Alkyl hydroperoxide reductase from Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 was expressed, purified and crystallized. Diffraction data to 2.5 Å resolution revealed that the crystals belonged to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 80, b = 102, c = 109.6 Å.
Alkyl hydroperoxide reductase (AhpC) is a key component of a large family of thiol-specific antioxidant (TSA) proteins distributed among prokaryotes and eukaryotes. AhpC is involved in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive sulfur species (RSS). Sequence analysis of AhpC from the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 shows that this protein belongs to the 1-Cys class of peroxiredoxins (Prxs). It has recently been reported that enhanced expression of this protein in Escherichia coli offers tolerance to multiple stresses such as heat, salt, copper, cadmium, pesticides and UV-B. However, the structural features and the mechanism behind this process remain unclear. To provide insights into its biochemical function, AhpC was expressed, purified and crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Diffraction data were collected to a maximum d-spacing of 2.5 Å using synchrotron radiation. The crystal belonged to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 80, b = 102, c = 109.6 Å. The structure of AhpC from Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 was determined by molecular-replacement methods using the human Prx enzyme hORF6 (PDB entry 1prx) as the template.
alkyl hydroperoxide reductase; AhpC; Anabaena sp. PCC 7120
Overweight and obesity are growing public health problems in high income countries and is now growing at a dramatic pace in low and middle income countries, particularly in urban settings. The aim of this trial was to examine the effects of a weight reduction program in adults and to determine whether or not a more extensive intervention was superior to ordinary care.
Patients seeking advice for overweight/obesity or illness related to overweight/obesity at eight primary health care centers in Sweden were randomized either to intervention or control care groups with both groups given dietary advice and individualized information on increased regular physical activity. In the intervention group advice was more extensive and follow-up more frequent than in the control group during the study period of two years. Main outcome measure was reduction in body weight of five percent or more from study start.
From October 2004 to April 2006, 133 patients, 67 in the intervention group and 66 in the control group, were randomized over a period of 18 months. Target weight was achieved at 12 months by 26.7% of the patients in the intervention group compared with 18.4% in the control group (p = 0.335). There was an average absolute weight loss of 2.5 kg in the intervention group and 0.8 kg in the control group at 12 months as compared with the weight at study entry. There were no significant differences between the groups in quality of life, blood glucose and lipids. At 24 months target weight was achieved in 21.9% versus 15.6%, with an average weight reduction of 1.9 kg and 1.2 kg in the two groups, respectively.
Promotion of a diet with limited energy intake, appropriate composition of food and increased physical activity had limited effects on body weight in a Swedish primary care setting. More extensive advice and more frequent visits made no significant difference to the outcome.
Lifestyle changes; Obesity; Weight reduction; Family practice
Under natural conditions, plants have to cope with numerous stresses, including light-stress and herbivory. This raises intriguing questions regarding possible trade-offs between stress defences and growth. As part of a program designed to address these questions we have compared herbivory defences and damage in wild type Arabidopsis thaliana and two “photoprotection genotypes”, npq4 and oePsbS, which respectively lack and overexpress PsbS (a protein that plays a key role in qE-type non-photochemical quenching). In dual-choice feeding experiments both a specialist (Plutella xylostella) and a generalist (Spodoptera littoralis) insect herbivore preferred plants that expressed PsbS most strongly. In contrast, although both herbivores survived equally well on each of the genotypes, for oviposition female P. xylostella adults preferred plants that expressed PsbS least strongly. However, there were no significant differences between the genotypes in levels of the 10 most prominent glucosinolates; key substances in the Arabidopsis anti-herbivore chemical defence arsenal. After transfer from a growth chamber to the field we detected significant differences in the genotypes’ metabolomic profiles at all tested time points, using GC-MS, but no consistent “metabolic signature” for the lack of PsbS. These findings suggest that the observed differences in herbivore preferences were due to differences in the primary metabolism of the plants rather than their contents of typical “defence compounds”. A potentially significant factor is that superoxide accumulated most rapidly and to the highest levels under high light conditions in npq4 mutants. This could trigger changes in planta that are sensed by herbivores either directly or indirectly, following its dismutation to H2O2.
