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1.  De Novo Transcriptome Sequencing of Olea europaea L. to Identify Genes Involved in the Development of the Pollen Tube 
The Scientific World Journal  2016;2016:4305252.
In olive (Olea europaea L.), the processes controlling self-incompatibility are still unclear and the molecular basis underlying this process are still not fully characterized. In order to determine compatibility relationships, using next-generation sequencing techniques and a de novo transcriptome assembly strategy, we show that pollen tubes from different olive plants, grown in vitro in a medium containing its own pistil and in combination pollen/pistil from self-sterile and self-fertile cultivars, have a distinct gene expression profile and many of the differentially expressed sequences between the samples fall within gene families involved in the development of the pollen tube, such as lipase, carboxylesterase, pectinesterase, pectin methylesterase, and callose synthase. Moreover, different genes involved in signal transduction, transcription, and growth are overrepresented. The analysis also allowed us to identify members in actin and actin depolymerization factor and fibrin gene family and member of the Ca2+ binding gene family related to the development and polarization of pollen apical tip. The whole transcriptomic analysis, through the identification of the differentially expressed transcripts set and an extended functional annotation analysis, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of pollen germination and pollen tube growth in the olive.
PMCID: PMC4779530  PMID: 26998509
2.  A dehydrin gene isolated from feral olive enhances drought tolerance in Arabidopsis transgenic plants 
Dehydrins belong to a protein family whose expression may be induced or enhanced by developmental process and environmental stresses that lead to cell dehydration. A dehydrin gene named OesDHN was isolated and characterized from oleaster (Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea, var. sylvestris), the wild form of olive. To elucidate the contribution of OesDHN in the development of drought tolerance, its expression levels were investigated in oleaster plants during development and under drought stress condition. The involvement of OesDHN in plant stress response was also evaluated in Arabidopsis transgenic lines, engineered to overexpress this gene, and exposed to a controlled mild osmotic stress. OesDHN expression was found to be modulated during development and induced under mild drought stress in oleaster plants. In addition, the Arabidopsis transgenic plants showed a better tolerance to osmotic stress than wild-type plants. The results demonstrated that OesDHN expression is induced by drought stress and is able to confer osmotic stress tolerance. We suggest a role for OesDHN, as a putative functional marker of plant stress tolerance.
PMCID: PMC4485055  PMID: 26175736
dehydrins; drought tolerance; gene expression; oleaster; green fluorescent protein
3.  A De novo Transcriptomic Approach to Identify Flavonoids and Anthocyanins “Switch-Off” in Olive (Olea europaea L.) Drupes at Different Stages of Maturation 
Highlights A de novo transcriptome reconstruction of olive drupes was performed in two genotypesGene expression was monitored during drupe development in two olive cultivarsTranscripts involved in flavonoid and anthocyanin pathways were analyzed in Cassanese and Leucocarpa cultivarsBoth cultivar and developmental stage impact gene expression in Olea europaea fruits.
During ripening, the fruits of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.) undergo a progressive chromatic change characterized by the formation of a red-brown “spot” which gradually extends on the epidermis and in the innermost part of the mesocarp. This event finds an exception in the Leucocarpa cultivar, in which we observe a destabilized equilibrium between the metabolisms of chlorophyll and other pigments, particularly the anthocyanins whose switch-off during maturation promotes the white coloration of fruits. Despite its importance, genomic information on the olive tree is still lacking. Different RNA-seq libraries were generated from drupes of “Leucocarpa” and “Cassanese” olive genotypes, sampled at 100 and 130 days after flowering (DAF), and were used in order to identify transcripts involved in the main phenotypic changes of fruits during maturation and their corresponding expression patterns. A total of 103,359 transcripts were obtained and 3792 and 3064 were differentially expressed in “Leucocarpa” and “Cassanese” genotypes, respectively, during 100–130 DAF transition. Among them flavonoid and anthocyanin related transcripts such as phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H), 4-coumarate-CoA ligase (4CL), chalcone synthase (CHS), chalcone isomerase (CHI), flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H), flavonol 3′-hydrogenase (F3′H), flavonol 3′5 ′-hydrogenase (F3′5′H), flavonol synthase (FLS), dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR), anthocyanidin synthase (ANS), UDP-glucose:anthocianidin: flavonoid glucosyltransferase (UFGT) were identified. These results contribute to reducing the current gap in information regarding metabolic processes, including those linked to fruit pigmentation in the olive.
