Maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids varying in drought tolerance were treated with water stress in controlled environments. Experiments were performed during vegetative growth and water was withheld for 19 days beginning 17 days after sowing. Genotypic comparisons used measured changes of leaf water potential or results were expressed by time of treatment. Total dry matter of the drought tolerant hybrid on the final harvest was 53% less than that of the intermediate and susceptible maize hybrids when plants were water sufficient. This showed that maize hybrids selected for extreme drought tolerance possessed a dwarf phenotype that affected soil water contents and leaf water potentials. Changes of shoot and root growth, leaf water potential, net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in response to the time of water stress treatment were diminished when comparing the drought tolerant to the intermediate or susceptible maize hybrids. Genotypic differences were observed in 26 of 40 total foliar metabolites during water stress treatments. Hierarchical clustering revealed that the tolerant maize hybrid initiated the accumulation of stress related metabolites at higher leaf water potentials than either the susceptible or intermediate hybrids. Opposite results occurred when changes of metabolites in maize leaves were expressed temporally. The above results demonstrated that genotypic differences were readily observed by comparing maize hybrids differing in drought tolerance based on either time of treatment or measured leaf water potential. Current findings provided new and potentially important insights into the mechanisms of drought tolerance in maize.
A genome-wide transcriptional profile of Bradyrhizobium japonicum, the nitrogen-fixing endosymbiont of the soybean plant, revealed differential expression of approximately 15% of the genome after a 1 mM treatment with the phytohormone indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). A total of 1,323 genes were differentially expressed (619 up-regulated and 704 down-regulated) at a two-fold cut off with q value ≤ 0.05. General stress response genes were induced, such as those involved in response to heat, cold, oxidative, osmotic, and desiccation stresses and in exopolysaccharide (EPS) biosynthesis. This suggests that IAA is effective in activating a generalized stress response in B. japonicum. The transcriptional data were corroborated by the finding that stress tolerance of B. japonicum in cell viability assays was enhanced when pre-treated with 1 mM IAA compared to controls. The IAA treatment also stimulated biofilm formation and EPS production by B. japonicum, especially acidic sugar components in the total EPS. The IAA pre-treatment did not influence the nodulation ability of B. japonicum. The data provide a comprehensive overview of the potential transcriptional responses of the symbiotic bacterium when exposed to the ubiquitous hormone of its plant host.
Heavy nitrogen (N) application to gain higher yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) resulted in increased production cost and environment pollution. How to diminish the N supply without losing yield and/or quality remains a challenge. To meet the challenge, we integrated and expressed a tobacco nitrate reductase gene (NR) in transgenic wheat. The 35S-NR gene was transferred into two winter cultivars, “Nongda146” and “Jimai6358”, by Agrobacterium-mediation. Over-expression of the transgene remarkably enhanced T1 foliar NR activity and significantly augmented T2 seed protein content and 1000-grain weight in 63.8% and 68.1% of T1 offspring (total 67 individuals analyzed), respectively. Our results suggest that constitutive expression of foreign nitrate reductase gene(s) in wheat might improve nitrogen use efficiency and thus make it possible to increase seed protein content and weight without augmenting N supplying.
Plastids sustain life on this planet by providing food, feed, essential biomolecules and oxygen. Such diverse metabolic and biosynthetic functions require efficient communication between plastids and the nucleus. However, specific factors, especially large molecules, released from plastids that regulate nuclear genes have not yet been fully elucidated. When tobacco and lettuce transplastomic plants expressing GFP within chloroplasts, were challenged with Erwinia carotovora (biotic stress) or paraquat (abiotic stress), GFP was released into the cytoplasm. During this process GFP moves gradually towards the envelope, creating a central red zone of chlorophyll fluorescence. GFP was then gradually released from intact chloroplasts into the cytoplasm with an intact vacuole and no other visible cellular damage. Different stages of GFP release were observed inside the same cell with a few chloroplasts completely releasing GFP with detection of only red chlorophyll fluorescence or with no reduction in GFP fluorescence or transitional steps between these two phases. Time lapse imaging by confocal microscopy clearly identified sequence of these events. Intactness of chloroplasts during this process was evident from chlorophyll fluorescence emanated from thylakoid membranes and in vivo Chla fluorescence measurements (maximum quantum yield of photosystem II) made before or after infection with pathogens to evaluate their photosynthetic competence. Hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion serve as signal molecules for generation of reactive oxygen species and Tiron, scavenger of superoxide anion, blocked release of GFP from chloroplasts. Significant increase in ion leakage in the presence of paraquat and light suggests changes in the chloroplast envelope to facilitate protein release. Release of GFP-RC101 (an antimicrobial peptide), which was triggered by Erwinia infection, ceased after conferring protection, further confirming this export phenomenon. These results suggest a novel signaling mechanism, especially for participation of chloroplast proteins (e.g. transcription factors) in retrograde signaling, thereby offering new opportunities to regulate pathways outside chloroplasts.
