The canonical mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway plays a vital role in carrying out the normal growth and development of the plant. The pathway, connecting the upstreams signal with the downstream target is considered to be linear, mostly starting with a MAPKKK and ending in a MAPK.
Here we report a novel interaction between two rice MAPKs, OsMPK20-4 and OsMPK3 suggesting the complex nature of the pathway rather than a linear one at individual steps. The interaction between OsMPK20-4 and OsMPK3 found by yeast two-hybrid analysis was confirmed in planta by co-immunoprecipitation and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assays. The interaction is specific and is phosphorylation independent. The results suggest a role of the interaction between OsMPK20-4 and OsMPK3 in basic plant defense.
The current novel work showing the physical interaction between two plant MAPKs, OsMPK20-4 and OsMPK3 is the diversion from the dogma of a typical MAPK cascade thereby opening a new dimension to the MAPK signal transduction.
MAP kinase; Protein-protein interaction; Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci; Rice; Yeast two-hybrid assay
As one of the fastest-growing lignocellulose-abundant plants on Earth, bamboos can reach their final height quickly due to the expansion of individual internodes already present in the buds; however, the molecular processes underlying this phenomenon remain unclear. Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys heterocycla cv. Pubescens) internodes from four different developmental stages and three different internodes within the same stage were used in our study to investigate the molecular processes at the transcriptome and post-transcriptome level.
Our anatomical observations indicated the development of culms was dominated by cell division in the initial stages and by cell elongation in the middle and late stages. The four major endogenous hormones appeared to actively promote culm development. Using next-generation sequencing-based RNA-Seq, mRNA and microRNA expression profiling technology, we produced a transcriptome and post-transcriptome in possession of a large fraction of annotated Moso bamboo genes, and provided a molecular basis underlying the phenomenon of sequentially elongated internodes from the base to the top. Several key pathways such as environmental adaptation, signal transduction, translation, transport and many metabolisms were identified as involved in the rapid elongation of bamboo culms.
This is the first report on the temporal and spatial transcriptome and gene expression and microRNA profiling in a developing bamboo culms. In addition to gaining more insight into the unique growth characteristics of bamboo, we provide a good case study to analyze gene, microRNA expression and profiling of non-model plant species using high-throughput short-read sequencing. Also, we demonstrate that the integrated analysis of our multi-omics data, including transcriptome, post-transcriptome, proteome, yield more complete representations and additional biological insights, especially the complex dynamic processes occurring in Moso bamboo culms.
Nucleoside phosphorylases (NPs) have been extensively investigated in human and bacterial systems for their role in metabolic nucleotide salvaging and links to oncogenesis. In plants, NP-like proteins have not been comprehensively studied, likely because there is no evidence of a metabolic function in nucleoside salvage. However, in the forest trees genus Populus a family of NP-like proteins function as an important ecophysiological adaptation for inter- and intra-seasonal nitrogen storage and cycling.
We conducted phylogenetic analyses to determine the distribution and evolution of NP-like proteins in plants. These analyses revealed two major clusters of NP-like proteins in plants. Group I proteins were encoded by genes across a wide range of plant taxa while proteins encoded by Group II genes were dominated by species belonging to the order Malpighiales and included the Populus Bark Storage Protein (BSP) and WIN4-like proteins. Additionally, we evaluated the NP-like genes in Populus by examining the transcript abundance of the 13 NP-like genes found in the Populus genome in various tissues of plants exposed to long-day (LD) and short-day (SD) photoperiods. We found that all 13 of the Populus NP-like genes belonging to either Group I or II are expressed in various tissues in both LD and SD conditions. Tests of natural selection and expression evolution analysis of the Populus genes suggests that divergence in gene expression may have occurred recently during the evolution of Populus, which supports the adaptive maintenance models. Lastly, in silico analysis of cis-regulatory elements in the promoters of the 13 NP-like genes in Populus revealed common regulatory elements known to be involved in light regulation, stress/pathogenesis and phytohormone responses.
In Populus, the evolution of the NP-like protein and gene family has been shaped by duplication events and natural selection. Expression data suggest that previously uncharacterized NP-like proteins may function in nutrient sensing and/or signaling. These proteins are members of Group I NP-like proteins, which are widely distributed in many plant taxa. We conclude that NP-like proteins may function in plants, although this function is undefined.
Nucleoside phosphorylases; Vegetative storage proteins; Bark storage proteins; Nitrogen cycling; Populus trichocarpa
The establishment of sister chromatid cohesion followed by its controlled release at the metaphase to anaphase transition is necessary for faithful segregation of chromosomes in mitosis and meiosis. Cohesion is established by the action of Ctf7/Eco1 on the cohesin complex during DNA replication following loading of cohesin onto chromatin by the Scc2-Scc4 complex. Ctf7 is also required for sister chromatid cohesion during repair of DNA double strand breaks. Ctf7 contains an acetyltransferase domain and a zinc finger motif and acetylates conserved lysine residues in the Smc3 subunit of cohesin. In Arabidopsis CTF7 is encoded by a single gene and mutations in AtCTF7 cause embryo lethality indicating that the gene is essential.
