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1.  Expression of an osmotin-like protein from Solanum nigrum confers drought tolerance in transgenic soybean 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):343.
Background
Drought is by far the most important environmental factor contributing to yield losses in crops, including soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. To address this problem, a gene that encodes an osmotin-like protein isolated from Solanum nigrum var. americanum (SnOLP) driven by the UBQ3 promoter from Arabidopsis thaliana was transferred into the soybean genome by particle bombardment.
Results
Two independently transformed soybean lines expressing SnOLP were produced. Segregation analyses indicated single-locus insertions for both lines. qPCR analysis suggested a single insertion of SnOLP in the genomes of both transgenic lines, but one copy of the hpt gene was inserted in the first line and two in the second line. Transgenic plants exhibited no remarkable phenotypic alterations in the seven analyzed generations. When subjected to water deficit, transgenic plants performed better than the control ones. Leaf physiological measurements revealed that transgenic soybean plants maintained higher leaf water potential at predawn, higher net CO2 assimilation rate, higher stomatal conductance and higher transpiration rate than non-transgenic plants. Grain production and 100-grain weight were affected by water supply. Decrease in grain productivity and 100-grain weight were observed for both transgenic and non-transgenic plants under water deficit; however, it was more pronounced for non-transgenic plants. Moreover, transgenic lines showed significantly higher 100-grain weight than non-transgenic plants under water shortage.
Conclusions
This is the first report showing that expression of SnOLP in transgenic soybeans improved physiological responses and yield components of plants when subjected to water deficit, highlighting the potential of this gene for biotechnological applications.
doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0343-y
PMCID: PMC4268879  PMID: 25492565
Abiotic stress; Bombardment; Drought tolerance; Genetic transformation; Glycine max; Osmotin; Water deficit
2.  Evaluation of Cytotoxic and Antimicrobial Effects of Two Bt Cry Proteins on a GMO Safety Perspective 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:810490.
Studies have contested the innocuousness of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry proteins to mammalian cells as well as to mammals microbiota. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the cytotoxic and antimicrobial effects of two Cry proteins, Cry8Ka5 (a novel mutant protein) and Cry1Ac (a widely distributed protein in GM crops). Evaluation of cyto- and genotoxicity in human lymphocytes was performed as well as hemolytic activity coupled with cellular membrane topography analysis in mammal erythrocytes. Effects of Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac upon Artemia sp. nauplii and upon bacteria and yeast growth were assessed. The toxins caused no significant effects on the viability (IC50 > 1,000 µg/mL) or to the cellular DNA integrity of lymphocytes (no effects at 1,000 µg/mL). The Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac proteins did not cause severe damage to erythrocytes, neither with hemolysis (IC50 > 1,000 µg/mL) nor with alterations in the membrane. Likewise, the Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac proteins presented high LC50 (755.11 and >1,000 µg/mL, resp.) on the brine shrimp lethality assay and showed no growth inhibition of the microorganisms tested (MIC > 1,000 µg/mL). This study contributed with valuable information on the effects of Cry8Ka5 and Cry1Ac proteins on nontarget organisms, which reinforce their potential for safe biotechnological applications.
doi:10.1155/2014/810490
PMCID: PMC4140143  PMID: 25165717
3.  Transcription profile of soybean-root-knot nematode interaction reveals a key role of phythormones in the resistance reaction 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:322.
Background
Root-knot nematodes (RKN– Meloidogyne genus) present extensive challenges to soybean crop. The soybean line (PI 595099) is known to be resistant against specific strains and races of nematode species, thus its differential gene expression analysis can lead to a comprehensive gene expression profiling in the incompatible soybean-RKN interaction. Even though many disease resistance genes have been studied, little has been reported about phytohormone crosstalk on modulation of ROS signaling during soybean-RKN interaction.
Results
Using 454 technology to explore the common aspects of resistance reaction during both parasitism and resistance phases it was verified that hormone, carbohydrate metabolism and stress related genes were consistently expressed at high levels in infected roots as compared to mock control. Most noteworthy genes include those encoding glycosyltransferases, peroxidases, auxin-responsive proteins and gibberellin-regulated genes. Our data analysis suggests the key role of glycosyltransferases, auxins and components of gibberellin signal transduction, biosynthesis and deactivation pathways in the resistance reaction and their participation in jasmonate signaling and redox homeostasis in mediating aspects of plant growth and responses to biotic stress.