Plant seeds naturally accumulate storage reserves (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids) that are mobilized during germination to provide energy and raw materials to support early seedling growth. Seeds have been exploited as bioreactors for the production to foreign materials, but stable, high level expression has been elusive, in part due to the intrinsic bias for producing the natural reserves in their typical proportions. To identify mutants governing seed filling, we screened a population of mutagenized Arabidopsis plants for a mutant that failed to fill its seeds. Here we report the identification of ssp1, a recessive, viable mutant that accumulates approximately 15% less protein than wildtype seeds. Molecular analyses revealed that ssp1 is due to the introduction of a premature stop codon in CRU3, one of the major cruciferin genes. Unlike many other reserve mutants or transgenic lines in which seed storage protein levels are reduced by antisense/RNAi technologies, ssp1 exhibits low level compensation by other reserves, and represents a mutant background that might prove useful for high level expression of foreign proteins. To test this hypothesis, we used a bean phytohemagglutinin (PHA) gene as a reporter and compared PHA expression levels in single copy insertion lines in ssp1 vs. wildtype. These near isogenic lines allow reporter protein levels to be compared without the confounding and sometimes unknown influences of transgene copy number and position effects on gene expression. The ssp1 lines consistently accumulated more PHA than the backcrossed counterparts, with increases ranging from 12% to 126%. This proof of principle study suggests that similar strategies in crop plants may improve the yield of foreign proteins of agronomic and economic interest.
Abiotic stresses greatly influence plant growth and productivity. While glycosyltransferases are widely distributed in plant kingdom, their biological roles in response to abiotic stresses are largely unknown. In this study, a novel Arabidopsis glycosyltransferase gene UGT85A5 was identified as significantly induced by salt stress. Ectopic expression of UGT85A5 in tobacco enhanced the salt stress tolerance in the transgenic plants. There were higher seed germination rates, better plant growth and less chlorophyll loss in transgenic lines compared to wild type plants under salt stress. This enhanced tolerance of salt stress was correlated with increased accumulations of proline and soluble sugars, but with decreases in malondialdehyde accumulation and Na+/K+ ratio in UGT85A5-expressing tobacco. Furthermore, during salt stress, expression of several carbohydrate metabolism-related genes including those for sucrose synthase, sucrose-phosphate synthase, hexose transporter and a group2 LEA protein were obviously upregulated in UGT85A5-expressing transgenic plants compared with wild type controls. Thus, these findings suggest a specific protective role of this glycosyltransferase against salt stress and provide a genetic engineering strategy to improve salt tolerance of crops.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Research has focused on identifying specific serum biomarkers to detect vulnerable plaques. These markers serve as diagnostic tools for acute coronary syndrome and assist in identifying high-risk patients. However, the existing data are limited and conflicting. This study tested the hypothesis that CD137 levels identify patients with acute coronary syndrome who are at a heightened risk for recurrent cardiac events.
The levels of soluble CD137 (sCD137) were measured using ELISA in 180 patients with acute coronary syndrome and 120 patients with acute chest pain. Platelet activation was assessed by flow cytometry. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to evaluate the prognostic characteristics of sCD137.
The levels of sCD137 were elevated in 75 patients with acute coronary syndromes and 20 patients with acute chest pain (>35.0 ng/ml). In patients with acute coronary syndrome, elevated sCD137 levels (>35.0 ng/ml) indicated an increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events (OR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.39-2.54). Elevated serum levels of sCD137 and cTnT were correlated with a significantly increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in both groups after 30 days, six months and nine months of follow-up. The increased sCD137 levels were significantly correlated with the levels of troponin I (r = 0.4799, p<0.001). Importantly, 26 patients with normal cTnI levels had acute coronary syndrome. However, elevated sCD137 levels identified these patients as a being high-risk subgroup (OR = 2.14, 95% CI: 1.25-4.13).
Elevated sCD137 levels indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular events in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Soluble CD137 may be a useful prognostic marker or indicator for adverse events in patients with acute coronary syndrome.
