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1.  Complete Genome Sequence of a Novel Genotype of Squash Mosaic Virus Infecting Squash in Spain 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(1):e01583-14.
The complete genome sequence of a new isolate of squash mosaic virus (SqMV) infecting squash plants in Spain was obtained using deep sequencing of small RNAs. The low nucleotide sequence identities, with only 87 to 88% for RNA1 and 84 to 86% for RNA2 to known SqMV isolates, suggested that this isolate belongs to a novel genotype.
PMCID: PMC4333673  PMID: 25676773
2.  Nonuniform gene expression pattern detected along the longitudinal axis in the matured rice leaf 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8015.
Rice (Oryza sativa) is a staple crop that supports half the world's population and an important monocot model system. Monocot leaf matures in a basipetal manner, and has a well-defined developmental gradient along the longitudinal axis. However, little is known about its transcriptional dynamics after leaf maturation. In this study, we have reconstructed a high spatial resolution transcriptome for the matured rice leaf by sectioning the leaf into seven 3-cm fragments. We have performed strand-specific Illumina sequencing to generate gene expression profiles for each fragment. We found that the matured leaf contains a longitudinal gene expression gradient, with 6.97% (2,603) of the expressed genes showing differentially expression along the seven sections. The leaf transcriptome showed a gradual transition from accumulating transcripts related to primary cell wall and basic cellular metabolism at the base to those involved in photosynthesis and energy production in the middle, and catabolic metabolism process toward the tip.
PMCID: PMC4306128  PMID: 25619793
3.  Complete Genome Sequence of an Emerging Genotype of Tobacco Streak Virus in the United States 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(6):e01138-14.
We report here the complete genome sequence of an emerging genotype of tobacco streak virus (TSV) infecting zucchini squash in Florida (TSV_FL13-07), obtained using deep sequencing of short RNAs (sRNAs) and validation by Sanger sequencing. TSV_FL13-07 shares only <90% sequence identity in all three genomic RNAs to several known U.S. isolates.
PMCID: PMC4223465  PMID: 25377714
4.  Transcriptomic analysis reveals tomato genes whose expression is induced specifically during effector-triggered immunity and identifies the Epk1 protein kinase which is required for the host response to three bacterial effector proteins 
Genome Biology  2014;15(10):492.
Plants have two related immune systems to defend themselves against pathogen attack. Initially, pattern-triggered immunity is activated upon recognition of microbe-associated molecular patterns by pattern recognition receptors. Pathogenic bacteria deliver effector proteins into the plant cell that interfere with this immune response and promote disease. However, some plants express resistance proteins that detect the presence of specific effectors leading to a robust defense response referred to as effector-triggered immunity. The interaction of tomato with Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato is an established model system for understanding the molecular basis of these plant immune responses.
We apply high-throughput RNA sequencing to this pathosystem to identify genes whose expression changes specifically during pattern-triggered or effector-triggered immunity. We then develop reporter genes for each of these responses that will enable characterization of the host response to the large collection of P. s. pv. tomato strains that express different combinations of effectors. Virus-induced gene silencing of 30 of the effector-triggered immunity-specific genes identifies Epk1 which encodes a predicted protein kinase from a family previously unknown to be involved in immunity. Knocked-down expression of Epk1 compromises effector-triggered immunity triggered by three bacterial effectors but not by effectors from non-bacterial pathogens. Epistasis experiments indicate that Epk1 acts upstream of effector-triggered immunity-associated MAP kinase signaling.
Using RNA-seq technology we identify genes involved in specific immune responses. A functional genomics screen led to the discovery of Epk1, a novel predicted protein kinase required for plant defense activation upon recognition of three different bacterial effectors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0492-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4223163  PMID: 25323444
5.  Down-regulation of AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORS 6 and 8 by microRNA 167 leads to floral development defects and female sterility in tomato 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(9):2507-2520.
Investigations into the role of tomato ARF6 and ARF8 reveal that they are critical components in floral and gynoecium development before anthesis.
