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1.  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
2.  Identification of salt gland-associated genes and characterization of a dehydrin from the salt secretor mangrove Avicennia officinalis 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):291.
Background
Salt stress is a major challenge for growth and development of plants. The mangrove tree Avicennia officinalis has evolved salt tolerance mechanisms such as salt secretion through specialized glands on its leaves. Although a number of structural studies on salt glands have been done, the molecular mechanism of salt secretion is not clearly understood. Also, studies to identify salt gland-specific genes in mangroves have been scarce.
Results
By subtractive hybridization (SH) of cDNA from salt gland-rich cell layers (tester) with mesophyll tissues as the driver, several Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) were identified. The major classes of ESTs identified include those known to be involved in regulating metabolic processes (37%), stress response (17%), transcription (17%), signal transduction (17%) and transport functions (12%). A visual interactive map generated based on predicted functional gene interactions of the identified ESTs suggested altered activities of hydrolase, transmembrane transport and kinases. Quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) was carried out to validate the expression specificity of the ESTs identified by SH. A Dehydrin gene was chosen for further experimental analysis, because it is significantly highly expressed in salt gland cells, and dehydrins are known to be involved in stress remediation in other plants. Full-length Avicennia officinalis Dehydrin1 (AoDHN1) cDNA was obtained by Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends. Phylogenetic analysis and further characterization of this gene suggested that AoDHN1 belongs to group II Late Embryogenesis Abundant proteins. qRT-PCR analysis of Avicennia showed up-regulation of AoDHN1 in response to salt and drought treatments. Furthermore, some functional insights were obtained by growing E. coli cells expressing AoDHN1. Growth of E. coli cells expressing AoDHN1 was significantly higher than that of the control cells without AoDHN1 under salinity and drought stresses, suggesting that the mangrove dehydrin protein helps to mitigate the abiotic stresses.
Conclusions
Thirty-four ESTs were identified to be enriched in salt gland-rich tissues of A. officinalis leaves. qRT-PCR analysis showed that 10 of these were specifically enriched in the salt gland-rich tissues. Our data suggest that one of the selected genes, namely, AoDHN1 plays an important role to mitigate salt and drought stress responses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0291-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0291-6
PMCID: PMC4247641  PMID: 25404140
Avicennia officinalis; Salinity; Dehydrin; Subtractive hybridization; Leaf salt glands; Drought stress
3.  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
4.  A dehydrin-dehydrin interaction: the case of SK3 from Opuntia streptacantha 
Dehydrins belongs to a large group of highly hydrophilic proteins known as Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins. It is well known that dehydrins are intrinsically disordered plant proteins that accumulate during the late stages of embryogenesis and in response to abiotic stresses; however, the molecular mechanisms by which their functions are carried out are still unclear. We have previously reported that transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing an Opuntia streptacantha SK3 dehydrin (OpsDHN1) show enhanced tolerance to freezing stress. Herein, we show using a split-ubiquitin yeast two-hybrid system that OpsDHN1 dimerizes. We found that the deletion of regions containing K-segments and the histidine-rich region in the OpsDHN1 protein affects dimer formation. Not surprisingly, in silico protein sequence analysis suggests that OpsDHN1 is an intrinsically disordered protein, an observation that was confirmed by circular dichroism and gel filtration of the recombinantly expressed protein. The addition of zinc triggered the association of recombinantly expressed OpsDHN1 protein, likely through its histidine-rich motif. These data brings new insights about the molecular mechanism of the OpsDHN1 SK3-dehydrin.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2014.00520
PMCID: PMC4193212  PMID: 25346739
yeast two-hybrid; SK3-dehydrin; K-segments; homodimer; histidine-rich region; intrinsically disordered proteins
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  Laccases Involved in 1,8-Dihydroxynaphthalene Melanin Biosynthesis in Aspergillus fumigatus Are Regulated by Developmental Factors and Copper Homeostasis 
Eukaryotic Cell  2013;12(12):1641-1652.
