The Putative orthologous Groups 2 Database (POGs2) (http://pogs.uoregon.edu/) integrates information about the inferred proteomes of four plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Zea mays, Orza sativa, and Populus trichocarpa) in a display that facilitates comparisons among orthologs and extrapolation of annotations among species. A single-page view collates key functional data for members of each Putative Orthologous Group (POG): graphical representations of InterPro domains, predicted and established intracellular locations, and imported gene descriptions. The display incorporates POGs predicted by two different algorithms as well as gene trees, allowing users to evaluate the validity of POG memberships. The web interface provides ready access to sequences and alignments of POG members, as well as sequences, alignments, and domain architectures of closely-related paralogs. A simple and flexible search interface permits queries by BLAST and by any combination of gene identifier, keywords, domain names, InterPro identifiers, and intracellular location. The concurrent display of domain architectures for orthologous proteins highlights errors in gene models and false-negatives in domain predictions. The POGs2 layout is also useful for exploring candidate genes identified by transposon tagging, QTL mapping, map-based cloning, and proteomics, and for navigating between orthologous groups that belong to the same gene family.
The differentially co-expressed proteins in N-deprived and N-enriched I. galbana were comparatively analyzed by using two dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight/time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS) with the aim of better understanding lipid metabolism in this oleaginous microalga. Forty-five of the 900 protein spots showed dramatic changes in N-deprived I. galbana compared with the N-enriched cells. Of these, 36 protein spots were analyzed and 27 proteins were successfully identified. The identified proteins were classified into seven groups by their molecular functions, including the proteins related to energy production and transformation, substance metabolism, signal transduction, molecular chaperone, transcription and translation, immune defense and cytoskeleton. These altered proteins slowed cell growth and photosynthesis of I. galbana directly or indirectly, but at the same time increased lipid accumulation. Eight key enzymes involved in lipid metabolism via different pathways were identified as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK), enolase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), fumarate hydratase (FH), citrate synthase (CS), O-acetyl-serine lyase (OAS-L) and ATP sulfurylase (ATPS). The results suggested that the glycolytic pathway and citrate transport system might be the main routes for lipid anabolism in N-deprived I. galbana, and that the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, glyoxylate cycle and sulfur assimilation system might be the major pathways involved in lipid catabolism.
While many aspects of plant cell wall polymer structure are known, their spatial and temporal distribution within the stem are not well understood. Here, we studied vascular system and fiber development, which has implication for both biofuel feedstock conversion efficiency and crop yield. The subject of this study, Brachypodium distachyon, has emerged as a grass model for food and energy crop research. Here, we conducted our investigation using B. distachyon by applying various histological approaches and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to the stem internode from three key developmental stages. While vascular bundle size and number did not change over time, the size of the interfascicular region increased dramatically, as did cell wall thickness. We also describe internal stem internode anatomy and demonstrate that lignin deposition continues after crystalline cellulose and xylan accumulation ceases. The vascular bundle anatomy of B. distachyon appears to be highly similar to domesticated grasses. While the arrangement of bundles within the stem is highly variable across grasses, B. distachyon appears to be a suitable model for the rind of large C4 grass crops. A better understanding of growth and various anatomical and cell wall features of B. distachyon will further our understanding of plant biomass accumulation processes.
Predicting the subcellular localization of proteins conquers the major drawbacks of high-throughput localization experiments that are costly and time-consuming. However, current subcellular localization predictors are limited in scope and accuracy. In particular, most predictors perform well on certain locations or with certain data sets while poorly on others. Here, we present PSI, a novel high accuracy web server for plant subcellular localization prediction. PSI derives the wisdom of multiple specialized predictors via a joint-approach of group decision making strategy and machine learning methods to give an integrated best result. The overall accuracy obtained (up to 93.4%) was higher than best individual (CELLO) by ∼10.7%. The precision of each predicable subcellular location (more than 80%) far exceeds that of the individual predictors. It can also deal with multi-localization proteins. PSI is expected to be a powerful tool in protein location engineering as well as in plant sciences, while the strategy employed could be applied to other integrative problems. A user-friendly web server, PSI, has been developed for free access at http://bis.zju.edu.cn/psi/.
