Soybean isoflavone synthase (IFS) and flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H) are two key enzymes catalyzing the biosynthesis of isoflavonoids and flavonoids, both of which play diverse roles in stress responses. However, little is known about the evolutionary pattern of these genes in cultivated soybean and its wild progenitors. Herein, we investigated the nucleotide polymorphisms in Isoflavone synthase (IFS1, IFS2) and Flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H2) genes from 33 soybean accessions, including 17 cultivars (Glycine max) and 16 their wild progenitors (Glycine soja). Our data showed that the target genes shared the levels of nucleotide polymorphism with three reference genes involved in plant-microbe interactions, but possessed a much higher nucleotide polymorphism than other reference genes. Moreover, no significant genetic differentiation was found between cultivated soybean and its wild relatives in three target genes, despite of considering bottleneck and founder effect during domestication. These results indicate that IFS and F3H genes could have experienced gene introgressions or diversifying selection events during domestication process. Especially, F3H2 gene appears to evolve under positive selection and enjoy a faster evolutionary rate than IFS1 and IFS2 genes.
Word reading speed in peripheral vision is slower when words are in close proximity of other words (Chung, 2004). This word crowding effect could arise as a consequence of interaction of low-level letter features between words, or the interaction between high-level holistic representations of words. We evaluated these two hypotheses by examining how word crowding changes for five configurations of flanking words: the control condition — flanking words were oriented upright; scrambled — letters in each flanking word were scrambled in order; horizontal-flip — each flanking word was the left-right mirror-image of the original; letter-flip — each letter of the flanking word was the left-right mirror-image of the original; and vertical-flip — each flanking word was the up-down mirror-image of the original. The low-level letter feature interaction hypothesis predicts similar word crowding effect for all the different flanker configurations, while the high-level holistic representation hypothesis predicts less word crowding effect for all the alternative flanker conditions, compared with the control condition. We found that oral reading speed for words flanked above and below by other words, measured at 10° eccentricity in the nasal field, showed the same dependence on the vertical separation between the target and its flanking words, for the various flanker configurations. The result was also similar when we rotated the flanking words by 90° to disrupt the periodic vertical pattern, which presumably is the main structure in words. The remarkably similar word crowding effect irrespective of the flanker configurations suggests that word crowding arises as a consequence of interactions of low-level letter features.
crowding; word recognition; peripheral vision; features; holistic representation
Pollen development is disturbed in the early tetrad stage of the YX-1 male sterile mutant of wolfberry (Lycium barbarum L.). The present study aimed to identify differentially expressed anther proteins and to reveal their possible roles in pollen development and male sterility. To address this question, the proteomes of the wild-type (WT) and YX-1 mutant were compared. Approximately 1760 protein spots on two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) gels were detected. A number of proteins whose accumulation levels were altered in YX-1 compared with WT were identified by mass spectrometry and the NCBInr and Viridiplantae EST databases. Proteins down-regulated in YX-1 anthers include ascorbate peroxidase (APX), putative glutamine synthetase (GS), ATP synthase subunits, chalcone synthase (CHS), CHS-like, putative callose synthase catalytic subunit, cysteine protease, 5B protein, enoyl-ACP reductase, 14-3-3 protein and basic transcription factor 3 (BTF3). Meanwhile, activities of APX and GS, RNA expression levels of apx and atp synthase beta subunit were low in YX-1 anthers which correlated with the expression of male sterility. In addition, several carbohydrate metabolism-related and photosynthesis-related enzymes were also present at lower levels in the mutant anthers. In contrast, 26S proteasome regulatory subunits, cysteine protease inhibitor, putative S-phase Kinase association Protein 1(SKP1), and aspartic protease, were expressed at higher levels in YX-1 anthers relative to WT anthers. Regulation of wolfberry pollen development involves a complex network of differentially expressed genes. The present study lays the foundation for future investigations of gene function linked with wolfberry pollen development and male sterility.
Difficulty identifying faces is a common complaint of people with central vision loss. Dakin and Watt (2009) reported that the horizontal components of face images are most informative for face identification in normal vision. In this study, we examined whether people with central vision loss similarly rely primarily on the horizontal components of face images for face identification.