CD137; Acute Coronary Syndrome; Atherosclerosis
Determination of protein function requires tools that allow its detection and/or purification. As generation of specific antibodies often is laborious and insufficient, protein tagging using epitopes that are recognized by commercially available antibodies and matrices appears more promising. Also, proper spatial and temporal expression of tagged proteins is required to prevent falsification of results. We developed a new series of binary Gateway cloning vectors named pAUL1-20 for C- and N-terminal in-frame fusion of proteins to four different tags: a single (i) HA epitope and (ii) Strep-tagIII, (iii) both epitopes combined to a double tag, and (iv) a triple tag consisting of the double tag extended by a Protein A tag possessing a 3C protease cleavage site. Expression can be driven by either the 35 S CaMV promoter or, for C-terminal fusions, promoters from genes encoding the chloroplast biogenesis factors HCF107, HCF136, or HCF173. Fusions of the four promoters to the GUS gene showed that endogenous promoter sequences are functional and drive expression more moderately and consistently throughout different transgenic lines when compared to the 35 S CaMV promoter. By testing complementation of mutations affected in chloroplast biogenesis factors HCF107 and HCF208, we found that the effect of different promoters and tags on protein function strongly depends on the protein itself. Single-step and tandem affinity purification of HCF208 via different tags confirmed the integrity of the cloned tags.
A direct interaction of the Arabidopsis thaliana immunophilin ROF1 with phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate and phosphatidylinositol-3,5-bisphosphate was identified using a phosphatidylinositol-phosphate affinity chromatography of cell suspension extracts, combined with a mass spectrometry (nano LC ESI-MS/MS) analysis. The first FK506 binding domain was shown sufficient to bind to both phosphatidylinositol-phosphate stereoisomers. GFP-tagged ROF1 under the control of a 35S promoter was localised in the cytoplasm and the cell periphery of Nicotiana tabacum leaf explants. Immunofluorescence microscopy of Arabidopsis thaliana root tips verified its cytoplasmic localization and membrane association and showed ROF1 localization in the elongation zone which was expanded to the meristematic zone in plants grown on high salt media. Endogenous ROF1 was shown to accumulate in response to high salt treatment in Arabidopsis thaliana young leaves as well as in seedlings germinated on high salt media (0.15 and 0.2 M NaCl) at both an mRNA and protein level. Plants over-expressing ROF1, (WSROF1OE), exhibited enhanced germination under salinity stress which was significantly reduced in the rof1− knock out mutants and abolished in the double mutants of ROF1 and of its interacting homologue ROF2 (WSrof1−/2−). Our results show that ROF1 plays an important role in the osmotic/salt stress responses of germinating Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings and suggest its involvement in salinity stress responses through a phosphatidylinositol-phosphate related protein quality control pathway.
The TIFY gene family constitutes a plant-specific group of genes with a broad range of functions. This family encodes four subfamilies of proteins, including ZML, TIFY, PPD and JASMONATE ZIM-Domain (JAZ) proteins. JAZ proteins are targets of the SCFCOI1 complex, and function as negative regulators in the JA signaling pathway. Recently, it has been reported in both Arabidopsis and rice that TIFY genes, and especially JAZ genes, may be involved in plant defense against insect feeding, wounding, pathogens and abiotic stresses. Nonetheless, knowledge concerning the specific expression patterns and evolutionary history of plant TIFY family members is limited, especially in a woody species such as grape.
A total of two TIFY, four ZML, two PPD and 11 JAZ genes were identified in the Vitis vinifera genome. Phylogenetic analysis of TIFY protein sequences from grape, Arabidopsis and rice indicated that the grape TIFY proteins are more closely related to those of Arabidopsis than those of rice. Both segmental and tandem duplication events have been major contributors to the expansion of the grape TIFY family. In addition, synteny analysis between grape and Arabidopsis demonstrated that homologues of several grape TIFY genes were found in the corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis, suggesting that these genes arose before the divergence of lineages that led to grape and Arabidopsis. Analyses of microarray and quantitative real-time RT-PCR expression data revealed that grape TIFY genes are not a major player in the defense against biotrophic pathogens or viruses. However, many of these genes were responsive to JA and ABA, but not SA or ET.
The genome-wide identification, evolutionary and expression analyses of grape TIFY genes should facilitate further research of this gene family and provide new insights regarding their evolutionary history and regulatory control.