The Archaeplastida consists of three lineages, Rhodophyta, Virideplantae and Glaucophyta. The extracellular matrix of most members of the Rhodophyta and Viridiplantae consists of carbohydrate-based or a highly glycosylated protein-based cell wall while the Glaucophyte covering is poorly resolved. In order to elucidate possible evolutionary links between the three advanced lineages in Archaeplastida, a genomic analysis was initiated. Fully sequenced genomes from the Rhodophyta and Virideplantae and the well-defined CAZy database on glycosyltransferases were included in the analysis. The number of glycosyltransferases found in the Rhodophyta and Chlorophyta are generally much lower then in land plants (Embryophyta). Three specific features exhibited by land plants increase the number of glycosyltransferases in their genomes: (1) cell wall biosynthesis, the more complex land plant cell walls require a larger number of glycosyltransferases for biosynthesis, (2) a richer set of protein glycosylation, and (3) glycosylation of secondary metabolites, demonstrated by a large proportion of family GT1 being involved in secondary metabolite biosynthesis. In a comparative analysis of polysaccharide biosynthesis amongst the taxa of this study, clear distinctions or similarities were observed in (1) N-linked protein glycosylation, i.e., Chlorophyta has different mannosylation and glucosylation patterns, (2) GPI anchor biosynthesis, which is apparently missing in the Rhodophyta and truncated in the Chlorophyta, (3) cell wall biosynthesis, where the land plants have unique cell wall related polymers not found in green and red algae, and (4) O-linked glycosylation where comprehensive orthology was observed in glycosylation between the Chlorophyta and land plants but not between the target proteins.
Alanine aminotransferase (AlaAT) has been studied in a variety of organisms due to the involvement of this enzyme in mammalian processes such as non-alcoholic hepatocellular damage, and in plant processes such as C4 photosynthesis, post-hypoxic stress response and nitrogen use efficiency. To date, very few studies have made direct comparisons of AlaAT enzymes and fewer still have made direct comparisons of this enzyme across a broad spectrum of organisms. In this study we present a direct kinetic comparison of glutamate:pyruvate aminotransferase (GPAT) activity for seven AlaATs and two glutamate:glyoxylate aminotransferases (GGAT), measuring the KM values for the enzymes analyzed. We also demonstrate that recombinant expression of AlaAT enzymes in Eschericia coli results in differences in bacterial growth inhibition, supporting previous reports of AlaAT possessing bactericidal properties, attributed to lipopolysaccharide endotoxin recognition and binding. A probable lipopolysaccharide binding region within the AlaAT enzymes, homologous to a region of a lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) in humans, was also identified in this study. The AlaAT enzyme differences identified here indicate that AlaAT homologues have differentiated significantly and the roles these homologues play in vivo may also have diverged significantly. Specifically, the differing kinetics of AlaAT enzymes and how this may alter the nitrogen use efficiency in plants is discussed.
A key challenge in the area of bioinformatics in the coming decades is the ability to manage the wealth of information that is being generated from the variety of high throughput methodologies currently being undertaken in laboratories across the world. While these approaches have made available large volumes of data to the research community, less attention has been given to the problem of how to intuitively present the data to enable greater biological insights. Recently, an attempt was made to tackle this problem in the area of Arabidopsis proteomics. The model plant has been the target of countless proteomics surveys producing an exhaustive array of data and online repositories. The MASCP Gator is an aggregation portal for proteomic data currently being produced by the community and unites a large collection of specialized resources to a single portal (http://gator.masc-proteomics.org/). Here we describe the latest additions, upgrades and features to this resource further expanding its role into protein modifications and genome sequence variations.
proteomics; Arabidopsis; mass spectrometry; database; protein modifications; single nucleotide polymorphisms
The plant Golgi apparatus and trans-Golgi network are major endomembrane trafficking hubs within the plant cell and are involved in a diverse and vital series of functions to maintain plant growth and development. Recently, a series of disparate technical approaches have been used to isolate and characterize components of these complex organelles by mass spectrometry in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Collectively, these studies have increased the number of Golgi and vesicular localized proteins identified by mass spectrometry to nearly 500 proteins. We have sought to provide a brief overview of these technical approaches and bring the datasets together to examine how they can reveal insights into the secretory pathway.