To study the function of Ctf7 in plants and to determine its role in sister chromatid cohesion, we constructed a conditional allele of AtCTF7 in Arabidopsis using an inducible RNA interference (RNAi) strategy, so as to avoid the embryo lethality caused by mutations in AtCTF7. We found that induction of RNAi against AtCTF7 caused severe inhibition and defects in growth during vegetative and reproductive stages as well as sterility. AtCTF7-RNAi plants displayed chromosome fragmentation and loss of sister chromatid cohesion during meiosis. Immunostaining for the cohesion subunit AtSCC3 showed a marked reduction in association of cohesin with chromatin during meiosis in AtCTF7-RNAi plants.
We find that AtCTF7 is essential for sister chromatid cohesion during meiosis in Arabidopsis and is required for association of cohesin with chromatin in prophase of meiosis.
Plant meiosis; Chromosome organization; Synapsis; Conditional RNAi; Gametogenesis; DNA repair
Lepidium campestre is an undomesticated oilseed species with a great potential to become a new crop for both food and industrial feedstocks production. Genetic modification is needed for further improving the oil quantity and quality of Lepidium. Studies on in vitro shoot regeneration of Lepidium are very limited and there is no transformation protocol available.
We have investigated the effects of different factors, especially the type, concentration and combination of plant growth regulators (PGRs) on in vitro shoot regeneration of Lepidium. The results showed that the 2,4-D treatment was crucial to shoot regeneration from different explants. The duration of 2,4-D exposure between 2-4 days did not show significant difference in shoot regeneration, while the effect of 2,4-D concentration varied greatly depending on the type of explants and cytokinins used, for example, the low concentration of 2,4-D combined with TDZ significantly increased the regeneration frequency of hypocotyls. Cotyledon and hypocotyl explants responded differently to cytokinin, for example, TDZ was more effective than zeatin in promoting shoot regeneration from hypocotyls, but did not affect the regeneration of cotyledons which was more affected by high concentration of zeatin. The results also showed that NAA was not effective for shoot regeneration. Germination in light increased the regeneration frequency compared to that in dark. After optimization of the different conditions, an efficient regeneration protocol was developed with the regeneration efficiency of 92.7%. Using this protocol, the transformation frequency of 6% in average was achieved. The presence of transgenes in the transgenic lines was confirmed by GUS staining, PCR and Southern blot analyses.
Through systematic investigation of important factors affecting in vitro shoot regeneration, we have developed an efficient regeneration and transformation protocol for the genetic modification of Lepidium campestre. The method may also be applied to the related species.
Lepidium campestre; Regeneration; Transformation; Hypocotyls; 2,4-D; TDZ
Among the many commercial opportunities afforded by somatic embryogenesis (SE), it is the ability to clonally propagate individual plants with rare or elite traits that has some of the most significant implications. This is particularly true for many long-lived species, such as conifers, but whose long generation times pose substantive challenges, including increased recalcitrance for SE as plants age. Identification of a clonal line of somatic embryo-derived trees whose shoot primordia have remained responsive to SE induction for over a decade, provided a unique opportunity to examine the molecular aspects underpinning SE within shoot tissues of adult white spruce trees.
Microarray analysis was used to conduct transcriptome-wide expression profiling of shoot explants taken from this responsive genotype following one week of SE induction, which when compared with that of a nonresponsive genotype, led to the identification of four of the most differentially expressed genes within each genotype. Using absolute qPCR to expand the analysis to three weeks of induction revealed that differential expression of all eight candidate genes was maintained to the end of the induction treatment, albeit to differing degrees. Most striking was that both the magnitude and duration of candidate gene expression within the nonresponsive genotype was indicative of an intense physiological response. Examining their putative identities further revealed that all four encoded for proteins with similarity to angiosperm proteins known to play prominent roles in biotic defense, and that their high-level induction over an extended period is consistent with activation of a biotic defense response. In contrast, the more temperate response within the responsive genotype, including induction of a conifer-specific dehydrin, is more consistent with elicitation of an adaptive stress response.
While additional evidence is required to definitively establish an association between SE responsiveness and a specific physiological response, these results suggest that biotic defense activation may be antagonistic, likely related to the massive transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming that it elicits. A major issue for future work will be to determine how and if suppressing biotic defense activation could be used to promote a physiological state more conducive to SE induction.
Conifer; Gene expression profiling; Microarray analysis; Absolute qPCR; LRE qPCR; Clonal propagation
Zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) are essential micronutrients for plant growth and development, their deficiency or excess severely impaired physiological and biochemical reactions of plants. Therefore, a tightly controlled zinc and iron uptake and homeostasis network has been evolved in plants. The Zinc-regulated transporters, Iron-regulated transporter-like Proteins (ZIP) are capable of uptaking and transporting divalent metal ion and are suggested to play critical roles in balancing metal uptake and homeostasis, though a detailed analysis of ZIP gene family in maize is still lacking.
