The winter-annual habit of Arabidopsis thaliana requires active alleles of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which encodes a potent flowering repressor, and FRIGIDA (FRI), an activator of FLC. FLC activation by FRI is accompanied by an increase in specific histone modifications, such as tri-methylation of histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4me3), and requires three H3K4 methyltransferases, the Drosophila Trithorax-class ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX1 (ATX1) and ATX2, and yeast Set1-class ATX-RELATED7/SET DOMAIN GROUP25 (ATXR7/SDG25). However, lesions in all of these genes failed to suppress the enhanced FLC expression caused by FRI completely, suggesting that another H3K4 methyltransferase may participate in the FLC activation. Here, we show that ATXR3/SDG2, which is a member of a novel class of H3K4 methyltransferases, also contributes to FLC activation. An ATXR3 lesion suppressed the enhanced FLC expression and delayed flowering caused by an active allele of FRI in non-vernalized plants. The decrease in FLC expression in atxr3 mutants was accompanied by reduced H3K4me3 levels at FLC chromatin. We also found that the rapid flowering of atxr3 was epistatic to that of atxr7, suggesting that ATXR3 functions in FLC activation in sequence with ATXR7. Our results indicate that the novel-class H3K4 methyltransferase, ATXR3, is a transcriptional activator that plays a role in the FLC activation and establishing the winter-annual habit. In addition, ATXR3 also contributes to the activation of other FLC clade members, such as FLOWERING LOCUS M/MADS AFFECTING FLOWERING1 (FLM/MAF1) and MAF5, at least partially explaining the ATXR3 function in delayed flowering caused by non-inductive photoperiods.
ARABIDOPSIS TRITHORAX; Flowering; FLOWERING LOCUS C; Histone methylation; Winter-annual Arabidopsis
Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGCs) form non-selective cation entry pathways regulated by calmodulin (CaM), a universal Ca2+ sensor in eukaryotes. Although CaM binding has been shown to be important for Ca2+-dependent feedback regulation of CNGC activity, the CaM-binding properties of these channels have been investigated in a few cases only. We show that CNGC20 from Arabidopsis thaliana binds CaM in a Ca2+-dependent manner and interacts with all AtCaM isoforms but not with the CaM-like proteins CML8 and CML9. CaM interaction with the full-length channel was demonstrated in planta, using bimolecular fluorescence complementation. This interaction occurred at the plasma membrane, in accordance with our localization data of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fused CNGC20 proteins. The CaM-binding site was mapped to an isoleucine glutamine (IQ) motif, which has not been characterized in plant CNGCs so far. Our results show that compared with the overlapping binding sites for cyclic nucleotides and CaM in CNGCs studied so far, they are sequentially organized in CNGC20. The presence of two alternative CaM-binding modes indicates that ligand regulation of plant CNGCs is more complex than previously expected. Since the IQ domain is conserved among plant CNGCs, this domain adds to the variability of Ca2+-dependent channel control mechanisms underlining the functional diversity within this multigene family.
Arabidopsis; Calcium; Calmodulin; CNGC; IQ domain; Nuclear localization sequence
It is necessary to use algorithms to analyze gene expression data from DNA microarrays, such as in clustering and machine learning. Previously, we developed the knowledge-based fuzzy adaptive resonance theory (KB-FuzzyART), a clustering algorithm suitable for analyzing gene expression data, to find clues for identifying gene networks. Leaf primordia form around the shoot apical meristem (SAM), which consists of indeterminate stem cells. Upon initiation of leaf development, adaxial–abaxial patterning is crucial for lateral expansion, via cellular proliferation, and the formation of flat symmetric leaves. Many regulatory genes that specify such patterning have been identified. Analysis by the KB-FuzzyART and subsequent molecular and genetic analyses previously showed that ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 (AS1) and AS2 repress the expression of some abaxial-determinant genes, such as AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR3 (ARF3)/ETTIN (ETT) and ARF4, which are responsible for defects in leaf adaxial–abaxial polarity in as1 and as2. In the present study, genetic analysis revealed that ARF3/ETT and ARF4 were regulated by modifier genes, BOBBER1 (BOB1) and ELONGATA3 (ELO3), together with AS1–AS2. We analyzed expression arrays with as2 elo3 and as2 bob1, and extracted genes downstream of ARF3/ETT by using KB-FuzzyART and molecular analyses. The results showed that expression of Kip-related protein (KRP) (for inhibitors of cyclin-dependent protein kinases) and Isopentenyltransferase (IPT) (for biosynthesis of cytokinin) genes were controlled by AS1–AS2 through ARF3/ETT and ARF4 functions, which suggests that the AS1–AS2–ETT pathway plays a critical role in controlling the cell division cycle and the biosynthesis of cytokinin around SAM to stabilize leaf development in Arabidopsis thaliana.
ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2 (AS2); AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR3/ETTIN; CDK inhibitors; Cytokinin; Shoot apical meristem
Lateral root (LR) formation in vascular plants is regulated by auxin. The mechanisms of LR formation are not fully understood. Here, we have identified a novel recessive mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana, named fewer roots (fwr), that drastically reduces the number of LRs. Expression analyses of DR5::GUS, an auxin response reporter, and pLBD16::GUS, an LR initiation marker, suggested that FWR is necessary for the establishment of an auxin response maximum in LR initiation sites. We further identified that the fwr phenotypes are caused by a missense mutation in the GNOM gene, encoding an Arf-GEF (ADP ribosylation factor-GDP/GTP exchange factor), which regulates the recycling of PINs, the auxin efflux carriers. The fwr roots showed enhanced sensitivity to brefeldin A in a root growth inhibition assay, indicating that the fwr mutation reduces the Arf-GEF activity of GNOM. However, the other developmental processes except for LR formation appeared to be unaffected in the fwr mutant, indicating that fwr is a weaker allele of gnom compared with the other gnom alleles with pleiotropic phenotypes. The localization of PIN1–green fluorescent protein (GFP) appeared to be unaffected in the fwr roots but the levels of endogenous IAA were actually higher in the fwr roots than in the wild type. These results indicate that LR initiation is one of the most sensitive processes among GNOM-dependent developmental processes, strongly suggesting that GNOM is required for the establishment of the auxin response maximum for LR initiation, probably through the regulation of local and global auxin distribution in the root.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Auxin; GNOM; Lateral root formation
Functional genomics requires vector construction for protein expression and functional characterization of target genes; therefore, a simple, flexible and low-cost molecular manipulation strategy will be highly advantageous for genomics approaches. Here, we describe a Ω-PCR strategy that enables multiple types of sequence modification, including precise insertion, deletion and substitution, in any position of a circular plasmid. Ω-PCR is based on an overlap extension site-directed mutagenesis technique, and is named for its characteristic Ω-shaped secondary structure during PCR. Ω-PCR can be performed either in two steps, or in one tube in combination with exonuclease I treatment. These strategies have wide applications for protein engineering, gene function analysis and in vitro gene splicing.
Gene cloning; In vitro gene splicing; Molecular manipulation; Ω-PCR
A specialized orchid database, named Orchidstra (URL: http://orchidstra.abrc.sinica.edu.tw), has been constructed to collect, annotate and share genomic information for orchid functional genomics studies. The Orchidaceae is a large family of Angiosperms that exhibits extraordinary biodiversity in terms of both the number of species and their distribution worldwide. Orchids exhibit many unique biological features; however, investigation of these traits is currently constrained due to the limited availability of genomic information. Transcriptome information for five orchid species and one commercial hybrid has been included in the Orchidstra database. Altogether, these comprise >380,000 non-redundant orchid transcript sequences, of which >110,000 are protein-coding genes. Sequences from the transcriptome shotgun assembly (TSA) were obtained either from output reads from next-generation sequencing technologies assembled into contigs, or from conventional cDNA library approaches. An annotation pipeline using Gene Ontology, KEGG and Pfam was built to assign gene descriptions and functional annotation to protein-coding genes. Deep sequencing of small RNA was also performed for Phalaenopsis aphrodite to search for microRNAs (miRNAs), extending the information archived for this species to miRNA annotation, precursors and putative target genes. The P. aphrodite transcriptome information was further used to design probes for an oligonucleotide microarray, and expression profiling analysis was carried out. The intensities of hybridized probes derived from microarray assays of various tissues were incorporated into the database as part of the functional evidence. In the future, the content of the Orchidstra database will be expanded with transcriptome data and genomic information from more orchid species.