Golgi; trans-Golgi network; proteomics; LOPIT; free-flow electrophoresis; Arabidopsis; SYP61
We outline a high throughput procedure that improves outlier detection in cell wall screens using FT-NIR spectroscopy of plant leaves. The improvement relies on generating a calibration set from a subset of a mutant population by taking advantage of the Mahalanobis distance outlier scheme to construct a monosaccharide range predictive model using PLS regression. This model was then used to identify specific monosaccharide outliers from the mutant population.
near infrared spectroscopy; cell wall; hemicellulose; multivariate analysis; mutant screen; pls modeling
The PhosPhAt database of Arabidopsis phosphorylation sites was initially launched in August 2007. Since then, along with 10-fold increase in database entries, functionality of PhosPhAt (phosphat.mpimp-golm.mpg.de) has been considerably upgraded and re-designed. PhosPhAt is now more of a web application with the inclusion of advanced search functions allowing combinatorial searches by Boolean terms. The results output now includes interactive visualization of annotated fragmentation spectra and the ability to export spectra and peptide sequences as text files for use in other applications. We have also implemented dynamic links to other web resources thus augmenting PhosPhAt-specific information with external protein-related data. For experimental phosphorylation sites with information about dynamic behavior in response to external stimuli, we display simple time-resolved diagrams. We have included predictions for pT and pY sites and updated pS predictions. Access to prediction algorithm now allows ‘on-the-fly’ prediction of phosphorylation of any user-uploaded protein sequence. Protein Pfam domain structures are now mapped onto the protein sequence display next to experimental and predicted phosphorylation sites. Finally, we have implemented functional annotation of proteins using MAPMAN ontology. These new developments make the PhosPhAt resource a useful and powerful tool for the scientific community as a whole beyond the plant sciences.
The fungus Stagonospora nodorum is a causal agent of leaf and glume blotch disease of wheat. It has been previously shown that inactivation of heterotrimeric G protein signaling in Stagonospora nodorum caused development defects and reduced pathogenicity [P. S. Solomon et al., Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 17:456-466, 2004]. In this study, we sought to identify targets of the signaling pathway that may have contributed to phenotypic defects of the signaling mutants. A comparative analysis of Stagonospora nodorum wild-type and Gα-defective mutant (gna1) intracellular proteomes was performed via two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Several proteins showed significantly altered abundances when comparing the two strains. One such protein, the short-chain dehydrogenase Sch1, was 18-fold less abundant in the gna1 strain, implying that it is positively regulated by Gα signaling. Gene expression and transcriptional enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion analyses of Sch1 indicates strong expression during asexual development. Mutant strains of Stagonospora nodorum lacking Sch1 demonstrated poor growth on minimal media and exhibited a significant reduction in asexual sporulation on all growth media examined. Detailed histological experiments on sch1 pycnidia revealed that the gene is required for the differentiation of the subparietal layers of asexual pycnidia resulting in a significant reduction in both pycnidiospore size and numbers.