Nine ZIP-coding genes were identified in maize genome. It was revealed that the ZmZIP proteins share a conserved transmembrane domain and a variable region between TM-3 and TM-4. Transiently expression in onion epidermal cells revealed that all ZmZIP proteins were localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane. The yeast complementation analysis was performed to test the Zn or Fe transporter activity of ZmZIP proteins. Expression analysis showed that the ZmIRT1 transcripts were dramatically induced in response to Zn- and Fe-deficiency, though the expression profiles of other ZmZIP changed variously. The expression patterns of ZmZIP genes were observed in different stages of embryo and endosperm development. The accumulations of ZmIRT1 and ZmZIP6 were increased in the late developmental stages of embryo, while ZmZIP4 was up-regulated during the early development of embryo. In addition, the expression of ZmZIP5 was dramatically induced associated with middle stage development of embryo and endosperm.
These results suggest that ZmZIP genes encode functional Zn or Fe transporters that may be responsible for the uptake, translocation, detoxification and storage of divalent metal ion in plant cells. The various expression patterns of ZmZIP genes in embryo and endosperm indicates that they may be essential for ion translocation and storage during differential stages of embryo and endosperm development. The present study provides new insights into the evolutionary relationship and putative functional divergence of the ZmZIP gene family during the growth and development of maize.
Embryo; Endosperm; Expression profiling; Zinc; Iron; Zinc-regulated transporters; Iron-regulated transporter-like protein (ZIP); Subcellular localization; Yeast complementation; Maize
Spaceflight presents a novel environment that is outside the evolutionary experience of terrestrial organisms. Full activation of the International Space Station as a science platform complete with sophisticated plant growth chambers, laboratory benches, and procedures for effective sample return, has enabled a new level of research capability and hypothesis testing in this unique environment. The opportunity to examine the strategies of environmental sensing in spaceflight, which includes the absence of unit gravity, provides a unique insight into the balance of influence among abiotic cues directing plant growth and development: including gravity, light, and touch. The data presented here correlate morphological and transcriptome data from replicated spaceflight experiments.
The transcriptome of Arabidopsis thaliana demonstrated organ-specific changes in response to spaceflight, with 480 genes showing significant changes in expression in spaceflight plants compared with ground controls by at least 1.9-fold, and 58 by more than 7-fold. Leaves, hypocotyls, and roots each displayed unique patterns of response, yet many gene functions within the responses are related. Particularly represented across the dataset were genes associated with cell architecture and growth hormone signaling; processes that would not be anticipated to be altered in microgravity yet may correlate with morphological changes observed in spaceflight plants. As examples, differential expression of genes involved with touch, cell wall remodeling, root hairs, and cell expansion may correlate with spaceflight-associated root skewing, while differential expression of auxin-related and other gravity-signaling genes seemingly correlates with the microgravity of spaceflight. Although functionally related genes were differentially represented in leaves, hypocotyls, and roots, the expression of individual genes varied substantially across organ types, indicating that there is no single response to spaceflight. Rather, each organ employed its own response tactics within a shared strategy, largely involving cell wall architecture.
Spaceflight appears to initiate cellular remodeling throughout the plant, yet specific strategies of the response are distinct among specific organs of the plant. Further, these data illustrate that in the absence of gravity plants rely on other environmental cues to initiate the morphological responses essential to successful growth and development, and that the basis for that engagement lies in the differential expression of genes in an organ-specific manner that maximizes the utilization of these signals – such as the up-regulation of genes associated with light-sensing in roots.
Higher plants evolved various strategies to adapt to chilling conditions. Among other transcriptional and metabolic responses to cold temperatures plants accumulate a range of solutes including sugars. The accumulation of the reducing sugars glucose and fructose in mature potato tubers during exposure to cold temperatures is referred to as cold induced sweetening (CIS). The molecular basis of CIS in potato tubers is of interest not only in basic research on plant adaptation to environmental stress but also in applied research, since high amounts of reducing sugars affect negatively the quality of processed food products such as potato chips. CIS-tolerance varies considerably among potato cultivars. Our objective was to identify by an unbiased approach genes and cellular processes influencing natural variation of tuber sugar content before and during cold storage in potato cultivars used in breeding programs. We compared by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis the tuber proteomes of cultivars highly diverse for CIS. DNA polymorphisms in genomic sequences encoding differentially expressed proteins were tested for association with tuber starch content, starch yield and processing quality.
Pronounced natural variation of CIS was detected in tubers of a population of 40 tetraploid potato cultivars. Significant differences in protein expression were detected between CIS-tolerant and CIS-sensitive cultivars before the onset as well as during cold storage. Identifiable differential proteins corresponded to protease inhibitors, patatins, heat shock proteins, lipoxygenase, phospholipase A1 and leucine aminopeptidase (Lap). Association mapping based on single nucleotide polymorphisms supported a role of Lap in the natural variation of the quantitative traits tuber starch and sugar content.
The combination of comparative proteomics and association genetics led to the discovery of novel candidate genes for influencing the natural variation of quantitative traits in potato tubers. One such gene was a leucine aminopeptidase not considered so far to play a role in starch sugar interconversion. Novel SNP’s diagnostic for increased tuber starch content, starch yield and chip quality were identified, which are useful for selecting improved potato processing cultivars.
