Epigenetic regulation is necessary for maintaining gene expression patterns in multicellular organisms. The Polycomb Group (PcG) proteins form several complexes with important and deeply conserved epigenetic functions in both the plant and animal kingdoms. One such complex, the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), is critical to many developmental processes in plants including the regulation of major developmental transitions. In addition, PRC2 restricts the expression domain of various transcription factor families in Arabidopsis, including the class I KNOX genes and several of the ABCE class MADS box genes. While the functions of these transcription factors are known to be deeply conserved, whether or not their regulation by PRC2 is similarly conserved remains an open question.
Here we use virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to characterize the function of the PRC2 complex in lateral organ development of Aquilegia x coerulea ‘Origami’, a member of the lower eudicot order Ranunculales. Leaves with PRC2 down-regulation displayed a range of phenotypes including ruffled or curled laminae, additional lobing, and an increased frequency of higher order branching. Sepals and petals were also affected, being narrowed, distorted, or, in the case of the sepals, exhibiting partial homeotic transformation. Many of the petal limbs also had a particularly intense yellow coloration due to an accumulation of carotenoid pigments. We show that the A. x coerulea floral MADS box genes AGAMOUS1 (AqAG1), APETALA3-3 (AqAP3-3) and SEPALLATA3 (AqSEP3) are up-regulated in many tissues, while expression of the class I KNOX genes and several candidate genes involved in carotenoid production or degradation are largely unaffected.
PRC2 targeting of several floral MADS box genes may be conserved in dicots, but other known targets do not appear to be. In the case of the type I KNOX genes, this may reflect a regulatory shift associated with the evolution of compound leaves.
Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2); Compound leaves; AGAMOUS; Class I KNOX genes; Carotenoid biosynthesis; Epigenetics; Evolution; Aquilegia
In plants, proline synthesis occurs by two enzymatic steps starting from glutamate as a precursor. Some bacteria, including bacteria such as Agrobacterium rhizogenes have an Ornithine Cyclodeaminase (OCD) which can synthesize proline in a single step by deamination of ornithine. In A. rhizogenes, OCD is one of the genes transferred to the plant genome during the transformation process and plants expressing A. rhizogenes OCD have developmental phenotypes. One nuclear encoded gene of Arabidopsis thaliana has recently been annotated as an OCD (OCD-like; referred to here as AtOCD) but nothing is known of its function. As proline metabolism contributes to tolerance of low water potential during drought, it is of interest to determine if AtOCD affects proline accumulation or low water potential tolerance.
Expression of AtOCD was induced by low water potential stress and by exogenous proline, but not by the putative substrate ornithine. The AtOCD protein was plastid localized. T-DNA mutants of atocd and AtOCD RNAi plants had approximately 15% higher proline accumulation at low water potential while p5cs1-4/atocd double mutants had 40% higher proline than p5cs1 at low water potential but no change in proline metabolism gene expression which could directly explain the higher proline level. AtOCD overexpression did not affect proline accumulation. Enzymatic assays with bacterially expressed AtOCD or AtOCD purified from AtOCD:Flag transgenic plants did not detect any activity using ornithine, proline or several other amino acids as substrates. Moreover, AtOCD mutant or over-expression lines had normal morphology and no difference in root elongation or flowering time, in contrast to previous report of transgenic plants expressing A. rhizogenes OCD. Metabolite analysis found few differences between AtOCD mutants and overexpression lines.
The Arabidopsis OCD-like protein (AtOCD) may not catalyze ornithine to proline conversion and this is consistent with observation that three residues critical for activity of bacterial OCDs are not conserved in AtOCD. AtOCD was, however, stress and proline induced and lack of AtOCD expression increased proline accumulation by an unknown mechanism which did not require expression of P5CS1, the main enzyme responsible for stress-induced proline synthesis from glutamate. The results suggest that AtOCD may have function distinct from bacterial OCDs.
Ornithine cyclodeaminase; Proline; Drought; Arabidopsis thaliana
Clonal propagation is a particular reproductive system found in both the plant and animal kingdoms, from human parasites to clonally propagated crops. Clonal diversity provides information about plant and animal evolutionary history, i.e. how clones spread, or the age of a particular clone. In plants, this could provide valuable information about agrobiodiversity dynamics and more broadly about the evolutionary history of a particular crop. We studied the evolutionary history of yam, Dioscorea rotundata. In Africa, Yam is cultivated by tuber clonal propagation.