Annotation; Expression profile; Next-generation sequencing; Orchidaceae; Transcriptome shotgun assembly
Florigen, a protein encoded by the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) in Arabidopsis and Heading date 3a (Hd3a) in rice, is the universal flowering hormone in plants. Florigen is transported from leaves to the shoot apical meristem and initiates floral evocation. In shoot apical cells, conserved cytoplasmic 14-3-3 proteins act as florigen receptors. A hexameric florigen activation complex (FAC) composed of Hd3a, 14-3-3 proteins, and OsFD1, a transcription factor, activates OsMADS15, a rice homolog of Arabidopsis APETALA1, leading to flowering. Because FD is a key component of the FAC, we characterized the FD gene family and their functions. Phylogenetic analysis of FD genes indicated that this family is divided into two groups: (i) canonical FD genes that are conserved among eudicots and non-Poaceae monocots; and (ii) Poaceae-specific FD genes that are organized into three subgroups: Poaceae FD1, FD2 and FD3. The Poaceae FD1 group shares a small sequence motif, T(A/V)LSLNS, with FDs of eudicots and non-Poaceae monocots. Overexpression of OsFD2, a member of the Poaceae FD2 group, produced smaller leaves with shorter plastochrons, suggesting that OsFD2 controls leaf development. In vivo subcellular localization of Hd3a, 14-3-3 and OsFD2 suggested that in contrast to OsFD1, OsFD2 is restricted to the cytoplasm through its interaction with the cytoplasmic 14-3-3 proteins, and interaction of Hd3a with 14-3-3 facilitates nuclear translocation of the FAC containing OsFD2. These results suggest that FD function has diverged between OsFD1 and OsFD2, but formation of a FAC is essential for their function.
FD; Florigen activation complex (FAC); Flowering; Hd3a; Plant transcription factor; Rice
Understanding the principles of abiotic and biotic stress responses, tolerance and adaptation remains important in plant physiology research to develop better varieties of crop plants. Better understanding of plant stress response mechanisms and application of knowledge derived from integrated experimental and bioinformatics approaches are gaining importance. Earlier, we showed that compiling a database of stress-responsive transcription factors and their corresponding target binding sites in the form of Hidden Markov models at promoter, untranslated and upstream regions of stress-up-regulated genes from expression analysis can help in elucidating various aspects of the stress response in Arabidopsis. In addition to the extensive content in the first version, STIFDB2 is now updated with 15 stress signals, 31 transcription factors and 5,984 stress-responsive genes from three species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa subsp. japonica and Oryza sativa subsp. indica). We have employed an integrated biocuration and genomic data mining approach to characterize the data set of transcription factors and consensus binding sites from literature mining and stress-responsive genes from the Gene Expression Omnibus. STIFDB2 currently has 38,798 associations of stress signals, stress-responsive genes and transcription factor binding sites predicted using the Stress-responsive Transcription Factor (STIF) algorithm, along with various functional annotation data. As a unique plant stress regulatory genomics data platform, STIFDB2 can be utilized for targeted as well as high-throughput experimental and computational studies to unravel principles of the stress regulome in dicots and gramineae. STIFDB2 is available from the URL: http://caps.ncbs.res.in/stifdb2
Abiotic and biotic stress; Biocuration; Biological data mining; Stress response; Transcriptional regulatory cascade
Plant hormones play important roles as signaling molecules in the regulation of growth and development by controlling the expression of downstream genes. Since the hormone signaling system represents a complex network involving functional cross-talk through the mutual regulation of signaling and metabolism, a comprehensive and integrative analysis of plant hormone concentrations and gene expression is important for a deeper understanding of hormone actions. We have developed a database named Uniformed Viewer for Integrated Omics (UniVIO: http://univio.psc.riken.jp/), which displays hormone-metabolome (hormonome) and transcriptome data in a single formatted (uniformed) heat map. At the present time, hormonome and transcriptome data obtained from 14 organ parts of rice plants at the reproductive stage and seedling shoots of three gibberellin signaling mutants are included in the database. The hormone concentration and gene expression data can be searched by substance name, probe ID, gene locus ID or gene description. A correlation search function has been implemented to enable users to obtain information of correlated substance accumulation and gene expression. In the correlation search, calculation method, range of correlation coefficient and plant samples can be selected freely.
