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1.  Cell wall traits as potential resources to improve resistance of durum wheat against Fusarium graminearum 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:6.
Background
Fusarium graminearum, one of the causal agents of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB, scab), leads to severe losses in grain yield and quality due to the production of mycotoxins which are harmful to human and livestock. Different traits for FHB resistance in wheat were identified for common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) while the sources of FHB resistance in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. Durum), one of the cereals most susceptible to F. graminearum infection, have not been found. New lines of evidence indicate that content and composition of cell wall polymers affect the susceptibility of the wall to degrading enzymes produced by pathogens during infection and can play a role in the outcome of host-pathogen interactions. The objective of our research is to identify potential cell wall biochemical traits linked to Fusariosis resistance to be transferred from a resistant common wheat to a susceptible durum wheat line.
Results
A detailed analysis of cell wall composition in spikes isolated from a highly resistant common wheat accession “02-5B-318”, a breeding line derived from the FHB-resistant Chinese cv. Sumai-3 and a high susceptible durum wheat cv. Saragolla was performed. Significant differences in lignin monolignols composition, arabinoxylan (AX) substitutions and pectin methylesterification were found between resistant and susceptible plants. We isolated and characterized a pectin methylesterase gene WheatPME1, which we found being down regulated in the FHB-resistant line and induced by fungal infection in the susceptible wheat.
Conclusions
Our results indicate cell wall traits differing between the FHB sensitive and resistant wheat genotypes, possibly related to FHB-resistance, and identify the line 02-5B-318R as a potential resource of such traits. Evidence suggests that WheatPME1 is involved in wheat response to F. graminearum.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0369-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0369-1
PMCID: PMC4298115  PMID: 25597920
Fusarium Head Blight resistance; Wheat; Pectin methylesterase; Cell wall; Fusarium graminearum
2.  Characterization of Ferredoxin-Dependent Glutamine-Oxoglutarate Amidotransferase (Fd-GOGAT) Genes and Their Relationship with Grain Protein Content QTL in Wheat 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103869.
Background
In higher plants, inorganic nitrogen is assimilated via the glutamate synthase cycle or GS-GOGAT pathway. GOGAT enzyme occurs in two distinct forms that use NADH (NADH-GOGAT) or Fd (Fd-GOGAT) as electron carriers. The goal of the present study was to characterize wheat Fd-GOGAT genes and to assess the linkage with grain protein content (GPC), an important quantitative trait controlled by multiple genes.
Results
We report the complete genomic sequences of the three homoeologous A, B and D Fd-GOGAT genes from hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum) and their localization and characterization. The gene is comprised of 33 exons and 32 introns for all the three homoeologues genes. The three genes show the same exon/intron number and size, with the only exception of a series of indels in intronic regions. The partial sequence of the Fd-GOGAT gene located on A genome was determined in two durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum) cvs Ciccio and Svevo, characterized by different grain protein content. Genomic differences allowed the gene mapping in the centromeric region of chromosome 2A. QTL analysis was conducted in the Svevo×Ciccio RIL mapping population, previously evaluated in 5 different environments. The study co-localized the Fd-GOGAT-A gene with the marker GWM-339, identifying a significant major QTL for GPC.
Conclusions
The wheat Fd-GOGAT genes are highly conserved; both among the three homoeologous hexaploid wheat genes and in comparison with other plants. In durum wheat, an association was shown between the Fd-GOGAT allele of cv Svevo with increasing GPC - potentially useful in breeding programs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103869
PMCID: PMC4123923  PMID: 25099972
3.  Description of durum wheat linkage map and comparative sequence analysis of wheat mapped DArT markers with rice and Brachypodium genomes 
BMC Genetics  2013;14:114.
Background
The importance of wheat to the world economy, together with progresses in high-throughput next-generation DNA sequencing, have accelerated initiatives of genetic research for wheat improvement. The availability of high density linkage maps is crucial to identify genotype-phenotype associations, but also for anchoring BAC contigs to genetic maps, a strategy followed for sequencing the wheat genome.
Results
Here we report a genetic linkage map in a durum wheat segregating population and the study of mapped DArT markers. The linkage map consists of 126 gSSR, 31 EST-SSR and 351 DArT markers distributed in 24 linkage groups for a total length of 1,272 cM. Through bioinformatic approaches we have analysed 327 DArT clones to reveal their redundancy, syntenic and functional aspects. The DNA sequences of 174 DArT markers were assembled into a non-redundant set of 60 marker clusters. This explained the generation of clusters in very small chromosome regions across genomes. Of these DArT markers, 61 showed highly significant (Expectation < E-10) BLAST similarity to gene sequences in public databases of model species such as Brachypodium and rice. Based on sequence alignments, the analysis revealed a mosaic gene conservation, with 54 and 72 genes present in rice and Brachypodium species, respectively.