The PhosPhAt database provides a resource consolidating our current knowledge of mass spectrometry-based identified phosphorylation sites in Arabidopsis and combines it with phosphorylation site prediction specifically trained on experimentally identified Arabidopsis phosphorylation motifs. The database currently contains 1187 unique tryptic peptide sequences encompassing 1053 Arabidopsis proteins. Among the characterized phosphorylation sites, there are over 1000 with unambiguous site assignments, and nearly 500 for which the precise phosphorylation site could not be determined. The database is searchable by protein accession number, physical peptide characteristics, as well as by experimental conditions (tissue sampled, phosphopeptide enrichment method). For each protein, a phosphorylation site overview is presented in tabular form with detailed information on each identified phosphopeptide. We have utilized a set of 802 experimentally validated serine phosphorylation sites to develop a method for prediction of serine phosphorylation (pSer) in Arabidopsis. An analysis of the current annotated Arabidopsis proteome yielded in 27 782 predicted phosphoserine sites distributed across 17 035 proteins. These prediction results are summarized graphically in the database together with the experimental phosphorylation sites in a whole sequence context. The Arabidopsis Protein Phosphorylation Site Database (PhosPhAt) provides a valuable resource to the plant science community and can be accessed through the following link http://phosphat.mpimp-golm.mpg.de
Knowledge of protein localisation contributes towards our understanding of protein function and of biological inter-relationships. A variety of experimental methods are currently being used to produce localisation data that need to be made accessible in an integrated manner. Chimeric fluorescent fusion proteins have been used to define subcellular localisations with at least 1100 related experiments completed in Arabidopsis. More recently, many studies have employed mass spectrometry to undertake proteomic surveys of subcellular components in Arabidopsis yielding localisation information for ∼2600 proteins. Further protein localisation information may be obtained from other literature references to analysis of locations (AmiGO: ∼900 proteins), location information from Swiss-Prot annotations (∼2000 proteins); and location inferred from gene descriptions (∼2700 proteins). Additionally, an increasing volume of available software provides location prediction information for proteins based on amino acid sequence. We have undertaken to bring these various data sources together to build SUBA, a SUBcellular location database for Arabidopsis proteins. The localisation data in SUBA encompasses 10 distinct subcellular locations, >6743 non-redundant proteins and represents the proteins encoded in the transcripts responsible for 51% of Arabidopsis expressed sequence tags. The SUBA database provides a powerful means by which to assess protein subcellular localisation in Arabidopsis ().
Experimental analyses of the proteins found in the mitochondria of yeast, humans and Arabidopsis have confirmed some expectations but given some surprises and some insights into the evolutionary origins of mitochondrial proteins.
Experimental analyses of the proteins found in the mitochondria of yeast, humans and Arabidopsis have confirmed some expectations but given some surprises and some insights into the evolutionary origins of mitochondrial proteins.
Temperature is one of the most significant environmental factors that affects germination of grass seeds. Reliable prediction of the optimal temperature for seed germination is crucial for determining the suitable regions and favorable sowing timing for turf grass cultivation. In this study, a back-propagation-artificial-neural-network-aided dual quintic equation (BP-ANN-QE) model was developed to improve the prediction of the optimal temperature for seed germination. This BP-ANN-QE model was used to determine optimal sowing times and suitable regions for three Cynodon dactylon cultivars (C. dactylon, ‘Savannah’ and ‘Princess VII’). Prediction of the optimal temperature for these seeds was based on comprehensive germination tests using 36 day/night (high/low) temperature regimes (both ranging from 5/5 to 40/40°C with 5°C increments). Seed germination data from these temperature regimes were used to construct temperature-germination correlation models for estimating germination percentage with confidence intervals. Our tests revealed that the optimal high/low temperature regimes required for all the three bermudagrass cultivars are 30/5, 30/10, 35/5, 35/10, 35/15, 35/20, 40/15 and 40/20°C; constant temperatures ranging from 5 to 40°C inhibited the germination of all three cultivars. While comparing different simulating methods, including DQEM, Bisquare ANN-QE, and BP-ANN-QE in establishing temperature based germination percentage rules, we found that the R2 values of germination prediction function could be significantly improved from about 0.6940–0.8177 (DQEM approach) to 0.9439–0.9813 (BP-ANN-QE). These results indicated that our BP-ANN-QE model has better performance than the rests of the compared models. Furthermore, data of the national temperature grids generated from monthly-average temperature for 25 years were fit into these functions and we were able to map the germination percentage of these C. dactylon cultivars in the national scale of China, and suggested the optimum sowing regions and times for them.
Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis (ASP) is a representative filamentous, non-N2-fixing cyanobacterium that has great potential to enhance the food supply and possesses several valuable physiological features. ASP tolerates high and low temperatures along with highly alkaline and salty environments, and can strongly resist oxidation and irradiation. Based on genomic sequencing of ASP, we compared the protein expression profiles of this organism under different temperature conditions (15°C, 35°Cand 45°C) using 2-DE and peptide mass fingerprinting techniques. A total of 122 proteins having a significant differential expression response to temperature were retrieved. Of the positively expressed proteins, the homologies of 116 ASP proteins were found in Arthrospira (81 proteins in Arthrospira platensis str. Paraca and 35 in Arthrospira maxima CS-328). The other 6 proteins have high homology with other microorganisms. We classified the 122 differentially expressed positive proteins into 14 functions using the COG database, and characterized their respective KEGG metabolism pathways. The results demonstrated that these differentially expressed proteins are mainly involved in post-translational modification (protein turnover, chaperones), energy metabolism (photosynthesis, respiratory electron transport), translation (ribosomal structure and biogenesis) and carbohydrate transport and metabolism. Others proteins were related to amino acid transport and metabolism, cell envelope biogenesis, coenzyme metabolism and signal transduction mechanisms. Results implied that these proteins can perform predictable roles in rendering ASP resistance against low and high temperatures. Subsequently, we determined the transcription level of 38 genes in vivo in response to temperature and identified them by qRT-PCR. We found that the 26 differentially expressed proteins, representing 68.4% of the total target genes, maintained consistency between transcription and translation levels. The remaining 12 genes showed inconsistent protein expression with transcription level and accounted for 31.6% of the total target genes.
The formation of many nebkha dunes relies on the layering of clonal plants. The microenvironmental conditions of such phytogenic nebkha are heterogeneous depending on the aspect and slope. Exploring the effects of aspect on clonal reproduction and biomass allocation can be useful in understanding the ecological adaptation of species. We hypothesized that on the windward side layering propagation would be promoted, that biomass allocation to leaves and stems of ramets would increase, and that the effects of aspect would be greater in the layering with larger biomass. To test these hypotheses, we surveyed the depth of germination points of axillary buds, the rate of ramet sprouting, the density of adventitious root formation points, and the biomass of modules sprouting from layering located on the NE, SE, SW and NW, aspects of Nitraria tangutorum nebkhas. The windward side was located on the NW and SW aspects. The results indicated that conditions of the NW aspect were more conducive to clonal reproduction and had the highest rate of ramet sprouting and the highest density of adventitious formation points. For the modules sprouting from layering on the SW aspect, biomass allocation to leaves and stems was greatest with biomass allocation to adventitious roots being lowest. This result supported our hypothesis. Contrary to our hypothesis, the effects of aspect were greater in layering of smaller biomass. These results support the hypothesis that aspect does affect layering propagation capacity and biomass allocation in this species. Additionally, clonal reproduction and biomass allocation of modules sprouting from layering with smaller biomass was more affected by aspect. These results suggest that the clonal growth of N. tangutorum responses to the microenvironmental heterogeneity that results from aspect of the nebkha.
Zoysiagrass, the most cold-tolerant grass among the warm-season turfgrasses, is often used as a model species for isolating cellular components related to cold stress. To understand the proteomic responses to cold stress in zoysiagrass stolons, we extracted stolon proteins from Zoysiajaponica, cv. Meyer (cold-tolerant) and Z. metrella, cv. Diamond (cold-sensitive), which were grown with or without cold treatment. Approximately 700 proteins were resolved on 2-DE gels, and 70 protein spots were differentially accumulated. We further observed that 45 of the identified proteins participate in 10 metabolic pathways and cellular processes. A significantly greater number of proteins accumulated in the Meyer than in the Diamond and 15 increased proteins were detected only in the Meyer cultivar under cold stress. Furthermore, we propose a cold stress-responsive protein network composed of several different functional components that exhibits a balance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and scavenging, accelerated protein biosynthesis and proteolysis, reduced protein folding, enhanced photosynthesis, abundant energy supply and enhanced biosynthesis of carbohydrates and nucleotides. Generally, the cold-tolerant Meyer cultivar showed a greater ROS scavenging ability, more abundant energy supply and increased photosynthesis and protein synthesis than did the cold-sensitive Diamond cultivar, which may partly explain why Meyer is more cold tolerant.