The detection and exploitation of genetic variation underpins crop improvement. However, the polyploid nature of the genomes of many of our most important crops represents a barrier, particularly for the analysis of variation within genes. To overcome this, we aimed to develop methodologies based on amplicon sequencing that involve the incorporation of barcoded amplification tags (BATs) into PCR products.
A protocol was developed to tag PCR products with 5’ 6-base oligonucleotide barcode extensions before pooling for sequencing library production using standard Illumina adapters. A computational method was developed for the de-convolution of products and the robust detection and scoring of sequence variants. Using this methodology, amplicons targeted to gene sequences were screened across a B. napus mapping population and the resulting allele scoring strings for 24 markers linkage mapped to the expected regions of the genome. Furthermore, using one-dimensional 8-fold pooling, 4608 lines of a B. napus mutation population were screened for induced mutations in a locus-specific amplicon (an orthologue of GL2.b) and mixed product of three co-amplified loci (orthologues of FAD2), identifying 10 and 41 mutants respectively.
The utilisation of barcode tags to de-convolute pooled PCR products in multiplexed, variation screening via Illumina sequencing provides a cost effective method for SNP genotyping and mutation detection and, potentially, markers for causative changes, even in polyploid species. Combining this approach with existing Illumina multiplexing workflows allows the analysis of thousands of lines cheaply and efficiently in a single sequencing run with minimal library production costs.
SNP; Mutation; Polyploid; Crop
Cotton (Gossypium spp.) is widely cultivated due to the important economic value of its fiber. However, extreme environmental degradation impedes cotton growth and production. Receptor-like kinase (RLK) proteins play important roles in signal transduction and participate in a diverse range of processes in response to plant hormones and environmental cues. Here, we introduced an RLK gene (GbRLK) from cotton into Arabidopsis and investigated its role in imparting abiotic stress tolerance.
GbRLK transcription was induced by exogenously supplied abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate, mock drought conditions and high salinity. We cloned the promoter sequence of this gene via self-formed adaptor PCR. Sequence analysis revealed that the promoter region contains many cis-acting stress-responsive elements such as ABRE, W-Box, MYB-core, W-Box core, TCA-element and others. We constructed a vector containing a 1,890-bp sequence in the 5′ region upstream of the initiation codon of this promoter and transformed it into Arabidopsis thaliana. GUS histochemical staining analysis showed that GbRLK was expressed mainly in leaf veins, petioles and roots of transgenic Arabidopsis, but not in the cotyledons or root hairs. GbRLK promoter activity was induced by ABA, PEG, NaCl and Verticillium dahliae. Transgenic Arabidopsis with constitutive overexpression of GbRLK exhibited a reduced rate of water loss in leaves in vitro, along with improved salinity and drought tolerance and increased sensitivity to ABA compared with non-transgenic Col-0 Arabidopsis. Expression analysis of stress-responsive genes in GbRLK Arabidopsis revealed that there was increased expression of genes involved in the ABA-dependent signaling pathway (AtRD20, AtRD22 and AtRD26) and antioxidant genes (AtCAT1, AtCCS, AtCSD2 and AtCSD1) but not ion transporter genes (AtNHX1, AtSOS1).
GbRLK is involved in the drought and high salinity stresses pathway by activating or participating in the ABA signaling pathway. Overexpression of GbRLK may improve stress tolerance by regulating stress-responsive genes to reduce water loss. GbRLK may be employed in the genetic engineering of novel cotton cultivars in the future. Further studying of GbRLK will help elucidate abiotic stress signaling pathways.
Gossypium barbadense; Receptor-like protein kinase; Abscisic acid; Arabidopsis thaliana; Abiotic stress tolerance; Transgene
Polyamines (PAs) are oxidatively deaminated at their primary or secondary amino-groups by copper-containing amine oxidases (CuAOs) or FAD-dependent amine oxidases (PAOs), respectively. Both enzymes have long been considered to be apoplastic proteins. However, three out of five PAO isoforms in Arabidopsis thaliana are localized in peroxisomes, while the other two PAOs are predicted to be cytosolic. Interestingly, most of these PAOs do not contribute to terminal PA oxidation, but instead are involved in the back-conversion pathway, producing spermidine from spermine and putrescine from spermidine, which in turn is inhibited by putrescine. This opens the question as to whether PAs are catabolized in the apoplast of Arabidopsis and if the terminal oxidation occurs in the peroxisomes. The main objective of this study was to know if these catabolic processes are mediated by CuAOs.
A. thaliana contains ten genes annotated as CuAOs, but only one (ATAO1) has been characterized at the protein level. Reported herein is the characterization of three genes encoding putative Arabidopsis CuAOs (AtCuAO1, AtCuAO2 and AtCuAO3). These genes encode functional CuAOs that use putrescine and spermidine as substrates. AtCuAO1, like ATAO1, is an extracellular protein, while AtCuAO2 and AtCuAO3 are localized in peroxisomes. The three genes present a different expression profile in response to exogenous treatments, such as application of abcisic acid, methyl jasmonate, salycilic acid, flagellin 22 and wounding.