Conclusions
Based on this study we suggest a reasonable model regarding to the complex mechanisms of crosstalk between plant hormones, mainly gibberellins and auxins, which can be crucial to modulate the levels of ROS in the resistance reaction to nematode invasion. The model also includes recent findings concerning to the participation of DELLA-like proteins and ROS signaling controlling plant immune or stress responses. Furthermore, this study provides a dataset of potential candidate genes involved in both nematode parasitism and resistance, which can be tested further for their role in this biological process using functional genomics approaches.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-322
PMCID: PMC3701510  PMID: 23663436
Root–knot nematode; Glycine max; Transcriptome; Pyrosequencing; Plant–pathogen interaction; Hormone
4.  Transcriptome analysis of resistant soybean roots infected by Meloidogyne javanica 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2012;35(1 Suppl):272-282.
Soybean is an important crop for Brazilian agribusiness. However, many factors can limit its production, especially root-knot nematode infection. Studies on the mechanisms employed by the resistant soybean genotypes to prevent infection by these nematodes are of great interest for breeders. For these reasons, the aim of this work is to characterize the transcriptome of soybean line PI 595099-Meloidogyne javanica interaction through expression analysis. Two cDNA libraries were obtained using a pool of RNA from PI 595099 uninfected and M. javanica (J2) infected roots, collected at 6, 12, 24, 48, 96, 144 and 192 h after inoculation. Around 800 ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags) were sequenced and clustered into 195 clusters. In silico subtraction analysis identified eleven differentially expressed genes encoding putative proteins sharing amino acid sequence similarities by using BlastX: metallothionein, SLAH4 (SLAC1 Homologue 4), SLAH1 (SLAC1 Homologue 1), zinc-finger proteins, AN1-type proteins, auxin-repressed proteins, thioredoxin and nuclear transport factor 2 (NTF-2). Other genes were also found exclusively in nematode stressed soybean roots, such as NAC domain-containing proteins, MADS-box proteins, SOC1 (suppressor of overexpression of constans 1) proteins, thioredoxin-like protein 4-Coumarate-CoA ligase and the transcription factor (TF) MYBZ2. Among the genes identified in non-stressed roots only were Ser/Thr protein kinases, wound-induced basic protein, ethylene-responsive family protein, metallothionein-like protein cysteine proteinase inhibitor (cystatin) and Putative Kunitz trypsin protease inhibitor. An understanding of the roles of these differentially expressed genes will provide insights into the resistance mechanisms and candidate genes involved in soybean-M. javanica interaction and contribute to more effective control of this pathogen.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572012000200008
PMCID: PMC3392879  PMID: 22802712
gene expression; root knot nematode; transcriptome
5.  Improving Cry8Ka toxin activity towards the cotton boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:85.
Background
The cotton boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is a serious insect-pest in the Americas, particularly in Brazil. The use of chemical or biological insect control is not effective against the cotton boll weevil because of its endophytic life style. Therefore, the use of biotechnological tools to produce insect-resistant transgenic plants represents an important strategy to reduce the damage to cotton plants caused by the boll weevil. The present study focuses on the identification of novel molecules that show improved toxicity against the cotton boll weevil. In vitro directed molecular evolution through DNA shuffling and phage display screening was applied to enhance the insecticidal activity of variants of the Cry8Ka1 protein of Bacillus thuringiensis.
Results
Bioassays carried out with A. grandis larvae revealed that the LC50 of the screened mutant Cry8Ka5 toxin was 3.15-fold higher than the wild-type Cry8Ka1 toxin. Homology modelling of Cry8Ka1 and the Cry8Ka5 mutant suggested that both proteins retained the typical three-domain Cry family structure. The mutated residues were located mostly in loops and appeared unlikely to interfere with molecular stability.
Conclusions
The improved toxicity of the Cry8Ka5 mutant obtained in this study will allow the generation of a transgenic cotton event with improved potential to control A. grandis.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-11-85
PMCID: PMC3179717  PMID: 21906288
Anthonomus grandis; Bacillus thuringiensis; Cotton; DNA shuffling; Phage display; Molecular modeling

Results 1-5 (5)