Employing the Nonghua 5 peanut as experimental material, the effects of low energy C+ ion implantation on caulis height, root length, dry weight, photosynthetic characteristics and leaf water use efficiency (WUE) of Peanut Ml Generation were studied. Four fluences were observed in the experiment. The results showed that ion implantation harmed the peanut seeds because caulis height, root length and dry weight all were lower in the treatments than in CK, and the harm was aggravated with the increase of ion fluence. Both Pn and Tr show a saddle-shape curve due to midday depression of photosynthesis. Low fluence of low energy C+ ion implantation could increase the diurnal average Pn of peanut. The diurnal variation of Tr did not change as significantly as Pn. The light saturation point (LSP) was restrained by the ions. After low energy C+ ion implantation, WUE was enhanced. When the fluence increased to a certain level, the WUE began to decrease.
Phenols are present in the environment and commonly in contact with humans and animals because of their wide applications in many industries. In a previous study, we reported that uridine diphosphate-glucose-dependent glucosyltransferase PtUGT72B1 from Populus trichocarpa has high activity in detoxifying trichlorophenol by conjugating glucose. In this study, more experiments were performed to determine the substrate specificity of PtUGT72B1 towards phenolic compounds. Among seven phenols tested, three were glucosylated by PtUGT72B1 including phenol, hydroquinone, and catechol. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing the enzyme PtUGT72B1 showed higher resistance to hydroquinone and catechol but more sensitivity to phenol than wild type plants. Transgenic Pichia pastoris expressing PtUGT72B1 showed enhanced resistance to all three phenols. Compared with wild type Arabidopsis plants, transgenic Arabidopsis plants showed higher removal efficiencies and exported more glucosides of phenol, phenyl β-D-glucopyranoside, to the medium after cultured with the three phenols. Protein extracts from transgenic Arabidopsis plants showed enhanced conjugating activity towards phenol, hydroquinone and catechol. PtUGT72B1 showed much higher expression level in Pichia pastoris than in Arabidopsis plants. Kinetic analysis of the PtUGT72B1 was also performed.
Plant R2R3-MYB transcription factor genes are widely distributed in higher plants and play important roles in the regulation of many secondary metabolites at the transcriptional level. In this study, a chrysanthemum subgroup 4 R2R3-MYB transcription factor gene, designated CmMYB1, was isolated through screening chrysanthemum EST (expressed sequence tag) libraries and using rapid application of cDNA ends (RACE) methods and functionally characterized. CmMYB1 is expressed in the root, stem, leaf and flowers, but most strongly in the stem and most weakly in the root. Its heterologous expression in Arabidopsis thaliana reduced the lignin content and altered the lignin composition. The heterologous expression also repressed the flavonoids content in A. thaliana. Together, these results suggested that CmMYB1 is a negative regulator of genes involved in the lignin pathway and flavonoid pathway, it may be a promising gene for controlling lignin and flavonoids profiles in plants.
