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1.  Evaluation and integration of functional annotation pipelines for newly sequenced organisms: the potato genome as a test case 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):329.
For most organisms, even if their genome sequence is available, little functional information about individual genes or proteins exists. Several annotation pipelines have been developed for functional analysis based on sequence, ‘omics’, and literature data. However, researchers encounter little guidance on how well they perform. Here, we used the recently sequenced potato genome as a case study. The potato genome was selected since its genome is newly sequenced and it is a non-model plant even if there is relatively ample information on individual potato genes, and multiple gene expression profiles are available.
We show that the automatic gene annotations of potato have low accuracy when compared to a “gold standard” based on experimentally validated potato genes. Furthermore, we evaluate six state-of-the-art annotation pipelines and show that their predictions are markedly dissimilar (Jaccard similarity coefficient of 0.27 between pipelines on average). To overcome this discrepancy, we introduce a simple GO structure-based algorithm that reconciles the predictions of the different pipelines. We show that the integrated annotation covers more genes, increases by over 50% the number of highly co-expressed GO processes, and obtains much higher agreement with the gold standard.
We find that different annotation pipelines produce different results, and show how to integrate them into a unified annotation that is of higher quality than each single pipeline. We offer an improved functional annotation of both PGSC and ITAG potato gene models, as well as tools that can be applied to additional pipelines and improve annotation in other organisms. This will greatly aid future functional analysis of ‘-omics’ datasets from potato and other organisms with newly sequenced genomes. The new potato annotations are available with this paper.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0329-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4274702  PMID: 25476999
Functional annotation; Gene ontology; Gene co-expression; Potato; Genomics
2.  Phosphite-induced changes of the transcriptome and secretome in Solanum tuberosum leading to resistance against Phytophthora infestans 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):254.
Potato late blight caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans can lead to immense yield loss. We investigated the transcriptome of Solanum tubersoum (cv. Desiree) and characterized the secretome by quantitative proteomics after foliar application of the protective agent phosphite. We also studied the distribution of phosphite in planta after application and tested transgenic potato lines with impaired in salicylic and jasmonic acid signaling.
Phosphite had a rapid and transient effect on the transcriptome, with a clear response 3 h after treatment. Strikingly this effect lasted less than 24 h, whereas protection was observed throughout all time points tested. In contrast, 67 secretome proteins predominantly associated with cell-wall processes and defense changed in abundance at 48 h after treatment. Transcripts associated with defense, wounding, and oxidative stress constituted the core of the phosphite response. We also observed changes in primary metabolism and cell wall-related processes. These changes were shown not to be due to phosphate depletion or acidification caused by phosphite treatment. Of the phosphite-regulated transcripts 40% also changed with β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) as an elicitor, while the defence gene PR1 was only up-regulated by BABA. Although phosphite was shown to be distributed in planta to parts not directly exposed to phosphite, no protection in leaves without direct foliar application was observed. Furthermore, the analysis of transgenic potato lines indicated that the phosphite-mediated resistance was independent of the plant hormones salicylic and jasmonic acid.
Our study suggests that a rapid phosphite-triggered response is important to confer long-lasting resistance against P. infestans and gives molecular understanding of its successful field applications.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0254-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4192290  PMID: 25270759
Phosphite; Late blight; Phytophthora infestans; Potato; Secretome; Microarray; Induced resistance; Transgenic lines
3.  Quantitative proteomics and transcriptomics of potato in response to Phytophthora infestans in compatible and incompatible interactions 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):497.
In order to get global molecular understanding of one of the most important crop diseases worldwide, we investigated compatible and incompatible interactions between Phytophthora infestans and potato (Solanum tuberosum). We used the two most field-resistant potato clones under Swedish growing conditions, which have the greatest known local diversity of P. infestans populations, and a reference compatible cultivar.
Quantitative label-free proteomics of 51 apoplastic secretome samples (PXD000435) in combination with genome-wide transcript analysis by 42 microarrays (E-MTAB-1515) were used to capture changes in protein abundance and gene expression at 6, 24 and 72 hours after inoculation with P. infestans. To aid mass spectrometry analysis we generated cultivar-specific RNA-seq data (E-MTAB-1712), which increased peptide identifications by 17%. Components induced only during incompatible interactions, which are candidates for hypersensitive response initiation, include a Kunitz-like protease inhibitor, transcription factors and an RCR3-like protein. More secreted proteins had lower abundance in the compatible interaction compared to the incompatible interactions. Based on this observation and because the well-characterized effector-target C14 protease follows this pattern, we suggest 40 putative effector targets.