Auxin regulates the expression of diverse genes that affect plant growth and development. This regulation requires AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORS (ARFs) that bind to the promoter regions of these genes. ARF6 and ARF8 in Arabidopsis thaliana are required to promote inflorescence stem elongation and late stages of petal, stamen, and gynoecium development. All seed plants studied thus far have ARF6 and ARF8 orthologues as well as the microRNA miR167, which targets ARF6 and ARF8. Whether these genes have broadly conserved roles in flower development is not known. To address this question, the effects of down-regulation of ARF6 and ARF8 were investigated through transgenic expression of Arabidopsis MIR167a in tomato, which diverged from Arabidopsis before the radiation of dicotyledonous plants approximately 90–112 million years ago. The transgenic tomato plants overexpressing MIR167a exhibited reductions in leaf size and internode length as well as shortened petals, stamens, and styles. More significantly, the transgenic plants were female-sterile as a result of failure of wild-type pollen to germinate on the stigma surface and/or to grow through the style. RNA-Seq analysis identified many genes with significantly altered expression patterns, including those encoding products with functions in ‘transcription regulation’, ‘cell wall’ and ‘lipid metabolism’ categories. Putative orthologues of a subset of these genes were also differentially expressed in Arabidopsis arf6 arf8 mutant flowers. These results thus suggest that ARF6 and ARF8 have conserved roles in controlling growth and development of vegetative and flower organs in dicots.
PMCID: PMC4036516  PMID: 24723401
ARF6; ARF8; expression; female sterility; flower development; tomato.
6.  Identification of multiple salicylic acid-binding proteins using two high throughput screens 
Salicylic acid (SA) is an important hormone involved in many diverse plant processes, including floral induction, stomatal closure, seed germination, adventitious root initiation, and thermogenesis. It also plays critical functions during responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. The role(s) of SA in signaling disease resistance is by far the best studied process, although it is still only partially understood. To obtain insights into how SA carries out its varied functions, particularly in activating disease resistance, two new high throughput screens were developed to identify novel SA-binding proteins (SABPs). The first utilized crosslinking of the photo-reactive SA analog 4-AzidoSA (4AzSA) to proteins in an Arabidopsis leaf extract, followed by immuno-selection with anti-SA antibodies and then mass spectroscopy-based identification. The second utilized photo-affinity crosslinking of 4AzSA to proteins on a protein microarray (PMA) followed by detection with anti-SA antibodies. To determine whether the candidate SABPs (cSABPs) obtained from these screens were true SABPs, recombinantly-produced proteins were generated and tested for SA-inhibitable crosslinking to 4AzSA, which was monitored by immuno-blot analysis, SA-inhibitable binding of the SA derivative 3-aminoethylSA (3AESA), which was detected by a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assay, or SA-inhibitable binding of [3H]SA, which was detected by size exclusion chromatography. Based on our criteria that true SABPs must exhibit SA-binding activity in at least two of these assays, nine new SABPs are identified here; nine others were previously reported. Approximately 80 cSABPs await further assessment. In addition, the conflicting reports on whether NPR1 is an SABP were addressed by showing that it bound SA in all three of the above assays.
PMCID: PMC4290489  PMID: 25628632
salicylic acid; salicylic acid-binding proteins; salicylic acid signaling; plant immunity; disease resistance
7.  Transcriptomics-based screen for genes induced by flagellin and repressed by pathogen effectors identifies a cell wall-associated kinase involved in plant immunity 
Genome Biology  2013;14(12):R139.
Microbe-associated molecular patterns, such as those present in bacterial flagellin, are powerful inducers of the innate immune response in plants. Successful pathogens deliver virulence proteins, termed effectors, into the plant cell where they can interfere with the immune response and promote disease. Engineering the plant immune system to enhance disease resistance requires a thorough understanding of its components.
We describe a high-throughput screen, using RNA sequencing and virus-induced gene silencing, to identify tomato genes whose expression is enhanced by the flagellin microbe-associated molecular pattern flgII-28, but reduced by activities of the Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) type III effectors AvrPto and AvrPtoB. Gene ontology terms for this category of Flagellin-induced repressed by effectors (FIRE) genes showed enrichment for genes encoding certain subfamilies of protein kinases and transcription factors. At least 25 of the FIRE genes have been implicated previously in plant immunity. Of the 92 protein kinase-encoding FIRE genes, 33 were subjected to virus-induced gene silencing and their involvement in pattern-triggered immunity was tested with a leaf-based assay. Silencing of one FIRE gene, which encodes the cell wall-associated kinase SlWAK1, compromised the plant immune response resulting in increased growth of Pst and enhanced disease symptoms.
Our transcriptomic approach identifies FIRE genes that represent a pathogen-defined core set of immune-related genes. The analysis of this set of candidate genes led to the discovery of a cell wall-associated kinase that participates in plant defense. The FIRE genes will be useful for further elucidation of the plant immune system.