Photorespiratory carbon metabolism was long considered as an essentially closed and nonregulated pathway with little interaction to other metabolic routes except nitrogen metabolism and respiration. Most mutants of this pathway cannot survive in ambient air and require CO2-enriched air for normal growth. Several studies indicate that this CO2 requirement is very different for individual mutants, suggesting a higher plasticity and more interaction of photorespiratory metabolism as generally thought. To understand this better, we examined a variety of high- and low-level parameters at 1% CO2 and their alteration during acclimation of wild-type plants and selected photorespiratory mutants to ambient air.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The wild type and four photorespiratory mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) were grown to a defined stadium at 1% CO2 and then transferred to normal air (0.038% CO2). All other conditions remained unchanged. This approach allowed unbiased side-by-side monitoring of acclimation processes on several levels. For all lines, diel (24 h) leaf growth, photosynthetic gas exchange, and PSII fluorescence were monitored. Metabolite profiling was performed for the wild type and two mutants. During acclimation, considerable variation between the individual genotypes was detected in many of the examined parameters, which correlated with the position of the impaired reaction in the photorespiratory pathway.
Photorespiratory carbon metabolism does not operate as a fully closed pathway. Acclimation from high to low CO2 was typically steady and consistent for a number of features over several days, but we also found unexpected short-term events, such as an intermittent very massive rise of glycine levels after transition of one particular mutant to ambient air. We conclude that photorespiration is possibly exposed to redox regulation beyond known substrate-level effects. Additionally, our data support the view that 2-phosphoglycolate could be a key regulator of photosynthetic-photorespiratory metabolism as a whole.
Soybean (Glycine max L.) is an important source of protein for human and animal nutrition, as well as a major source of vegetable oil. The soybean crop requires adequate water all through its growth period to attain its yield potential, and the lack of soil moisture at critical stages of growth profoundly impacts the productivity. In this study, utilizing 1H NMR-based metabolite analysis combined with the physiological studies we assessed the effects of short-term water stress on overall growth, nitrogen fixation, ureide and proline dynamics, as well as metabolic changes in drought tolerant (NA5009RG) and sensitive (DM50048) genotypes of soybean in order to elucidate metabolite adjustments in relation to the physiological responses in the nitrogen-fixing plants towards water limitation. The results of our analysis demonstrated critical differences in physiological responses between these two genotypes, and identified the metabolic pathways that are affected by short-term water limitation in soybean plants. Metabolic changes in response to drought conditions highlighted pools of metabolites that play a role in the adjustment of metabolism and physiology of the soybean varieties to meet drought effects.
Chloroplast development is an important determinant of plant productivity and is controlled by environmental factors including amounts of light and nitrogen as well as internal phytohormones including cytokinins and gibberellins (GA). The paralog GATA transcription factors GNC and CGA1/GNL up-regulated by light, nitrogen and cytokinin while also being repressed by GA signaling. Modifying the expression of these genes has previously been shown to influence chlorophyll content in Arabidopsis while also altering aspects of germination, elongation growth and flowering time. In this work, we also use transgenic lines to demonstrate that GNC and CGA1 exhibit a partially redundant control over chlorophyll biosynthesis. We provide novel evidence that GNC and CGA1 influence both chloroplast number and leaf starch in proportion to their transcript level. GNC and CGA1 were found to modify the expression of chloroplast localized GLUTAMATE SYNTHASE (GLU1/Fd-GOGAT), which is the primary factor controlling nitrogen assimilation in green tissue. Altering GNC and CGA1 expression was also found to modulate the expression of important chlorophyll biosynthesis genes (GUN4, HEMA1, PORB, and PORC). As previously demonstrated, the CGA1 transgenic plants demonstrated significantly altered timing to a number of developmental events including germination, leaf production, flowering time and senescence. In contrast, the GNC transgenic lines we analyzed maintain relatively normal growth phenotypes outside of differences in chloroplast development. Despite some evidence for partial divergence, results indicate that regulation of both GNC and CGA1 by light, nitrogen, cytokinin, and GA acts to modulate nitrogen assimilation, chloroplast development and starch production. Understanding the mechanisms controlling these processes is important for agricultural biotechnology.
Cell plate formation during plant cytokinesis is facilitated by SNARE complex-mediated vesicle fusion at the cell-division plane. However, our knowledge regarding R-SNARE components of membrane fusion machinery for cell plate formation remains quite limited.
We report the in vivo function of Arabidopsis VAMP721 and VAMP722, two closely sequence-related R-SNAREs, in cell plate formation. Double homozygous vamp721vamp722 mutant seedlings showed lethal dwarf phenotypes and were characterized by rudimentary roots, cotyledons and hypocotyls. Furthermore, cell wall stubs and incomplete cytokinesis were frequently observed in vamp721vamp722 seedlings. Confocal images revealed that green fluorescent protein-tagged VAMP721 and VAMP722 were preferentially localized to the expanding cell plates in dividing cells. Drug treatments and co-localization analyses demonstrated that punctuate organelles labeled with VAMP721 and VAMP722 represented early endosomes overlapped with VHA-a1-labeled TGN, which were distinct from Golgi stacks and prevacuolar compartments. In addition, protein traffic to the plasma membrane, but not to the vacuole, was severely disrupted in vamp721vamp722 seedlings by subcellular localization of marker proteins.