PA catabolism in the Arabidopsis apoplast is mediated predominantly by CuAOs, while in peroxisomes the co-localization of CuAO-dependent terminal catabolism with PAO-back-conversion machineries might contribute to modulating putrescine-mediated inhibition of the back-conversion, suggesting the occurrence of a tight coordination between both catabolic pathways. The expression profile of AtCuAO1-3 in response to different exogenous treatments, together with the different localization of the corresponding proteins, provides evidence for the functional diversification of Arabidopsis CuAO proteins.
Yield losses as a result of abiotic stress factors present a significant challenge for the future of global food production. While breeding technologies provide potential to combat negative stress-mediated outcomes over time, interventions which act to prime plant tolerance to stress, via the use of phytohormone-based elicitors for example, could act as a valuable tool for crop protection. However, the translation of fundamental biology into functioning solution is often constrained by knowledge-gaps.
Photosynthetic and transcriptomic responses were characterised in young tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) seedlings in response to pre-treatment with a new plant health activator technology, ‘Alethea’, followed by a subsequent 100 mM salinity stress. Alethea is a novel proprietary technology composed of three key constituent compounds; the hitherto unexplored compound potassium dihydrojasmonate, an analogue of jasmonic acid; sodium benzoate, a carboxylic acid precursor to salicylic acid, and the α-amino acid L-arginine. Salinity treatment led to a maximal 47% reduction in net photosynthetic rate 8 d following NaCl treatment, yet in Alethea pre-treated seedlings, sensitivity to salinity stress was markedly reduced during the experimental period. Microarray analysis of leaf transcriptional responses showed that while salinity stress and Alethea individually impacted on largely non-overlapping, distinct groups of genes, Alethea pre-treatment substantially modified the response to salinity. Alethea affected the expression of genes related to biotic stress, ethylene signalling, cell wall synthesis, redox signalling and photosynthetic processes. Since Alethea had clear effects on photosynthesis/chloroplastic function at the physiological and molecular levels, we also investigated the ability of Alethea to protect various crop species against methyl viologen, a potent generator of oxidative stress in chloroplasts. Alethea pre-treatment produced dramatic reductions in visible foliar necrosis caused by methyl viologen compared with non-primed controls.
‘Alethea’ technology mediates positive recovery of abiotic stress-induced photosynthetic and foliar loss of performance, which is accompanied by altered transcriptional responses to stress.
Photosynthesis; Abiotic stress; Priming; Tomato; Transcriptomics; Potassium dihydrojasmonate; Sodium benzoate; L-arginine
Plants have evolved an array of constitutive and inducible defense strategies to restrict pathogen ingress. However, some pathogens still manage to invade plants and impair growth and productivity. Previous studies have revealed several key regulators of defense responses, and efforts have been made to use this information to develop disease resistant crop plants. These efforts are often hampered by the complexity of defense signaling pathways. To further elucidate the complexity of defense responses, we screened a population of T-DNA mutants in Colombia-0 background that displayed altered defense responses to virulent Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000).
In this study, we demonstrated that the Arabidopsis Purple Acid Phosphatse5 (PAP5) gene, induced under prolonged phosphate (Pi) starvation, is required for maintaining basal resistance to certain pathogens. The expression of PAP5 was distinctly induced only under prolonged Pi starvation and during the early stage of Pst DC3000 infection (6 h.p.i). T-DNA tagged mutant pap5 displayed enhanced susceptibility to the virulent bacterial pathogen Pst DC3000. The pap5 mutation greatly reduced the expression of pathogen inducible gene PR1 compared to wild-type plants. Similarly, other defense related genes including ICS1 and PDF1.2 were impaired in pap5 plants. Moreover, application of BTH (an analog of SA) restored PR1 expression in pap5 plants.
Taken together, our results demonstrate the requirement of PAP5 for maintaining basal resistance against Pst DC3000. Furthermore, our results provide evidence that PAP5 acts upstream of SA accumulation to regulate the expression of other defense responsive genes. We also provide the first experimental evidence indicating the role PAP5 in plant defense responses.
Arabidopsis; Plant defense responses; PAP5; Pseudomonas syringae; Phosphate starvation
Rp1 is a complex locus of maize, which carries a set of genes controlling race-specific resistance to the common rust fungus, Puccinia sorghi. The resistance response includes the “Hypersensitive response” (HR), a rapid response triggered by a pathogen recognition event that includes localized cell death at the point of pathogen penetration and the induction of pathogenesis associated genes. The Rp1-D21gene is an autoactive allelic variant at the Rp1 locus, causing spontaneous activation of the HR response, in the absence of pathogenesis. Previously we have shown that the severity of the phenotype conferred by Rp1-D21 is highly dependent on genetic background.
In this study we show that the phenotype conferred by Rp1-D21 is highly dependent on temperature, with lower temperatures favoring the expression of the HR lesion phenotype. This temperature effect was observed in all the 14 genetic backgrounds tested. Significant interactions between the temperature effects and genetic background were observed. When plants were grown at temperatures above 30°C, the spontaneous HR phenotype conferred by Rp1-D21 was entirely suppressed. Furthermore, this phenotype could be restored or suppressed by alternately reducing and increasing the temperature appropriately. Light was also required for the expression of this phenotype. By examining the expression of genes associated with the defense response we showed that, at temperatures above 30°C, the Rp1-D21 phenotype was suppressed at both the phenotypic and molecular level.
