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1.  Genome-wide identification and analysis of mitogen activated protein kinase kinase kinase gene family in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):219.
Background
Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases (MAPKKKs; MAP3Ks) are important components of MAPK cascades, which are highly conserved signal transduction pathways in animals, yeast and plants, play important roles in plant growth and development. MAPKKKs have been investigated on their evolution and expression patterns in limited plants including Arabidopsis, rice and maize.
Results
In this study, we performed a genome-wide survey and identified 45 MAPKKK genes in the grapevine genome. Chromosome location, phylogeny, gene structure and conserved protein motifs of MAPKKK family in grapevine have been analyzed to support the prediction of these genes. In the phylogenetic analysis, MAPKKK genes of grapevine have been classified into three subgroups as described for Arabidopsis, named MEKK, ZIK and RAF, also confirmed in grapevine by the analysis of conserved motifs and exon-intron organizations. By analyzing expression profiles of MAPKKK genes in grapevine microarray databases, we highlighted the modulation of different MAPKKKs in different organs and distinct developmental stages. Furthermore, we experimentally investigated the expression profiles of 45 grape MAPKKK genes in response to biotic (powdery mildew) and abiotic stress (drought), as well as to hormone (salicylic acid, ethylene) and hydrogen peroxide treatments, and identified several candidate MAPKKK genes that might play an important role in biotic and abiotic responses in grapevine, for further functional characterization.
Conclusions
This is the first comprehensive experimental survey of the grapevine MAPKKK gene family, which provides insights into their potential roles in regulating responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, and the evolutionary expansion of MAPKKKs is associated with the diverse requirement in transducing external and internal signals into intracellular actions in MAPK cascade in grapevine.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0219-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0219-1
PMCID: PMC4243721  PMID: 25158790
Grapevine; Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK); Gene family; Phylogenetic analysis; Expression analysis; Stresses
2.  Distinct colonization patterns and cDNA-AFLP transcriptome profiles in compatible and incompatible interactions between melon and different races of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:122.
Background
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis Snyd. & Hans. (FOM) causes Fusarium wilt, the most important infectious disease of melon (Cucumis melo L.). The four known races of this pathogen can be distinguished only by infection on appropriate cultivars. No molecular tools are available that can discriminate among the races, and the molecular basis of compatibility and disease progression are poorly understood. Resistance to races 1 and 2 is controlled by a single dominant gene, whereas only partial polygenic resistance to race 1,2 has been described. We carried out a large-scale cDNA-AFLP analysis to identify host genes potentially related to resistance and susceptibility as well as fungal genes associated with the infection process. At the same time, a systematic reisolation procedure on infected stems allowed us to monitor fungal colonization in compatible and incompatible host-pathogen combinations.
Results
Melon plants (cv. Charentais Fom-2), which are susceptible to race 1,2 and resistant to race 1, were artificially infected with a race 1 strain of FOM or one of two race 1,2 w strains. Host colonization of stems was assessed at 1, 2, 4, 8, 14, 16, 18 and 21 days post inoculation (dpi), and the fungus was reisolated from infected plants. Markedly different colonization patterns were observed in compatible and incompatible host-pathogen combinations. Five time points from the symptomless early stage (2 dpi) to obvious wilting symptoms (21 dpi) were considered for cDNA-AFLP analysis. After successful sequencing of 627 transcript-derived fragments (TDFs) differentially expressed in infected plants, homology searching retrieved 305 melon transcripts, 195 FOM transcripts expressed in planta and 127 orphan TDFs. RNA samples from FOM colonies of the three strains grown in vitro were also included in the analysis to facilitate the detection of in planta-specific transcripts and to identify TDFs differentially expressed among races/strains.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that resistance against FOM in melon involves only limited transcriptional changes, and that wilting symptoms could derive, at least partially, from an active plant response.
We discuss the pathogen-derived transcripts expressed in planta during the infection process and potentially related to virulence functions, as well as transcripts that are differentially expressed between the two FOM races grown in vitro. These transcripts provide candidate sequences that can be further tested for their ability to distinguish between races.
Sequence data from this article have been deposited in GenBank, Accession Numbers: HO867279-HO867981.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-122
PMCID: PMC3048547  PMID: 21338485
3.  General and species-specific transcriptional responses to downy mildew infection in a susceptible (Vitis vinifera) and a resistant (V. riparia) grapevine species 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:117.
Background
Downy mildew is a destructive grapevine disease caused by Plasmopara viticola (Berk. and Curt.) Berl. and de Toni, which can only be controlled by intensive fungicide treatments. Natural sources of resistance from wild grapevine (Vitis) species are used in conventional breeding approaches, but the signals and effectors involved in resistance in this important crop species are not well understood.