These observations suggest that VAMP721 and VAMP722 are involved in secretory trafficking to the plasma membrane via TGN/early endosomal compartment, which contributes substantially to cell plate formation during plant cytokinesis.
Phytocyanins (PCs) are plant-specific blue copper proteins involved in electron transport, and a large number of known PCs are considered to be chimeric arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs). To date there has not been a genome-wide overview of the OsPC gene family. Therefore, as the first step and a useful strategy to elucidate the functions of OsPCs, there is an urgent need for a thorough genome-wide analysis of this gene family.
In this study, a total of 62 OsPC genes were identified through a comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of the rice (Oryza sativa L.) genome. Based on phylogeny and motif constitution, the family of OsPCs was classified into three subclasses: uclacyanin-like proteins (OsUCLs), stellacyanin-like proteins (OsSCLs) and early nodulin-like proteins (OsENODLs). Structure and glycosylation prediction indicated that 46 OsPCs were glycosylphosphatigylinositol-anchored proteins and 38 OsPCs were chimeric AGPs. Gene duplication analysis revealed that chromosomal segment and tandem duplications contributed almost equally to the expansion of this gene family, and duplication events were mostly happened in the OsUCL subfamily. The expression profiles of OsPC genes were analyzed at different stages of vegetative and reproductive development and under abiotic stresses. It revealed that a large number of OsPC genes were abundantly expressed in the various stages of development. Moreover, 17 genes were regulated under the treatments of abiotic stresses.
The genome-wide identification and expression analysis of OsPC genes should facilitate research in this gene family and give new insights toward elucidating their functions in higher plants.
The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive wood-boring beetle that has killed millions of ash trees since its accidental introduction to North America. All North American ash species (Fraxinus spp.) that emerald ash borer has encountered so far are susceptible, while an Asian species, Manchurian ash (F. mandshurica), which shares an evolutionary history with emerald ash borer, is resistant. Phylogenetic evidence places North American black ash (F. nigra) and Manchurian ash in the same clade and section, yet black ash is highly susceptible to the emerald ash borer. This contrast provides an opportunity to compare the genetic traits of the two species and identify those with a potential role in defense/resistance. We used Difference Gel Electrophoresis (DIGE) to compare the phloem proteomes of resistant Manchurian to susceptible black, green, and white ash. Differentially expressed proteins associated with the resistant Manchurian ash when compared to the susceptible ash species were identified using nano-LC-MS/MS and putative identities assigned. Proteomic differences were strongly associated with the phylogenetic relationships among the four species. Proteins identified in Manchurian ash potentially associated with its resistance to emerald ash borer include a PR-10 protein, an aspartic protease, a phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductase (PCBER), and a thylakoid-bound ascorbate peroxidase. Discovery of resistance-related proteins in Asian species will inform approaches in which resistance genes can be introgressed into North American ash species. The generation of resistant North American ash genotypes can be used in forest ecosystem restoration and urban plantings following the wake of the emerald ash borer invasion.
Designing functionally efficient recombinant promoters having reduced sequence homology and enhanced promoter activity will be an important step toward successful stacking or pyramiding of genes in a plant cell for developing transgenic plants expressing desired traits(s). Also basic knowledge regarding plant cell specific expression of a transgene under control of a promoter is crucial to assess the promoter's efficacy.
We have constructed a set of 10 recombinant promoters incorporating different up-stream activation sequences (UAS) of Mirabilis mosaic virus sub-genomic transcript (MS8, -306 to +27) and TATA containing core domains of Figwort mosaic virus sub-genomic transcript promoter (FS3, −271 to +31). Efficacies of recombinant promoters coupled to GUS and GFP reporter genes were tested in tobacco protoplasts. Among these, a 369-bp long hybrid sub-genomic transcript promoter (MSgt-FSgt) showed the highest activity in both transient and transgenic systems. In a transient system, MSgt-FSgt was 10.31, 2.86 and 2.18 times more active compared to the CaMV35S, MS8 and FS3 promoters, respectively. In transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum, var. Samsun NN) and Arabidopsis plants, the MSgt-FSgt hybrid promoter showed 14.22 and 7.16 times stronger activity compared to CaMV35S promoter respectively. The correlation between GUS activity and uidA-mRNA levels in transgenic tobacco plants were identified by qRT-PCR. Both CaMV35S and MSgt-FSgt promoters caused gene silencing but the degree of silencing are less in the case of the MSgt-FSgt promoter compared to CaMV35S. Quantification of GUS activity in individual plant cells driven by the MSgt-FSgt and the CaMV35S promoter were estimated using confocal laser scanning microscopy and compared.
