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1.  Transcriptome analysis of Gossypium hirsutum flower buds infested by cotton boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) larvae 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):854.
Cotton is a major fibre crop grown worldwide that suffers extensive damage from chewing insects, including the cotton boll weevil larvae (Anthonomus grandis). Transcriptome analysis was performed to understand the molecular interactions between Gossypium hirsutum L. and cotton boll weevil larvae. The Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform was used to sequence the transcriptome of cotton flower buds infested with boll weevil larvae.
The analysis generated a total of 327,489,418 sequence reads that were aligned to the G. hirsutum reference transcriptome. The total number of expressed genes was over 21,697 per sample with an average length of 1,063 bp. The DEGseq analysis identified 443 differentially expressed genes (DEG) in cotton flower buds infected with boll weevil larvae. Among them, 402 (90.7%) were up-regulated, 41 (9.3%) were down-regulated and 432 (97.5%) were identified as orthologues of A. thaliana genes using Blastx. Mapman analysis of DEG indicated that many genes were involved in the biotic stress response spanning a range of functions, from a gene encoding a receptor-like kinase to genes involved in triggering defensive responses such as MAPK, transcription factors (WRKY and ERF) and signalling by ethylene (ET) and jasmonic acid (JA) hormones. Furthermore, the spatial expression pattern of 32 of the genes responsive to boll weevil larvae feeding was determined by “in situ” qPCR analysis from RNA isolated from two flower structures, the stamen and the carpel, by laser microdissection (LMD).
A large number of cotton transcripts were significantly altered upon infestation by larvae. Among the changes in gene expression, we highlighted the transcription of receptors/sensors that recognise chitin or insect oral secretions; the altered regulation of transcripts encoding enzymes related to kinase cascades, transcription factors, Ca2+ influxes, and reactive oxygen species; and the modulation of transcripts encoding enzymes from phytohormone signalling pathways. These data will aid in the selection of target genes to genetically engineer cotton to control the cotton boll weevil.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-854) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4234063  PMID: 25280771
Cotton; Larvae; Transcriptome sequencing; Biotic stress; WRKY FT; Laser microdissection (LMD)
2.  Transcriptomic analysis of the red seaweed Laurencia dendroidea (Florideophyceae, Rhodophyta) and its microbiome 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:487.
Seaweeds of the Laurencia genus have a broad geographic distribution and are largely recognized as important sources of secondary metabolites, mainly halogenated compounds exhibiting diverse potential pharmacological activities and relevant ecological role as anti-epibiosis. Host-microbe interaction is a driving force for co-evolution in the marine environment, but molecular studies of seaweed-associated microbial communities are still rare. Despite the large amount of research describing the chemical compositions of Laurencia species, the genetic knowledge regarding this genus is currently restricted to taxonomic markers and general genome features. In this work we analyze the transcriptomic profile of L. dendroidea J. Agardh, unveil the genes involved on the biosynthesis of terpenoid compounds in this seaweed and explore the interactions between this host and its associated microbiome.
A total of 6 transcriptomes were obtained from specimens of L. dendroidea sampled in three different coastal locations of the Rio de Janeiro state. Functional annotations revealed predominantly basic cellular metabolic pathways. Bacteria was the dominant active group in the microbiome of L. dendroidea, standing out nitrogen fixing Cyanobacteria and aerobic heterotrophic Proteobacteria. The analysis of the relative contribution of each domain highlighted bacterial features related to glycolysis, lipid and polysaccharide breakdown, and also recognition of seaweed surface and establishment of biofilm. Eukaryotic transcripts, on the other hand, were associated with photosynthesis, synthesis of carbohydrate reserves, and defense mechanisms, including the biosynthesis of terpenoids through the mevalonate-independent pathway.
This work describes the first transcriptomic profile of the red seaweed L. dendroidea, increasing the knowledge about ESTs from the Florideophyceae algal class. Our data suggest an important role for L. dendroidea in the primary production of the holobiont and the role of Bacteria as consumers of organic matter and possibly also as nitrogen source. Furthermore, this seaweed expressed sequences related to terpene biosynthesis, including the complete mevalonate-independent pathway, which offers new possibilities for biotechnological applications using secondary metabolites from L. dendroidea.
PMCID: PMC3534612  PMID: 22985125
Red seaweed; Terpene; Bacteria; Holobiont; Metabolic pathway; EST
3.  Reference Genes for Accurate Transcript Normalization in Citrus Genotypes under Different Experimental Conditions 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31263.