Database; Multiomics; Oryza sativa; Plant hormones; Transcriptome
The Rice Annotation Project Database (RAP-DB, http://rapdb.dna.affrc.go.jp/) has been providing a comprehensive set of gene annotations for the genome sequence of rice, Oryza sativa (japonica group) cv. Nipponbare. Since the first release in 2005, RAP-DB has been updated several times along with the genome assembly updates. Here, we present our newest RAP-DB based on the latest genome assembly, Os-Nipponbare-Reference-IRGSP-1.0 (IRGSP-1.0), which was released in 2011. We detected 37,869 loci by mapping transcript and protein sequences of 150 monocot species. To provide plant researchers with highly reliable and up to date rice gene annotations, we have been incorporating literature-based manually curated data, and 1,626 loci currently incorporate literature-based annotation data, including commonly used gene names or gene symbols. Transcriptional activities are shown at the nucleotide level by mapping RNA-Seq reads derived from 27 samples. We also mapped the Illumina reads of a Japanese leading japonica cultivar, Koshihikari, and a Chinese indica cultivar, Guangluai-4, to the genome and show alignments together with the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and gene functional annotations through a newly developed browser, Short-Read Assembly Browser (S-RAB). We have developed two satellite databases, Plant Gene Family Database (PGFD) and Integrative Database of Cereal Gene Phylogeny (IDCGP), which display gene family and homologous gene relationships among diverse plant species. RAP-DB and the satellite databases offer simple and user-friendly web interfaces, enabling plant and genome researchers to access the data easily and facilitating a broad range of plant research topics.
Gene family; Gene phylogeny; Literature-based curation; Next-generation sequencing; Rice
PRIMe (http://prime.psc.riken.jp/), the Platform for RIKEN Metabolomics, is a website that was designed and implemented to support research and analyses ranging from metabolomics to transcriptomics. To achieve functional genomics and annotation of unknown metabolites, we established the following PRIMe contents: MS2T, a library comprising >1 million entries of untargeted tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) data of plant metabolites; AtMetExpress LC-MS, a database of transcriptomics and metabolomics approaches in Arabidopsis developmental stages (AtMetExpress Development LC-MS) and a data set of the composition of secondary metabolites among 20 Arabidopsis ecotypes (AtMetExpress 20 ecotypes LC-MS); and ReSpect, hybrid reference MS/MS data resources (acquisitions and literature). PRIMeLink is a new web application that allows access to the innovative data resources of PRIMe. The MS2T library was generated from a set of MS/MS spectra acquired using the automatic data acquisition function of mass spectrometry. To increase the understanding of mechanisms driving variations in metabolic profiles among plant tissues, we further provided the AtMetExpress Development LC-MS database in PRIMe, facilitating the investigation of relationships between gene expression and metabolite accumulation. This information platform therefore provides an integrative analysis resource by linking Arabidopsis transcriptome and metabolome data. Moreover, we developed the ReSpect database, a plant-specific MS/MS data resource, which allows users to identify candidate structures from the suite of complex phytochemical structures. Finally, we integrated the three databases into PRIMeLink and established a walk-through link between transcriptome and metabolome information. PRIMeLink offers a bi-directional searchable function, from the gene and the metabolite perspective, to search for targets seamlessly and effectively.
Arabidopsis; Database; Metabolome; Multiomics; Transcriptome
Arabinosylation of hydroxyproline (Hyp) is a post-translational modification often found in secreted peptide signals in plants. The physiological importance of this modification was highlighted by the finding that CLAVATA3 (CLV3), a key peptide signal for regulating the fate of stem cells in the shoot apical meristem in Arabidopsis, contains three l-arabinose residues linked via linear β-1,2-linkages. However, understanding the functions and properties of arabinosylated peptides has been hindered by difficulties in synthesizing the complex arabinose chain. Here we report the stereoselective total synthesis of β-1,2-linked triarabinosylated CLV3 peptide ([Ara3]CLV3). Chemically synthesized [Ara3]CLV3 restricted stem cell activity more effectively than did unmodified CLV3 peptide. Comparison of mono-, di- and triarabinosylated CLV3 glycopeptides revealed that the biological activity increased progressively as the arabinose chain length increased. Thus, the arabinose chain length of CLV3 is important for its biological activity. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and nuclear Overhauser effect-based structure calculations further revealed the structural impact of the arabinose chain on peptide conformation. The arabinose chain of [Ara3]CLV3 extends toward the C-terminal end of the peptide, and its non-reducing end is positioned proximal to the peptide backbone. Consequently, the arabinose chain causes distinct distortion in the C-terminal half of the peptide in a highly directional manner. The established synthetic route of [Ara3]CLV3 will greatly contribute to our understanding of the biology and biochemistry of arabinosylated peptide signals in plants.