We conducted a study of natural variation in functional leaf traits and herbivory in 116 clones of European aspen, Populus tremula L., the Swedish Aspen (SwAsp) collection, originating from ten degrees of latitude across Sweden and grown in a common garden. In surveys of phytophagous arthropods over two years, we found the aspen canopy supports nearly 100 morphospecies. We identified significant broad-sense heritability of plant functional traits, basic plant defence chemistry, and arthropod community traits. The majority of arthropods were specialists, those coevolved with P. tremula to tolerate and even utilize leaf defence compounds. Arthropod abundance and richness were more closely related to plant growth rates than general chemical defences and relationships were identified between the arthropod community and stem growth, leaf and petiole morphology, anthocyanins, and condensed tannins. Heritable genetic variation in plant traits in young aspen was found to structure arthropod community; however no single trait drives the preferences of arthropod folivores among young aspen genotypes. The influence of natural variation in plant traits on the arthropod community indicates the importance of maintaining genetic variation in wild trees as keystone species for biodiversity. It further suggests that aspen can be a resource for the study of mechanisms of natural resistance to herbivores.
Plants exhibit phenotypic plasticity and respond to differences in environmental conditions by acclimation. We have systematically compared leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown in the field and under controlled low, normal and high light conditions in the laboratory to determine their most prominent phenotypic differences.
Compared to plants grown under field conditions, the "indoor plants" had larger leaves, modified leaf shapes and longer petioles. Their pigment composition also significantly differed; indoor plants had reduced levels of xanthophyll pigments. In addition, Lhcb1 and Lhcb2 levels were up to three times higher in the indoor plants, but differences in the PSI antenna were much smaller, with only the low-abundance Lhca5 protein showing altered levels. Both isoforms of early-light-induced protein (ELIP) were absent in the indoor plants, and they had less non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). The field-grown plants had a high capacity to perform state transitions. Plants lacking ELIPs did not have reduced growth or seed set rates, but their mortality rates were sometimes higher. NPQ levels between natural accessions grown under different conditions were not correlated.
Our results indicate that comparative analysis of field-grown plants with those grown under artificial conditions is important for a full understanding of plant plasticity and adaptation.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Carotenoids; Chlorophyll fluorescence; Early light inducible proteins (ELIPs); Field Plants; Indoor Plants; Light harvesting proteins (LHCs)
Mortality rates have declined substantially over the past decades in the general population, but the situation among diabetic subjects is less clear. The aim of this study was to analyze mortality trends in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects during 1972–2004.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Since 1972, all patients with diabetes are entered in a diabetes register at Laxå Primary Health Care Center; 776 incident cases were recorded up to 2001. The register has been supplemented with a nondiabetic population of 3,880 subjects and with data from the National Cause of Death Register during 1972 to 2004.
During the 33-year follow-up period, 233 (62.0%) diabetic women and 240 (60.0%) diabetic men and 995 (52.9%) nondiabetic women and 1,082 (54.1%) nondiabetic men died. The age-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality among diabetic and nondiabetic subjects was 1.17 (P < 0.0021) for all, 1.22 (P < 0.007) for women, and 1.13 (P = 0.095) for men. The corresponding cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality HRs were 1.33 (P < 0.0001), 1.41 (P < 0.0003), and 1.27 (P < 0.0093), respectively. The CVD mortality reduction across time was significant in nondiabetic subjects (P < 0.0001) and in men with diabetes (P = 0.014) but not in diabetic women (P = 0.69). The results regarding coronary heart disease (CHD) were similar (P < 0.0001, P < 0.006, and P = 0.17, respectively). The CVD and CHD mortality rate change across time was fairly linear in all groups.
Diabetic subjects had less mortality rate reduction during follow-up than nondiabetic subjects. However the excess mortality risk for diabetic subjects was smaller than that found in other studies.
Green plant leaves have always fascinated biologists as hosts for photosynthesis and providers of basic energy to many food webs. Today, comprehensive databases of gene expression data enable us to apply increasingly more advanced computational methods for reverse-engineering the regulatory network of leaves, and to begin to understand the gene interactions underlying complex emergent properties related to stress-response and development. These new systems biology methods are now also being applied to organisms such as Populus, a woody perennial tree, in order to understand the specific characteristics of these species.
