Resistance to pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) is an important objective for the genetic improvement of many cereal crops, including wheat. Resistance, or susceptibility, to PHS is mainly influenced by seed dormancy, a complex trait. Reduced seed dormancy is the most important aspect of seed germination on a spike prior to harvesting, but it is influenced by various environmental factors including light, temperature and abiotic stresses. The basic genetic framework of seed dormancy depends on the antagonistic action of abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellic acid (GA) to promote dormancy and germination. Recent studies have revealed a role for epigenetic changes, predominantly histone modifications, in controlling seed dormancy. To investigate the role of DNA methylation in seed dormancy, we explored the role of ARGONAUTE4_9 class genes in seed development and dormancy in wheat. Our results indicate that the two wheat AGO4_9 class genes i.e. AGO802 and AGO804 map to chromosomes 3S and 1S are preferentially expressed in the embryos of developing seeds. Differential expressions of AGO802-B in the embryos of PHS resistant and susceptible varieties also relates with DNA polymorphism in various wheat varieties due to an insertion of a SINE-like element into this gene. DNA methylation patterns of the embryonic tissue from six PHS resistant and susceptible varieties demonstrate a correlation with this polymorphism. These results suggest a possible role for AGO802-B in seed dormancy and PHS resistance through the modulation of DNA methylation.
WRKY transcription factors are specifically involved in the transcriptional reprogramming following incidence of abiotic or biotic stress on plants. We have previously documented a novel WRKY gene from banana, MusaWRKY71, which was inducible in response to a wide array of abiotic or biotic stress stimuli. The present work details the effects of MusaWRKY71 overexpression in transgenic banana plants. Stable integration and overexpression of MusaWRKY71 in transgenic banana plants was proved by Southern blot analysis and quantitative real time PCR. Transgenic banana plants overexpressing MusaWRKY71 displayed enhanced tolerance towards oxidative and salt stress as indicated by better photosynthesis efficiency (Fv/Fm) and lower membrane damage of the assayed leaves. Further, differential regulation of putative downstream genes of MusaWRKY71 was investigated using real-time RT-PCR expression analysis. Out of a total of 122 genes belonging to WRKY, pathogenesis-related (PR) protein genes, non-expressor of pathogenesis-related genes 1 (NPR1) and chitinase families analyzed, 10 genes (six belonging to WRKY family, three belonging to PR proteins family and one belonging to chitinase family) showed significant differential regulation in MusaWRKY71 overexpressing lines. These results indicate that MusaWRKY71 is an important constituent in the transcriptional reprogramming involved in diverse stress responses in banana.
In the present agricultural scenario, the major thrust is to increase crop productivity so as to ensure sustainability. In an earlier study, foliar application of thiourea (TU; a non physiological thiol based ROS scavenger) has been demonstrated to enhance the stress tolerance and yield of different crops under field condition. Towards this endeavor, present work deals with the effect of TU on photosynthetic efficiency and source-to-sink relationship of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) for understanding its mode of action. The application of TU increased the efficiency of both PSI and PSII photosystems and vegetative growth of plant. The comparative analysis of sucrose to starch ratio and expression level of sugar transporters confirmed the higher source and sink strength in response to TU treatment. The biochemical evidence in support of this was derived from higher activities of sucrose phosphate synthase and fructose-1,6-bis-phosphatase at source; and sucrose synthase and different classes of invertases at both source and sink. This indicated an overall increase in photoassimilate level at sink. An additional contribution through pod photosynthesis was confirmed through the analysis of phosphoenol pyruvate carboxylase enzyme activity and level of organic acids. The increased photoassimilate level was also co-ordinated with acetyl coA carboxylase mediated oil biosynthesis. All these changes were ultimately reflected in the form of 10 and 20% increase in total yield and oil content, respectively under TU treatment as compared to control. Additionally, no change was observed in oil composition of seeds derived from TU treated plants. The study thus signifies the co-ordinated regulation of key steps of photosynthesis and source-to-sink relationship through the external application of TU resulting in increased crop yield and oil content.