We used 12 microsatellite markers to identify intra-clonal diversity in yam varieties. We then used this diversity to assess the relative ages of clones. Using simulations, we assessed how Approximate Bayesian Computation could use clonal diversity to estimate the age of a clone depending on the size of the sample, the number of independent samples and the number of markers. We then applied this approach to our particular dataset and showed that the relative ages of varieties could be estimated, and that each variety could be ranked by age.
We give a first estimation of clone age in an approximate Bayesian framework. However the precise estimation of clone age depends on the precision of the mutation rate. We provide useful information on agrobiodiversity dynamics and suggest recurrent creation of varietal diversity in a clonally propagated crop.
Approximate Bayesian Computation; Clone; Diversity; Mutation; Yam
Oilseed germination is characterized by the degradation of storage lipids. It may proceed either via the direct action of a triacylglycerol lipase, or in certain plant species via a specific lipid body 13-lipoxygenase. For the involvement of a lipoxygenase previous results suggested that the hydroxy- or oxo-group that is being introduced into the fatty acid backbone by this lipoxygenase forms a barrier to continuous β-oxidation.
This study shows however that a complete degradation of oxygenated fatty acids is possible by isolated cucumber and sunflower glyoxysomes. Interestingly, degradation is accompanied by the formation of saturated short chain acyl-CoAs with chain length between 4 and 12 carbon atoms lacking the hydroxy- or oxo-diene system of the oxygenated fatty acid substrate. The presence of these CoA esters suggests the involvement of a specific reduction of the diene system at a chain length of 12 carbon atoms including conversion of the hydroxy-group at C7.
To our knowledge this metabolic pathway has not been described for the degradation of polyunsaturated fatty acids so far. It may represent a new principle to degrade oxygenated fatty acid derivatives formed by lipoxygenases or chemical oxidation initiated by reactive oxygen species.
CoA-ester; Electrophiles; Lipid oxidation; Lipoxygenase pathway; β-oxidation
Red coloration of fruit is an important trait in apple, and it is mainly attributed to the accumulation of anthocyanins, a class of plant flavonoid metabolites. Anthocyanin biosynthesis is genetically determined by structural and regulatory genes. Plant tissue pigmentation patterns are mainly controlled by expression profiles of regulatory genes. Among these regulatory genes are MYB transcription factors (TFs), wherein the class of two-repeats (R2R3) is deemed the largest, and these are associated with the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway. Although three MdMYB genes, almost identical in nucleotide sequences, have been identified in apple, it is likely that there are other R2R3 MYB TFs that are present in the apple genome that are also involved in the regulation of coloration of red color pigmentation of the skin of apple fruits.
In this study, a novel R2R3 MYB gene has been isolated and characterized in apple. This MYB gene is closely related to the Arabidopsis thaliana AtMYB3, and has been designated as MdMYB3. This TF belongs to the subgroup 4 R2R3 family of plant MYB transcription factors. This apple MdMYB3 gene is mapped onto linkage group 15 of the integrated apple genetic map. Transcripts of MdMYB3 are detected in all analyzed tissues including leaves, flowers, and fruits. However, transcripts of MdMYB3 are higher in excocarp of red-skinned apple cultivars than that in yellowish-green skinned apple cultivars. When this gene is ectopically expressed in Nicotiana tabacum cv. Petite Havana SR1, flowers of transgenic tobacco lines carrying MdMYB3 have exhibited increased pigmentation and accumulate higher levels of anthocyanins and flavonols than wild-type flowers. Overexpression of MdMYB3 has resulted in transcriptional activation of several flavonoid pathway genes, including CHS, CHI, UFGT, and FLS. Moreover, peduncles of flowers and styles of pistils of transgenic plants overexpressing MdMYB3 are longer than those of wild-type plants, thus suggesting that this TF is involved in regulation of flower development.
This study has identified a novel MYB transcription factor in the apple genome. This TF, designated as MdMYB3, is involved in transcriptional activation of several flavonoid pathway genes. Moreover, this TF not only regulates the accumulation of anthocyanin in the skin of apple fruits, but it is also involved in the regulation of flower development, particularly that of pistil development.
