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author:("Hao, hongyun")
1.  Identification of Drought Tolerant Mechanisms in Maize Seedlings Based on Transcriptome Analysis of Recombination Inbred Lines 
Zea mays is an important crop that is sensitive to drought stress, but survival rates and growth status remain strong in some drought-tolerant lines under stress conditions. Under drought conditions, many biological processes, such as photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism and energy metabolism, are suppressed, while little is known about how the transcripts of genes respond to drought stress in the genome-wide rang in the seedling stage. In our study, the transcriptome profiles of two maize recombination inbred lines (drought-tolerant RIL70 and drought-sensitive RIL93) were analyzed at different drought stages to elucidate the dynamic mechanisms underlying drought tolerance in maize seedlings during drought conditions. Different numbers of differentially expressed genes presented in the different stages of drought stress in the two RILs, for the numbers of RIL93 vs. RIL70 were: 9 vs. 358, 477 vs. 103, and 5207 vs. 152 respectively in DT1, DT2, and DT5. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis revealed that in the initial drought-stressed stage, the primary differentially expressed genes involved in cell wall biosynthesis and transmembrane transport biological processes were overrepresented in RIL70 compared to RIL93. On the contrary, differentially expressed genes profiles presented at 2 and 5 day-treatments, the primary differentially expressed genes involved in response to stress, protein folding, oxidation-reduction, photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism, were overrepresented in RIL93 compared to RIL70. In addition, the transcription of genes encoding key members of the cell cycle and cell division processes were blocked, but ABA- and programmed cell death-related processes responded positively in RIL93. In contrast, the expression of cell cycle genes, ABA- and programmed cell death-related genes was relatively stable in RIL70. The results we obtained supported the working hypothesis that signaling events associated with turgor homeostasis, as established by cell wall biosynthesis regulation- and aquaporin-related genes, responded early in RIL70, which led to more efficient detoxification signaling (response to stress, protein folding, oxidation-reduction) during drought stress. This energy saving response at the early stages of drought should facilitate more cell activity under stress conditions and result in drought tolerance in RIL70.
PMCID: PMC4961006  PMID: 27507977
transcriptomic profile; turgor homeostasis; detoxification signaling; drought stress; Zea mays
2.  Genome-scale identification of cell-wall related genes in Arabidopsis based on co-expression network analysis 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:138.
Identification of the novel genes relevant to plant cell-wall (PCW) synthesis represents a highly important and challenging problem. Although substantial efforts have been invested into studying this problem, the vast majority of the PCW related genes remain unknown.
Here we present a computational study focused on identification of the novel PCW genes in Arabidopsis based on the co-expression analyses of transcriptomic data collected under 351 conditions, using a bi-clustering technique. Our analysis identified 217 highly co-expressed gene clusters (modules) under some experimental conditions, each containing at least one gene annotated as PCW related according to the Purdue Cell Wall Gene Families database. These co-expression modules cover 349 known/annotated PCW genes and 2,438 new candidates. For each candidate gene, we annotated the specific PCW synthesis stages in which it is involved and predicted the detailed function. In addition, for the co-expressed genes in each module, we predicted and analyzed their cis regulatory motifs in the promoters using our motif discovery pipeline, providing strong evidence that the genes in each co-expression module are transcriptionally co-regulated. From the all co-expression modules, we infer that 108 modules are related to four major PCW synthesis components, using three complementary methods.
We believe our approach and data presented here will be useful for further identification and characterization of PCW genes. All the predicted PCW genes, co-expression modules, motifs and their annotations are available at a web-based database:
PMCID: PMC3463447  PMID: 22877077
Plant cell wall; Arabidopsis; Co-expression network analysis; Bi-clustering; Cis regulatory motifs
3.  Molecular Dynamics Analysis Reveals Structural Insights into Mechanism of Nicotine N-Demethylation Catalyzed by Tobacco Cytochrome P450 Mono-Oxygenase 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23342.
CYP82E4, a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, has nicotine N-demethylase (NND) activity, which mediates the bioconversion of nicotine into nornicotine in senescing tobacco leaves. Nornicotine is a precursor of the carcinogen, tobacco-specific nitrosamine. CYP82E3 is an ortholog of CYP82E4 with 95% sequence identity, but it lacks NND activity. A recent site-directed mutagenesis study revealed that a single amino acid substitution, i.e., cysteine to tryptophan at the 330 position in the middle of protein, restores the NND activity of CYP82E3 entirely. However, the same amino acid change caused the loss of the NND activity of CYP82E4. To determine the mechanism of the functional turnover of the two molecules, four 3D structures, i.e., the two molecules and their corresponding cys–trp mutants were modeled. The resulting structures exhibited that the mutation site is far from the active site, which suggests that no direct interaction occurs between the two sites. Simulation studies in different biological scenarios revealed that the mutation introduces a conformation drift with the largest change at the F-G loop. The dynamics trajectories analysis using principal component analysis and covariance analysis suggests that the single amino acid change causes the opening and closing of the transfer channels of the substrates, products, and water by altering the motion of the F-G and B-C loops. The motion of helix I is also correlated with the motion of both the F-G loop and the B-C loop and; the single amino acid mutation resulted in the curvature of helix I. These results suggest that the single amino acid mutation outside the active site region may have indirectly mediated the flexibility of the F-G and B-C loops through helix I, causing a functional turnover of the P450 monooxygenase.
PMCID: PMC3156719  PMID: 21858078
4.  A novel replicating circular DNAzyme 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(8):2336-2341.
10–23 DNAzyme has the potential to suppress gene expressions through sequence-specific mRNA cleavage. However, the dependence on exogenous delivery limits its applications. The objective of this work is to establish a replicating DNAzyme in bacteria using a single-stranded DNA vector. By cloning the 10–23 DNAzyme into the M13mp18 vector, we constructed two circular DNAzymes, C-Dz7 and C-Dz482, targeting the β-lactamase mRNA. These circular DNAzymes showed in vitro catalytic efficiencies (kcat/KM) of 7.82 × 106 and 1.36 × 107 M–1·min–1, respectively. Their dependence on divalent metal ions is similar to that found with linear 10–23 DNAzyme. Importantly, the circular DNAzymes were not only capable of replicating in bacteria but also exhibited high activities in inhibiting β-lactamase and bacterial growth. This study thus provides a novel strategy to produce replicating DNAzymes which may find widespread applications.
PMCID: PMC419442  PMID: 15115797

Results 1-4 (4)