Seven observers with central vision loss (mean age = 69 ± 9 [SD]) and five age-matched observers with normal vision (mean age = 65 ± 6) participated in the study. We measured observers’ accuracy for reporting the identity of face images spatially filtered using an orientation filter with center orientation ranging from 0° (horizontal) to 150° in steps of 30°, with a bandwidth of 23°. Face images without filtering were also tested.
For all observers, accuracy for identifying filtered face images was highest around the horizontal orientation, dropping systematically as the filter orientation deviated systematically from horizontal, and was the lowest at the vertical orientation. Compared with control observers, observers with central vision loss showed (1) a larger difference in accuracy between identifying filtered (at peak performance) and unfiltered face images; (2) a reduced accuracy at peak performance and (3) a smaller difference in performance for identifying filtered images between the horizontal and the vertical filter orientation.
Spatial information around the horizontal orientation in face images is the most important for face identification, for people with normal vision and central vision loss alike. While the horizontal information alone can support reasonably good performance for identifying faces in people in normal vision, people with central vision loss seem to also rely on information along other orientations.
low vision; spatial vision; psychophysics; face identification; central vision loss
Cotton worm is one of the main insects of soybean in southern China. Plants may acquire defense mechanisms that confer protection from predation by herbivores. Induced responses can lead to increased resistance against herbivores in many species. This study focuses on searching changed proteins in soybean defense response induced by cotton worm feeding.
Ten protein spots that are changed in abundance in response to cotton worm feeding were identified by Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE). A total of 11 unique proteins from these spots were identified by MALDI-TOF MS. The mRNA and protein relative expression levels of most changed proteins were up-regulated. These proteins were mainly involved in physiological processes, including active oxygen removal, defense signal transduction, and metabolism regulation.
This is the first proteomic analysis of the soybean defense response induced by cotton worm. The differentially expressed proteins could work together to play a major role in the induced defense response. PAL and SAMS were up-regulated at both the protein and mRNA levels. These genes can be strongest candidates for further functional research.
Soybean; Induced resistance; 2-DE; qRT-PCR
Enhancing reading ability in peripheral vision is important for the rehabilitation of people with central-visual-field loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Previous research has shown that perceptual learning, based on a trigram letter-recognition task, improved peripheral reading speed among normally-sighted young adults (Chung, Legge & Cheung, 2004). Here we ask whether the same happens in older adults in an age range more typical of the onset of AMD. Eighteen normally-sighted subjects, aged 55 to 76 years, were randomly assigned to training or control groups. Visual-span profiles (plots of letter-recognition accuracy as a function of horizontal letter position) and RSVP reading speeds were measured at 10° above and below fixation during pre- and post-tests for all subjects. Training consisted of repeated measurements of visual-span profiles at 10° below fixation, in 4 daily sessions. The control subjects did not receive any training. Perceptual learning enlarged the visual spans in both trained (lower) and untrained (upper) visual fields. Reading speed improved in the trained field by 60% when the trained print size was used. The training benefits for these older subjects were weaker than the training benefits for young adults found by Chung et al. Despite the weaker training benefits, perceptual learning remains a potential option for low-vision reading rehabilitation among older adults.
People with central-field loss must use peripheral vision for reading. Previous studies have shown that reading performance in peripheral vision can improve with extensive practice on a trigram letter-recognition task. The present study compared training on this task with training on two other character-based tasks (lexical decision and RSVP (Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) reading) which might plausibly produce more improvement in peripheral reading speed. Twenty-eight normally sighted young adults were trained at 10° in the lower visual field in a pre/post design. All three training methods produced significant improvements in reading speed, with average gains of 39% for lexical-decision, 54% for trigram letter-recognition, and 72% for RSVP training. Although the RSVP training was most effective, the lexical-decision task has the advantage of easy self administration making it more practical for home-based training.