Arabinose; Meristem; Peptide hormone; Post-translational modification
The Plant Ontology (PO; http://www.plantontology.org/) is a publicly available, collaborative effort to develop and maintain a controlled, structured vocabulary (‘ontology’) of terms to describe plant anatomy, morphology and the stages of plant development. The goals of the PO are to link (annotate) gene expression and phenotype data to plant structures and stages of plant development, using the data model adopted by the Gene Ontology. From its original design covering only rice, maize and Arabidopsis, the scope of the PO has been expanded to include all green plants. The PO was the first multispecies anatomy ontology developed for the annotation of genes and phenotypes. Also, to our knowledge, it was one of the first biological ontologies that provides translations (via synonyms) in non-English languages such as Japanese and Spanish. As of Release #18 (July 2012), there are about 2.2 million annotations linking PO terms to >110,000 unique data objects representing genes or gene models, proteins, RNAs, germplasm and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) from 22 plant species. In this paper, we focus on the plant anatomical entity branch of the PO, describing the organizing principles, resources available to users and examples of how the PO is integrated into other plant genomics databases and web portals. We also provide two examples of comparative analyses, demonstrating how the ontology structure and PO-annotated data can be used to discover the patterns of expression of the LEAFY (LFY) and terpene synthase (TPS) gene homologs.
Bioinformatics; Comparative genomics; Genome annotation; Ontology; Plant anatomy; Terpene synthase
A plant’s surface is covered with epicuticular wax, which protects plants from inappropriate environmental conditions such as drought and pathogen attack. Very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) are the main component of epicuticular wax on the surface of above-ground organs. Here we show that a fatty acid elongase catalyzing an elongation reaction of VLCFAs is required for shoot development in rice. onion2 (oni2) mutants produced very small shoots in which leaves were fused to each other, and ceased growing after germination. The midrib of oni2 leaf blades was not developed correctly. Molecular cloning showed that ONI2 encodes a fatty acid elongase, which catalyzes the first step of elongation reactions of a carbon chain of VLCFAs, and oni2 had a reduced amount of VLCFAs. Expression analysis showed that ONI2 is specifically expressed in the outermost cell layer of young lateral organs. These results suggest that ONI2 is a layer 1-specific gene required for development of the entire shoot and that VLCFAs play an essential role in normal shoot development in rice.