Aspergillus fumigatus produces heavily melanized infectious conidia. The conidial melanin is associated with fungal virulence and resistance to various environmental stresses. This 1,8-dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN) melanin is synthesized by enzymes encoded in a gene cluster in A. fumigatus, including two laccases, Abr1 and Abr2. Although this gene cluster is not conserved in all aspergilli, laccases are critical for melanization in all species examined. Here we show that the expression of A. fumigatus laccases Abr1/2 is upregulated upon hyphal competency and drastically increased during conidiation. The Abr1 protein is localized at the surface of stalks and conidiophores, but not in young hyphae, consistent with the gene expression pattern and its predicted role. The induction of Abr1/2 upon hyphal competency is controlled by BrlA, the master regulator of conidiophore development, and is responsive to the copper level in the medium. We identified a developmentally regulated putative copper transporter, CtpA, and found that CtpA is critical for conidial melanization under copper-limiting conditions. Accordingly, disruption of CtpA enhanced the induction of abr1 and abr2, a response similar to that induced by copper starvation. Furthermore, nonpigmented ctpAΔ conidia elicited much stronger immune responses from the infected invertebrate host Galleria mellonella than the pigmented ctpAΔ or wild-type conidia. Such enhancement in eliciting Galleria immune responses was independent of the ctpAΔ conidial viability, as previously observed for the DHN melanin mutants. Taken together, our findings indicate that both copper homeostasis and developmental regulators control melanin biosynthesis, which affects conidial surface properties that shape the interaction between this pathogen and its host.
doi:10.1128/EC.00217-13
PMCID: PMC3889567  PMID: 24123270
9.  Glutathionylated Lipid Aldehydes Are Products of Adipocyte Oxidative Stress and Activators of Macrophage Inflammation 
Diabetes  2013;63(1):89-100.
Obesity-induced insulin resistance has been linked to adipose tissue lipid aldehyde production and protein carbonylation. Trans-4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) is the most abundant lipid aldehyde in murine adipose tissue and is metabolized by glutathione S-transferase A4 (GSTA4), producing glutathionyl-HNE (GS-HNE) and its metabolite glutathionyl-1,4-dihydroxynonene (GS-DHN). The objective of this study was to evaluate adipocyte production of GS-HNE and GS-DHN and their effect on macrophage inflammation. Compared with lean controls, GS-HNE and GS-DHN were more abundant in visceral adipose tissue of ob/ob mice and diet-induced obese, insulin-resistant mice. High glucose and oxidative stress induced production of GS-HNE and GS-DHN by 3T3-L1 adipocytes in a GSTA4-dependent manner, and both glutathionylated metabolites induced secretion of tumor necrosis factor-α from RAW 264.7 and primary peritoneal macrophages. Targeted microarray analysis revealed GS-HNE and GS-DHN induced expression of inflammatory genes, including C3, C4b, c-Fos, igtb2, Nfkb1, and Nos2. Transgenic overexpression of GSTA4 in mouse adipose tissue led to increased production of GS-HNE associated with higher fasting glucose levels and moderately impaired glucose tolerance. These results indicated adipocyte oxidative stress results in GSTA4-dependent production of proinflammatory glutathione metabolites, GS-HNE and GS-DHN, which may represent a novel mechanism by which adipocyte dysfunction results in tissue inflammation and insulin resistance.
doi:10.2337/db13-0777
PMCID: PMC3868039  PMID: 24062247
10.  Physiological and molecular analysis of the interaction between aluminium toxicity and drought stress in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(8):3109-3125.
Aluminium (Al) toxicity and drought are two major factors limiting common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) production in the tropics. Short-term effects of Al toxicity and drought stress on root growth in acid, Al-toxic soil were studied, with special emphasis on Al–drought interaction in the root apex. Root elongation was inhibited by both Al and drought. Combined stresses resulted in a more severe inhibition of root elongation than either stress alone. This result was different from the alleviation of Al toxicity by osmotic stress (–0.60 MPa polyethylene glycol) in hydroponics. However, drought reduced the impact of Al on the root tip, as indicated by the reduction of Al-induced callose formation and MATE expression. Combined Al and drought stress enhanced up-regulation of ACCO expression and synthesis of zeatin riboside, reduced drought-enhanced abscisic acid (ABA) concentration, and expression of NCED involved in ABA biosynthesis and the transcription factors bZIP and MYB, thus affecting the regulation of ABA-dependent genes (SUS, PvLEA18, KS-DHN, and LTP) in root tips. The results provide circumstantial evidence that in soil, drought alleviates Al injury, but Al renders the root apex more drought-sensitive, particularly by impacting the gene regulatory network involved in ABA signal transduction and cross-talk with other phytohormones necessary for maintaining root growth under drought.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ers038
PMCID: PMC3350927  PMID: 22371077
Abscisic acid; aluminum; callose; common bean; cytokinin; drought; gene expression; root growth