Steviol glycoside biosynthesis pathway has emerged as bifurcation from ent-kaurenoic acid, substrate of methyl erythritol phosphate pathway that also leads to gibberellin biosynthesis. However, the genetic regulation of steviol glycoside biosynthesis has not been studied. So, in present study RNA interference (RNAi) based Agrobacterium mediated transient gene silencing (AMTS) approach was followed. SrKA13H and three SrUGTs (SrUGT85C2, SrUGT74G1 and SrUGT76G1) genes encoding ent-kaurenoic acid-13 hydroxylase and three UDP glycosyltransferases of steviol glycoside biosynthesis pathway were silenced in Stevia rebaudiana to understand its molecular mechanism and association with gibberellins.
RNAi mediated AMTS of SrKA13H and three SrUGTs has significantly reduced the expression of targeted endogenous genes as well as total steviol glycoside accumulation. While gibberellins (GA3) content was significantly enhanced on AMTS of SrUGT85C2 and SrKA13H. Silencing of SrKA13H and SrUGT85C2 was found to block the metabolite flux of steviol glycoside pathway and shifted it towards GA3 biosynthesis. Further, molecular docking of three SrUGT proteins has documented highest affinity of SrUGT76G1 for the substrates of alternate pathways synthesizing steviol glycosides. This could be a plausible reason for maximum reduction in steviol glycoside content on silencing of SrUGT76G1 than other genes.
SrKA13H and SrUGT85C2 were identified as regulatory genes influencing carbon flux between steviol glycoside and gibberellin biosynthesis. This study has also documented the existence of alternate steviol glycoside biosynthesis route.
Waterlogging causes extensive damage to maize crops in tropical and subtropical regions. The identification of tolerance genes and their interactions at the molecular level will be helpful to engineer tolerant genotypes. A whole-genome transcriptome assay revealed the specific role of genes in response to waterlogging stress in susceptible and tolerant genotypes. Genes involved in the synthesis of ethylene and auxin, cell wall metabolism, activation of G-proteins and formation of aerenchyma and adventitious roots, were upregulated in the tolerant genotype. Many transcription factors, particularly ERFs, MYB, HSPs, MAPK, and LOB-domain protein were involved in regulation of these traits. Genes responsible for scavenging of ROS generated under stress were expressed along with those involved in carbohydrate metabolism. The physical locations of 21 genes expressed in the tolerant genotype were found to correspond with the marker intervals of known QTLs responsible for development of adaptive traits. Among the candidate genes, most showed synteny with genes of sorghum and foxtail millet. Co-expression analysis of 528 microarray samples including 16 samples from the present study generated seven functional modules each in the two genotypes, with differing characteristics. In the tolerant genotype, stress genes were co-expressed along with peroxidase and fermentation pathway genes.
The resistance to abiotic stress is increasingly recognised as being impacted by maternal effects, given that environmental conditions experienced by parent (mother) trees affect stress tolerance in offspring. We hypothesised that abiotic environmental maternal effects may also mediate the resistance of trees to biotic stress. The influence of maternal environment and maternal genotype and the interaction of these two factors on early resistance of Pinus pinaster half-sibs to the Fusarium circinatum pathogen was studied using 10 mother genotypes clonally replicated in two contrasting environments. Necrosis length of infected seedlings was 16% shorter in seedlings grown from favourable maternal environment seeds than in seedlings grown from unfavourable maternal environment seeds. Damage caused by F. circinatum was mediated by maternal environment and maternal genotype, but not by seed mass. Mechanisms unrelated to seed provisioning, perhaps of epigenetic nature, were probably involved in the transgenerational plasticity of P. pinaster, mediating its resistance to biotic stress. Our findings suggest that the transgenerational resistance of pines due to an abiotic stress may interact with the defensive response of pines to a biotic stress.
Hsp70 chaperones are involved in multiple biological processes and are recruited to specific processes by designated J domain-containing cochaperones, or J proteins. To understand the evolution and functions of chloroplast Hsp70s and J proteins, we identified the Arabidopsis chloroplast J protein constituency using a combination of genomic and proteomic database searches and individual protein import assays. We show that Arabidopsis chloroplasts have at least 19 J proteins, the highest number of confirmed J proteins for any organelle. These 19 J proteins are classified into 11 clades, for which cyanobacteria and glaucophytes only have homologs for one clade, green algae have an additional three clades, and all the other 7 clades are specific to land plants. Each clade also possesses a clade-specific novel motif that is likely used to interact with different client proteins. Gene expression analyses indicate that most land plant-specific J proteins show highly variable expression in different tissues and are down regulated by low temperatures. These results show that duplication of chloroplast Hsp70 in land plants is accompanied by more than doubling of the number of its J protein cochaperones through adding new J proteins with novel motifs, not through duplications within existing families. These new J proteins likely recruit chloroplast Hsp70 to perform tissue specific functions related to biosynthesis rather than to stress resistance.