Fatty acid elongase; L1; Rice; Shoot; Very-long-chain fatty acid
Shoot apical meristems (SAMs), which are maintained at the tips of stems, are indeterminate structures and sources of stem cells from which all aerial organs are ultimately derived. Although mechanisms that regulate the homeostasis of the stem cells have been extensively investigated, identification of further unknown regulators should provide better understanding of the regulation. Here, we report that members of the Arabidopsis ERECTA (ER) receptor kinase family redundantly play a significant role in the regulation of stem cell homeostasis. In wild-type seedlings, the expression of WUSCHEL (WUS), a central regulator of the stem cell population, is stimulated by cytokinin. Interestingly, however, the SAM morphology and the expression of CLAVATA3 (CLV3), which is expressed in stem cells and therefore serves as a stem cell marker, are relatively stable against cytokinin treatment regardless of increased WUS expression. These findings indicate the presence of a mechanism to buffer stem cell homeostasis against an increase in cytokinin. Mutant seedlings lacking all ER-family members, which are expressed in the SAM, show an increase in the stem cell population and also the up-regulation of a cytokinin-responsive gene in the SAM. In this mutant, WUS expression is stimulated by cytokinin treatment as efficiently as in wild-type plants. However, in contrast to wild-type plants, SAM morphology and CLV3 expression respond drastically to cytokinin treatment, suggesting that the buffering mechanism to maintain stem cell homeostasis against an increase in cytokinin is severely impaired in this mutant. We suggest that the ER family regulates stem cell homeostasis via buffering its cytokinin responsiveness in the SAM.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Cytokinin; ERECTA family; Receptor kinases; Shoot apical meristem; Stem cells
Plant life is strongly dependent on the environment, and plants regulate their growth and development in response to many different environmental stimuli. One of the regulatory mechanisms involved in these responses is phototropism, which allows plants to change their growth direction in response to the location of the light source. Since the study of phototropism by Darwin, many physiological studies of this phenomenon have been published. Recently, molecular genetic analyses of Arabidopsis have begun to shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying this response system, including phototropin blue light photoreceptors, phototropin signaling components, auxin transporters, auxin action mechanisms and others. This review highlights some of the recent progress that has been made in further elucidating the phototropic response, with particular emphasis on mutant phenotypes.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Auxin; Phototropin; Phototropism; Phytochrome; PIN
Tocopherols are antioxidants found in chloroplasts of leaves, and it is a matter of current debate whether or not they can affect signaling and gene expression in plant cells. For insight into the possible effects of altered tocopherol composition in chloroplasts on gene expression in the nucleus, the expression of ethylene biosynthesis, perception and signaling genes was investigated in vte1 and vte4 Arabidopsis thaliana mutants, which are impaired in tocopherol (vitamin E) biosynthesis. Changes in gene expression were measured in plants exposed to either salt or water stress, and in young and mature leaves of vte1 and vte4 mutants, which lack tocopherol cyclase and γ-tocopherol methyltransferase, respectively. While transcript levels of ethylene signaling genes in the vte1 mutant and the wild type were similar in all tested conditions, major changes in gene expression occurred in the vte4 mutant, particularly in mature leaves (compared with young leaves) and under salt stress. Accumulation of γ- instead of α-tocopherol in this mutant led to elevated transcript levels of ethylene signaling pathway genes (particularly CTR1, EIN2, EIN3 and ERF1) in mature leaves of control plants. However, with salt treatment, transcript levels of most of these genes remained constant or dropped in the vte4 mutant, while they were dramatically induced in the wild type and the vte1 mutant. Furthermore, under salt stress, leaf age-induced jasmonic acid accumulated in both the vte1 mutant and the wild type, but not in the vte4 mutant. It is concluded that jasmonic acid and ethylene signaling pathways are down-regulated in mature leaves of salt-stressed vte4 plants.
Ethylene signaling; Salt stress; Tocochromanols; Vitamin E; Water stress
We recently investigated the roles of the phototropin 1 (PHOT1) LOV (light, oxygen or voltage) domains in mediating phototropic curvature in transgenic Arabidopsis seedlings expressing either wild-type PHOT1 or PHOT1 with one or both LOV domains inactivated by a single amino acid replacement. We have now investigated the role of the PHOT1 LOV domains in chloroplast movement and in leaf positioning in response to blue light. Low fluence rate blue light is known to mediate a chloroplast accumulation response and high fluence rate blue light an avoidance response in Arabidopsis leaves. As was the case for phototropism, LOV2 of PHOT1 is essential for chloroplast accumulation and LOV1 is dispensable. PHOT1 LOV2 is also essential to maintain developing primary leaves in a horizontal position under white light from above and LOV1 is again dispensable. A red light pulse given to dark-adapted light-grown plants followed by 2 h of darkness enhances both the chloroplast accumulation response under dim blue light and the chloroplast avoidance response under strong blue light. The effect is far-red reversible. This photoreversible response is normal in a phyB null mutant but does not appear in a phyA null mutant. These results suggest that phyA mediates the enhancement, induced by a red light pulse, of blue light-induced chloroplast movements.