11.  Plant dehydrins and stress tolerance 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(10):1503-1509.
Dehydrins (DHNs), or group 2 LEA (Late Embryogenesis Abundant) proteins, play a fundamental role in plant response and adaptation to abiotic stresses. They accumulate typically in maturing seeds or are induced in vegetative tissues following salinity, dehydration, cold and freezing stress. The generally accepted classification of dehydrins is based on their structural features, such as the presence of conserved sequences, designated as Y, S and K segments. The K segment representing a highly conserved 15 amino acid motif forming amphiphilic a-helix is especially important since it has been found in all dehydrins. Since more than 20 y, they are thought to play an important protective role during cellular dehydration but their precise function remains unclear. This review outlines the current status of the progress made toward the structural, physico-chemical and functional characterization of plant dehydrins and how these features could be exploited in improving stress tolerance in plants.
doi:10.4161/psb.6.10.17088
PMCID: PMC3256378  PMID: 21897131
abiotic stress; dehydration stress; drought; cold acclimation; freezing tolerance; LEA proteins; dehydrins
12.  Transgenic barley lines prove the involvement of TaCBF14 and TaCBF15 in the cold acclimation process and in frost tolerance 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(7):1849-1862.
The enhancement of winter hardiness is one of the most important tasks facing breeders of winter cereals. For this reason, the examination of those regulatory genes involved in the cold acclimation processes is of central importance. The aim of the present work was the functional analysis of two wheat CBF transcription factors, namely TaCBF14 and TaCBF15, shown by previous experiments to play a role in the development of frost tolerance. These genes were isolated from winter wheat and then transformed into spring barley, after which the effect of the transgenes on low temperature stress tolerance was examined. Two different types of frost tests were applied; plants were hardened at low temperature before freezing, or plants were subjected to frost without a hardening period. The analysis showed that TaCBF14 and TaCBF15 transgenes improve the frost tolerance to such an extent that the transgenic lines were able to survive freezing temperatures several degrees lower than that which proved lethal for the wild-type spring barley. After freezing, lower ion leakage was measured in transgenic leaves, showing that these plants were less damaged by the frost. Additionally, a higher Fv/Fm parameter was determined, indicating that photosystem II worked more efficiently in the transgenics. Gene expression studies showed that HvCOR14b, HvDHN5, and HvDHN8 genes were up-regulated by TaCBF14 and TaCBF15. Beyond that, transgenic lines exhibited moderate retarded development, slower growth, and minor late flowering compared with the wild type, with enhanced transcript level of the gibberellin catabolic HvGA2ox5 gene.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ert050
PMCID: PMC3638819  PMID: 23567863
Barley; CBFs; frost tolerance; gene expression; gibberellin metabolism; transformation; wheat.
13.  Dissecting the cryoprotection mechanisms for dehydrins 
One of the common responses of plants to water deficit is the accumulation of the so-called late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins. In vitro studies suggest that these proteins can protect other macromolecules and cellular structural components from the impairments caused by water limitation. Their binding to phospholipids, nucleic acids and/or to divalent cations has suggested multi-functionality. Genetic analyses indicate that these proteins are required for an optimal adjustment of plants to this insult. This diverse information has conducted to propose different models for LEA proteins action mechanisms. Many of these properties are shared by group 2 LEA proteins or dehydrins (DHNs), one of the LEA protein families for which large amount of data is available. This manuscript focuses on the different mechanisms proposed for this LEA protein group by analyzing published data derived from in vitro cryoprotection assays. We compared the molar ratio of protectant:enzyme needed to preserve 50% of the initial activity per enzyme monomer to assess different mechanisms of action. Our results add evidence for protein–protein interaction as a protection mechanism but also indicate that some DHNs might protect by different means. The strength and weakness of the proposed protection mechanisms are discussed.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2014.00583
PMCID: PMC4212605  PMID: 25400649
dehydrins; late embryogenesis abundant proteins; cryoprotection; water deficit; abiotic stress; intrinsically disordered proteins
14.  Low temperatures induce rapid changes in chromatin state and transcript levels of the cereal VERNALIZATION1 gene 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(8):2413-2422.