PMCID: PMC4053735  PMID: 24359686
8.  Correction: Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of the TIFY Gene Family in Grape 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):10.1371/annotation/c9d9d321-b821-4060-8bf9-ff181229fea7.
PMCID: PMC3865316
9.  The Transcriptome of the Baculovirus Autographa californica Multiple Nucleopolyhedrovirus in Trichoplusia ni Cells 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(11):6391-6405.
Baculoviruses are important insect pathogens that have been developed as protein expression vectors in insect cells and as transduction vectors for mammalian cells. They have large double-stranded DNA genomes containing approximately 156 tightly spaced genes, and they present significant challenges for transcriptome analysis. In this study, we report the first comprehensive analysis of AcMNPV transcription over the course of infection in Trichoplusia ni cells, by a combination of strand-specific RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and deep sequencing of 5′ capped transcription start sites and 3′ polyadenylation sites. We identified four clusters of genes associated with distinctive patterns of mRNA accumulation through the AcMNPV infection cycle. A total of 218 transcription start sites (TSS) and 120 polyadenylation sites (PAS) were mapped. Only 29 TSS were associated with a canonical TATA box, and 14 initiated within or near the previously identified CAGT initiator motif. The majority of viral transcripts (126) initiated within the baculovirus late promoter motif (TAAG), and late transcripts initiated precisely at the second position of the motif. Analysis of 3′ ends showed that 92 (77%) of the 3′ PAS were located within 30 nucleotides (nt) downstream of a consensus termination signal (AAUAAA or AUUAAA). A conserved U-rich region was found approximately 2 to 10 nt downstream of the PAS for 58 transcripts. Twelve splicing events and an unexpectedly large number of antisense RNAs were identified, revealing new details of possible regulatory mechanisms controlling AcMNPV gene expression. Combined, these data provide an emerging global picture of the organization and regulation of AcMNPV transcription through the infection cycle.
PMCID: PMC3648101  PMID: 23536684
10.  Comparative genomics reveals candidate carotenoid pathway regulators of ripening watermelon fruit 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:781.
Many fruits, including watermelon, are proficient in carotenoid accumulation during ripening. While most genes encoding steps in the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway have been cloned, few transcriptional regulators of these genes have been defined to date. Here we describe the identification of a set of putative carotenoid-related transcription factors resulting from fresh watermelon carotenoid and transcriptome analysis during fruit development and ripening. Our goal is to both clarify the expression profiles of carotenoid pathway genes and to identify candidate regulators and molecular targets for crop improvement.
Total carotenoids progressively increased during fruit ripening up to ~55 μg g-1 fw in red-ripe fruits. Trans-lycopene was the carotenoid that contributed most to this increase. Many of the genes related to carotenoid metabolism displayed changing expression levels during fruit ripening generating a metabolic flux toward carotenoid synthesis. Constitutive low expression of lycopene cyclase genes resulted in lycopene accumulation. RNA-seq expression profiling of watermelon fruit development yielded a set of transcription factors whose expression was correlated with ripening and carotenoid accumulation. Nineteen putative transcription factor genes from watermelon and homologous to tomato carotenoid-associated genes were identified. Among these, six were differentially expressed in the flesh of both species during fruit development and ripening.
Taken together the data suggest that, while the regulation of a common set of metabolic genes likely influences carotenoid synthesis and accumulation in watermelon and tomato fruits during development and ripening, specific and limiting regulators may differ between climacteric and non-climacteric fruits, possibly related to their differential susceptibility to and use of ethylene during ripening.
PMCID: PMC3840736  PMID: 24219562
Carotenoid biosynthesis; Citrullus lanatus; Fruit ripening; Gene expression; Isoprenoids; Non-climacteric fruits; Transcription factors; Watermelon
11.  Comprehensive analysis of expressed sequence tags from cultivated and wild radish (Raphanus spp.) 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:721.
Radish (Raphanus sativus L., 2n = 2× = 18) is an economically important vegetable crop worldwide. A large collection of radish expressed sequence tags (ESTs) has been generated but remains largely uncharacterized.