We have shown that the lesion phenotype conferred by maize autoactive resistance gene Rp1-D21 is temperature sensitive in a reversible manner, that the temperature-sensitivity phenotype interacts with genetic background and that the phenotype is light sensitive. This is the first detailed demonstration of this phenomenon in monocots and also the first demonstration of the interaction of this effect with genetic background. The use of temperature shifts to induce a massive and synchronous HR in plants carrying the Rp1-D21 genes will be valuable in identifying components of the defense response pathway.
Maize; Hypersensitive response; Disease resistance; Temperature sensitive; Light dependent; Rp1; Autoactive R gene
The classical (C) MIKC-type MADS-box transcription factors comprise one gene family that plays diverse roles in the flowering process ranging from floral initiation to the development of floral organs. Despite their importance in regulating developmental processes that impact crop yield, they remain largely unexplored in the major legume oilseed crop, soybean.
We identified 57 MIKCc-type transcription factors from soybean and determined the in silico gene expression profiles of the soybean MIKCc-type genes across different tissues. Our study implicates three MIKCc-type transcription factors as novel members of the AGAMOUS LIKE 6 (AGL6) subfamily of the MIKCC-type MADS-box genes, and we named this sister clade PsMADS3. While similar genes were identified in other legume species, poplar and grape, no such gene is represented in Arabidopsis thaliana or rice. RT-PCR analysis on these three soybean PsMADS3 genes during early floral initiation processes revealed their temporal expression similar to that of APETALA1, a gene known to function as a floral meristem identity gene. However, RNA in situ hybridisation showed that their spatial expression patterns are markedly different from those of APETALA1.
Legume flower development system differs from that in the model plant, Arabidopsis. There is an overlap in the initiation of different floral whorls in soybean, and inflorescent meristems can revert to leaf production depending on the environmental conditions. MIKCC-type MADS-box genes have been shown to play key regulatory roles in different stages of flower development. We identified members of the PsMADS3 sub-clade in legumes that show differential spatial expression during floral initiation, indicating their potential novel roles in the floral initiation process. The results from this study will contribute to a better understanding of legume-specific floral developmental processes.
Development; Floral meristem; MADS-box transcription factor; Soybean
Excess light conditions induce the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) directly in the chloroplasts but also cause an accumulation and production of ROS in peroxisomes, cytosol and vacuoles. Antioxidants such as ascorbate and glutathione occur in all cell compartments where they detoxify ROS. In this study compartment specific changes in antioxidant levels and related enzymes were monitored among Arabidopsis wildtype plants and ascorbate and glutathione deficient mutants (vtc2-1 and pad2-1, respectively) exposed to different light intensities (50, 150 which was considered as control condition, 300, 700 and 1,500 μmol m-2 s-1) for 4 h and 14 d.
The results revealed that wildtype plants reacted to short term exposure to excess light conditions with the accumulation of ascorbate and glutathione in chloroplasts, peroxisomes and the cytosol and an increased activity of catalase in the leaves. Long term exposure led to an accumulation of ascorbate and glutathione mainly in chloroplasts. In wildtype plants an accumulation of ascorbate and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) could be observed in vacuoles when exposed to high light conditions. The pad2-1 mutant reacted to long term excess light exposure with an accumulation of ascorbate in peroxisomes whereas the vtc2-1 mutant reacted with an accumulation of glutathione in the chloroplasts (relative to the wildtype) and nuclei during long term high light conditions indicating an important role of these antioxidants in these cell compartments for the protection of the mutants against high light stress.
The results obtained in this study demonstrate that the accumulation of ascorbate and glutathione in chloroplasts, peroxisomes and the cytosol is an important reaction of plants to short term high light stress. The accumulation of ascorbate and H2O2 along the tonoplast and in vacuoles during these conditions indicates an important route for H2O2 detoxification under these conditions.
Arabidopsis; Ascorbate; Chloroplast; Glutathione; High light; Reactive oxygen species
Concentrations of cadmium (Cd) in the grain of many durum wheats (Triticum turgidum subsp. durum) grown in North American prairie soils often exceed international trade standards. Genotypic differences in root-to-shoot translocation of Cd are a major determinant of intraspecific variation in the accumulation of Cd in grain. We tested the extent to which changes in whole-plant Cd accumulation and the distribution of Cd between tissues influences Cd accumulation in grain by measuring Cd accumulation throughout the grain filling period in two near-isogenic lines (NILs) of durum wheat that differ in grain Cd accumulation.
Roots absorbed Cd and transported it to the shoots throughout the grain filling period, but the low- and high-Cd NILs did not differ in whole-plant Cd uptake. Although the majority of Cd accumulation was retained in the roots, the low- and high-Cd NILs differed substantively in root-to-shoot translocation of Cd. At grain maturity, accumulation of Cd in the shoots was 13% (low-Cd NIL) or 37% (high-Cd NIL) of whole-plant Cd accumulation. Accumulation of Cd in all shoot tissue, including grain, was at least 2-fold greater in the high-Cd NIL at all harvests. There was no net remobilization of shoot Cd pools during grain filling. The timing of Cd accumulation in grain was positively correlated with grain biomass accumulation, and the rate of grain filling peaked between 14 and 28 days post-anthesis, when both NILs accumulated 60% of total grain biomass and 61-66% of total grain Cd content.