Arabidopsis; Chloroplast; movement; LOV; domain; Phototropin; Phytochrome
Only a few environmental factors have such a pronounced effect on plant growth and development as ultraviolet light (UV). Concerns have arisen due to increased UV-B radiation reaching the Earth’s surface as a result of stratospheric ozone depletion. Ecologically relevant low to moderate UV-B doses (0.3–1 kJ m–2 d–1) were applied to sprouts of the important vegetable crop Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli), and eco-physiological responses such as accumulation of non-volatile secondary metabolites were related to transcriptional responses with Agilent One-Color Gene Expression Microarray analysis using the 2×204 k format Brassica microarray. UV-B radiation effects have usually been linked to increases in phenolic compounds. As expected, the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin accumulated in broccoli sprouts (the aerial part of the seedlings) 24 h after UV-B treatment. A new finding is the specific UV-B-mediated induction of glucosinolates (GS), especially of 4-methylsulfinylbutyl GS and 4-methoxy-indol-3-ylmethyl GS, while carotenoids and Chl levels remained unaffected. Accumulation of defensive GS metabolites was accompanied by increased expression of genes associated with salicylate and jasmonic acid signaling defense pathways and up-regulation of genes responsive to fungal and bacterial pathogens. Concomitantly, plant pre-exposure to moderate UV-B doses had negative effects on the performance of the caterpillar Pieris brassicae (L.) and on the population growth of the aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer). Moreover, insect-specific induction of GS in broccoli sprouts was affected by UV-B pre-treatment.
Brassica array; Broccoli; Glucosinolates; Insect performance; Plant defense signaling; UV-B
In contrast to a wealth of knowledge about the photoregulation of gibberellin metabolism in dicots, that in monocots remains largely unclear. In this study, we found that a blue light signal triggers reduction of active gibberellin content in rice seedlings with simultaneous repression of two gibberellin 20-oxidase genes (OsGA20ox2 and OsGA20ox4) and acute induction of four gibberellin 2-oxidase genes (OsGA2ox4–OsGA2ox7). For further examination of the regulation of these genes, we established a series of cryptochrome-deficient lines through reverse genetic screening from a Tos17 mutant population and construction of knockdown lines based on an RNA interference technique. By using these lines and phytochrome mutants, we elucidated that cryptochrome 1 (cry1), consisting of two species in rice plants (cry1a and cry1b), is indispensable for robust induction of the GA2ox genes. On the other hand, repression of the GA20ox genes is mediated by phytochromes. In addition, we found that the phytochromes also mediate the repression of a gibberellin 3-oxidase gene (OsGA3ox2) in the light. These results imply that, in rice seedlings, phytochromes mediate the repression of gibberellin biosynthesis capacity, while cry1 mediates the induction of gibberellin inactivation capacity. The cry1 action was demonstrated to be dominant in the reduction of active gibberellin content, but, in rice seedlings, the cumulative effects of these independent actions reduced active gibberellin content in the light. This pathway design in which different types of photoreceptors independently but cooperatively regulate active gibberellin content is unique from the viewpoint of dicot research. This redundancy should provide robustness to the response in rice plants.
Cryptochrome; Gibberellin; Leaf sheath elongation; Photomorphogenesis; Phytochrome; Rice; Oryza sativa
GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid), a non-protein amino acid, is a signaling factor in many organisms. In plants, GABA is known to accumulate under a variety of stresses. However, the consequence of GABA accumulation, especially in vegetative tissues, remains poorly understood. Moreover, gene expression changes as a consequence of GABA accumulation in plants are largely unknown. The pop2 mutant, which is defective in GABA catabolism and accumulates GABA, is a good model to examine the effects of GABA accumulation on plant development. Here, we show that the pop2 mutants have pollen tube elongation defects in the transmitting tract of pistils. Additionally, we observed growth inhibition of primary root and dark-grown hypocotyl, at least in part due to cell elongation defects, upon exposure to exogenous GABA. Microarray analysis of pop2-1 seedlings grown in GABA-supplemented medium revealed that 60% of genes whose expression decreased encode secreted proteins. Besides, functional classification of genes with decreased expression in the pop2-1 mutant showed that cell wall-related genes were significantly enriched in the microarray data set, consistent with the cell elongation defects observed in pop2 mutants. Our study identifies cell elongation defects caused by GABA accumulation in both reproductive and vegetative tissues. Additionally, our results show that genes that encode secreted and cell wall-related proteins may mediate some of the effects of GABA accumulation. The potential function of GABA as a growth control factor under stressful conditions is discussed.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Cell elongation; Cell wall; GABA; Microarray; Secretory pathway