Conclusion and Significance
We propose strong recombinant promoter MSgt-FSgt, developed in this study, could be very useful for high-level constitutive expression of transgenes in a wide variety of plant cells.
Transgenic lines of the potato cultivar White Lady expressing the trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS1) gene of yeast exhibit improved drought tolerance, but grow slower and have a lower carbon fixation rate and stomatal density than the wild-type. To understand the molecular basis of this phenomenon, we have compared the transcriptomes of wild-type and TPS1-transgenic plants using the POCI microarray containing 42,034 potato unigene probes. We show that 74 and 25 genes were up-, and down-regulated, respectively, in the mature source leaves of TPS1-transgenic plants when compared with the wild-type. The differentially regulated genes were assigned into 16 functional groups. All of the seven genes, which were assigned into carbon fixation and metabolism group, were up-regulated, while about 42% of the assigned genes are involved in transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. Expression of genes encoding a 14-3-3 regulatory protein, and four transcription factors were down-regulated in the TPS1-transgenic leaves. To verify the microarray results, we used RNA gel blot analysis to examine the expression of eight genes and found that the RNA gel blot and microarray data correlated in each case. Using the putative Arabidopsis orthologs of the assigned potato sequences we have identified putative transcription binding sites in the promoter region of the differentially regulated genes, and putative protein-protein interactions involving some of the up- and down-regulated genes. We have also demonstrated that starch content is lower, while malate, inositol and maltose contents are higher in the TPS1-transgenic than in the wild-type leaves. Our results suggest that a complex regulatory network, involving transcription factors and other regulatory proteins, underpins the phenotypic alterations we have observed previously in potato when expressing the TPS1 gene of yeast.
It is well accepted that lateral redistribution of the phytohormone auxin underlies the bending of plant organs towards light. In monocots, photoreception occurs at the shoot tip above the region of differential growth. Despite more than a century of research, it is still unresolved how light regulates auxin distribution and where this occurs in dicots. Here, we establish a system in Arabidopsis thaliana to study hypocotyl phototropism in the absence of developmental events associated with seedling photomorphogenesis. We show that auxin redistribution to the epidermal sites of action occurs at and above the hypocotyl apex, not at the elongation zone. Within this region, we identify the auxin efflux transporter ATP-BINDING CASSETTE B19 (ABCB19) as a substrate target for the photoreceptor kinase PHOTOTROPIN 1 (phot1). Heterologous expression and physiological analyses indicate that phosphorylation of ABCB19 by phot1 inhibits its efflux activity, thereby increasing auxin levels in and above the hypocotyl apex to halt vertical growth and prime lateral fluxes that are subsequently channeled to the elongation zone by PIN-FORMED 3 (PIN3). Together, these results provide new insights into the roles of ABCB19 and PIN3 in establishing phototropic curvatures and demonstrate that the proximity of light perception and differential phototropic growth is conserved in angiosperms.
Plants depend on sunlight for photosynthesis and adapt their growth to optimize light capture. Phototropism, the reorientation of growth towards light, is one important adaptive response. Modern studies of phototropism began with experiments in monocotyledonous grasses by Charles Darwin and led ultimately to the discovery of the plant growth hormone auxin, establishing the concept that light perception at the shoot apex triggers differential bending in the tissues below. In the past two decades, molecular-genetic analysis in the model flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana has identified the principle photoreceptor for phototropism, phot1, as well as the major auxin transporters. Despite extensive efforts, how the photoreceptor regulates auxin transport so as to establish differential growth is still poorly understood, as is whether this process is conserved between monocots and dicots. Here, we introduce a new approach to the study of Arabidopsis phototropism in the absence of developmental events associated with seedling photomorphogenesis. In doing so, we show that the proximity of light perception and differential growth is conserved between monocots and dicots: in both plant types, differential growth is a consequence of lateral auxin movements across the shoot apex. Moreover, we identify two auxin transporters, PIN3 and ABCB19, that contribute to these movements, the latter serving to prime lateral auxin fluxes in the shoot apex. ABCB19 function is regulated by phot1, identifying it as a substrate for this class of photoreceptor kinase.