Stomatal movement plays a key role in plant development and response to drought and salt stress by regulating gas exchange and water loss. A number of genes have been demonstrated to be involved in the regulation of this process. Using inverse genetics approach, we characterized the function of a rice (Oryza sativa L.) vacuolar H+-ATPase subunit A (OsVHA-A) gene in stomatal conductance regulation and physiological response to salt and osmotic stress. OsVHA-A was constitutively expressed in different rice tissues, and the fusion protein of GFP-OsVHA-A was exclusively targeted to tonoplast when transiently expressed in the onion epidermal cells. Heterologous expression of OsVHA-A was able to rescue the yeast mutant vma1Δ (lacking subunit A activity) phenotype, suggesting that it partially restores the activity of V-ATPase. Meanwhile, RNAi-directed knockdown of OsVHA-A led to a reduction of vacuolar H+-ATPase activity and an enhancement of plasma membrane H+-ATPase activity, thereby increasing the concentrations of extracellular H+ and intracellular K+ and Na+ under stress conditions. Knockdown of OsVHA-A also resulted in the upregulation of PAM3 (plasma membrane H+-ATPase 3) and downregulation of CAM1 (calmodulin 1), CAM3 (calmodulin 3) and YDA1 (YODA, a MAPKK gene). Altered level of the ion concentration and the gene expression by knockdown of OsVHA-A probably resulted in expanded aperture of stomatal pores and increased stomatal density. In addition, OsVHA-A RNAi plants displayed significant growth inhibition under salt and osmotic stress conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that OsVHA-A takes part in regulating stomatal density and opening via interfering with pH value and ionic equilibrium in guard cells and thereby affects the growth of rice plants.
Drought resistance and recovery ability are two important requisites for plant adaptation to drought environments. Proline (Pro) metabolism has been a major concern in plant drought tolerance. However, roles of Pro metabolism in plant recovery ability from severe drought stress are largely unexplored. Periploca sepium Bunge has gained increasing attention for its adaptation to dry environments. Here, we investigated Pro metabolism in different tissues of P. sepium seedlings in the course of drought stress and recovery. We found that leaf Pro metabolism response during post-drought recovery was dependant on drought severity. Pro biosynthesis was down-regulated during recovery from -0.4 MPa but increased continually and notably during recovery from -1.0 MPa. Significant correlation between Pro concentration and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase activity indicates that Glutamate pathway is the predominant synthesis route during both drought and re-watering periods. Ornithine δ-aminotransferase activity was up-regulated significantly only during recovery from −1.0 MPa, suggesting positive contribution of ornithine pathway to improving plant recovery capacity from severe drought. In addition to up-regulation of biosynthesis, Pro transport from stems and roots also contributed to high Pro accumulation in leaves and new buds during recovery from −1.0 MPa, as indicated by the combined analysis of Pro concentration and its biosynthesis in stems, roots and new buds. Except its known roles as energy, carbon and nitrogen sources for plant rapid recovery, significant positive correlation between Pro concentration and total antioxidant activity indicates that Pro accumulation can also promote plant damage repair ability by up-regulating antioxidant activity during recovery from severe drought stress.