Real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) has emerged as an accurate and widely used technique for expression profiling of selected genes. However, obtaining reliable measurements depends on the selection of appropriate reference genes for gene expression normalization. The aim of this work was to assess the expression stability of 15 candidate genes to determine which set of reference genes is best suited for transcript normalization in citrus in different tissues and organs and leaves challenged with five pathogens (Alternaria alternata, Phytophthora parasitica, Xylella fastidiosa and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus). We tested traditional genes used for transcript normalization in citrus and orthologs of Arabidopsis thaliana genes described as superior reference genes based on transcriptome data. geNorm and NormFinder algorithms were used to find the best reference genes to normalize all samples and conditions tested. Additionally, each biotic stress was individually analyzed by geNorm. In general, FBOX (encoding a member of the F-box family) and GAPC2 (GAPDH) was the most stable candidate gene set assessed under the different conditions and subsets tested, while CYP (cyclophilin), TUB (tubulin) and CtP (cathepsin) were the least stably expressed genes found. Validation of the best suitable reference genes for normalizing the expression level of the WRKY70 transcription factor in leaves infected with Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus showed that arbitrary use of reference genes without previous testing could lead to misinterpretation of data. Our results revealed FBOX, SAND (a SAND family protein), GAPC2 and UPL7 (ubiquitin protein ligase 7) to be superior reference genes, and we recommend their use in studies of gene expression in citrus species and relatives. This work constitutes the first systematic analysis for the selection of superior reference genes for transcript normalization in different citrus organs and under biotic stress.
PMCID: PMC3276578  PMID: 22347455
4.  Isolation and functional characterization of a cotton ubiquitination-related promoter and 5'UTR that drives high levels of expression in root and flower tissues 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:115.
Cotton (Gossypium spp.) is an important crop worldwide that provides raw material to 40% of the textile fiber industry. Important traits have been studied aiming the development of genetically modified crops including resistance to insect and diseases, and tolerance to drought, cold and herbicide. Therefore, the characterization of promoters and regulatory regions is also important to achieve high gene expression and/or a specific expression pattern. Commonly, genes involved in ubiquitination pathways are highly and differentially expressed. In this study, we analyzed the expression of a cotton ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) family member with no previous characterization.
Nucleotide analysis revealed high identity with cotton E2 homologues. Multiple alignment showed a premature stop codon, which prevents the encoding of the conserved cysteine residue at the E2 active site, and an intron that is spliced in E2 homologues, but not in GhGDRP85. The GhGDRP85 gene is highly expressed in different organs of cotton plants, and has high transcript levels in roots. Its promoter (uceApro2) and the 5'UTR compose a regulatory region named uceA1.7, and were isolated from cotton and studied in Arabidopsis thaliana. uceA1.7 shows strong expression levels, equaling or surpassing the expression levels of CaMV35S. The uceA1.7 regulatory sequence drives GUS expression 7-fold higher in flowers, 2-fold in roots and at similar levels in leaves and stems. GUS expression levels are decreased 7- to 15-fold when its 5'UTR is absent in uceApro2.
uceA1.7 is a strong constitutive regulatory sequence composed of a promoter (uceApro2) and its 5'UTR that will be useful in genetic transformation of dicots, having high potential to drive high levels of transgene expression in crops, particularly for traits desirable in flower and root tissues.
PMCID: PMC3239415  PMID: 22115195
6.  Identification and evaluation of new reference genes in Gossypium hirsutum for accurate normalization of real-time quantitative RT-PCR data 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:49.
Normalizing through reference genes, or housekeeping genes, can make more accurate and reliable results from reverse transcription real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Recent studies have shown that no single housekeeping gene is universal for all experiments. Thus, suitable reference genes should be the first step of any qPCR analysis. Only a few studies on the identification of housekeeping gene have been carried on plants. Therefore qPCR studies on important crops such as cotton has been hampered by the lack of suitable reference genes.