Pectin, a major component of the primary cell walls of dicot plants, is synthesized in Golgi, secreted into the wall as methylesters and subsequently de-esterified by pectin methylesterase (PME). Pectin remodelling by PMEs is known to be important in regulating cell expansion in plants, but has been poorly studied in cotton. In this study, genome-wide analysis showed that PMEs are a large multi-gene family (81 genes) in diploid cotton (Gossypium raimondii), an expansion over the 66 in Arabidopsis and suggests the evolution of new functions in cotton. Relatively few PME genes are expressed highly in fibres based on EST abundance and the five most abundant in fibres were cloned and sequenced from two cotton species. Their significant sequence differences and their stage-specific expression in fibres within a species suggest sub-specialisation during fibre development. We determined the transcript abundance of the five fibre PMEs, total PME enzyme activity, pectin content and extent of de-methylesterification of the pectin in fibre walls of the two cotton species over the first 25–30 days of fibre growth. There was a higher transcript abundance of fibre-PMEs and a higher total PME enzyme activity in G. barbadense (Gb) than in G. hirsutum (Gh) fibres, particularly during late fibre elongation. Total pectin was high, but de-esterified pectin was low during fibre elongation (5–12 dpa) in both Gh and Gb. De-esterified pectin levels rose thereafter when total PME activity increased and this occurred earlier in Gb fibres resulting in a lower degree of esterification in Gb fibres between 17 and 22 dpa. Gb fibres are finer and longer than those of Gh, so differences in pectin remodelling during the transition to wall thickening may be an important factor in influencing final fibre diameter and length, two key quality attributes of cotton fibres.
The formation of 4-deoxyaurones, which serve as UV nectar guides in Bidens ferulifolia (Jacq.) DC., was established by combination of UV photography, mass spectrometry, and biochemical assays and the key step in aurone formation was studied. The yellow flowering ornamental plant accumulates deoxy type anthochlor pigments (6′-deoxychalcones and the corresponding 4-deoxyaurones) in the basal part of the flower surface whilst the apex contains only yellow carotenoids. For UV sensitive pollinating insects, this appears as a bicoloured floral pattern which can be visualized in situ by specific ammonia staining of the anthochlor pigments. The petal back side, in contrast, shows a faintly UV absorbing centre and UV absorbing rays along the otherwise UV reflecting petal apex. Matrix-free UV laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometric imaging (LDI-MSI) indicated the presence of 9 anthochlors in the UV absorbing areas. The prevalent pigments were derivatives of okanin and maritimetin. Enzyme preparations from flowers, leaves, stems and roots of B. ferulifolia and from plants, which do not accumulate aurones e.g. Arabidopsis thaliana, were able to convert chalcones to aurones. Thus, aurone formation could be catalyzed by a widespread enzyme and seems to depend mainly on a specific biochemical background, which favours the formation of aurones at the expense of flavonoids. In contrast to 4-hydroxyaurone formation, hydroxylation and oxidative cyclization to the 4-deoxyaurones does not occur in one single step but is catalyzed by two separate enzymes, chalcone 3-hydroxylase and aurone synthase (catechol oxidase reaction). Aurone formation shows an optimum at pH 7.5 or above, which is another striking contrast to 4-hydroxyaurone formation in Antirrhinum majus L. This is the first example of a plant catechol oxidase type enzyme being involved in the flavonoid pathway and in an anabolic reaction in general.
To clarify the molecular mechanisms of silkworm diapause, it is necessary to investigate the molecular basis at protein level. Here, the spectra of peptides digested from silkworm diapause and non-diapause eggs were obtained from liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and were analyzed by bioinformatics methods. A total of 501 and 562 proteins were identified from the diapause and non-diapause eggs respectively, of which 309 proteins were shared commonly. Among these common-expressed proteins, three main storage proteins (vitellogenin precursor, egg-specific protein and low molecular lipoprotein 30 K precursor), nine heat shock proteins (HSP19.9, 20.1, 20.4, 20.8, 21.4, 23.7, 70, 90-kDa heat shock protein and heat shock cognate protein), 37 metabolic enzymes, 22 ribosomal proteins were identified. There were 192 and 253 unique proteins identified in the diapause and non-diapause eggs respectively, of which 24 and 48 had functional annotations, these unique proteins indicated that the metabolism, translation of the mRNA and synthesis of proteins were potentially more highly represented in the non-dipause eggs than that in the diapause eggs. The relative mRNA levels of four identified proteins in the two kinds of eggs were also compared using quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) and showed some inconsistencies with protein expression. GO signatures of 486 out of the 502 and 545 out of the 562 proteins identified in the diapause and non-diapause eggs respectively were available. In addition, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis showed the Metabolism, Translation and Transcription pathway were potentially more active in the non-dipause eggs at this stage.