These results show that genotypic variation in root-to-shoot translocation of Cd controls accumulation of Cd in durum wheat grain. Continued uptake of Cd by roots and the absence of net remobilization of Cd from leaves during grain filling support a direct pathway of Cd transport from roots to grain via xylem-to-phloem transfer in the stem.
Cadmium (Cd); Durum wheat; Near-isogenic lines (NIL); Grain filling; Uptake; Translocation; Remobilization
Pathogen infection triggers a large-scale transcriptional reprogramming in plants, and the speed of this reprogramming affects the outcome of the infection. Our understanding of this process has significantly benefited from mutants that display either delayed or accelerated defense gene induction. In our previous work we demonstrated that the Arabidopsis Elongator complex subunit 2 (AtELP2) plays an important role in both basal immunity and effector-triggered immunity (ETI), and more recently showed that AtELP2 is involved in dynamic changes in histone acetylation and DNA methylation at several defense genes. However, the function of other Elongator subunits in plant immunity has not been characterized.
In the same genetic screen used to identify Atelp2, we found another Elongator mutant, Atelp3-10, which mimics Atelp2 in that it exhibits a delay in defense gene induction following salicylic acid treatment or pathogen infection. Similarly to AtELP2, AtELP3 is required for basal immunity and ETI, but not for systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Furthermore, we demonstrate that both the histone acetyltransferase and radical S-adenosylmethionine domains of AtELP3 are essential for its function in plant immunity.
Our results indicate that the entire Elongator complex is involved in basal immunity and ETI, but not in SAR, and support that Elongator may play a role in facilitating the transcriptional induction of defense genes through alterations to their chromatin.
Arabidopsis; Elongator; Plant immunity; AtELP3; Transcription
Floral nectar (FN) contains not only energy-rich compounds to attract pollinators, but also defense chemicals and several proteins. However, proteomic analysis of FN has been hampered by the lack of publically available sequence information from nectar-producing plants. Here we used next-generation sequencing and advanced proteomics to profile FN proteins in the opportunistic outcrossing wild tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata.
We constructed a transcriptome database of N. attenuata and characterized its nectar proteome using LC-MS/MS. The FN proteins of N. attenuata included nectarins, sugar-cleaving enzymes (glucosidase, galactosidase, and xylosidase), RNases, pathogen-related proteins, and lipid transfer proteins. Natural variation in FN proteins of eleven N. attenuata accessions revealed a negative relationship between the accumulation of two abundant proteins, nectarin1b and nectarin5. In addition, microarray analysis of nectary tissues revealed that protein accumulation in FN is not simply correlated with the accumulation of transcripts encoding FN proteins and identified a group of genes that were specifically expressed in the nectary.
Natural variation of identified FN proteins in the ecological model plant N. attenuata suggests that nectar chemistry may have a complex function in plant-pollinator-microbe interactions.
LC-MS/MS; Nectar protein; Nectarin; Nicotiana attenuata
Type II NAD(PH) dehydrogenases are located on the inner mitochondrial membrane of plants, fungi, protists and some primitive animals. However, recent observations have been made which identify several Arabidopsis type II dehydrogenases as dual targeted proteins. Targeting either mitochondria and peroxisomes or mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Members of the ND protein family were identified in various plant species. Phylogenetic analyses and subcellular targeting predictions were carried out for all proteins. All ND proteins from three model plant species Arabidopsis, rice and Physcomitrella were cloned as N- and C-terminal GFP fusions and subcellular localisations were determined. Dual targeting of plant type II dehydrogenases was observed to have evolved early in plant evolution and to be widespread throughout different plant species. In all three species tested dual targeting to both mitochondria and peroxisomes was found for at least one NDA and NDB type protein. In addition two NDB type proteins from Physcomitrella were also found to target chloroplasts. The dual targeting of NDC type proteins was found to have evolved later in plant evolution.
The functions of type II dehydrogenases within plant cells will have to be re-evaluated in light of this newly identified subcellular targeting information.
Type II NAD(P)H dehydrogenases; Dual targeting; Mitochondria; Peroxisomes; Plastids
Genetically modified plants are widely used in agriculture and increasingly in ecological research to enable the selective manipulation of plant traits in the field. Despite their broad usage, many aspects of unwanted transgene silencing throughout plant development are still poorly understood. A transgene can be epigenetically silenced by a process called RNA directed DNA methylation (RdDM), which can be seen as a heritable loss of gene expression. The spontaneous nature of transgene silencing has been widely reported, but patterns of acquirement remain still unclear.
