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1.  Nitrate transport in cucumber leaves is an inducible process involving an increase in plasma membrane H+-ATPase activity and abundance 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:66.
The mechanisms by which nitrate is transported into the roots have been characterized both at physiological and molecular levels. It has been demonstrated that nitrate is taken up in an energy-dependent way by a four-component uptake machinery involving high- and low- affinity transport systems. In contrast very little is known about the physiology of nitrate transport towards different plant tissues and in particular at the leaf level.
The mechanism of nitrate uptake in leaves of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Chinese long) plants was studied and compared with that of the root. Net nitrate uptake by roots of nitrate-depleted cucumber plants proved to be substrate-inducible and biphasic showing a saturable kinetics with a clear linear non saturable component at an anion concentration higher than 2 mM. Nitrate uptake by leaf discs of cucumber plants showed some similarities with that operating in the roots (e.g. electrogenic H+ dependence via involvement of proton pump, a certain degree of induction). However, it did not exhibit typical biphasic kinetics and was characterized by a higher Km with values out of the range usually recorded in roots of several different plant species. The quantity and activity of plasma membrane (PM) H+-ATPase of the vesicles isolated from leaf tissues of nitrate-treated plants for 12 h (peak of nitrate foliar uptake rate) increased with respect to that observed in the vesicles isolated from N-deprived control plants, thus suggesting an involvement of this enzyme in the leaf nitrate uptake process similar to that described in roots. Molecular analyses suggest the involvement of a specific isoform of PM H+-ATPase (CsHA1) and NRT2 transporter (CsNRT2) in root nitrate uptake. At the leaf level, nitrate treatment modulated the expression of CsHA2, highlighting a main putative role of this isogene in the process.
Obtained results provide for the first time evidence that a saturable and substrate-inducible nitrate uptake mechanism operates in cucumber leaves. Its activity appears to be related to that of PM H+-ATPase activity and in particular to the induction of CsHA2 isoform. However the question about the molecular entity responsible for the transport of nitrate into leaf cells therefore still remains unresolved.
PMCID: PMC3403936  PMID: 22571503
2.  Genome-wide microarray analysis of tomato roots showed defined responses to iron deficiency 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:101.
Plants react to iron deficiency stress adopting different kind of adaptive responses. Tomato, a Strategy I plant, improves iron uptake through acidification of rhizosphere, reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+ and transport of Fe2+ into the cells. Large-scale transcriptional analyses of roots under iron deficiency are only available for a very limited number of plant species with particular emphasis for Arabidopsis thaliana. Regarding tomato, an interesting model species for Strategy I plants and an economically important crop, physiological responses to Fe-deficiency have been thoroughly described and molecular analyses have provided evidence for genes involved in iron uptake mechanisms and their regulation. However, no detailed transcriptome analysis has been described so far.
A genome-wide transcriptional analysis, performed with a chip that allows to monitor the expression of more than 25,000 tomato transcripts, identified 97 differentially expressed transcripts by comparing roots of Fe-deficient and Fe-sufficient tomato plants. These transcripts are related to the physiological responses of tomato roots to the nutrient stress resulting in an improved iron uptake, including regulatory aspects, translocation, root morphological modification and adaptation in primary metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis and TCA cycle. Other genes play a role in flavonoid biosynthesis and hormonal metabolism.
The transcriptional characterization confirmed the presence of the previously described mechanisms to adapt to iron starvation in tomato, but also allowed to identify other genes potentially playing a role in this process, thus opening new research perspectives to improve the knowledge on the tomato root response to the nutrient deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3368770  PMID: 22433273
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2831845  PMID: 20167053
4.  Grapevine cell early activation of specific responses to DIMEB, a resveratrol elicitor 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:363.
In response to pathogen attack, grapevine synthesizes phytoalexins belonging to the family of stilbenes. Grapevine cell cultures represent a good model system for studying the basic mechanisms of plant response to biotic and abiotic elicitors. Among these, modified β-cyclodextrins seem to act as true elicitors inducing strong production of the stilbene resveratrol.
The transcriptome changes of Vitis riparia × Vitis berlandieri grapevine cells in response to the modified β-cyclodextrin, DIMEB, were analyzed 2 and 6 h after treatment using a suppression subtractive hybridization experiment and a microarray analysis respectively. At both time points, we identified a specific set of induced genes belonging to the general phenylpropanoid metabolism, including stilbenes and hydroxycinnamates, and to defence proteins such as PR proteins and chitinases. At 6 h we also observed a down-regulation of the genes involved in cell division and cell-wall loosening.
We report the first large-scale study of the molecular effects of DIMEB, a resveratrol inducer, on grapevine cell cultures. This molecule seems to mimic a defence elicitor which enhances the physical barriers of the cell, stops cell division and induces phytoalexin synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2743712  PMID: 19660119
5.  Molecular analysis of post-harvest withering in grape by AFLP transcriptional profiling 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2008;59(15):4145-4159.
Post-harvest withering of grape berries is used in the production of dessert and fortified wines to alter must quality characteristics and increase the concentration of simple sugars. The molecular processes that occur during withering are poorly understood, so a detailed transcriptomic analysis of post-harvest grape berries was carried out by AFLP-transcriptional profiling analysis. This will help to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of berry withering and will provide an opportunity to select markers that can be used to follow the drying process and evaluate different drying techniques. AFLP-TP identified 699 withering-specific genes, 167 and 86 of which were unique to off-plant and on-plant withering, respectively. Although similar molecular events were revealed in both withering processes, it was apparent that off-plant withering induced a stronger dehydration stress response resulting in the high level expression of genes involved in stress protection mechanisms, such as dehydrin and osmolite accumulation. Genes involved in hexose metabolism and transport, cell wall composition, and secondary metabolism (particularly the phenolic and terpene compound pathways) were similarly regulated in both processes. This work provides the first comprehensive analysis of the molecular events underpinning post-harvest withering and could help to define markers for different withering processes.
PMCID: PMC2639028  PMID: 19010774
AFLP-TP; gene expression; grape berry withering; on- and off-plant withering processes
6.  cDNA-AFLP analysis of plant and pathogen genes expressed in grapevine infected with Plasmopara viticola 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:142.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2292706  PMID: 18366764

Results 1-6 (6)