PMCID: PMC4717290  PMID: 26834761
Olea europaea; flavonoid and anthocyanin pathway; RNA-seq; de novo assembly; gene expression
4.  Genetic Biodiversity of Italian Olives (Olea europaea) Germplasm Analyzed by SSR Markers 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:296590.
The olive is an important fruit species cultivated for oil and table olives in Italy and the Mediterranean basin. The conservation of cultivated plants in ex situ collections is essential for the optimal management and use of their genetic resources. The largest ex situ olive germplasm collection consists of approximately 500 Italian olive varieties and corresponding to 85% of the total Italian olive germplasm is maintained at the Consiglio per la Ricerca e sperimentazione per l'Agricoltura, Centro di Ricerca per l'Olivicoltura e l'Industria Olearia (CRA-OLI), in Italy. In this work, eleven preselected nuclear microsatellite markers were used to assess genetic diversity, population structure, and gene flows with the aim of assembling a core collection. The dendrogram obtained utilizing the unweighted pair group method highlights the presence of homonymy and synonymy in olive tree datasets analyzed in this study. 439 different unique genotype profiles were obtained with this combination of 11 loci nSSR, representing 89.8% of the varieties analyzed. The remaining 10.2% comprises different variety pairs in which both accessions are genetically indistinguishable. Clustering analysis performed using BAPS software detected seven groups in Italian olive germplasm and gene flows were determined among identified clusters. We proposed an Italian core collection of 23 olive varieties capturing all detected alleles at microsatellites. The information collected in this study regarding the CRA-OLI ex situ collection can be used for breeding programs, for germplasm conservation, and for optimizing a strategy for the management of olive gene pools.
PMCID: PMC3958686  PMID: 24723801
5.  In Vitro Culture Conditions and OeARF and OeH3 Expressions Modulate Adventitious Root Formation from Oleaster (Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. sylvestris) Cuttings 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:974086.
Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. sylvestris, also named oleaster, is the wild form of olive and it is used as rootstock and pollen donor for many cultivated varieties. An efficient procedure for in vitro propagation of oleaster was established in this study. A zeatin concentration of 2.5 mg/L was effective to induce an appreciable vegetative growth. Also high rooting efficiency was obtained by using a short IBA pulse, followed by two different IBA concentrations in the culture medium. With the aim to enlarge knowledge on the molecular aspects of adventitious rooting, we also evaluated the transcriptional modulation of an ARFs member and HISTONE H3 genes, involved in auxin signaling and cell replication, respectively, during the root induction phase of cuttings. The obtained results suggest that the selected genes, as markers of the induction phase, could be very useful for setting up efficient culture conditions along the rooting process, thus increasing micropropagation efficiency.
PMCID: PMC3920661  PMID: 24587768
6.  Differential spatial expression of A- and B-type CDKs, and distribution of auxins and cytokinins in the open transverse root apical meristem of Cucurbita maxima 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(7):1223-1234.
Background and Aims
Aside from those on Arabidopsis, very few studies have focused on spatial expression of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) in root apical meristems (RAMs), and, indeed, none has been undertaken for open meristems. The extent of interfacing between cell cycle genes and plant growth regulators is also an increasingly important issue in plant cell cycle studies. Here spatial expression/localization of an A-type and B-type CDK, auxin and cytokinins are reported in relation to the hitherto unexplored anatomy of RAMs of Cucurbita maxima.
Median longitudinal sections were cut from 1-cm-long primary root tips of C. maxima. Full-length A-type CDKs and a B-type CDK were cloned from C. maxima using degenerate primers, probes of which were localized on sections of RAMs using in situ hybridization. Isopentenyladenine (iPA), trans-zeatin (t-Z) and indole-3yl-acetic acid (IAA) were identified on sections by immunolocalization.