In summary, over 17000 transcripts and 1000 secreted proteins changed in abundance in at least one time point, illustrating the dynamics of plant responses to a hemibiotroph. Half of the differentially abundant proteins showed a corresponding change at the transcript level. Many putative hypersensitive and effector-target proteins were single representatives of large gene families.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-497) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4079953  PMID: 24947944
Potato; Desiree; Sarpo Mira; SW93-1015; Secretome; Apoplast; Resistance; Hypersensitive response; Phytophthora infestans
4.  Proteomics and transcriptomics of the BABA-induced resistance response in potato using a novel functional annotation approach 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:315.
Induced resistance (IR) can be part of a sustainable plant protection strategy against important plant diseases. β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) can induce resistance in a wide range of plants against several types of pathogens, including potato infected with Phytophthora infestans. However, the molecular mechanisms behind this are unclear and seem to be dependent on the system studied. To elucidate the defence responses activated by BABA in potato, a genome-wide transcript microarray analysis in combination with label-free quantitative proteomics analysis of the apoplast secretome were performed two days after treatment of the leaf canopy with BABA at two concentrations, 1 and 10 mM.
Over 5000 transcripts were differentially expressed and over 90 secretome proteins changed in abundance indicating a massive activation of defence mechanisms with 10 mM BABA, the concentration effective against late blight disease. To aid analysis, we present a more comprehensive functional annotation of the microarray probes and gene models by retrieving information from orthologous gene families across 26 sequenced plant genomes. The new annotation provided GO terms to 8616 previously un-annotated probes.
BABA at 10 mM affected several processes related to plant hormones and amino acid metabolism. A major accumulation of PR proteins was also evident, and in the mevalonate pathway, genes involved in sterol biosynthesis were down-regulated, whereas several enzymes involved in the sesquiterpene phytoalexin biosynthesis were up-regulated. Interestingly, abscisic acid (ABA) responsive genes were not as clearly regulated by BABA in potato as previously reported in Arabidopsis. Together these findings provide candidates and markers for improved resistance in potato, one of the most important crops in the world.
PMCID: PMC4234511  PMID: 24773703
Functional annotation; Mevalonate pathway; Phytophthora infestans; Secretome; Solanum tuberosum; Sterol biosynthesis
5.  Field-omics—understanding large-scale molecular data from field crops 
The recent advances in gene expression analysis as well as protein and metabolite quantification enable genome-scale capturing of complex biological processes at the molecular level in crop field trials. This opens up new possibilities for understanding the molecular and environmental complexity of field-based systems and thus shedding light on the black box between genotype and environment, which in agriculture always is influenced by a multi-stress environment and includes management interventions. Nevertheless, combining different types of data obtained from the field and making biological sense out of large datasets remain challenging. Here we highlight the need to create a cross-disciplinary platform for innovative experimental design, sampling and subsequent analysis of large-scale molecular data obtained in field trials. For these reasons we put forward the term field-omics: “Field-omics strives to couple information from genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, metabolomes and metagenomes to the long-established practice in crop science of conducting field trials as well as to adapt current strategies for recording and analysing field data to facilitate integration with ‘-omics’ data.”
PMCID: PMC4064663  PMID: 24999347
field trials; crops; transcriptomics; proteomics; metabolomics; bioinformatics; field sampling; field-omics
6.  Plant secretome proteomics 
The plant secretome refers to the set of proteins secreted out of the plant cell into the surrounding extracellular space commonly referred to as the apoplast. Secreted proteins maintain cell structure and acts in signaling and are crucial for stress responses where they can interact with pathogen effectors and control the extracellular environment. Typically, secreted proteins contain an N-terminal signal peptide and are directed through the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi pathway. However, in plants many proteins found in the secretome lack such a signature and might follow alternative ways of secretion. This review covers techniques to isolate plant secretomes and how to identify and quantify their constituent proteins. Furthermore, bioinformatical tools to predict secretion signals and define the putative secretome are presented. Findings from proteomic studies and important protein families of plant secretomes, such as proteases and hydrolases, are highlighted.