Cadmium (Cd) is a major heavy metal pollutant which is highly toxic to plants and animals. Vast agricultural areas worldwide are contaminated with Cd. Plants take up Cd and through the food chain it reaches humans and causes toxicity. It is ideal to develop plants tolerant to Cd, without enhanced accumulation in the edible parts for human consumption. Glutathione transferases (GST) are a family of multifunctional enzymes known to have important roles in combating oxidative stresses induced by various heavy metals including Cd. Some GSTs are also known to function as glutathione peroxidases. Overexpression/heterologous expression of GSTs is expected to result in plants tolerant to heavy metals such as Cd.
Here, we report cloning of a glutathione transferase gene from Trichoderma virens, a biocontrol fungus and introducing it into Nicotiana tabacum plants by Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer. Transgenic nature of the plants was confirmed by Southern blot hybridization and expression by reverse transcription PCR. Transgene (TvGST) showed single gene Mendelian inheritance. When transgenic plants expressing TvGST gene were exposed to different concentrations of Cd, they were found to be more tolerant compared to wild type plants, with transgenic plants showing lower levels of lipid peroxidation. Levels of different antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione transferase, superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, guiacol peroxidase and catalase showed enhanced levels in transgenic plants expressing TvGST compared to control plants, when exposed to Cd. Cadmium accumulation in the plant biomass in transgenic plants were similar or lower than wild-type plants.
The results of the present study suggest that transgenic tobacco plants expressing a Trichoderma virens GST are more tolerant to Cd, without enhancing its accumulation in the plant biomass. It should be possible to extend the present results to crop plants for developing Cd tolerance and in limiting Cd availability in the food chain.
In contrast to mammalian ABCB1 proteins, narrow substrate specificity has been extensively documented for plant orthologs shown to catalyze the transport of the plant hormone, auxin. Using the crystal structures of the multidrug exporters Sav1866 and MmABCB1 as templates, we have developed structural models of plant ABCB proteins with a common architecture. Comparisons of these structures identified kingdom-specific candidate substrate-binding regions within the translocation chamber formed by the transmembrane domains of ABCBs from the model plant Arabidopsis. These results suggest an early evolutionary divergence of plant and mammalian ABCBs. Validation of these models becomes a priority for efforts to elucidate ABCB function and manipulate this class of transporters to enhance plant productivity and quality.
ABCB exporter; ABCB importer; structural modeling; auxin; substrate docking
Drought, salinity and low temperatures are major factors limiting crop productivity and quality. Sucrose non-fermenting1-related protein kinase 2 (SnRK2) plays a key role in abiotic stress signaling in plants. In this study, TaSnRK2.8, a SnRK2 member in wheat, was cloned and its functions under multi-stress conditions were characterized. Subcellular localization showed the presence of TaSnRK2.8 in the cell membrane, cytoplasm and nucleus. Expression pattern analyses in wheat revealed that TaSnRK2.8 was involved in response to PEG, NaCl and cold stresses, and possibly participates in ABA-dependent signal transduction pathways. To investigate its role under various environmental stresses, TaSnRK2.8 was transferred to Arabidopsis under control of the CaMV-35S promoter. Overexpression of TaSnRK2.8 resulted in enhanced tolerance to drought, salt and cold stresses, further confirmed by longer primary roots and various physiological characteristics, including higher relative water content, strengthened cell membrane stability, significantly lower osmotic potential, more chlorophyll content, and enhanced PSII activity. Meanwhile, TaSnRK2.8 plants had significantly lower total soluble sugar levels under normal growing conditions, suggesting that TaSnRK2.8 might be involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Moreover, the transcript levels of ABA biosynthesis (ABA1, ABA2), ABA signaling (ABI3, ABI4, ABI5), stress-responsive genes, including two ABA-dependent genes (RD20A, RD29B) and three ABA-independent genes (CBF1, CBF2, CBF3), were generally higher in TaSnRK2.8 plants than in WT/GFP controls under normal/stress conditions. Our results suggest that TaSnRK2.8 may act as a regulatory factor involved in a multiple stress response pathways.