Transcriptional activation of the VERNALIZATION1 gene mediates the acceleration of flowering by prolonged cold (vernalization) in temperate cereals. This study examined the earliest stages of the transcriptional response of VRN1 to low temperatures. Time-course analyses, using a sensitive quantitative PCR assay, showed that in sprouting barley seedlings VRN1 transcripts begin to accumulate within 24 hours of the onset of cold. The kinetics of the initial transcriptional response of VRN1 to cold was similar to the cold-induced genes DEHYDRIN5 (DHN5) and COLD REGULATED 14B (COR14B), but occurred at lower levels compared to cold acclimation genes or the response to longer cold treatments. Temperatures between 15 and –2 °C induced expression of VRN1 within 24 hours, with a maximal response observed between 2 and –2 °C. Transcriptional induction was also observed in undifferentiated callus cells. There were significant increases in histone acetylation levels at the VRN1 locus in response to 24-hour cold treatment. Sodium butyrate, a histone deacetylation inhibitor, triggered an increase in histone acetylation at VRN1 chromatin and elevated VRN1 transcript levels. The transcriptional response of VRN1 to short-term cold treatment was examined in near-isogenic lines that have different VRN1 genotypes, showing that an allele of the barley VRN1 gene with an insertion in the first intron and high basal expression levels has a reduced transcriptional response to short term cold treatment. This study suggests that low-temperature induction of VRN1 is a cellular response to cold triggered by the same mechanisms that mediate low-temperature induction of cold acclimation genes.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ert095
PMCID: PMC3654426  PMID: 23580755
Chromatin; cereal; cold acclimation; MADS box; vernalization; VRN1.
15.  Grapevine MLO candidates required for powdery mildew pathogenicity? 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(6):522-523.
MLOs belong to the largest family of seven-transmembrane (7TM) domain proteins found in plants. The Arabidopsis and rice genomes contain 15 and 12 MLO family members, respectively. Although the biological function of most MLO family members remains elusive, a select group of MLO proteins have been demonstrated to negatively regulate defence responses to the obligate biotrophic pathogen, powdery mildew, thereby acting as “susceptibility” genes. Recently we identified a family of 17 putative VvMLO genes in the genome of the cultivated winegrape species, Vitis vinifera. Expression analysis indicated that the VvMLO family members respond differently to biotic and abiotic stimuli. Infection of V. vinifera by grape powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) specifically upregulates four VvMLO genes that are orthologous to the Arabidopsis and tomato MLOs previously demonstrated to be required for powdery mildew susceptibility. We postulate that one or more of these E. necator responsive VvMLOs may have a role in the powdery mildew susceptibility of grapevine.
PMCID: PMC2688300  PMID: 19816131
MLO; powdery mildew; resistance; susceptibility; grapevine
16.  Identification of mildew resistance in wild and cultivated Central Asian grape germplasm 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:149.
Background
Cultivated grapevines, Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa, evolved from their wild relative, V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris. They were domesticated in Central Asia in the absence of the powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, which is thought to have originated in North America. However, powdery mildew resistance has previously been discovered in two Central Asian cultivars and in Chinese Vitis species.