PMCID: PMC3561728  PMID: 23378846
apoplast; mass spectrometry; plant; proteomics; secretome
7.  Paranoid potato 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2012;7(3):400-408.
Phytophthora is the most devastating pathogen of dicot plants. There is a need for resistance sources with different modes of action to counteract the fast evolution of this pathogen. In order to better understand mechanisms of defense against P. infestans, we analyzed several clones of potato. Two of the genotypes tested, Sarpo Mira and SW93-1015, exhibited strong resistance against P. infestans in field trials, whole plant assays and detached leaf assays. The resistant genotypes developed different sizes of hypersensitive response (HR)-related lesions. HR lesions in SW93-1015 were restricted to very small areas, whereas those in Sarpo Mira were similar to those in Solanum demissum, the main source of classical resistance genes. SW93-1015 can be characterized as a cpr (constitutive expressor of PR genes) genotype without spontaneous microscopic or macroscopic HR lesions. This is indicated by constitutive hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and PR1 (pathogenesis-related protein 1) secretion. SW93-1015 is one of the first plants identified as having classical protein-based induced defense expressed constitutively without any obvious metabolic costs or spontaneous cell death lesions.
PMCID: PMC3443922  PMID: 22476463
Phytophthora infestans; PR proteins; cell death; constitutive defence; cpr; hypersensitive response; late blight; plant-pathogen interaction; potato; resistance
8.  Changes in External pH Rapidly Alter Plant Gene Expression and Modulate Auxin and Elicitor Responses 
Plant, cell & environment  2010;33(9):1513-1528.
pH is a highly variable environmental factor for the root, and plant cells can modify apoplastic pH for nutrient acquisition and in response to extracellular signals. Nevertheless, surprisingly few effects of external pH on plant gene expression have been reported. We have used microarrays to investigate whether external pH affects global gene expression. In Arabidopsis thaliana roots, 881 genes displayed at least 2-fold changes in transcript abundance 8 h after shifting medium pH from 6.0 to 4.5, identifying pH as a major affector of global gene expression. Several genes responded within 20 min, and gene responses were also observed in leaves of seedling cultures. The pH 4.5 treatment was not associated with abiotic stress, as evaluated from growth and transcriptional response. However, the observed patterns of global gene expression indicated redundancies and interactions between the responses to pH, auxin and pathogen elicitors. In addition, major shifts in gene expression were associated with cell wall modifications and Ca2+ signaling. Correspondingly, a marked overrepresentation of Ca2+/calmodulin-associated motifs was observed in the promoters of pH-responsive genes. This strongly suggests that plant pH recognition involves intracellular Ca2+. Overall, the results emphasize the previously underappreciated role of pH in plant responses to the environment.
PMCID: PMC2920358  PMID: 20444216
Apoplast; Arabidopsis thaliana; Auxin; Calcium; Cell wall; Elicitor; Gene expression; Pathogen response; Transcriptome
9.  Trichoderma viride cellulase induces resistance to the antibiotic pore-forming peptide alamethicin associated with changes in the plasma membrane lipid composition of tobacco BY-2 cells 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:274.
Alamethicin is a membrane-active peptide isolated from the beneficial root-colonising fungus Trichoderma viride. This peptide can insert into membranes to form voltage-dependent pores. We have previously shown that alamethicin efficiently permeabilises the plasma membrane, mitochondria and plastids of cultured plant cells. In the present investigation, tobacco cells (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Bright Yellow-2) were pre-treated with elicitors of defence responses to study whether this would affect permeabilisation.
Oxygen consumption experiments showed that added cellulase, already upon a limited cell wall digestion, induced a cellular resistance to alamethicin permeabilisation. This effect could not be elicited by xylanase or bacterial elicitors such as flg22 or elf18. The induction of alamethicin resistance was independent of novel protein synthesis. Also, the permeabilisation was unaffected by the membrane-depolarising agent FCCP. As judged by lipid analyses, isolated plasma membranes from cellulase-pretreated tobacco cells contained less negatively charged phospholipids (PS and PI), yet higher ratios of membrane lipid fatty acid to sterol and to protein, as compared to control membranes.
We suggest that altered membrane lipid composition as induced by cellulase activity may render the cells resistant to alamethicin. This induced resistance could reflect a natural process where the plant cells alter their sensitivity to membrane pore-forming agents secreted by Trichoderma spp. to attack other microorganisms, and thus adding to the beneficial effect that Trichoderma has for plant root growth. Furthermore, our data extends previous reports on artificial membranes on the importance of lipid packing and charge for alamethicin permeabilisation to in vivo conditions.
PMCID: PMC3017840  PMID: 21156059

Results 1-9 (9)