Results
Early transcriptional changes associated with P. viticola infection in susceptible V. vinifera and resistant V. riparia plants were analyzed using the Combimatrix microarray platform. Transcript levels were measured 12 and 24 h post-inoculation, reflecting the time points immediately preceding the onset of resistance in V. riparia, as determined by microscopic analysis. Our data indicate that resistance in V. riparia is induced after infection, and is not based on differences in basal gene expression between the two species. The strong and rapid transcriptional reprogramming involves the induction of pathogenesis-related proteins and enzymes required for the synthesis of phenylpropanoid-derived compounds, many of which are also induced, albeit to a lesser extent, in V. vinifera. More interestingly, resistance in V. riparia also involves the specific modulation of numerous transcripts encoding components of signal transduction cascades, hypersensitive reaction markers and genes involved in jasmonate biosynthesis. The limited transcriptional modulation in V. vinifera represents a weak attempted defense response rather than the activation of compatibility-specific pathways.
Conclusions
Several candidate resistance genes were identified that could be exploited in future biotechnological approaches to increase disease resistance in susceptible grapevine species. Measurements of jasmonic acid and methyl jasmonate in infected leaves suggest that this hormone may also be involved in V. riparia resistance to P. viticola.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-117
PMCID: PMC2831845  PMID: 20167053
4.  cDNA-AFLP analysis of plant and pathogen genes expressed in grapevine infected with Plasmopara viticola 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:142.
Background
The oomycete Plasmopara viticola (Berk. and Curt.) Berl. and de Toni causes downy mildew in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). This pathogen is strictly biotrophic, thus completely dependent on living host cells for its survival. The molecular basis of compatibility and disease development in this system is poorly understood. We have carried out a large-scale cDNA-AFLP analysis to identify grapevine and P. viticola genes associated with the infection process.
Results
We carried out cDNA-AFLP analysis on artificially infected leaves of the susceptible cultivar Riesling at the oil spot stage, on water-treated leaves and on a sample of pure sporangia as controls. Selective amplifications with 128 primer combinations allowed the visualization of about 7000 transcript-derived fragments (TDFs) in infected leaves, 1196 of which (17%) were differentially expressed. We sequenced 984 fragments, 804 of which were identified as grapevine transcripts after homology searching, while 96 were homologous to sequences in Phytophthora spp. databases and were attributed to P. viticola. There were 82 orphan TDFs. Many grapevine genes spanning almost all functional categories were downregulated during infection, especially genes involved in photosynthesis. Grapevine genes homologous to known resistance genes also tended to be repressed, as were several resistance gene analogs and carbonic anhydrase (recently implicated in pathogen resistance). In contrast, genes encoding cytoskeletal components, enzymes of the phenylpropanoid and beta-oxidation pathways, and pathogenesis related proteins were primarily upregulated during infection. The majority of P. viticola transcripts expressed in planta showed homology to genes of unknown function or to genomic Phytophthora sequences, but genes related to metabolism, energy production, transport and signal transduction were also identified.
Conclusion
This study provides the first global catalogue of grapevine and P. viticola genes expressed during infection, together with their functional annotations. This will help to elucidate the molecular basis of the infection process and identify genes and chemicals that could help to inhibit the pathogen.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-142
PMCID: PMC2292706  PMID: 18366764
5.  Expression of self-complementary hairpin RNA under the control of the rolC promoter confers systemic disease resistance to plum pox virus without preventing local infection 
BMC Biotechnology  2003;3:7.
Background
Homology-dependent selective degradation of RNA, or post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), is involved in several biological phenomena, including adaptative defense mechanisms against plant viruses. Small interfering RNAs mediate the selective degradation of target RNA by guiding a multicomponent RNAse. Expression of self-complementary hairpin RNAs within two complementary regions separated by an intron elicits PTGS with high efficiency. Plum pox virus (PPV) is the etiological agent of sharka disease in Drupaceae, although it can also be transmitted to herbaceous species (e.g. Nicotiana benthamiana). Once inside the plant, PPV is transmitted via plasmodesmata from cell to cell, and at longer distances, via phloem. The rolC promoter drives expression in phloem cells. RolC expression is absent in both epidermal and mesophyll cells. The aim of the present study was to confer systemic disease resistance without preventing local viral infection.
Results
In the ihprolC-PP197 gene (intron hair pin rolC PPV 197), a 197 bp sequence homologous to the PPV RNA genome (from base 134 to 330) was placed as two inverted repeats separated by the DNA sequence of the rolA intron. This hairpin construct is under the control of the rolC promoter.N. benthamiana plants transgenic for the ihprolC-PP197 gene contain siRNAs homologous to the 197 bp sequence. The transgenic progeny of ihprolC-PP197 plants are resistant to PPV systemic infection. Local infection is unaffected. Most (80%) transgenic plants are virus free and symptomless. Some plants (20%) contain virus in uninoculated apical leaves; however they show only mild symptoms of leaf mottling. PPV systemic resistance cosegregates with the ihprolC-PP197 transgene and was observed in progeny plants of all independent transgenic lines analyzed. SiRNAs of 23–25 nt homologous to the PPV sequence used in the ihprolC-PP197 construct were detected in transgenic plants before and after inoculation. Transitivity of siRNAs was observed in transgenic plants 6 weeks after viral inoculation.
Conclusions
The ihprolC-PP197 transgene confers systemic resistance to PPV disease in N. benthamiana. Local infection is unaffected. This transgene and/or similar constructs could be used to confer PPV resistance to fruit trees where systemic disease causes economic damage.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-3-7
PMCID: PMC194883  PMID: 12823862

Results 1-5 (5)