Lead (Pb), one of the most toxic heavy metals, can be absorbed and accumulated by plant roots and then enter the food chain resulting in potential health risks for human beings. The radish (Raphanus sativus L.) is an important root vegetable crop with fleshy taproots as the edible parts. Little is known about the mechanism by which radishes respond to Pb stress at the molecular level. In this study, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)–based RNA-seq technology was employed to characterize the de novo transcriptome of radish roots and identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) during Pb stress. A total of 68,940 assembled unique transcripts including 33,337 unigenes were obtained from radish root cDNA samples. Based on the assembled de novo transcriptome, 4,614 DEGs were detected between the two libraries of untreated (CK) and Pb-treated (Pb1000) roots. Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway enrichment analysis revealed that upregulated DEGs under Pb stress are predominately involved in defense responses in cell walls and glutathione metabolism-related processes, while downregulated DEGs were mainly involved in carbohydrate metabolism-related pathways. The expression patterns of 22 selected genes were validated by quantitative real-time PCR, and the results were highly accordant with the Solexa analysis. Furthermore, many candidate genes, which were involved in defense and detoxification mechanisms including signaling protein kinases, transcription factors, metal transporters and chelate compound biosynthesis related enzymes, were successfully identified in response to heavy metal Pb. Identification of potential DEGs involved in responses to Pb stress significantly reflected alterations in major biological processes and metabolic pathways. The molecular basis of the response to Pb stress in radishes was comprehensively characterized. Useful information and new insights were provided for investigating the molecular regulation mechanism of heavy metal Pb accumulation and tolerance in root vegetable crops.
DNA methylation is an important regulatory mechanism for gene expression that involved in the biological processes of development and differentiation in plants. To investigate the association of DNA methylation with heterosis in Brassica, a set of intraspecific hybrids in Brassica rapa and B. napus and interspecific hybrids between B. rapa and B. napus, together with parental lines, were used to monitor alterations in cytosine methylation at 5′-CCGG sites in seedlings and buds by methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism analysis. The methylation status of approximately a quarter of the methylation sites changed between seedlings and buds. These alterations were related closely to the genomic structure and heterozygous status among accessions. The methylation status in the majority of DNA methylation sites detected in hybrids was the same as that in at least one of the parental lines in both seedlings and buds. However, the association between patterns of cytosine methylation and heterosis varied among different traits and between tissues in hybrids of Brassica, although a few methylation loci were associated with heterosis. Our data suggest that changes in DNA methylation at 5′-CCGG sites are not associated simply with heterosis in the interspecific and intraspecific hybridizations derived from B. rapa and B. napus.
The ubiquitin conjugating enzyme E2 (UBC E2) mediates selective ubiquitination, acting with E1 and E3 enzymes to designate specific proteins for subsequent degradation. In the present study, we characterized the function of the mung bean VrUBC1 gene (Vigna radiata UBC 1). RNA gel-blot analysis showed that VrUBC1 mRNA expression was induced by either dehydration, high salinity or by the exogenous abscisic acid (ABA), but not by low temperature or wounding. Biochemical studies of VrUBC1 recombinant protein and complementation of yeast ubc4/5 by VrUBC1 revealed that VrUBC1 encodes a functional UBC E2. To understand the function of this gene in development and plant responses to osmotic stresses, we overexpressed VrUBC1 in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The VrUBC1-overexpressing plants displayed highly sensitive responses to ABA and osmotic stress during germination, enhanced ABA- or salt-induced stomatal closing, and increased drought stress tolerance. The expression levels of a number of key ABA signaling genes were increased in VrUBC1-overexpressing plants compared to the wild-type plants. Yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation demonstrated that VrUBC1 interacts with AtVBP1 (A. thaliana
VrUBC1 Binding Partner 1), a C3HC4-type RING E3 ligase. Overall, these results demonstrate that VrUBC1 plays a positive role in osmotic stress tolerance through transcriptional regulation of ABA-related genes and possibly through interaction with a novel RING E3 ligase.
RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) function in anti-viral silencing in Arabidopsis thaliana and other plants. Salicylic acid (SA), an important defensive signal, increases RDR1 gene expression, suggesting that RDR1 contributes to SA-induced virus resistance. In Nicotiana attenuata RDR1 also regulates plant-insect interactions and is induced by another important signal, jasmonic acid (JA). Despite its importance in defense RDR1 regulation has not been investigated in detail.