In this study, approximately 315,000 ESTs derived from 22 Raphanus cDNA libraries from 18 different genotypes were analyzed, for the purpose of gene and marker discovery and to evaluate large-scale genome duplication and phylogenetic relationships among Raphanus spp. The ESTs were assembled into 85,083 unigenes, of which 90%, 65%, 89% and 89% had homologous sequences in the GenBank nr, SwissProt, TrEMBL and Arabidopsis protein databases, respectively. A total of 66,194 (78%) could be assigned at least one gene ontology (GO) term. Comparative analysis identified 5,595 gene families unique to radish that were significantly enriched with genes related to small molecule metabolism, as well as 12,899 specific to the Brassicaceae that were enriched with genes related to seed oil body biogenesis and responses to phytohormones. The analysis further indicated that the divergence of radish and Brassica rapa occurred approximately 8.9-14.9 million years ago (MYA), following a whole-genome duplication event (12.8-21.4 MYA) in their common ancestor. An additional whole-genome duplication event in radish occurred at 5.1-8.4 MYA, after its divergence from B. rapa. A total of 13,570 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and 28,758 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were also identified. Using a subset of SNPs, the phylogenetic relationships of eight different accessions of Raphanus was inferred.
Comprehensive analysis of radish ESTs provided new insights into radish genome evolution and the phylogenetic relationships of different radish accessions. Moreover, the radish EST sequences and the associated SSR and SNP markers described in this study represent a valuable resource for radish functional genomics studies and breeding.
PMCID: PMC3816612  PMID: 24144082
Radish; EST; SNP; SSR; Comparative analysis; Whole genome duplication; Phylogenetic relationship
12.  Complete Genome Sequence of a New Tobamovirus Naturally Infecting Tomatoes in Mexico 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(5):e00794-13.
The complete genomic sequence of a new tobamovirus in tomatoes was determined through deep sequencing and assembly of small RNAs, then validated through Sanger sequencing. Based on the low sequence identity (≤85%) to known viruses and a close phylogenetic relationship to tobamoviruses, it was identified as a new species.
PMCID: PMC3790092  PMID: 24092788
13.  Transcriptome sequencing and whole genome expression profiling of chrysanthemum under dehydration stress 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:662.
Chrysanthemum is one of the most important ornamental crops in the world and drought stress seriously limits its production and distribution. In order to generate a functional genomics resource and obtain a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms regarding chrysanthemum responses to dehydration stress, we performed large-scale transcriptome sequencing of chrysanthemum plants under dehydration stress using the Illumina sequencing technology.
Two cDNA libraries constructed from mRNAs of control and dehydration-treated seedlings were sequenced by Illumina technology. A total of more than 100 million reads were generated and de novo assembled into 98,180 unique transcripts which were further extensively annotated by comparing their sequencing to different protein databases. Biochemical pathways were predicted from these transcript sequences. Furthermore, we performed gene expression profiling analysis upon dehydration treatment in chrysanthemum and identified 8,558 dehydration-responsive unique transcripts, including 307 transcription factors and 229 protein kinases and many well-known stress responsive genes. Gene ontology (GO) term enrichment and biochemical pathway analyses showed that dehydration stress caused changes in hormone response, secondary and amino acid metabolism, and light and photoperiod response. These findings suggest that drought tolerance of chrysanthemum plants may be related to the regulation of hormone biosynthesis and signaling, reduction of oxidative damage, stabilization of cell proteins and structures, and maintenance of energy and carbon supply.
Our transcriptome sequences can provide a valuable resource for chrysanthemum breeding and research and novel insights into chrysanthemum responses to dehydration stress and offer candidate genes or markers that can be used to guide future studies attempting to breed drought tolerant chrysanthemum cultivars.
PMCID: PMC3849779  PMID: 24074255
Chrysanthemum; Dehydration stress; Gene expression; Pathways; RNA-seq; Transcriptome
14.  Integrative Analysis of miRNA and mRNA Profiles in Response to Ethylene in Rose Petals during Flower Opening 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64290.
MicroRNAs play an important role in plant development and plant responses to various biotic and abiotic stimuli. As one of the most important ornamental crops, rose (Rosa hybrida) possesses several specific morphological and physiological features, including recurrent flowering, highly divergent flower shapes, colors and volatiles. Ethylene plays an important role in regulating petal cell expansion during rose flower opening. Here, we report the population and expression profiles of miRNAs in rose petals during flower opening and in response to ethylene based on high throughput sequencing. We identified a total of 33 conserved miRNAs, as well as 47 putative novel miRNAs were identified from rose petals. The conserved and novel targets to those miRNAs were predicted using the rose floral transcriptome database. Expression profiling revealed that expression of 28 known (84.8% of known miRNAs) and 39 novel (83.0% of novel miRNAs) miRNAs was substantially changed in rose petals during the earlier opening period. We also found that 28 known and 22 novel miRNAs showed expression changes in response to ethylene treatment. Furthermore, we performed integrative analysis of expression profiles of miRNAs and their targets. We found that ethylene-caused expression changes of five miRNAs (miR156, miR164, miR166, miR5139 and rhy-miRC1) were inversely correlated to those of their seven target genes. These results indicate that these miRNA/target modules might be regulated by ethylene and were involved in ethylene-regulated petal growth.