We present a systems biology model of the regulatory network of Populus leaves. The network is reverse-engineered from promoter information and expression profiles of leaf-specific genes measured over a large set of conditions related to stress and developmental. The network model incorporates interactions between regulators, such as synergistic and competitive relationships, by evaluating increasingly more complex regulatory mechanisms, and is therefore able to identify new regulators of leaf development not found by traditional genomics methods based on pair-wise expression similarity. The approach is shown to explain available gene function information and to provide robust prediction of expression levels in new data. We also use the predictive capability of the model to identify condition-specific regulation as well as conserved regulation between Populus and Arabidopsis.
We outline a computationally inferred model of the regulatory network of Populus leaves, and show how treating genes as interacting, rather than individual, entities identifies new regulators compared to traditional genomics analysis. Although systems biology models should be used with care considering the complexity of regulatory programs and the limitations of current genomics data, methods describing interactions can provide hypotheses about the underlying cause of emergent properties and are needed if we are to identify target genes other than those constituting the "low hanging fruit" of genomic analysis.
Short RNAs, and in particular microRNAs, are important regulators of gene expression both within defined regulatory pathways and at the epigenetic scale. We investigated the short RNA (sRNA) population (18-24 nt) of the transcriptome of green leaves from the sequenced Populus trichocarpa using a concatenation strategy in combination with 454 sequencing.
The most abundant size class of sRNAs were 24 nt. Long Terminal Repeats were particularly associated with 24 nt sRNAs. Additionally, some repetitive elements were associated with 22 nt sRNAs. We identified an sRNA hot-spot on chromosome 19, overlapping a region containing both the proposed sex-determining locus and a major cluster of NBS-LRR genes. A number of phased siRNA loci were identified, a subset of which are predicted to target PPR and NBS-LRR disease resistance genes, classes of genes that have been significantly expanded in Populus. Additional loci enriched for sRNA production were identified and characterised. We identified 15 novel predicted microRNAs (miRNAs), including miRNA*sequences, and identified a novel locus that may encode a dual miRNA or a miRNA and short interfering RNAs (siRNAs).
The short RNA population of P. trichocarpa is at least as complex as that of Arabidopsis thaliana. We provide a first genome-wide view of short RNA production for P. trichocarpa and identify new, non-conserved miRNAs.
Plant performance is affected by the level of expression of PsbS, a key photoprotective protein involved in the process of feedback de-excitation (FDE), or the qE component of non-photochemical quenching, NPQ.
In studies presented here, under constant laboratory conditions the metabolite profiles of leaves of wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana and plants lacking or overexpressing PsbS were very similar, but under natural conditions their differences in levels of PsbS expression were associated with major changes in metabolite profiles. Some carbohydrates and amino acids differed ten-fold in abundance between PsbS-lacking mutants and over-expressers, with wild-type plants having intermediate amounts, showing that a metabolic shift had occurred. The transcriptomes of the genotypes also varied under field conditions, and the genes induced in plants lacking PsbS were similar to those reportedly induced in plants exposed to ozone stress or treated with methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Genes involved in the biosynthesis of JA were up-regulated, and enzymes involved in this pathway accumulated. JA levels in the undamaged leaves of field-grown plants did not differ between wild-type and PsbS-lacking mutants, but they were higher in the mutants when they were exposed to herbivory.
These findings suggest that lack of FDE results in increased photooxidative stress in the chloroplasts of Arabidopsis plants grown in the field, which elicits a response at the transcriptome level, causing a redirection of metabolism from growth towards defence that resembles a MeJA/JA response.
We have made use of publicly available gene expression data to identify transcription factors and transcriptional modules (regulons) associated with leaf development in Populus. Different tissue types were compared to identify genes informative in the discrimination of leaf and non-leaf tissues. Transcriptional modules within this set of genes were identified in a much wider set of microarray data collected from leaves in a number of developmental, biotic, abiotic and transgenic experiments.
Transcription factors that were over represented in leaf EST libraries and that were useful for discriminating leaves from other tissues were identified, revealing that the C2C2-YABBY, CCAAT-HAP3 and 5, MYB, and ZF-HD families are particularly important in leaves. The expression of transcriptional modules and transcription factors was examined across a number of experiments to select those that were particularly active during the early stages of leaf development. Two transcription factors were found to collocate to previously published Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) for leaf length. We also found that miRNA family 396 may be important in the control of leaf development, with three members of the family collocating with clusters of leaf development QTL.