In Arabidopsis, SA-induced RDR1 expression was dependent on ‘NON-EXPRESSER OF PATHOGENESIS-RELATED GENES 1’, indicating regulation involves the same mechanism controlling many other SA- defense-related genes, including pathogenesis-related 1 (PR1). Isochorismate synthase 1 (ICS1) is required for SA biosynthesis. In defensive signal transduction RDR1 lies downstream of ICS1. However, supplying exogenous SA to ics1-mutant plants did not induce RDR1 or PR1 expression to the same extent as seen in wild type plants. Analysing ICS1 gene expression using transgenic plants expressing ICS1 promoter:reporter gene (β-glucuronidase) constructs and by measuring steady-state ICS1 transcript levels showed that SA positively regulates ICS1. In contrast, ICS2, which is expressed at lower levels than ICS1, is unaffected by SA. The wound-response hormone JA affects expression of Arabidopsis RDR1 but jasmonate-induced expression is independent of CORONATINE-INSENSITIVE 1, which conditions expression of many other JA-responsive genes. Transiently increased RDR1 expression following tobacco mosaic virus inoculation was due to wounding and was not a direct effect of infection. RDR1 gene expression was induced by ethylene and by abscisic acid (an important regulator of drought resistance). However, rdr1-mutant plants showed normal responses to drought.
RDR1 is regulated by a much broader range of phytohormones than previously thought, indicating that it plays roles beyond those already suggested in virus resistance and plant-insect interactions. SA positively regulates ICS1.
Violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE) plays an important role in protecting the photosynthetic apparatus from photo-damage by dissipating excessively absorbed light energy as heat, via the conversion of violaxanthin (V) to intermediate product antheraxanthin (A) and final product zeaxanthin (Z) under high light stress. We have cloned a violaxanthin de-epoxidase gene (CsVDE) from cucumber. The amino acid sequence of CsVDE has high homology with VDEs in other plants. RT-PCR analysis and histochemical staining show that CsVDE is expressed in all green tissues in cucumber and Arabidopsis. Using GFP fusion protein and immunogold labeling methods, we show that CsVDE is mainly localized in chloroplasts in cucumber. Under high light stress, relative expression of CsVDE and the de-epoxidation ratio (A+Z)/(V+A+Z) is increased rapidly, and abundance of the gold particles was also increased. Furthermore, CsVDE is quickly induced by cold and drought stress, reaching maximum levels at the 2nd hour and the 9th day, respectively. The ratio of (A+Z)/(V+A+Z) and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is reduced in transgenic Arabidopsis down-regulated by the antisense fragment of CsVDE, compared to wild type (WT) Arabidopsis under high light stress. This indicates decreased functionality of the xanthophyll cycle and increased sensitivity to photoinhibition of photosystem II (PSII) in transgenic Arabidopsis under high light stress.
It is thought that methylcytosine can be inherited through meiosis and mitosis, and that epigenetic variation may be under genetic control or correlation may be caused by neutral drift. However, DNA methylation also varies with tissue, developmental stage, and environmental factors. Eliminating these factors, we analyzed the levels and patterns, diversity and structure of genomic methylcytosine in the xylem of nine natural populations of Chinese white poplar.
On average, the relative total methylation and non-methylation levels were approximately 26.567% and 42.708% (P<0.001), respectively. Also, the relative CNG methylation level was higher than the relative CG methylation level. The relative methylation/non-methylation levels were significantly different among the nine natural populations. Epigenetic diversity ranged from 0.811 (Gansu) to 1.211 (Shaanxi), and the coefficients of epigenetic differentiation (GST = 0.159) were assessed by Shannon’s diversity index. Co-inertia analysis indicated that methylation-sensitive polymorphism (MSP) and genomic methylation pattern (CG-CNG) profiles gave similar distributions. Using a between-group eigen analysis, we found that the Hebei and Shanxi populations were independent of each other, but the Henan population intersected with the other populations, to some degree.
Genome methylation in Populus tomentosa presented tissue-specific characteristics and the relative 5′-CCGG methylation level was higher in xylem than in leaves. Meanwhile, the genome methylation in the xylem shows great epigenetic variation and could be fixed and inherited though mitosis. Compared to genetic structure, data suggest that epigenetic and genetic variation do not completely match.
Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus [Linn.] Sweet) possesses excellent characteristics for field production, but the response of this plant to drought stress has not been described at the molecular level. Suppression subtraction hybridization (SSH) is an effective way to exploit key factors for plant responses to drought stress that are involved in transcriptional and metabolic activities. In this study, forward and reverse SSH libraries were generated from root tissues of the drought-tolerant hyacinth bean genotype MEIDOU 2012 under water–stress conditions. A total of 1,287 unigenes (94 contigs and 1,193 singletons) were derived from sequence alignment and cluster assembly of 1400 ESTs, and 80.6% of those hit against NCBI non-redundant (nr) database with E value <1E−06. BLASTX analysis revealed that the majority top matches were proteins form Glycine max (L.) Merrill. (61.5%). According to a gene ontology (GO) functional classification, 816 functionally annotated unigenes were assigned to the biological process category (74.1%), and 83.9% of them classified into molecular function and 69.2% involved in cellular component. A total of 168 sequences were further annotated with 207 Enzyme Commission (EC) codes and mapped to 83 different KEGG pathways. Seventeen functionally relevant genes were found to be overrepresented under drought stress using enrichment analysis. Differential expression of unigenes were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR assays, and their transcript profiles generally divided into three patterns, depending on the expression peaked levels after 6, 8 or 10 days dehydration, which indicated that these genes are functionally associated in the drought-stress response.
The Arabidopsis kinase OPEN STOMATA 1 (OST1) plays a key role in regulating drought stress signalling, particularly stomatal closure. We have identified and investigated the functions of the OST1 ortholog in Z. mays (ZmOST1). Ectopic expression of ZmOST1 in the Arabidopsis ost1 mutant restores the stomatal closure phenotype in response to drought. Furthermore, we have identified the transcription factor, ZmSNAC1, which is directly phosphorylated by ZmOST1 with implications on its localization and protein stability. Interestingly, ZmSNAC1 binds to the ABA-box of ZmOST1, which is conserved in SnRK2s activated by ABA and is part of the contact site for the negative-regulating clade A PP2C phosphatases. Taken together, our results indicate that ZmSNAC1 is a substrate of ZmOST1 and delineate a novel osmotic stress transcriptional pathway in maize.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are highly conserved signal transduction model in animals, yeast and plants. Plant MAPK cascades have been implicated in development and stress responses. Although MAPKKKs have been investigated in several plant species including Arabidopsis and rice, no systematic analysis has been conducted in maize. In this study, we performed a bioinformatics analysis of the entire maize genome and identified 74 MAPKKK genes. Phylogenetic analyses of MAPKKKs from maize, rice and Arabidopsis have classified them into three subgroups, which included Raf, ZIK and MEKK. Evolutionary relationships within subfamilies were also supported by exon-intron organizations and the conserved protein motifs. Further expression analysis of the MAPKKKs in microarray databases revealed that MAPKKKs were involved in important signaling pathways in maize different organs and developmental stages. Our genomics analysis of maize MAPKKK genes provides important information for evolutionary and functional characterization of this family in maize.
Salvia miltiorrhiza is an important medicinal plant with great economic and medicinal value. The complete chloroplast (cp) genome sequence of Salvia miltiorrhiza, the first sequenced member of the Lamiaceae family, is reported here. The genome is 151,328 bp in length and exhibits a typical quadripartite structure of the large (LSC, 82,695 bp) and small (SSC, 17,555 bp) single-copy regions, separated by a pair of inverted repeats (IRs, 25,539 bp). It contains 114 unique genes, including 80 protein-coding genes, 30 tRNAs and four rRNAs. The genome structure, gene order, GC content and codon usage are similar to the typical angiosperm cp genomes. Four forward, three inverted and seven tandem repeats were detected in the Salvia miltiorrhiza cp genome. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) analysis among the 30 asterid cp genomes revealed that most SSRs are AT-rich, which contribute to the overall AT richness of these cp genomes. Additionally, fewer SSRs are distributed in the protein-coding sequences compared to the non-coding regions, indicating an uneven distribution of SSRs within the cp genomes. Entire cp genome comparison of Salvia miltiorrhiza and three other Lamiales cp genomes showed a high degree of sequence similarity and a relatively high divergence of intergenic spacers. Sequence divergence analysis discovered the ten most divergent and ten most conserved genes as well as their length variation, which will be helpful for phylogenetic studies in asterids. Our analysis also supports that both regional and functional constraints affect gene sequence evolution. Further, phylogenetic analysis demonstrated a sister relationship between Salvia miltiorrhiza and Sesamum indicum. The complete cp genome sequence of Salvia miltiorrhiza reported in this paper will facilitate population, phylogenetic and cp genetic engineering studies of this medicinal plant.