Conclusions
In the present manuscript we provide a detailed DArT markers characterization and the basis for future efforts in durum wheat map comparing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-114
PMCID: PMC3866978  PMID: 24304553
Wheat; DArT marker; Genetic map; Syntheny
4.  Structural Analysis of the Wheat Genes Encoding NADH-Dependent Glutamine-2-oxoglutarate Amidotransferases and Correlation with Grain Protein Content 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73751.
Background
Nitrogen uptake and the efficient absorption and metabolism of nitrogen are essential elements in attempts to breed improved cereal cultivars for grain or silage production. One of the enzymes related to nitrogen metabolism is glutamine-2-oxoglutarate amidotransferase (GOGAT). Together with glutamine synthetase (GS), GOGAT maintains the flow of nitrogen from NH4+ into glutamine and glutamate, which are then used for several aminotransferase reactions during amino acid synthesis.
Results
The aim of the present work was to identify and analyse the structure of wheat NADH-GOGAT genomic sequences, and study the expression in two durum wheat cultivars characterized by low and high kernel protein content. The genomic sequences of the three homoeologous A, B and D NADH-GOGAT genes were obtained for hexaploid Triticum aestivum and the tetraploid A and B genes of Triticum turgidum ssp. durum. Analysis of the gene sequences indicates that all wheat NADH-GOGAT genes are composed of 22 exons and 21 introns. The three hexaploid wheat homoeologous genes have high conservation of sequence except intron 13 which shows differences in both length and sequence. A comparative analysis of sequences among di- and mono-cotyledonous plants shows both regions of high conservation and of divergence. qRT-PCR performed with the two durum wheat cvs Svevo and Ciccio (characterized by high and low protein content, respectively) indicates different expression levels of the two NADH-GOGAT-3A and NADH-GOGAT-3B genes.
Conclusion
The three hexaploid wheat homoeologous NADH-GOGAT gene sequences are highly conserved – consistent with the key metabolic role of this gene. However, the dicot and monocot amino acid sequences show distinctive patterns, particularly in the transit peptide, the exon 16–17 junction, and the C-terminus. The lack of conservation in the transit peptide may indicate subcellular differences between the two plant divisions - while the sequence conservation within enzyme functional domains remains high. Higher expression levels of NADH-GOGAT are associated with higher grain protein content in two durum wheats.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073751
PMCID: PMC3775782  PMID: 24069228
5.  Genetic basis of qualitative and quantitative resistance to powdery mildew in wheat: from consensus regions to candidate genes 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:562.
Background
Powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici) is one of the most damaging diseases of wheat. The objective of this study was to identify the wheat genomic regions that are involved in the control of powdery mildew resistance through a quantitative trait loci (QTL) meta-analysis approach. This meta-analysis allows the use of collected QTL data from different published studies to obtain consensus QTL across different genetic backgrounds, thus providing a better definition of the regions responsible for the trait, and the possibility to obtain molecular markers that will be suitable for marker-assisted selection.
Results
Five QTL for resistance to powdery mildew were identified under field conditions in the durum-wheat segregating population Creso × Pedroso. An integrated map was developed for the projection of resistance genes/ alleles and the QTL from the present study and the literature, and to investigate their distribution in the wheat genome. Molecular markers that correspond to candidate genes for plant responses to pathogens were also projected onto the map, particularly considering NBS-LRR and receptor-like protein kinases. More than 80 independent QTL and 51 resistance genes from 62 different mapping populations were projected onto the consensus map using the Biomercator statistical software. Twenty-four MQTL that comprised 2–6 initial QTL that had widely varying confidence intervals were found on 15 chromosomes. The co-location of the resistance QTL and genes was investigated. Moreover, from analysis of the sequences of DArT markers, 28 DArT clones mapped on wheat chromosomes have been shown to be associated with the NBS-LRR genes and positioned in the same regions as the MQTL for powdery mildew resistance.