Results
A set of 380 unique genotypes were evaluated with data generated from 34 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The set included 306 V. vinifera cultivars, 40 accessions of V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, and 34 accessions of Vitis species from northern Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Based on the presence of four SSR alleles previously identified as linked to the powdery mildew resistance locus, Ren1, 10 new mildew resistant genotypes were identified in the test set: eight were V. vinifera cultivars and two were V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris based on flower and seed morphology. Sequence comparison of a 620 bp region that includes the Ren1-linked allele (143 bp) of the co-segregating SSR marker SC8-0071-014, revealed that the ten newly identified genotypes have sequences that are essentially identical to the previously identified mildew resistant V. vinifera cultivars: ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’. Kinship analysis determined that three of the newly identified powdery mildew resistant accessions had a relationship with ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’, and that six were not related to any other accession in this study set. Clustering procedures assigned accessions into three groups: 1) Chinese species; 2) a mixed group of cultivated and wild V. vinifera; and 3) table grape cultivars, including nine of the powdery mildew resistant accessions. Gene flow was detected among the groups.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence that powdery mildew resistance is present in V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, the dioecious wild progenitor of the cultivated grape. Four first-degree parent progeny relationships were discovered among the hermaphroditic powdery mildew resistant cultivars, supporting the existence of intentional grape breeding efforts. Although several Chinese grape species are resistant to powdery mildew, no direct genetic link to the resistance found in V. vinifera could be established.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-149
PMCID: PMC3851849  PMID: 24093598
Powdery mildew resistance; Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa; Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris; Gene flow
17.  VpRFP1, a novel C4C4-type RING finger protein gene from Chinese wild Vitis pseudoreticulata, functions as a transcriptional activator in defence response of grapevine 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(15):5671-5682.
RING finger proteins comprise a large family and play important roles in regulation of growth and development, hormone signalling, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants. In this study, the identification and functional characterization of a C4C4-type RING finger protein gene from the Chinese wild grapevine Vitis pseudoreticulata (designated VpRFP1) are reported. VpRFP1 was initially identified as an expressed sequence tag (EST) from a cDNA library constructed from leaves of V. pseudoreticulata inoculated with the grapevine powdery mildew Uncinula necator. Sequence analysis of the deduced VpRFP1 protein based on the full-length cDNA revealed an N-terminal nuclear localization signal (NLS) and a C-terminal C4C4-type RING finger motif with the consensus sequence Cys-X2-Cys-X13-Cys-X1-Cys-X4-Cys-X2-Cys-X10-Cys-X2-Cys. Upon inoculation with U. necator, expression of VpRFP1 was rapidly induced to higher levels in mildew-resistant V. pseudoreticulata plants. In contrast, expression of VpRFP1 was down-regulated in mildew-susceptible V. vinifera plants. Western blotting using an antibody raised against VpRFP1 showed that VpRFP1 was also induced to higher levels in V. pseudoreticulata plants at 12–48 hours post-inoculation (hpi). However, there was only slight increase in VpRFP in V. vinifera plants in the same time frame, even though a more significant increase was observed at 96–144 hpi in these plants. Results from transactivation assays in yeast showed that the RING finger motif of VpRFP1 exhibited some activity of transcriptional activation; however, no activity was seen with the full-length VpRFP1. Overexpression of VpRFP1 in Arabidopsis plants was found to enhance resistance to Arabidopsis powdery mildew Golovinomyces cichoracearum, which seemed to be correlated with increased transcript levels of AtPR1 and AtPR2 in the pathogen-infected tissues. In addition, the Arabidopsis transgenic lines showed enhanced resistance to a virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Taken together, the results suggested that VpRFP1 may be a transcriptional activator of defence-related genes in grapevines.
doi:10.1093/jxb/err253
PMCID: PMC3223060  PMID: 21862480
C4C4-type RING finger; Chinese wild Vitis pseudoreticulata; disease resistance; powdery mildew; VpRFP1
18.  Identification of Quinoide Redox Mediators That Are Formed during the Degradation of Naphthalene-2-Sulfonate by Sphingomonas xenophaga BN6 
During aerobic degradation of naphthalene-2-sulfonate (2NS), Sphingomonas xenophaga strain BN6 produces redox mediators which significantly increase the ability of the strain to reduce azo dyes under anaerobic conditions. It was previously suggested that 1,2-dihydroxynaphthalene (1,2-DHN), which is an intermediate in the degradative pathway of 2NS, is the precursor of these redox mediators. In order to analyze the importance of the formation of 1,2-DHN, the dihydroxynaphthalene dioxygenase gene (nsaC) was disrupted by gene replacement. The resulting strain, strain AKE1, did not degrade 2NS to salicylate. After aerobic preincubation with 2NS, strain AKE1 exhibited much higher reduction capacities for azo dyes under anaerobic conditions than the wild-type strain exhibited. Several compounds were present in the culture supernatants which enhanced the ability of S. xenophaga BN6 to reduce azo dyes under anaerobic conditions. Two major redox mediators were purified from the culture supernatants, and they were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and comparison with chemically synthesized standards as 4-amino-1,2-naphthoquinone and 4-ethanolamino-1,2-naphthoquinone.
doi:10.1128/AEM.68.9.4341-4349.2002
PMCID: PMC124094  PMID: 12200285
19.  High levels of nucleotide diversity and fast decline of linkage disequilibrium in rye (Secale cereale L.) genes involved in frost response 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:6.