Rhizoctonia solani is an important soil-borne necrotrophic fungal pathogen, with a broad host range and little effective resistance in crop plants. Arabidopsis is resistant to R. solani AG8 but susceptible to R. solani AG2-1. A screen of 36 Arabidopsis ecotypes and mutants affected in the auxin, camalexin, salicylic acid, abscisic acid and ethylene/jasmonic acid pathways did not reveal any variation in response to R. solani and demonstrated that resistance to AG8 was independent of these defense pathways. The Arabidopsis Affymetrix ATH1 Genome array was used to assess global gene expression changes in plants infected with AG8 and AG2-1 at seven days post-infection. While there was considerable overlap in the response, some gene families were differentially affected by AG8 or AG2-1 and included those involved in oxidative stress, cell wall associated proteins, transcription factors and heat shock protein genes. Since a substantial proportion of the gene expression changes were associated with oxidative stress responses, we analysed the role of NADPH oxidases in resistance. While single NADPH oxidase mutants had no effect, a NADPH oxidase double mutant atrbohf atrbohd resulted in an almost complete loss of resistance to AG8, suggesting that reactive oxidative species play an important role in Arabidopsis's resistance to R. solani.
Human activity has a profound effect on the global environment and caused frequent occurrence of climatic fluctuations. To survive, plants need to adapt to the changing environmental conditions through altering their morphological and physiological traits. One known mechanism for phenotypic innovation to be achieved is environment-induced rapid yet inheritable epigenetic changes. Therefore, the use of molecular techniques to address the epigenetic mechanisms underpinning stress adaptation in plants is an important and challenging topic in biological research. In this study, we investigated the impact of warming, nitrogen (N) addition, and warming+nitrogen (N) addition stresses on the cytosine methylation status of Leymus chinensis Tzvel. at the population level by using the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (MSAP) and retrotransposon based sequence-specific amplification polymorphism (SSAP) techniques.
Our results showed that, although the percentages of cytosine methylation changes in SSAP are significantly higher than those in MSAP, all the treatment groups showed similar alteration patterns of hypermethylation and hypomethylation. It meant that the abiotic stresses have induced the alterations in cytosine methylation patterns, and the levels of cytosine methylation changes around the transposable element are higher than the other genomic regions. In addition, the identification and analysis of differentially methylated loci (DML) indicated that the abiotic stresses have also caused targeted methylation changes at specific loci and these DML might have contributed to the capability of plants in adaptation to the abiotic stresses.
Our results demonstrated that abiotic stresses related to global warming and nitrogen deposition readily evoke alterations of cytosine methylation, and which may provide a molecular basis for rapid adaptation by the affected plant populations to the changed environments.
The Arabidopsis thaliana genome contains 20 CNGCs, which are proposed to encode cyclic nucleotide gated, non-selective, Ca2+-permeable ion channels. CNGC7 and CNGC8 are the two most similar with 74% protein sequence identity, and both genes are preferentially expressed in pollen. Two independent loss-of-function T-DNA insertions were identified for both genes and used to generate plant lines in which only one of the two alleles was segregating (e.g., cngc7-1+/−/cngc8-2−/− and cngc7-3−/−/cngc8-1+/−). While normal pollen transmission was observed for single gene mutations, pollen harboring mutations in both cngc7 and 8 were found to be male sterile (transmission efficiency reduced by more than 3000-fold). Pollen grains harboring T-DNA disruptions of both cngc7 and 8 displayed a high frequency of bursting when germinated in vitro. The male sterile defect could be rescued through pollen expression of a CNGC7 or 8 transgene including a CNGC7 with an N-terminal GFP-tag. However, rescue efficiencies were reduced ∼10-fold when the CNGC7 or 8 included an F to W substitution (F589W and F624W, respectively) at the junction between the putative cyclic nucleotide binding-site and the calmodulin binding-site, identifying this junction as important for proper functioning of a plant CNGC. Using confocal microscopy, GFP-CNGC7 was found to preferentially localize to the plasma membrane at the flanks of the growing tip. Together these results indicate that CNGC7 and 8 are at least partially redundant and provide an essential function at the initiation of pollen tube tip growth.