PMCID: PMC3655976  PMID: 23696879
15.  Genomic Organization, Phylogenetic Comparison and Differential Expression of the SBP-Box Family Genes in Grape 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59358.
The SBP-box gene family is specific to plants and encodes a class of zinc finger-containing transcription factors with a broad range of functions. Although SBP-box genes have been identified in numerous plants including green algae, moss, silver birch, snapdragon, Arabidopsis, rice and maize, there is little information concerning SBP-box genes, or the corresponding miR156/157, function in grapevine.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Eighteen SBP-box gene family members were identified in Vitis vinifera, twelve of which bore sequences that were complementary to miRNA156/157. Phylogenetic reconstruction demonstrated that plant SBP-domain proteins could be classified into seven subgroups, with the V. vinifera SBP-domain proteins being more closely related to SBP-domain proteins from dicotyledonous angiosperms than those from monocotyledonous angiosperms. In addition, synteny analysis between grape and Arabidopsis demonstrated that homologs of several grape SBP genes were found in corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis. Expression analysis of the grape SBP-box genes in various organs and at different stages of fruit development in V. quinquangularis ‘Shang-24’ revealed distinct spatiotemporal patterns. While the majority of the grape SBP-box genes lacking a miR156/157 target site were expressed ubiquitously and constitutively, most genes bearing a miR156/157 target site exhibited distinct expression patterns, possibly due to the inhibitory role of the microRNA. Furthermore, microarray data mining and quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis identified several grape SBP-box genes that are potentially involved in the defense against biotic and abiotic stresses.
The results presented here provide a further understanding of SBP-box gene function in plants, and yields additional insights into the mechanism of stress management in grape, which may have important implications for the future success of this crop.
PMCID: PMC3601960  PMID: 23527172
16.  Proteomic analysis of chromoplasts from six crop species reveals insights into chromoplast function and development 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(4):949-961.
Chromoplasts are unique plastids that accumulate massive amounts of carotenoids. To gain a general and comparative characterization of chromoplast proteins, this study performed proteomic analysis of chromoplasts from six carotenoid-rich crops: watermelon, tomato, carrot, orange cauliflower, red papaya, and red bell pepper. Stromal and membrane proteins of chromoplasts were separated by 1D gel electrophoresis and analysed using nLC-MS/MS. A total of 953–2262 proteins from chromoplasts of different crop species were identified. Approximately 60% of the identified proteins were predicted to be plastid localized. Functional classification using MapMan bins revealed large numbers of proteins involved in protein metabolism, transport, amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, and redox in chromoplasts from all six species. Seventeen core carotenoid metabolic enzymes were identified. Phytoene synthase, phytoene desaturase, ζ-carotene desaturase, 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase, and carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 1 were found in almost all crops, suggesting relative abundance of them among the carotenoid pathway enzymes. Chromoplasts from different crops contained abundant amounts of ATP synthase and adenine nucleotide translocator, which indicates an important role of ATP production and transport in chromoplast development. Distinctive abundant proteins were observed in chromoplast from different crops, including capsanthin/capsorubin synthase and fibrillins in pepper, superoxide dismutase in watermelon, carrot, and cauliflower, and glutathione-S-transferease in papaya. The comparative analysis of chromoplast proteins among six crop species offers new insights into the general metabolism and function of chromoplasts as well as the uniqueness of chromoplasts in specific crop species. This work provides reference datasets for future experimental study of chromoplast biogenesis, development, and regulation in plants.