Transgenic wild tobacco plants (Nicotiana attenuata) expressing heterologous genes coding for antimicrobial peptides displayed an erratic and variable occurrence of transgene silencing. We focused on three independently transformed lines (PNA 1.2, PNA 10.1 and ICE 4.4) as they rapidly lost the expression of the resistance marker and down-regulated transgene expression by more than 200 fold after only one plant generation. Bisulfite sequencing indicated hypermethylation within the 35S and NOS promoters of these lines. To shed light on the progress of methylation establishment, we successively sampled leaf tissues from different stages during plant development and found a rapid increase in 35S promoter methylation during vegetative growth (up to 77% absolute increase within 45 days of growth). The levels of de novo methylation were inherited by the offspring without any visible discontinuation. A secondary callus regeneration step could interfere with the establishment of gene silencing and we found successfully restored transgene expression in the offspring of several regenerants.
The unpredictability of the gene silencing process requires a thorough selection and early detection of unstable plant lines. De novo methylation of the transgenes was acquired solely during vegetative development and did not require a generational change for its establishment or enhancement. A secondary callus regeneration step provides a convenient way to rescue transgene expression without causing undesirable morphological effects, which is essential for experiments that use transformed plants in the analysis of ecologically important traits.
Kernel weight, controlled by quantitative trait loci (QTL), is an important component of grain yield in maize. Cytokinins (CKs) participate in determining grain morphology and final grain yield in crops. ZmIPT2, which is expressed mainly in the basal transfer cell layer, endosperm, and embryo during maize kernel development, encodes an isopentenyl transferase (IPT) that is involved in CK biosynthesis.
The coding region of ZmIPT2 was sequenced across a panel of 175 maize inbred lines that are currently used in Chinese maize breeding programs. Only 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and seven haplotypes were detected among these inbred lines. Nucleotide diversity (π) within the ZmIPT2 window and coding region were 0.347 and 0.0047, respectively, and they were significantly lower than the mean nucleotide diversity value of 0.372 for maize Chromosome 2 (P < 0.01). Association mapping revealed that a single nucleotide change from cytosine (C) to thymine (T) in the ZmIPT2 coding region, which converted a proline residue into a serine residue, was significantly associated with hundred kernel weight (HKW) in three environments (P <0.05), and explained 4.76% of the total phenotypic variation. In vitro characterization suggests that the dimethylallyl diphospate (DMAPP) IPT activity of ZmIPT2-T is higher than that of ZmIPT2-C, as the amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) consumed by ZmIPT2-T were 5.48-, 2.70-, and 1.87-fold, respectively, greater than those consumed by ZmIPT2-C. The effects of artificial selection on the ZmIPT2 coding region were evaluated using Tajima’s D tests across six subgroups of Chinese maize germplasm, with the most frequent favorable allele identified in subgroup PB (Partner B).
These results showed that ZmIPT2, which is associated with kernel weight, was subjected to artificial selection during the maize breeding process. ZmIPT2-T had higher IPT activity than ZmIPT2-C, and this favorable allele for kernel weight could be used in molecular marker-assisted selection for improvement of grain yield components in Chinese maize breeding programs.
Maize; Isopentenyl transferase 2; Association mapping; Artificial selection
Gene duplication events have been proposed to be involved in the adaptation of plants to stress conditions; precisely how is unclear. To address this question, we studied the evolution of two families of antiporters. Cation/proton exchangers are important for normal cell function and in plants, Na+,K+/H+ antiporters have also been implicated in salt tolerance. Two well-known plant cation/proton antiporters are NHX1 and SOS1, which perform Na+ and K+ compartmentalization into the vacuole and Na+ efflux from the cell, respectively. However, our knowledge about the evolution of NHX and SOS1 stress responsive gene families is still limited.
In this study we performed a comprehensive molecular evolutionary analysis of the NHX and SOS1 families. Using available sequences from a total of 33 plant species, we estimated gene family phylogenies and gene duplication histories, as well as examined heterogeneous selection pressure on amino acid sites. Our results show that, while the NHX family expanded and specialized, the SOS1 family remained a low copy gene family that appears to have undergone neofunctionalization during its evolutionary history. Additionally, we found that both families are under purifying selection although SOS1 is less constrained.
We propose that the different evolution histories are related with the proteins’ function and localization, and that the NHX and SOS1 families are examples of two different evolutionary paths through which duplication events may result in adaptive evolution of stress tolerance.
Adult plant rust resistance genes Lr67 and Lr34 confer race non-specific resistance to multiple fungal pathogens of wheat. Induced, susceptible mutants were characterised for both genes.
Three categories of Lr34 mutants were identified that were either partial susceptible, fully susceptible or hyper-susceptible to stripe rust and leaf rust. The likely impact of the mutational change on the predicted Lr34 protein correlated with differences in response to rust infection. Four independent Lr67 mutants were recovered that were susceptible to stripe rust, leaf rust and stem rust pathogens, including one possible hyper-susceptible Lr67 mutant.
Detailed study of Lr34 mutants revealed that subtle changes in resistance response to multiple pathogens were correlated with mutational changes in the predicted protein. Recovery of independent Lr67 mutants indicates that as for Lr34, a single gene at the Lr67 locus is likely to confer resistance to multiple pathogens. The infection phenotypes of Lr67 mutants closely resembled that of Lr34 mutants.
Lr34; Lr67; Rust resistance; Mutants