Composts are the products obtained after the aerobic degradation of different types of organic matter waste and can be used as substrates or substrate/soil amendments for plant cultivation. There is a small but increasing number of reports that suggest that foliar diseases may be reduced when using compost, rather than standard substrates, as growing medium. The purpose of this study was to examine the gene expression alteration produced by the compost to gain knowledge of the mechanisms involved in compost-induced systemic resistance. A compost from olive marc and olive tree leaves was able to induce resistance against Botrytis cinerea in Arabidopsis, unlike the standard substrate, perlite. Microarray analyses revealed that 178 genes were differently expressed, with a fold change cut-off of 1, of which 155 were up-regulated and 23 were down-regulated in compost-grown, as against perlite-grown plants. A functional enrichment study of up-regulated genes revealed that 38 Gene Ontology terms were significantly enriched. Response to stress, biotic stimulus, other organism, bacterium, fungus, chemical and abiotic stimulus, SA and ABA stimulus, oxidative stress, water, temperature and cold were significantly enriched, as were immune and defense responses, systemic acquired resistance, secondary metabolic process and oxireductase activity. Interestingly, PR1 expression, which was equally enhanced by growing the plants in compost and by B. cinerea inoculation, was further boosted in compost-grown pathogen-inoculated plants. Compost triggered a plant response that shares similarities with both systemic acquired resistance and ABA-dependent/independent abiotic stress responses.
Plant roots constantly secrete compounds into the soil to interact with neighboring organisms presumably to gain certain functional advantages at different stages of development. Accordingly, it has been hypothesized that the phytochemical composition present in the root exudates changes over the course of the lifespan of a plant. Here, root exudates of in vitro grown Arabidopsis plants were collected at different developmental stages and analyzed using GC-MS. Principle component analysis revealed that the composition of root exudates varied at each developmental stage. Cumulative secretion levels of sugars and sugar alcohols were higher in early time points and decreased through development. In contrast, the cumulative secretion levels of amino acids and phenolics increased over time. The expression in roots of genes involved in biosynthesis and transportation of compounds represented in the root exudates were consistent with patterns of root exudation. Correlation analyses were performed of the in vitro root exudation patterns with the functional capacity of the rhizosphere microbiome to metabolize these compounds at different developmental stages of Arabidopsis grown in natural soils. Pyrosequencing of rhizosphere mRNA revealed strong correlations (p<0.05) between microbial functional genes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and secondary metabolites with the corresponding compounds released by the roots at particular stages of plant development. In summary, our results suggest that the root exudation process of phytochemicals follows a developmental pattern that is genetically programmed.
Clubroot disease, caused by the obligate biotrophic protist Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, is one of the most economically important diseases of Brassica crops in the world. Although many clubroot resistance (CR) loci have been identified through genetic analysis and QTL mapping, the molecular mechanisms of defense responses against P. brassicae remain unknown. Fine mapping of the Crr1 locus, which was originally identified as a single locus, revealed that it comprises two gene loci, Crr1a and Crr1b. Here we report the map-based cloning and characterization of Crr1a, which confers resistance to clubroot in Brassica rapa. Crr1aG004, cloned from the resistant line G004, encodes a Toll-Interleukin-1 receptor/nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NB-LRR) protein expressed in the stele and cortex of hypocotyl and roots, where secondary infection of the pathogen occurs, but not in root hairs, where primary infection occurs. Gain-of-function analysis proved that Crr1aG004 alone conferred resistance to isolate Ano-01 in susceptible Arabidopsis and B. rapa. In comparison, the susceptible allele Crr1aA9709 encodes a truncated NB-LRR protein, which lacked more than half of the TIR domain on account of the insertion of a solo-long terminal repeat (LTR) in exon 1 and included several substitutions and insertion-deletions in the LRR domain. This study provides a basis for further molecular analysis of defense mechanisms against P. brassicae and will contribute to the breeding of resistant cultivars of Brassica vegetables by marker-assisted selection.
Data deposition The sequence reported in this paper has been deposited in the GenBank database (accession no. AB605024).