Background
Rye (Secale cereale L.) is the most frost tolerant cereal species. As an outcrossing species, rye exhibits high levels of intraspecific diversity, which makes it well-suited for allele mining in genes involved in the frost responsive network. For investigating genetic diversity and the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) we analyzed eleven candidate genes and 37 microsatellite markers in 201 lines from five Eastern and Middle European rye populations.
Results
A total of 147 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and nine insertion-deletion polymorphisms were found within 7,639 bp of DNA sequence from eleven candidate genes, resulting in an average SNP frequency of 1 SNP/52 bp. Nucleotide and haplotype diversity of candidate genes were high with average values π = 5.6 × 10-3 and Hd = 0.59, respectively. According to an analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), most of the genetic variation was found between individuals within populations. Haplotype frequencies varied markedly between the candidate genes. ScCbf14, ScVrn1, and ScDhn1 were dominated by a single haplotype, while the other 8 genes (ScCbf2, ScCbf6, ScCbf9b, ScCbf11, ScCbf12, ScCbf15, ScIce2, and ScDhn3) had a more balanced haplotype frequency distribution. Intra-genic LD decayed rapidly, within approximately 520 bp on average. Genome-wide LD based on microsatellites was low.
Conclusions
The Middle European population did not differ substantially from the four Eastern European populations in terms of haplotype frequencies or in the level of nucleotide diversity. The low LD in rye compared to self-pollinating species promises a high resolution in genome-wide association mapping. SNPs discovered in the promoters or coding regions, which attribute to non-synonymous substitutions, are suitable candidates for association mapping.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-6
PMCID: PMC3032657  PMID: 21219606
20.  Genome-wide identification of WRKY family genes and their response to cold stress in Vitis vinifera 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:103.
Background
WRKY transcription factors are one of the largest families of transcriptional regulators in plants. WRKY genes are not only found to play significant roles in biotic and abiotic stress response, but also regulate growth and development. Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) production is largely limited by stressful climate conditions such as cold stress and the role of WRKY genes in the survival of grapevine under these conditions remains unknown.
Results
We identified a total of 59 VvWRKYs from the V. vinifera genome, belonging to four subgroups according to conserved WRKY domains and zinc-finger structure. The majority of VvWRKYs were expressed in more than one tissue among the 7 tissues examined which included young leaves, mature leaves, tendril, stem apex, root, young fruits and ripe fruits. Publicly available microarray data suggested that a subset of VvWRKYs was activated in response to diverse stresses. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) results demonstrated that the expression levels of 36 VvWRKYs are changed following cold exposure. Comparative analysis was performed on data from publicly available microarray experiments, previous global transcriptome analysis studies, and qRT-PCR. We identified 15 VvWRKYs in at least two of these databases which may relate to cold stress. Among them, the transcription of three genes can be induced by exogenous ABA application, suggesting that they can be involved in an ABA-dependent signaling pathway in response to cold stress.
Conclusions
We identified 59 VvWRKYs from the V. vinifera genome and 15 of them showed cold stress-induced expression patterns. These genes represented candidate genes for future functional analysis of VvWRKYs involved in the low temperature-related signal pathways in grape.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-103
PMCID: PMC4021059  PMID: 24755338
WRKY transcription factor family; Grapevine; Biotic and abiotic stress; Cold stress
21.  FOOTSHOCK STRESS DIFFERENTIALLY AFFECTS RESPONSES OF TWO SUBPOPULATIONS OF SPINAL DORSAL HORN NEURONS TO URINARY BLADDER DISTENSION IN RATS 
Brain research  2011;1386:118-126.