Conclusions
The results from the present study provide a detailed analysis of the genetic basis of resistance to powdery mildew in wheat. The study of the Creso × Pedroso durum-wheat population has revealed some QTL that had not been previously identified. Furthermore, the analysis of the co-localization of resistance loci and functional markers provides a large list of candidate genes and opens up a new perspective for the fine mapping and isolation of resistance genes, and for the marker-assisted improvement of resistance in wheat.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-562
PMCID: PMC3765315  PMID: 23957646
Wheat; Powdery mildew; MQTL; Collinearity; Resistance gene
6.  Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Tetraploid Wheats (Triticum turgidum L.) Estimated by SSR, DArT and Pedigree Data 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67280.
Levels of genetic diversity and population genetic structure of a collection of 230 accessions of seven tetraploid Triticum turgidum L. subspecies were investigated using six morphological, nine seed storage protein loci, 26 SSRs and 970 DArT markers. The genetic diversity of the morphological traits and seed storage proteins was always lower in the durum wheat compared to the wild and domesticated emmer. Using Bayesian clustering (K = 2), both of the sets of molecular markers distinguished the durum wheat cultivars from the other tetraploid subspecies, and two distinct subgroups were detected within the durum wheat subspecies, which is in agreement with their origin and year of release. The genetic diversity of morphological traits and seed storage proteins was always lower in the improved durum cultivars registered after 1990, than in the intermediate and older ones. This marked effect on diversity was not observed for molecular markers, where there was only a weak reduction. At K >2, the SSR markers showed a greater degree of resolution than for DArT, with their identification of a greater number of groups within each subspecies. Analysis of DArT marker differentiation between the wheat subspecies indicated outlier loci that are potentially linked to genes controlling some important agronomic traits. Among the 211 loci identified under selection, 109 markers were recently mapped, and some of these markers were clustered into specific regions on chromosome arms 2BL, 3BS and 4AL, where several genes/quantitative trait loci (QTLs) are involved in the domestication of tetraploid wheats, such as the tenacious glumes (Tg) and brittle rachis (Br) characteristics. On the basis of these results, it can be assumed that the population structure of the tetraploid wheat collection partially reflects the evolutionary history of Triticum turgidum L. subspecies and the genetic potential of landraces and wild accessions for the detection of unexplored alleles.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067280
PMCID: PMC3694930  PMID: 23826256
7.  Validation of a Spanish version of the psychological inflexibility in pain scale (PIPS) and an evaluation of its relation with acceptance of pain and mindfulness in sample of persons with fibromyalgia 
Background
Psychological flexibility has been suggested as a fundamental process in health. The Psychological Inflexibility in Pain Scale (PIPS) is one of the scales employed for assessing psychological inflexibility in pain patients. The aim of this study was to validate the Spanish version of the PIPS and secondly, to compare it to two other psychological constructs, the acceptance of pain and mindfulness scales.
Methods
The PIPS was translated into Spanish by two bilingual linguistic experts, and then, back-translated into English to assess for equivalence. The final Spanish version was administered along with the Pain Visual Analogue Scale, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, to 250 Spanish patients with fibromyalgia. Face validity, construct validity, reliability (internal consistency and test-retest) and convergent validity were tested. Also a multiple regression analysis was carried out.The usual guidelines have been followed for cross-cultural adaptations.
Results
Data were very similar to the ones obtained in the original PIPS version. The construct validity confirmed the original two-components solution which explained 61.6% of the variance. The Spanish PIPS had good test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.97) and internal consistency reliability (Cronbach’s alpha: 0.90). The Spanish PIPS’ score correlated significantly with worse global functioning (r = 0.55), anxiety (r = 0.54), depression (r = 0.66), pain catastrophizing (r = 0.62), pain acceptance (r = −0.72) and mindfulness (r = −0.47), as well as correlating modestly with pain intensity (r = 0.12). The multiple regression analyses showed that psychological inflexibility, acceptance and mindfulness are not overlapped.