PMCID: PMC3580812  PMID: 23314817
Carrot; cauliflower; chromoplast; papaya; pepper; proteomics; tomato; watermelon
17.  Catalyzing plant science research with RNA-seq 
Next generation DNA sequencing technologies are driving increasingly rapid, affordable and high resolution analyses of plant transcriptomes through sequencing of their associated cDNA (complementary DNA) populations; an analytical platform commonly referred to as RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq). Since entering the arena of whole genome profiling technologies only a few years ago, RNA-seq has proven itself to be a powerful tool with a remarkably diverse range of applications, from detailed studies of biological processes at the cell type-specific level, to providing insights into fundamental questions in plant biology on an evolutionary time scale. Applications include generating genomic data for heretofore unsequenced species, thus expanding the boundaries of what had been considered “model organisms,” elucidating structural and regulatory gene networks, revealing how plants respond to developmental cues and their environment, allowing a better understanding of the relationships between genes and their products, and uniting the “omics” fields of transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics into a now common systems biology paradigm. We provide an overview of the breadth of such studies and summarize the range of RNA-seq protocols that have been developed to address questions spanning cell type-specific-based transcriptomics, transcript secondary structure and gene mapping.
PMCID: PMC3612697  PMID: 23554602
RNA-seq; plant transcriptome; transcriptomics; systems biology; next generation sequencing
18.  A cost-effective method for Illumina small RNA-Seq library preparation using T4 RNA ligase 1 adenylated adapters 
Plant Methods  2012;8:41.
Deep sequencing is a powerful tool for novel small RNA discovery. Illumina small RNA sequencing library preparation requires a pre-adenylated 3’ end adapter containing a 5’,5’-adenyl pyrophosphoryl moiety. In the absence of ATP, this adapter can be ligated to the 3’ hydroxyl group of small RNA, while RNA self-ligation and concatenation are repressed. Pre-adenylated adapters are one of the most essential and costly components required for library preparation, and few are commercially available.
We demonstrate that DNA oligo with 5’ phosphate and 3’ amine groups can be enzymatically adenylated by T4 RNA ligase 1 to generate customized pre-adenylated adapters. We have constructed and sequenced a small RNA library for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) using the T4 RNA ligase 1 adenylated adapter.
We provide an efficient and low-cost method for small RNA sequencing library preparation, which takes two days to complete and costs around $20 per library. This protocol has been tested in several plant species for small RNA sequencing including sweet potato, pepper, watermelon, and cowpea, and could be readily applied to any RNA samples.
PMCID: PMC3462708  PMID: 22995534
Small RNA sequencing; Directional mRNA sequencing; 3’ RNA adapter; Adenylation; T4 RNA ligase 1
19.  Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of the TIFY Gene Family in Grape 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44465.
The TIFY gene family constitutes a plant-specific group of genes with a broad range of functions. This family encodes four subfamilies of proteins, including ZML, TIFY, PPD and JASMONATE ZIM-Domain (JAZ) proteins. JAZ proteins are targets of the SCFCOI1 complex, and function as negative regulators in the JA signaling pathway. Recently, it has been reported in both Arabidopsis and rice that TIFY genes, and especially JAZ genes, may be involved in plant defense against insect feeding, wounding, pathogens and abiotic stresses. Nonetheless, knowledge concerning the specific expression patterns and evolutionary history of plant TIFY family members is limited, especially in a woody species such as grape.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of two TIFY, four ZML, two PPD and 11 JAZ genes were identified in the Vitis vinifera genome. Phylogenetic analysis of TIFY protein sequences from grape, Arabidopsis and rice indicated that the grape TIFY proteins are more closely related to those of Arabidopsis than those of rice. Both segmental and tandem duplication events have been major contributors to the expansion of the grape TIFY family. In addition, synteny analysis between grape and Arabidopsis demonstrated that homologues of several grape TIFY genes were found in the corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis, suggesting that these genes arose before the divergence of lineages that led to grape and Arabidopsis. Analyses of microarray and quantitative real-time RT-PCR expression data revealed that grape TIFY genes are not a major player in the defense against biotrophic pathogens or viruses. However, many of these genes were responsive to JA and ABA, but not SA or ET.
The genome-wide identification, evolutionary and expression analyses of grape TIFY genes should facilitate further research of this gene family and provide new insights regarding their evolutionary history and regulatory control.
PMCID: PMC3439424  PMID: 22984514
20.  Deep Sequencing of Small RNAs in Tomato for Virus and Viroid Identification and Strain Differentiation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37127.