This investigation examined the effect of footshock on responses of 283 spinal dorsal horn neurons (DHNs) to urinary bladder distension (UBD). Female rats were treated with seven daily sessions of footshock (chronic footshock, CFS), six accommodation sessions followed by one exposure to footshock (acute footshock, AFS), or handled similarly without receiving any footshock (no footshock, NFS). After the final footshock or NFS session, rats were anesthetized, a laminectomy performed and extracellular single-unit recordings of L6-S1 DHNs obtained in intact or spinalized preparations. Neurons were classified as Type I - inhibited by heterotopic noxious conditioning stimuli (HNCS) or as Type II - not inhibited by HNCS - and characterized for spontaneous activity and for neuronal discharges evoked by graded UBD. A differential effect of footshock-induced stress was noted on neuronal subgroups. In intact preparations, Type I neurons were less responsive to UBD after either chronic or acute stress, while Type II neurons demonstrated significantly augmented responses to UBD. This enhanced neuronal responsiveness to UBD was present in spinalized preparations following exposure to CFS but not AFS. Type I neurons were still less responsive to stress in spinalized preparations following CFS and AFS. This study provides further evidence that (1) at least two populations of spinal neurons exist which encode for visceral stimuli and are likely to have distinct roles in visceral nociception, and that (2) the chronic stress-induced enhancement of DHN responses to UBD involves changes in at the spinal level while the acute stress effects are dependent on a supraspinal substrate.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2011.02.081
PMCID: PMC3086680  PMID: 21376017
visceral; urinary bladder; cystitis; stress; spinal
22.  Comparison of skin incision versus skin plus deep tissue incision on ongoing pain and spontaneous activity in dorsal horn neurons 
Pain  2009;144(3):329-339.
Surgery injures both skin and deep tissue causing pain at rest and evoked pain with activities. In this study, we examined the extent of injury by incision and dorsal horn neuron (DHN) spontaneous activity (SA) in rats that underwent a sham operation, skin incision or skin plus deep tissue incision. Pain behaviors were measured 1 day later followed by DHN recordings in the same rats. On POD1, guarding pain was increased in the skin plus deep tissue incision group (7.0 ± 0.7 vs. 0.1 ± 0.6 in control, P < 0.001), but not in the skin incision group (1.8 ± 1.0); yet, mechanical and heat hyperalgesia were similar in both incised groups. In the rats underwent skin plus deep tissue incision, more DHNs expressed SA (78.1% vs. 35.7% in control, P < 0.01) and SA rate also tended to be greater (13.8 ± 2.9 vs. 5.6 ± 2.0 imp/sec). Bupivacaine infiltration into the incision decreased SA in both skin incision and skin plus deep tissue incision (POD1) group to the same level as the sham operated rats. In a separate group of rats that underwent skin plus deep tissue incision, guarding pain was not present (0.1 ± 0.6) on POD7 and percentage and amount of DHN SA were the same as the sham control. These data demonstrate incised deep tissue rather than skin is critical for the development of guarding pain and increased SA of DHNs. Skin incision alone is sufficient for primary mechanical and heat hyperalgesia.
doi:10.1016/j.pain.2009.05.019
PMCID: PMC2759309  PMID: 19527922
Central sensitization; Hyperalgesia; Postoperative pain; Wide dynamic range
23.  A transcriptomic study of grapevine (Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet-Sauvignon) interaction with the vascular ascomycete fungus Eutypa lata 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;61(6):1719-1737.
Eutypa dieback is a vascular disease that may severely affect vineyards throughout the world. In the present work, microarrays were made in order (i) to improve our knowledge of grapevine (Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet-Sauvignon) responses to Eutypa lata, the causal agent of Eutypa dieback; and (ii) to identify genes that may prevent symptom development. Qiagen/Operon grapevine microarrays comprising 14 500 probes were used to compare, under three experimental conditions (in vitro, in the greenhouse, and in the vineyard), foliar material of infected symptomatic plants (S+R+), infected asymptomatic plants (S–R+), and healthy plants (S–R–). These plants were characterized by symptom notation after natural (vineyard) or experimental (in vitro and greenhouse) infection, re-isolation of the fungus located in the lignified parts, and the formal identification of E. lata mycelium by PCR. Semi-quantitative real-time PCR experiments were run to confirm the expression of some genes of interest in response to E. lata. Their expression profiles were also studied in response to other grapevine pathogens (Erysiphe necator, Plasmopara viticola, and Botrytis cinerea). (i) Five functional categories of genes, that is those involved in metabolism, defence reactions, interaction with the environment, transport, and transcription, were up-regulated in S+R+ plants compared with S–R– plants. These genes, which cannot prevent infection and symptom development, are not specific since they were also up-regulated after infection by powdery mildew, downy mildew, and black rot. (ii) Most of the genes that may prevent symptom development are associated with the light phase of photosynthesis. This finding is discussed in the context of previous data on the mode of action of eutypin and the polypeptide fraction secreted by Eutypa.
