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1.  Expression of FcFT1, a FLOWERING LOCUS T-like gene, is regulated by light and associated with inflorescence differentiation in fig (Ficus carica L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:216.
Because the floral induction occurs in many plants when specific environmental conditions are satisfied, most plants bloom and bear fruit during the same season each year. In fig, by contrast, the time interval during which inflorescence (flower bud, fruit) differentiation occurs corresponds to the shoot elongation period. Fig trees thus differ from many species in their reproductive growth characteristics. To date, however, the molecular mechanisms underlying this unorthodox physiology of floral induction and fruit setting in fig trees have not been elucidated.
We isolated a FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT)-like gene from fig and examined its function, characteristics, and expression patterns. The isolated gene, F. carica FT (FcFT1), is single copy in fig and shows the highest similarity at the amino acid level (93.1%) to apple MdFT2. We sequenced its upstream region (1,644 bp) and identified many light-responsive elements. FcFT1 was mainly expressed in leaves and induced early flowering in transgenic tobacco, suggesting that FcFT1 is a fig FT ortholog. Real-time reverse-transcription PCR analysis revealed that FcFT1 mRNA expression occurred only in leaves at the lower nodes, the early fruit setting positions. mRNA levels remained a constant for approximately 5 months from spring to autumn, corresponding almost exactly to the inflorescence differentiation season. Diurnal variation analysis revealed that FcFT1 mRNA expression increased under relative long-day and short-day conditions, but not under continuous darkness.
These results suggest that FcFT1 activation is regulated by light conditions and may contribute to fig’s unique fruit-setting characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3878838  PMID: 24341499
Bearing habit; Floral differentiation; Flowering locus T; Light regulation
2.  Evolutionary Relationship and Structural Characterization of the EPF/EPFL Gene Family 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65183.
EPF1-EPF2 and EPFL9/Stomagen act antagonistically in regulating leaf stomatal density. The aim of this study was to elucidate the evolutionary functional divergence of EPF/EPFL family genes. Phylogenetic analyses showed that AtEPFL9/Stomagen-like genes are conserved only in vascular plants and are closely related to AtEPF1/EPF2-like genes. Modeling showed that EPF/EPFL peptides share a common 3D structure that is constituted of a scaffold and loop. Molecular dynamics simulation suggested that AtEPF1/EPF2-like peptides form an additional disulfide bond in their loop regions and show greater flexibility in these regions than AtEPFL9/Stomagen-like peptides. This study uncovered the evolutionary relationship and the conformational divergence of proteins encoded by the EPF/EPFL family genes.
PMCID: PMC3670920  PMID: 23755192
3.  A Novel Eukaryote-Made Thermostable DNA Polymerase Which Is Free from Bacterial DNA Contamination▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3316-3320.
To achieve the production of a thermostable DNA polymerase free from bacterial DNA contamination, we developed eukaryote-made thermostable DNA (Taq) polymerase. The novel eukaryote-made thermostable DNA polymerase resolves the problem of contaminating bacterial DNA in conventional bacterially made thermostable DNA polymerase as a result of its manufacture and incomplete purification. Using eukaryote-made thermostable DNA polymerase, the sensitive and reliable detection of bacteria becomes feasible for large fields, thereby making the development of a wide range of powerful applications possible.
PMCID: PMC3165589  PMID: 21775543
4.  S-LOCUS EARLY FLOWERING 3 Is Exclusively Present in the Genomes of Short-Styled Buckwheat Plants that Exhibit Heteromorphic Self-Incompatibility 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31264.
The different forms of flowers in a species have attracted the attention of many evolutionary biologists, including Charles Darwin. In Fagopyrum esculentum (common buckwheat), the occurrence of dimorphic flowers, namely short-styled and long-styled flowers, is associated with a type of self-incompatibility (SI) called heteromorphic SI. The floral morphology and intra-morph incompatibility are both determined by a single genetic locus named the S-locus. Plants with short-styled flowers are heterozygous (S/s) and plants with long-styled flowers are homozygous recessive (s/s) at the S-locus. Despite recent progress in our understanding of the molecular basis of flower development and plant SI systems, the molecular mechanisms underlying heteromorphic SI remain unresolved. By examining differentially expressed genes from the styles of the two floral morphs, we identified a gene that is expressed only in short-styled plants. The novel gene identified was completely linked to the S-locus in a linkage analysis of 1,373 plants and had homology to EARLY FLOWERING 3. We named this gene S-LOCUS EARLY FLOWERING 3 (S-ELF3). In an ion-beam-induced mutant that harbored a deletion in the genomic region spanning S-ELF3, a phenotype shift from short-styled flowers to long-styled flowers was observed. Furthermore, S-ELF3 was present in the genome of short-styled plants and absent from that of long-styled plants both in world-wide landraces of buckwheat and in two distantly related Fagopyrum species that exhibit heteromorphic SI. Moreover, independent disruptions of S-ELF3 were detected in a recently emerged self-compatible Fagopyrum species and a self-compatible line of buckwheat. The nonessential role of S-ELF3 in the survival of individuals and the prolonged evolutionary presence only in the genomes of short-styled plants exhibiting heteromorphic SI suggests that S-ELF3 is a suitable candidate gene for the control of the short-styled phenotype of buckwheat plants.
PMCID: PMC3270035  PMID: 22312442
5.  A Host Small GTP-binding Protein ARL8 Plays Crucial Roles in Tobamovirus RNA Replication 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(12):e1002409.
Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), like other eukaryotic positive-strand RNA viruses, replicates its genomic RNA in replication complexes formed on intracellular membranes. Previous studies showed that a host seven-pass transmembrane protein TOM1 is necessary for efficient ToMV multiplication. Here, we show that a small GTP-binding protein ARL8, along with TOM1, is co-purified with a FLAG epitope-tagged ToMV 180K replication protein from solubilized membranes of ToMV-infected tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) cells. When solubilized membranes of ToMV-infected tobacco cells that expressed FLAG-tagged ARL8 were subjected to immunopurification with anti-FLAG antibody, ToMV 130K and 180K replication proteins and TOM1 were co-purified and the purified fraction showed RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity that transcribed ToMV RNA. From uninfected cells, TOM1 co-purified with FLAG-tagged ARL8 less efficiently, suggesting that a complex containing ToMV replication proteins, TOM1, and ARL8 are formed on membranes in infected cells. In Arabidopsis thaliana, ARL8 consists of four family members. Simultaneous mutations in two specific ARL8 genes completely inhibited tobamovirus multiplication. In an in vitro ToMV RNA translation-replication system, the lack of either TOM1 or ARL8 proteins inhibited the production of replicative-form RNA, indicating that TOM1 and ARL8 are required for efficient negative-strand RNA synthesis. When ToMV 130K protein was co-expressed with TOM1 and ARL8 in yeast, RNA 5′-capping activity was detected in the membrane fraction. This activity was undetectable or very weak when the 130K protein was expressed alone or with either TOM1 or ARL8. Taken together, these results suggest that TOM1 and ARL8 are components of ToMV RNA replication complexes and play crucial roles in a process toward activation of the replication proteins' RNA synthesizing and capping functions.
Author Summary
Many important pathogens of plants, animals, and humans are positive-strand RNA viruses. They replicate via complementary RNA in replication complexes formed on host intracellular membranes. In the replication process, not only viral replication proteins but also host factors play important roles. Although many host factors whose knockdown affects the multiplication of positive-strand RNA viruses have been identified, the function of each host factor in virus multiplication is only poorly understood in most instances. In this paper, we show that a host small GTP-binding protein ARL8 is required for the multiplication of Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), and that it forms a complex with ToMV replication proteins and another essential host factor TOM1 that is a seven-pass transmembrane protein. We further demonstrate that the replication proteins acquire the ability to synthesize negative-strand ToMV RNA and RNA 5′ cap only in the presence of both TOM1 and ARL8. The replication proteins of ToMV are multifunctional proteins that participate in RNA replication on membranes and RNA silencing suppression in the cytosol. Our results suggest that ToMV replication proteins are programmed to express their replication-related activities only on membranes through interactions with these host membrane proteins.
PMCID: PMC3234234  PMID: 22174675
6.  HvCEBiP, a gene homologous to rice chitin receptor CEBiP, contributes to basal resistance of barley to Magnaporthe oryzae 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:288.
Rice CEBiP recognizes chitin oligosaccharides on the fungal cell surface or released into the plant apoplast, leading to the expression of plant disease resistance against fungal infection. However, it has not yet been reported whether CEBiP is actually required for restricting the growth of fungal pathogens. Here we evaluated the involvement of a putative chitin receptor gene in the basal resistance of barley to the ssd1 mutant of Magnaporthe oryzae, which induces multiple host defense responses.
The mossd1 mutant showed attenuated pathogenicity on barley and appressorial penetration was restricted by the formation of callose papillae at attempted entry sites. When conidial suspensions of mossd1 mutant were spotted onto the leaves of HvCEBiP-silenced plants, small brown necrotic flecks or blast lesions were produced but these lesions did not expand beyond the inoculation site. Wild-type M. oryzae also produced slightly more severe symptoms on the leaves of HvCEBiP-silenced plants. Cytological observation revealed that these lesions resulted from appressorium-mediated penetration into plant epidermal cells.
These results suggest that HvCEBiP is involved in basal resistance against appressorium-mediated infection and that basal resistance might be triggered by the recognition of chitin oligosaccharides derived from M. oryzae.
PMCID: PMC3020183  PMID: 21190588
7.  Membrane-Bound Tomato Mosaic Virus Replication Proteins Participate in RNA Synthesis and Are Associated with Host Proteins in a Pattern Distinct from Those That Are Not Membrane Bound 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(17):8459-8468.
Extracts of vacuole-depleted, tomato mosaic virus (ToMV)-infected plant protoplasts contained an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) that utilized an endogenous template to synthesize ToMV-related positive-strand RNAs in a pattern similar to that observed in vivo. Despite the fact that only minor fractions of the ToMV 130- and 180-kDa replication proteins were associated with membranes, the RdRp activity was exclusively associated with membranes. A genome-sized, negative-strand RNA template was associated with membranes and was resistant to micrococcal nuclease unless treated with detergents. Non-membrane-bound replication proteins did not exhibit RdRp activity, even in the presence of ToMV RNA. While the non-membrane-bound replication proteins remained soluble after treatment with Triton X-100, the same treatment made the membrane-bound replication proteins in a form that precipitated upon low-speed centrifugation. On the other hand, the detergent lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) efficiently solubilized the membrane-bound replication proteins. Upon LPC treatment, the endogenous template-dependent RdRp activity was reduced and exogenous ToMV RNA template-dependent RdRp activity appeared instead. This activity, as well as the viral 130-kDa protein and the host proteins Hsp70, eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A (eEF1A), TOM1, and TOM2A copurified with FLAG-tagged viral 180-kDa protein from LPC-solubilized membranes. In contrast, Hsp70 and only small amounts of the 130-kDa protein and eEF1A copurified with FLAG-tagged non-membrane-bound 180-kDa protein. These results suggest that the viral replication proteins are associated with the intracellular membranes harboring TOM1 and TOM2A and that this association is important for RdRp activity. Self-association of the viral replication proteins and their association with other host proteins may also be important for RdRp activity.
PMCID: PMC1563852  PMID: 16912296

Results 1-8 (8)