Small RNAs (sRNA), including microRNAs (miRNA) and small interfering RNAs (siRNA), are produced abundantly in plants and animals and function in regulating gene expression or in defense against virus or viroid infection. Analysis of siRNA profiles upon virus infection in plant may allow for virus identification, strain differentiation, and de novo assembly of virus genomes. In the present study, four suspected virus-infected tomato samples collected in the U.S. and Mexico were used for sRNA library construction and deep sequencing. Each library generated between 5–7 million sRNA reads, of which more than 90% were from the tomato genome. Upon in-silico subtraction of the tomato sRNAs, the remaining highly enriched, virus-like siRNA pools were assembled with or without reference virus or viroid genomes. A complete genome was assembled for Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) using siRNA alone. In addition, a near complete virus genome (98%) also was assembled for Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV). A common mixed infection of two strains of PepMV (EU and US1), which shared 82% of genome nucleotide sequence identity, also could be differentially assembled into their respective genomes. Using de novo assembly, a novel potyvirus with less than 60% overall genome nucleotide sequence identity to other known viruses was discovered and its full genome sequence obtained. Taken together, these data suggest that the sRNA deep sequencing technology will likely become an efficient and powerful generic tool for virus identification in plants and animals.
PMCID: PMC3356388  PMID: 22623984
21.  Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of Grape Aldehyde Dehydrogenase (ALDH) Gene Superfamily 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32153.
The completion of the grape genome sequencing project has paved the way for novel gene discovery and functional analysis. Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) comprise a gene superfamily encoding NAD(P)+-dependent enzymes that catalyze the irreversible oxidation of a wide range of endogenous and exogenous aromatic and aliphatic aldehydes. Although ALDHs have been systematically investigated in several plant species including Arabidopsis and rice, our knowledge concerning the ALDH genes, their evolutionary relationship and expression patterns in grape has been limited.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 23 ALDH genes were identified in the grape genome and grouped into ten families according to the unified nomenclature system developed by the ALDH Gene Nomenclature Committee (AGNC). Members within the same grape ALDH families possess nearly identical exon-intron structures. Evolutionary analysis indicates that both segmental and tandem duplication events have contributed significantly to the expansion of grape ALDH genes. Phylogenetic analysis of ALDH protein sequences from seven plant species indicates that grape ALDHs are more closely related to those of Arabidopsis. In addition, synteny analysis between grape and Arabidopsis shows that homologs of a number of grape ALDHs are found in the corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis, suggesting that these genes arose before the speciation of the grape and Arabidopsis. Microarray gene expression analysis revealed large number of grape ALDH genes responsive to drought or salt stress. Furthermore, we found a number of ALDH genes showed significantly changed expressions in responses to infection with different pathogens and during grape berry development, suggesting novel roles of ALDH genes in plant-pathogen interactions and berry development.
The genome-wide identification, evolutionary and expression analysis of grape ALDH genes should facilitate research in this gene family and provide new insights regarding their evolution history and functional roles in plant stress tolerance.
PMCID: PMC3280228  PMID: 22355416
22.  Characterization of Erysiphe necator-Responsive Genes in Chinese Wild Vitis quinquangularis 
Powdery mildew (PM), caused by fungus Erysiphe necator, is one of the most devastating diseases of grapevine. To better understand grapevine-PM interaction and provide candidate resources for grapevine breeding, a suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA library was constructed from E. necator-infected leaves of a resistant Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis clone “Shang-24”. A total of 492 high quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained and assembled into 266 unigenes. Gene ontology (GO) analysis indicated that 188 unigenes could be assigned with at least one GO term in the biological process category, and 176 in the molecular function category. Sequence analysis showed that a large number of these genes were homologous to those involved in defense responses. Genes involved in metabolism, photosynthesis, transport and signal transduction were also enriched in the library. Expression analysis of 13 selected genes by qRT-PCR revealed that most were induced more quickly and intensely in the resistant material “Shang-24” than in the sensitive V. pseudoreticulata clone “Hunan-1” by E. necator infection. The ESTs reported here provide new clues to understand the disease-resistance mechanism in Chinese wild grapevine species and may enable us to investigate E. necator-responsive genes involved in PM resistance in grapevine germplasm.
PMCID: PMC3472759  PMID: 23109867
Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis; Erysiphe necator; SSH; EST; qRT-PCR
23.  Unexpected Diversity of Chloroplast Noncoding RNAs as Revealed by Deep Sequencing of the Arabidopsis Transcriptome 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2011;1(7):559-570.