This work provides a set of candidate genes involved in the control and processes of leaf development. This resource can be used for a wide variety of purposes such as informing the selection of candidate genes for association mapping or for the selection of targets for reverse genetics studies to further understanding of the genetic control of leaf size and shape.
An increased understanding of leaf area development is important in a number of fields: in food and non-food crops, for example short rotation forestry as a biofuels feedstock, leaf area is intricately linked to biomass productivity; in paleontology leaf shape characteristics are used to reconstruct paleoclimate history. Such fields require measurement of large collections of leaves, with resulting conclusions being highly influenced by the accuracy of the phenotypic measurement process.
We have developed LAMINA (Leaf shApe deterMINAtion), a new tool for the automated analysis of images of leaves. LAMINA has been designed to provide classical indicators of leaf shape (blade dimensions) and size (area), which are typically required for correlation analysis to biomass productivity, as well as measures that indicate asymmetry in leaf shape, leaf serration traits, and measures of herbivory damage (missing leaf area). In order to allow Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to be performed, the location of a chosen number of equally spaced boundary coordinates can optionally be returned.
We demonstrate the use of the software on a set of 500 scanned images, each containing multiple leaves, collected from a common garden experiment containing 116 clones of Populus tremula (European trembling aspen) that are being used for association mapping, as well as examples of leaves from other species. We show that the software provides an efficient and accurate means of analysing leaf area in large datasets in an automated or semi-automated work flow.
Genomic studies are routinely performed on young plants in controlled environments which is very different from natural conditions. In reality plants in temperate countries are exposed to large fluctuations in environmental conditions, in the case of perennials over several years. We have studied gene expression in leaves of a free-growing aspen (Populus tremula) throughout multiple growing seasons
We show that gene expression during the first month of leaf development was largely determined by a developmental program although leaf expansion, chlorophyll accumulation and the speed of progression through this program was regulated by the temperature. We were also able to define "transcriptional signatures" for four different substages of leaf development. In mature leaves, weather factors were important for gene regulation.
This study shows that multivariate methods together with high throughput transcriptional methods in the field can provide additional, novel information as to plant status under changing environmental conditions that is impossible to mimic in laboratory conditions. We have generated a dataset that could be used to e.g. identify marker genes for certain developmental stages or treatments, as well as to assess natural variation in gene expression.
During generation of microarray data, various forms of systematic biases are frequently introduced which limits accuracy and precision of the results. In order to properly estimate biological effects, these biases must be identified and discarded.
We introduce a normalization strategy for multi-channel microarray data based on orthogonal projections to latent structures (OPLS); a multivariate regression method. The effect of applying the normalization methodology on single-channel Affymetrix data as well as dual-channel cDNA data is illustrated. We provide a parallel comparison to a wide range of commonly employed normalization methods with diverse properties and strengths based on sensitivity and specificity from external (spike-in) controls. On the illustrated data sets, the OPLS normalization strategy exhibits leading average true negative and true positive rates in comparison to other evaluated methods.
The OPLS methodology identifies joint variation within biological samples to enable the removal of sources of variation that are non-correlated (orthogonal) to the within-sample variation. This ensures that structured variation related to the underlying biological samples is separated from the remaining, bias-related sources of systematic variation. As a consequence, the methodology does not require any explicit knowledge regarding the presence or characteristics of certain biases. Furthermore, there is no underlying assumption that the majority of elements should be non-differentially expressed, making it applicable to specialized boutique arrays.
Proteases play key roles in plants, maintaining strict protein quality control and degrading specific sets of proteins in response to diverse environmental and developmental stimuli. Similarities and differences between the proteases expressed in different species may give valuable insights into their physiological roles and evolution.
We have performed a comparative analysis of protease genes in the two sequenced dicot genomes, Arabidopsis thaliana and Populus trichocarpa by using genes coding for proteases in the MEROPS database  for Arabidopsis to identify homologous sequences in Populus. A multigene-based phylogenetic analysis was performed. Most protease families were found to be larger in Populus than in Arabidopsis, reflecting recent genome duplication. Detailed studies on e.g. the DegP, Clp, FtsH, Lon, rhomboid and papain-Like protease families showed the pattern of gene family expansion and gene loss was complex. We finally show that different Populus tissues express unique suites of protease genes and that the mRNA levels of different classes of proteases change along a developmental gradient.