Key Results
The C. cucurbita RAM conformed to an open transverse (OT) meristem typified by an absence of a clear boundary between the eumeristem and root cap columella, but with a distinctive longitudinally thickened epidermis. Cucma;CDKA;1 expression was detected strongly in the longitudinally thickened epidermis, a tissue with mitotic competence that contributes cells radially to the root cap of OT meristems. Cucma;CDKB2 was expressed mainly in proliferative regions of the RAM and in lateral root primordia. iPA and t-Z were mainly distributed in differentiated cells whilst IAA was distributed more uniformly in all tissues of the RAM.
Cucma;CDKA;1 was expressed most strongly in cells that have proliferative competence whereas Cucma;CDKB2 was confined mainly to mitotic cells. iPA and t-Z marked differentiated cells in the RAM, consistent with the known effect of cytokinins in promoting differentiation in root systems. iPA/t-Z were distributed in a converse pattern to Cucma;CDKB2 expression whereas IAA was detected in most cells in the RAM regardless of their proliferative potential.
PMCID: PMC3091794  PMID: 20601387
Auxin; cytokinins; CDKs; Cucurbita maxima; root apical meristems
7.  LOX Gene Transcript Accumulation in Olive (Olea europaea L.) Fruits at Different Stages of Maturation: Relationship between Volatile Compounds, Environmental Factors, and Technological Treatments for Oil Extraction 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:532179.
The quality of olive oil is influenced by genetic and environmental factors and by the maturation state of drupes, but it is equally affected by technological treatments of the process. This work investigates the possible correlation between olive LOX gene transcript accumulation, evaluated in fruits collected at different stages of maturation, and chemical biomarkers of its activity. During olive fruit ripening, the same genotype harvested from two different farms shows a positive linear trend between LOX relative transcript accumulation and the content of volatile compounds present in the olive oil aroma. Interestingly, a negative linear trend was observed between LOX relative transcript accumulation and the content of volatile compounds present in the olive pastes obtained from olive fruits with and without malaxation. The changes in the olive LOX transcript accumulation reveal its environmental regulation and suggest differential physiological functions for the LOXs.
PMCID: PMC3353494  PMID: 22645430
8.  In Posidonia oceanica cadmium induces changes in DNA methylation and chromatin patterning 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;63(2):695-709.
In mammals, cadmium is widely considered as a non-genotoxic carcinogen acting through a methylation-dependent epigenetic mechanism. Here, the effects of Cd treatment on the DNA methylation patten are examined together with its effect on chromatin reconfiguration in Posidonia oceanica. DNA methylation level and pattern were analysed in actively growing organs, under short- (6 h) and long- (2 d or 4 d) term and low (10 μM) and high (50 μM) doses of Cd, through a Methylation-Sensitive Amplification Polymorphism technique and an immunocytological approach, respectively. The expression of one member of the CHROMOMETHYLASE (CMT) family, a DNA methyltransferase, was also assessed by qRT-PCR. Nuclear chromatin ultrastructure was investigated by transmission electron microscopy. Cd treatment induced a DNA hypermethylation, as well as an up-regulation of CMT, indicating that de novo methylation did indeed occur. Moreover, a high dose of Cd led to a progressive heterochromatinization of interphase nuclei and apoptotic figures were also observed after long-term treatment. The data demonstrate that Cd perturbs the DNA methylation status through the involvement of a specific methyltransferase. Such changes are linked to nuclear chromatin reconfiguration likely to establish a new balance of expressed/repressed chromatin. Overall, the data show an epigenetic basis to the mechanism underlying Cd toxicity in plants.
PMCID: PMC3254685  PMID: 22058406
5-Methylcytosine-antibody; cadmium-stress condition; chromatin reconfiguration; CHROMOMETHYLASE; DNA-methylation; Methylation- Sensitive Amplification Polymorphism (MSAP); Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile

Results 1-8 (8)