Conclusions
The Spanish PIPS scale appears to be a valid and reliable instrument for the evaluation of psychological inflexibility among a sample of fibromyalgia patients. These results ensure the use of this scale in research as well as in clinical practice. Psychological inflexibility measures processes different from other related components such as acceptance and mindfulness.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-62
PMCID: PMC3635918  PMID: 23594367
Psychological inflexibility; Pain; Fibromyalgia; Acceptance; Mindfulness
8.  A high-density consensus map of A and B wheat genomes 
A durum wheat consensus linkage map was developed by combining segregation data from six mapping populations. All of the crosses were derived from durum wheat cultivars, except for one accession of T. ssp. dicoccoides. The consensus map was composed of 1,898 loci arranged into 27 linkage groups covering all 14 chromosomes. The length of the integrated map and the average marker distance were 3,058.6 and 1.6 cM, respectively. The order of the loci was generally in agreement with respect to the individual maps and with previously published maps. When the consensus map was aligned to the deletion bin map, 493 markers were assigned to specific bins. Segregation distortion was found across many durum wheat chromosomes, with a higher frequency for the B genome. This high-density consensus map allowed the scanning of the genome for chromosomal rearrangements occurring during the wheat evolution. Translocations and inversions that were already known in literature were confirmed, and new putative rearrangements are proposed. The consensus map herein described provides a more complete coverage of the durum wheat genome compared with previously developed maps. It also represents a step forward in durum wheat genomics and an essential tool for further research and studies on evolution of the wheat genome.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-012-1939-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00122-012-1939-y
PMCID: PMC3493672  PMID: 22872151
9.  Deciphering the genomic structure, function and evolution of carotenogenesis related phytoene synthases in grasses 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:221.
Background
Carotenoids are isoprenoid pigments, essential for photosynthesis and photoprotection in plants. The enzyme phytoene synthase (PSY) plays an essential role in mediating condensation of two geranylgeranyl diphosphate molecules, the first committed step in carotenogenesis. PSY are nuclear enzymes encoded by a small gene family consisting of three paralogous genes (PSY1-3) that have been widely characterized in rice, maize and sorghum.
Results
In wheat, for which yellow pigment content is extremely important for flour colour, only PSY1 has been extensively studied because of its association with QTLs reported for yellow pigment whereas PSY2 has been partially characterized. Here, we report the isolation of bread wheat PSY3 genes from a Renan BAC library using Brachypodium as a model genome for the Triticeae to develop Conserved Orthologous Set markers prior to gene cloning and sequencing. Wheat PSY3 homoeologous genes were sequenced and annotated, unravelling their novel structure associated with intron-loss events and consequent exonic fusions. A wheat PSY3 promoter region was also investigated for the presence of cis-acting elements involved in the response to abscisic acid (ABA), since carotenoids also play an important role as precursors of signalling molecules devoted to plant development and biotic/abiotic stress responses. Expression of wheat PSYs in leaves and roots was investigated during ABA treatment to confirm the up-regulation of PSY3 during abiotic stress.
Conclusions
We investigated the structural and functional determinisms of PSY genes in wheat. More generally, among eudicots and monocots, the PSY gene family was found to be associated with differences in gene copy numbers, allowing us to propose an evolutionary model for the entire PSY gene family in Grasses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-221
PMCID: PMC3413518  PMID: 22672222
Carotenoids; Phytoene synthase; Wheat; Intron loss; Abiotic stress; Evolution
10.  sunTILL: a TILLING resource for gene function analysis in sunflower 
Plant Methods  2011;7:20.
Background
Cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annus L.) is a globally important oilseed crop, subjected to intensive genetic and genomic studies. Although classical mutagenesis has successfully been applied to Helianthus genus in the past, we have developed the first sunflower TILLING resource.
Results
To balance the maximum mutation density with an acceptable plant survival rate, a 'kill curve' analysis was first conducted with different ethylmethanesulfonate (EMS) dosages and different exposure times. According to the germination rate, a treatment with 0.7% EMS for 6 h was chosen. An M2 progeny of 3,651 fertile plants was obtained. Totally, 4.79% of the whole population showed clear aberrant phenotypes. A microsatellite analysis on a representative sample of the original seed stock and mutant lines confirmed the uniformity of the genetic background of plant material. The TILLING procedure was successfully applied to sunflower genome, initially by a CelI-nuclease mismatch cleavage assay coupled with a DNA-pooling level test. To investigate the efficiency of the mutagenic treatment, a pilot screening was carried out on 1,152 M2 lines focusing on four genes, three involved in the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway and one for downy mildew resistance. A total of 9 mutant lines were identified and confirmed by sequencing; thereby, the estimated overall mutation frequency for the pilot assay resulted to be 1/475 kb.
Conclusion
A first TILLING population for a high throughput identification of EMS-induced point mutations in sunflower genome has been successfully obtained. This represents a powerful tool to a better understanding of gene function in sunflower.
doi:10.1186/1746-4811-7-20
PMCID: PMC3169506  PMID: 21718494

Results 1-10 (10)