doi:10.1093/jxb/erq040
PMCID: PMC2852663  PMID: 20190040
Eutypa dieback; Eutypa lata; grapevine; microarrays; transcriptome; Vitis vinifera
24.  A Developmentally Regulated Gene Cluster Involved in Conidial Pigment Biosynthesis in Aspergillus fumigatus 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(20):6469-6477.
Aspergillus fumigatus, a filamentous fungus producing bluish-green conidia, is an important opportunistic pathogen that primarily affects immunocompromised patients. Conidial pigmentation of A. fumigatus significantly influences its virulence in a murine model. In the present study, six genes, forming a gene cluster spanning 19 kb, were identified as involved in conidial pigment biosynthesis in A. fumigatus. Northern blot analyses showed the six genes to be developmentally regulated and expressed during conidiation. The gene products of alb1 (for “albino 1”), arp1 (for “aspergillus reddish-pink 1”), and arp2 have high similarity to polyketide synthases, scytalone dehydratases, and hydroxynaphthalene reductases, respectively, found in the dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN)-melanin pathway of brown and black fungi. The abr1 gene (for “aspergillus brown 1”) encodes a putative protein possessing two signatures of multicopper oxidases. The abr2 gene product has homology to the laccase encoded by the yA gene of Aspergillus nidulans. The function of ayg1 (for “aspergillus yellowish-green 1”) remains unknown. Involvement of the six genes in conidial pigmentation was confirmed by the altered conidial color phenotypes that resulted from disruption of each gene in A. fumigatus. The presence of a DHN-melanin pathway in A. fumigatus was supported by the accumulation of scytalone and flaviolin in the arp1 deletant, whereas only flaviolin was accumulated in the arp2 deletants. Scytalone and flaviolin are well-known signature metabolites of the DHN-melanin pathway. Based on DNA sequence similarity, gene disruption results, and biochemical analyses, we conclude that the 19-kb DNA fragment contains a six-gene cluster which is required for conidial pigment biosynthesis in A. fumigatus. However, the presence of abr1, abr2, and ayg1 in addition to alb1, arp1, and arp2 suggests that conidial pigment biosynthesis in A. fumigatus is more complex than the known DHN-melanin pathway.
PMCID: PMC103784  PMID: 10515939
25.  Reference Gene Validation for Quantitative RT-PCR during Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Vitis vinifera 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111399.
Grapevine is one of the most cultivated fruit crop worldwide with Vitis vinifera being the species with the highest economical importance. Being highly susceptible to fungal pathogens and increasingly affected by environmental factors, it has become an important agricultural research area, where gene expression analysis plays a fundamental role. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is currently amongst the most powerful techniques to perform gene expression studies. Nevertheless, accurate gene expression quantification strongly relies on appropriate reference gene selection for sample normalization. Concerning V. vinifera, limited information still exists as for which genes are the most suitable to be used as reference under particular experimental conditions. In this work, seven candidate genes were investigated for their stability in grapevine samples referring to four distinct stresses (Erysiphe necator, wounding and UV-C irradiation in leaves and Phaeomoniella chlamydospora colonization in wood). The expression stability was evaluated using geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper. In all cases, full agreement was not observed for the three methods. To provide comprehensive rankings integrating the three different programs, for each treatment, a consensus ranking was created using a non-weighted unsupervised rank aggregation method. According to the last, the three most suitable reference genes to be used in grapevine leaves, regardless of the stress, are UBC, VAG and PEP. For the P. chlamydospora treatment, EF1, CYP and UBC were the best scoring genes. Acquaintance of the most suitable reference genes to be used in grapevine samples can contribute for accurate gene expression quantification in forthcoming studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111399
PMCID: PMC4207820  PMID: 25340748

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