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNA) are widely expressed in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Eukaryotic ncRNAs are commonly micro- and small-interfering RNAs (18–25 nt) involved in posttranscriptional gene silencing, whereas prokaryotic ncRNAs vary in size and are involved in various aspects of gene regulation. Given the prokaryotic origin of organelles, the presence of ncRNAs might be expected; however, the full spectrum of organellar ncRNAs has not been determined systematically. Here, strand-specific RNA-Seq analysis was used to identify 107 candidate ncRNAs from Arabidopsis thaliana chloroplasts, primarily encoded opposite protein-coding and tRNA genes. Forty-eight ncRNAs were shown to accumulate by RNA gel blot as discrete transcripts in wild-type (WT) plants and/or the pnp1-1 mutant, which lacks the chloroplast ribonuclease polynucleotide phosphorylase (cpPNPase). Ninety-eight percent of the ncRNAs detected by RNA gel blot had different transcript patterns between WT and pnp1-1, suggesting cpPNPase has a significant role in chloroplast ncRNA biogenesis and accumulation. Analysis of materials deficient for other major chloroplast ribonucleases, RNase R, RNase E, and RNase J, showed differential effects on ncRNA accumulation and/or form, suggesting specificity in RNase-ncRNA interactions. 5′ end mapping demonstrates that some ncRNAs are transcribed from dedicated promoters, whereas others result from transcriptional read-through. Finally, correlations between accumulation of some ncRNAs and the symmetrically transcribed sense RNA are consistent with a role in RNA stability. Overall, our data suggest that this extensive population of ncRNAs has the potential to underpin a previously underappreciated regulatory mode in the chloroplast.
PMCID: PMC3276175  PMID: 22384367
RNA-Seq; posttranscriptional regulation; transcription; organelle; plastid
24.  iAssembler: a package for de novo assembly of Roche-454/Sanger transcriptome sequences 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:453.
Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) have played significant roles in gene discovery and gene functional analysis, especially for non-model organisms. For organisms with no full genome sequences available, ESTs are normally assembled into longer consensus sequences for further downstream analysis. However current de novo EST assembly programs often generate large number of assembly errors that will negatively affect the downstream analysis. In order to generate more accurate consensus sequences from ESTs, tools are needed to reduce or eliminate errors from de novo assemblies.
We present iAssembler, a pipeline that can assemble large-scale ESTs into consensus sequences with significantly higher accuracy than current existing assemblers. iAssembler employs MIRA and CAP3 assemblers to generate initial assemblies, followed by identifying and correcting two common types of transcriptome assembly errors: 1) ESTs from different transcripts (mainly alternatively spliced transcripts or paralogs) are incorrectly assembled into same contigs; and 2) ESTs from same transcripts fail to be assembled together. iAssembler can be used to assemble ESTs generated using the traditional Sanger method and/or the Roche-454 massive parallel pyrosequencing technology.
We compared performances of iAssembler and several other de novo EST assembly programs using both Roche-454 and Sanger EST datasets. It demonstrated that iAssembler generated significantly more accurate consensus sequences than other assembly programs.
PMCID: PMC3233632  PMID: 22111509
25.  Transcriptome analysis of ectopic chloroplast development in green curd cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis) 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:169.
Chloroplasts are the green plastids where photosynthesis takes place. The biogenesis of chloroplasts requires the coordinate expression of both nuclear and chloroplast genes and is regulated by developmental and environmental signals. Despite extensive studies of this process, the genetic basis and the regulatory control of chloroplast biogenesis and development remain to be elucidated.
Green cauliflower mutant causes ectopic development of chloroplasts in the curd tissue of the plant, turning the otherwise white curd green. To investigate the transcriptional control of chloroplast development, we compared gene expression between green and white curds using the RNA-seq approach. Deep sequencing produced over 15 million reads with lengths of 86 base pairs from each cDNA library. A total of 7,155 genes were found to exhibit at least 3-fold changes in expression between green and white curds. These included light-regulated genes, genes encoding chloroplast constituents, and genes involved in chlorophyll biosynthesis. Moreover, we discovered that the cauliflower ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL5 (BoHY5) was expressed higher in green curds than white curds and that 2616 HY5-targeted genes, including 1600 up-regulated genes and 1016 down-regulated genes, were differently expressed in green in comparison to white curd tissue. All these 1600 up-regulated genes were HY5-targeted genes in the light.
The genome-wide profiling of gene expression by RNA-seq in green curds led to the identification of large numbers of genes associated with chloroplast development, and suggested the role of regulatory genes in the high hierarchy of light signaling pathways in mediating the ectopic chloroplast development in the green curd cauliflower mutant.
PMCID: PMC3289093  PMID: 22112144

Results 1-25 (41)