By the use of two distinct algorithms, implemented by geNorm and NormFinder, we have assessed the gene expression of nine candidate reference genes in cotton: GhACT4, GhEF1α5, GhFBX6, GhPP2A1, GhMZA, GhPTB, GhGAPC2, GhβTUB3 and GhUBQ14. The candidate reference genes were evaluated in 23 experimental samples consisting of six distinct plant organs, eight stages of flower development, four stages of fruit development and in flower verticils. The expression of GhPP2A1 and GhUBQ14 genes were the most stable across all samples and also when distinct plants organs are examined. GhACT4 and GhUBQ14 present more stable expression during flower development, GhACT4 and GhFBX6 in the floral verticils and GhMZA and GhPTB during fruit development. Our analysis provided the most suitable combination of reference genes for each experimental set tested as internal control for reliable qPCR data normalization. In addition, to illustrate the use of cotton reference genes we checked the expression of two cotton MADS-box genes in distinct plant and floral organs and also during flower development.
We have tested the expression stabilities of nine candidate genes in a set of 23 tissue samples from cotton plants divided into five different experimental sets. As a result of this evaluation, we recommend the use of GhUBQ14 and GhPP2A1 housekeeping genes as superior references for normalization of gene expression measures in different cotton plant organs; GhACT4 and GhUBQ14 for flower development, GhACT4 and GhFBX6 for the floral organs and GhMZA and GhPTB for fruit development. We also provide the primer sequences whose performance in qPCR experiments is demonstrated. These genes will enable more accurate and reliable normalization of qPCR results for gene expression studies in this important crop, the major source of natural fiber and also an important source of edible oil. The use of bona fide reference genes allowed a detailed and accurate characterization of the temporal and spatial expression pattern of two MADS-box genes in cotton.
PMCID: PMC2923523  PMID: 20302670
7.  Complete genome sequence of the sugarcane nitrogen-fixing endophyte Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Pal5 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:450.
Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Pal5 is an endophytic diazotrophic bacterium that lives in association with sugarcane plants. It has important biotechnological features such as nitrogen fixation, plant growth promotion, sugar metabolism pathways, secretion of organic acids, synthesis of auxin and the occurrence of bacteriocins.
Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Pal5 is the third diazotrophic endophytic bacterium to be completely sequenced. Its genome is composed of a 3.9 Mb chromosome and 2 plasmids of 16.6 and 38.8 kb, respectively. We annotated 3,938 coding sequences which reveal several characteristics related to the endophytic lifestyle such as nitrogen fixation, plant growth promotion, sugar metabolism, transport systems, synthesis of auxin and the occurrence of bacteriocins. Genomic analysis identified a core component of 894 genes shared with phylogenetically related bacteria. Gene clusters for gum-like polysaccharide biosynthesis, tad pilus, quorum sensing, for modulation of plant growth by indole acetic acid and mechanisms involved in tolerance to acidic conditions were identified and may be related to the sugarcane endophytic and plant-growth promoting traits of G. diazotrophicus. An accessory component of at least 851 genes distributed in genome islands was identified, and was most likely acquired by horizontal gene transfer. This portion of the genome has likely contributed to adaptation to the plant habitat.
The genome data offer an important resource of information that can be used to manipulate plant/bacterium interactions with the aim of improving sugarcane crop production and other biotechnological applications.
PMCID: PMC2765452  PMID: 19775431
8.  Patterns of genetic diversity in southern and southeastern Araucaria angustifolia (Bert.) O. Kuntze relict populations 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2009;32(3):546-556.
Habitat fragmentation and a decrease in population size may lead to a loss in population genetic diversity. For the first time, the reduction in genetic diversity in the northernmost limit of natural occurence (southeastern Brazil) of Araucaria angustifolia in comparison with populations in the main area of the species continuous natural distribution (southern Brazil), was tested. The 673 AFLPs markers revealed a high level of genetic diversity for the species (Ht = 0.27), despite anthropogenic influence throughout the last century, and a decrease of H in isolated populations of southeastern Brazil (H = 0.16), thereby indicating the tendency for higher genetic diversity in remnant populations of continuous forests in southern Brazil, when compared to natural isolated populations in the southeastern region. A strong differentiation among southern and southeastern populations was detected (AMOVA variance ranged from 10%-15%). From Bayesian analysis, it is suggested that the nine populations tested form five “genetic clusters” (K = 5). Five of these populations, located in the northernmost limit of distribution of the species, represent three “genetic clusters”. These results are in agreement with the pattern of geographic distribution of the studied populations.
PMCID: PMC3036047  PMID: 21637518
Araucariaceae; relict populations; araucaria forest; population genetics; AFLP

Results 1-8 (8)