Recent gene family expansion and contractions have made the Arabidopsis and Populus complements of proteases different and this, together with expression patterns, gives indications about the roles of the individual gene products or groups of proteases.
cDNA microarray technology has emerged as a major player in the parallel detection of biomolecules, but still suffers from fundamental technical problems. Identifying and removing unreliable data is crucial to prevent the risk of receiving illusive analysis results. Visual assessment of spot quality is still a common procedure, despite the time-consuming work of manually inspecting spots in the range of hundreds of thousands or more.
A novel methodology for cDNA microarray spot quality control is outlined. Multivariate discriminant analysis was used to assess spot quality based on existing and novel descriptors. The presented methodology displays high reproducibility and was found superior in identifying unreliable data compared to other evaluated methodologies.
The proposed methodology for cDNA microarray spot quality control generates non-discrete values of spot quality which can be utilized as weights in subsequent analysis procedures as well as to discard spots of undesired quality using the suggested threshold values. The MASQOT approach provides a consistent assessment of spot quality and can be considered an alternative to the labor-intensive manual quality assessment process.
A Populus EST dataset was used for in silico transcript profiling of the programmed death of the xylem fibres in woody tissues of Populus stem. The analysis suggests the involvement of two novel extracellular serine proteases, nodulin-like proteins and an AtOST1 (Arabidopsis thaliana OPEN STOMATA 1) homolog in signaling fiber-cell death.
Poplar (Populus sp.) has emerged as the main model system for molecular and genetic studies of forest trees. A Populus expressed sequence tag (EST) database (POPULUSDB) was previously created from 19 cDNA libraries each originating from different Populus tree tissues, and opened to the public in September 2004. We used this dataset for in silico transcript profiling of a particular process in the woody tissues of the Populus stem: the programmed death of xylem fibers.
One EST library in POPULUSDB originates from woody tissues of the Populus stem where xylem fibers undergo cell death. Analysis of EST abundances and library distribution within the POPULUSDB revealed a large number of previously uncharacterized transcripts that were unique in this library and possibly related to the death of xylem fibers. The in silico analysis was complemented by a microarray analysis utilizing a novel Populus cDNA array with a unigene set of 25,000 sequences.
In silico analysis, combined with the microarray analysis, revealed the usefulness of non-normalized EST libraries in elucidating transcriptional regulation of previously uncharacterized physiological processes. The data suggested the involvement of two novel extracellular serine proteases, nodulin-like proteins and an Arabidopsis thaliana OPEN STOMATA 1 (AtOST1) homolog in signaling fiber-cell death, as well as mechanisms responsible for hormonal control, nutrient remobilization, regulation of vacuolar integrity and autolysis of the dying fibers.
A microarray has been created from 36,354 ESTs from Populus species and used to study autumn senescence in the leaves of the aspen tree Populus tremula.
We have developed genomic tools to allow the genus Populus (aspens and cottonwoods) to be exploited as a full-featured model for investigating fundamental aspects of tree biology. We have undertaken large-scale expressed sequence tag (EST) sequencing programs and created Populus microarrays with significant gene coverage. One of the important aspects of plant biology that cannot be studied in annual plants is the gene activity involved in the induction of autumn leaf senescence.
On the basis of 36,354 Populus ESTs, obtained from seven cDNA libraries, we have created a DNA microarray consisting of 13,490 clones, spotted in duplicate. Of these clones, 12,376 (92%) were confirmed by resequencing and all sequences were annotated and functionally classified. Here we have used the microarray to study transcript abundance in leaves of a free-growing aspen tree (Populus tremula) in northern Sweden during natural autumn senescence. Of the 13,490 spotted clones, 3,792 represented genes with significant expression in all leaf samples from the seven studied dates.
We observed a major shift in gene expression, coinciding with massive chlorophyll degradation, that reflected a shift from photosynthetic competence to energy generation by mitochondrial respiration, oxidation of fatty acids and nutrient mobilization. Autumn senescence had much in common with senescence in annual plants; for example many proteases were induced. We also found evidence for increased transcriptional activity before the appearance of visible signs of senescence, presumably preparing the leaf for degradation of its components.