visual span; reading speed; perceptual learning; peripheral vision; visual training
The visual accessibility of a space refers to the effectiveness with which vision can be used to travel safely through the space. For people with low vision, the detection of steps and ramps is an important component of visual accessibility. We used ramps and steps as visual targets to examine the interacting effects of lighting, object geometry, contrast, viewing distance and spatial resolution. Wooden staging was used to construct a sidewalk with transitions to ramps or steps. 48 normally sighted subjects viewed the sidewalk monocularly through acuity-reducing goggles, and made recognition judgments about the presence of the ramps or steps. The effects of variation in lighting were milder than expected. Performance declined for the largest viewing distance, but exhibited a surprising reversal for nearer viewing. Of relevance to pedestrian safety, the step up was more visible than the step down. We developed a probabilistic cue model to explain the pattern of target confusions. Cues determined by discontinuities in the edge contours of the sidewalk at the transition to the targets were vulnerable to changes in viewing conditions. Cues associated with the height in the picture plane of the targets were more robust.
visual accessibility; low vision; mobility; visual acuity; visual contrast; visual recognition; steps; ramps
There are three formats for arranging English text for vertical reading—upright letters arranged vertically (marquee), and horizontal text rotated 90° clockwise or counterclockwise. Previous research has shown that reading is slower for all three vertical formats than for horizontal text, with marquee being slowest. It has been proposed that the size of the visual span—the number of letters recognized with high accuracy without moving the eyes—is a visual factor limiting reading speed. We predicted that reduced visual-span size would be correlated with the slower reading for the three vertical formats. We tested this prediction with uppercase and lowercase letters. Reading performance was measured using two presentation methods: RSVP (Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) and flashcard (a block of text on four lines). On average, reading speed for horizontal text was 139% faster than marquee text and 81% faster than the rotated texts. Size of the visual span was highly correlated with changes in reading speed for both lowercase and uppercase letters and for both RSVP and flashcard reading. Our results are consistent with the view that slower reading of vertical text is due to a decrease in the size of the visual span for vertical reading.
Visual span; Letter recognition; Reading speed; Vertical reading
S. T. L. Chung (2002) has shown that rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) reading speed varies with letter spacing, peaking near the standard letter spacing for text and decreasing for both smaller and larger spacings. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the dependence of reading speed on letter spacing is mediated by the size of the visual span—the number of letters recognized with high accuracy without moving the eyes. If so, the size of the visual span and reading speed should show a similar dependence on letter spacing. We tested this prediction for RSVP reading and asked whether it generalizes to the reading of blocks of text requiring eye movements. We measured visual-span profiles and reading speeds as a function of letter spacing. Visual-span profiles, measured with trigrams (strings of three random letters), are plots of letter-recognition accuracy as a function of letter position left or right of fixation. Size of the visual span was quantified by a measure of the area under the visual-span profile. Reading performance was measured using two presentation methods: RSVP and flashcard (a short block of text on four lines). We found that the size of the visual span and the reading speeds measured by the two presentation methods showed a qualitatively similar dependence on letter spacing and that they were highly correlated. These results are consistent with the view that the size of the visual span is a primary visual factor that limits reading speed.
visual span; reading speed; letter spacing; visual crowding
The visual span for reading is the number of letters, arranged horizontally as in text, that can be recognized reliably without moving the eyes. The visual-span hypothesis states that the size of the visual span is an important factor that limits reading speed. From this hypothesis, we predict that changes in reading speed as a function of character size or contrast are determined by corresponding changes in the size of the visual span. We tested this prediction in two experiments in which we measured the size of the visual span and reading speed on groups of five subjects as a function of either character size or character contrast. We used a “trigram method” for characterizing the visual span as a profile of letter-recognition accuracy as a function of distance left and right of the midline (G. E. Legge, J. S. Mansfield, & S. T. L. Chung, 2001). The area under this profile was taken as an operational measure of the size of the visual span. Reading speed was measured with the Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) method. We found that the size of the visual span and reading speed showed the same qualitative dependence on character size and contrast, reached maximum values at the same critical points, and exhibited high correlations at the level of individual subjects. Additional analysis of data from four studies provides evidence for an invariant relationship between the size of the visual span and RSVP reading speed; an increase in the visual span by one letter is associated with a 39% increase in reading speed. Our results confirm the visual-span hypothesis and provide a theoretical framework for understanding the impact of stimulus attributes, such as contrast and character size, on reading speed. Evidence for the visual span as a determinant of reading speed implies the existence of a bottom–up, sensory limitation on reading, distinct from attentional, motor, or linguistic influences.
vision; contrast; character size; visual span; low vision; reading; reading speed