding 0.07%. Based on these sequences, markers were developed for studying two single nucleotide substitutions and length polymorphism of 62 regions (with variable microsatellite motifs or other indels). They were then used to genotype the cpDNA variation in cultivated and wild Mediterranean olive trees (315 individuals). Forty polymorphic loci were detected on this sample, allowing the distinction of 22 haplotypes belonging to the three Mediterranean cpDNA lineages known as E1, E2 and E3. The discriminating power of cpDNA variation was particularly low for the cultivated olive tree with one predominating haplotype, but more diversity was detected in wild populations.
Conclusions
We propose a method for a rapid characterisation of the Mediterranean olive germplasm. The low variation in the cultivated olive tree indicated that the utility of cpDNA variation for forensic analyses is limited to rare haplotypes. In contrast, the high cpDNA variation in wild populations demonstrated that our markers may be useful for phylogeographic and populations genetic studies in O. europaea.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-80
PMCID: PMC3115843  PMID: 21569271

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