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins regulate major developmental processes in Arabidopsis. EMBRYONIC FLOWER 2 (EMF2), the VEFS domain-containing PcG gene, regulates diverse genetic pathways and is required for vegetative development and plant survival. Despite widespread EMF2-like sequences in plants, little is known about their function other than in Arabidopsis and rice. To study the role of EMF2 in broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica cv. Elegance) development, we identified two broccoli EMF2 (BoEMF2) genes with sequence homology to and a similar gene expression pattern to that in Arabidopsis (AtEMF2). Reducing their expression in broccoli resulted in aberrant phenotypes and gene expression patterns. BoEMF2 regulates genes involved in diverse developmental and stress programs similar to AtEMF2 in Arabidopsis. However, BoEMF2 differs from AtEMF2 in the regulation of flower organ identity, cell proliferation and elongation, and death-related genes, which may explain the distinct phenotypes. The expression of BoEMF2.1 in the Arabidopsis emf2 mutant (Rescued emf2) partially rescued the mutant phenotype and restored the gene expression pattern to that of the wild type. Many EMF2-mediated molecular and developmental functions are conserved in broccoli and Arabidopsis. Furthermore, the restored gene expression pattern in Rescued emf2 provides insights into the molecular basis of PcG-mediated growth and development.
Brassica oleracea var. italica; Broccoli; EMBRYONIC FLOWER 2; Flowering; Polycomb Group Protein
A characteristic feature of flowering plants is the fusion of carpels, which results in the formation of an enclosed gynoecium. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the gynoecium is formed by the fusion of two carpels along their margins, which also act as a meristematic site for the formation of internal structures such as ovules, the septum and transmitting tract. How gene interactions coordinate the fusion and differentiation of the marginal structures during gynoecium development is largely unknown. It was previously shown that the SPATULA (SPT) gene is required for carpel fusion, whereas overexpression of the CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON genes CUC1 and CUC2 prevents it. Here we provide evidence that SPT promotes carpel fusion in the apical gynoecium partly through the negative regulation of CUC1 and CUC2 expression. In spt, transcripts of both CUC genes accumulated ectopically, and addition of cuc1 and cuc2 mutations to spt suppressed the split phenotype of carpels specifically along their lateral margins. In the basal gynoecium, on the other hand, all three genes promoted the formation of margin-derived structures, as revealed by the synergistic interactions of spt with each of the cuc mutations. Our results suggest that differential interactions among SPT, CUC1 and CUC2 direct the formation of domain-specific structures of the Arabidopsis gynoecium.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Carpel margin; Congenital fusion; Gynoecium; Post-genital fusion
The spectral reflectance signature of living organisms provides information that closely reflects their physiological status. Because of its high potential for the estimation of geomorphic biological parameters, particularly of gross photosynthesis of plants, two-dimensional spectroscopy, via the use of hyperspectral instruments, has been widely used in remote sensing applications. In genetics research, in contrast, the reflectance phenotype has rarely been the subject of quantitative analysis; its potential for illuminating the pathway leading from the gene to phenotype remains largely unexplored. In this study, we employed hyperspectral imaging techniques to identify Arabidopsis mutants with altered leaf pigment status. The techniques are comprised of two modes; the first is referred to as the ‘targeted mode’ and the second as the ‘non-targeted mode’. The ‘targeted’ mode is aimed at visualizing individual concentrations and compositional parameters of leaf pigments based on reflectance indices (RIs) developed for Chls a and b, carotenoids and anthocyanins. The ‘non-targeted’ mode highlights differences in reflectance spectra of leaf samples relative to reference spectra from the wild-type leaves. Through the latter approach, three mutant lines with weak irregular reflectance phenotypes, that are hardly identifiable by simple observation, were isolated. Analysis of these and other mutants revealed that the RI-based targeted pigment estimation was robust at least against changes in trichome density, but was confounded by genetic defects in chloroplast photorelocation movement. Notwithstanding such a limitation, the techniques presented here provide rapid and high-sensitive means to identify genetic mechanisms that coordinate leaf pigment status with developmental stages and/or environmental stress conditions.
Arabidopsis; Hyperspectral imaging; Mutant identification; Pigment; Quantitative phenotyping