Reproductive development of higher plants comprises successive events of organ differentiation and growth which finally lead to the formation of a mature fruit. However, most of the genetic and molecular mechanisms which coordinate such developmental events are yet to be identified and characterized. Arlequin (Alq), a semi-dominant T-DNA tomato mutant showed developmental changes affecting flower and fruit ripening. Sepals were converted into fleshy organs which ripened as normal fruit organs and fruits displayed altered ripening features. Molecular characterization of the tagged gene demonstrated that it corresponded to the previously reported TOMATO AGAMOUS-LIKE 1 (TAGL1) gene, the tomato ortholog of SHATTERPROOF MADS-box genes of Arabidopsis thaliana, and that the Alq mutation promoted a gain-of-function phenotype caused by the ectopic expression of TAGL1. Ectopic overexpression of TAGL1 resulted in homeotic alterations affecting floral organ identity that were similar to but stronger than those observed in Alq mutant plants. Interestingly, TAGL1 RNAi plants yielded tomato fruits which were unable to ripen. They displayed a yellow-orange color and stiffness appearance which are in accordance with reduced lycopene and ethylene levels, respectively. Moreover, pericarp cells of TAGL1 RNAi fruits showed altered cellular and structural properties which correlated to both decreased expression of genes regulating cell division and lignin biosynthesis. Over-expression of TAGL1 is able to rescue the non-ripening phenotype of rin and nor mutants, which is mediated by the transcriptional activation of several ripening genes. Our results demonstrated that TAGL1 participates in the genetic control of flower and fruit development of tomato plants. Furthermore, gene silencing and over-expression experiments demonstrated that the fruit ripening process requires the regulatory activity of TAGL1. Therefore, TAGL1 could act as a linking factor connecting successive stages of reproductive development, from flower development to fruit maturation, allowing this complex process to be carried out successfully.
Programmed cell death plays an important role in mediating plant adaptive responses to the environment such as the invasion of pathogens. Verticillium wilt, caused by the necrotrophic pathogen Verticillium dahliae, is a serious vascular disease responsible for great economic losses to cotton, but the molecular mechanisms of verticillium disease and effective, safe methods of resistance to verticillium wilt remain unexplored.
In this study, we introduced baculovirus apoptosis inhibitor genes p35 and op-iap into the genome of cotton via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and analyzed the response of transgenic plants to verticillium wilt. Results showed that p35 and op-iap constructs were stably integrated into the cotton genome, expressed in the transgenic lines, and inherited through the T3 generation. The transgenic lines had significantly increased tolerance to verticillium wilt throughout the developmental stages. The disease index of T1–T3 generation was lower than 19, significantly (P<0.05) better than the negative control line z99668. After treatment with 250 mg/L VD-toxins for 36 hours, DNA from negative control leaves was fragmented, whereas fragmentation in the transgenic leaf DNA did not occur. The percentage of cell death in transgenic lines increased by 7.11% after 60 mg/L VD-toxin treatment, which was less than that of the negative control lines's 21.27%. This indicates that p35 and op-iap gene expression partially protects cells from VD-toxin induced programmed cell death (PCD).
Verticillium dahliae can trigger plant cells to die through induction of a PCD mechanism involved in pathogenesis. This paper provides a potential strategy for engineering broad-spectrum necrotrophic disease resistance in plants.
Production of pharmaceuticals in plants provides an alternative for chemical synthesis, fermentation or natural sources. Nicotiana benthamiana is deployed at commercial scale for production of therapeutic proteins. Here the potential of this plant is explored for rapid production of precursors of artemisinin, a sesquiterpenoid compound that is used for malaria treatment.
Biosynthetic genes leading to artemisinic acid, a precursor of artemisinin, were combined and expressed in N. benthamiana by agro-infiltration. The first committed precursor of artemisinin, amorpha-4,11-diene, was produced upon infiltration of a construct containing amorpha-4,11-diene synthase, accompanied by 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase and farnesyl diphosphate synthase. Amorpha-4,11-diene was detected both in extracts and in the headspace of the N. benthamiana leaves. When the amorphadiene oxidase CYP71AV1 was co-infiltrated with the amorphadiene-synthesizing construct, the amorpha-4,11-diene levels strongly decreased, suggesting it was oxidized. Surprisingly, no anticipated oxidation products, such as artemisinic acid, were detected upon GC-MS analysis. However, analysis of leaf extracts with a non-targeted metabolomics approach, using LC-QTOF-MS, revealed the presence of another compound, which was identified as artemisinic acid-12-β-diglucoside. This compound accumulated to 39.5 mg.kg−1 fwt. Apparently the product of the heterologous pathway that was introduced, artemisinic acid, is further metabolized efficiently by glycosyl transferases that are endogenous to N. benthamiana.
This work shows that agroinfiltration of N. bentamiana can be used as a model to study the production of sesquiterpenoid pharmaceutical compounds. The interaction between the ectopically introduced pathway and the endogenous metabolism of the plant is discussed.