Anthocyanin; Apple; MYB transcription factors; Malus × domestica; Flavonoids; Reproductive tissues
White wine quality, especially in warm climates, is affected by sunlight and heat stress. These factors increase the probability that ambering processes will occur and reduce the potential flavour compounds. This study aimed to investigate the effect of sunlight reduction on the accumulation of polyphenolic and aromatic compounds.
This study was conducted in a commercial vineyard containing V. vinifera L. cv Grillo. Opaque polypropylene boxes (100% shading) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) net bags (50% shading) were applied at fruit set. The effect of the shaded treatments was compared to the exposed fruit treatment. The shaded treatments resulted in heavier berries and lower must sugar contents than the exposed treatments. Proanthocyanidins and total polyphenol levels were similar in the exposed and bagged grapes; however, the levels were always lower in the boxed fruit. At harvest, the highest aroma level was measured in the boxed fruits.
The boxed fruit had less sugar, fewer proanthocyanidins and more flavours than the exposed grapes.
The reduction in flavanols reactive to p-dimethylamino-cinnamaldehyde as (+)-catechin equivalents and total skin proanthocyanidins is an important result for the white winemaking process. In addition, the higher level of aromatic compounds in shaded grapes at harvest is an important contribution to the development of different wine styles.
Sunlight; Temperature; Catechins; Proanthocyanidins; Flavour compounds
Genome doubling may have multi-level effects on the morphology, viability and physiology of polyploids compared to diploids. We studied the changes associated with autopolyploidization in two systems of somatic newly induced polyploids, diploid-autotetraploid and triploid-autohexaploid, belonging to the genus Hylocereus (Cactaceae). Stomata, fruits, seeds, embryos, and pollen were studied. Fruit pulp and seeds were subjected to metabolite profiling using established gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) Q-TOF-MS/MS (time of flight)-protocols.
Autopolyploid lines produced lower numbers of tetrads, larger pollen grains with lower viability, larger stomata with lower density, and smaller fruits with lower seed numbers and decreased seed viability. The abundance of sugars was lower in the fruits and seeds of the two duplicated lines than in their donor lines, accompanied by increased contents of amino acids, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates, organic acids and flavonoids. Betacyanins, the major fruit pigments in diploid and triploid donors, decreased following genome doubling. Both autopolyploid Hylocereus lines thus exhibited unfavorable changes, with the outcome being more dramatic in the autohexaploid than in the autotetraploid line.
Induced autotetraploid and autohexaploid lines exhibited morphological and cytological characteristics that differed from those of their donor plants and that were accompanied by significant metabolic alterations. It is suggested that a developmental arrest occurs in the fruits of the autohexaploid line, since their pericarp shows a greater abundance of acids and of reduced sugars. We conclude that genome doubling does not necessarily confer a fitness advantage and that the extent of alterations induced by autopolyploidization depends on the genetic background of the donor genotype.
Flow cytometry; Fruit and seed traits; Pollen diameter and viability; Primary and secondary metabolism; Stomata size and density; Synthetic somatic autopolyploids
Susceptibility to Fusarium wilt disease varies among wild accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana. Six RESISTANCE TO FUSARIUM OXYSPORUM (RFO) quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling the resistance of accession Columbia-0 (Col-0) and susceptibility of Taynuilt-0 to Fusarium oxysporum forma specialis matthioli (FOM) are detected in a recombinant population derived from a single backcross of the F1 hybrid (BC1). In particular, the RFO1 QTL appears to interact with three other loci, RFO2, RFO4 and RFO6, and is attributed to the gene At1g79670.
When resistance to FOM was mapped in a new BC1 population, in which the loss-of-function mutant of At1g79670 replaced wild type as the Col-0 parent, RFO1’s major effect and RFO1’s interaction with RFO2, RFO4 and RFO6 were absent, showing that At1g79670 alone accounts for the RFO1 QTL. Resistance of two QTLs, RFO3 and RFO5, was independent of RFO1 and was reproduced in the new BC1 population. In analysis of a third BC1 population, resistance to a second pathogen, F. oxysporum forma specialis conglutinans race 1 (FOC1), was mapped and the major effect locus RFO7 was identified.
Natural quantitative resistance to F. oxysporum is largely specific to the infecting forma specialis because different RFO loci were responsible for resistance to FOM and FOC1. The mapping of quantitative disease resistance traits in BC1 populations, generated from crosses between sequenced Arabidopsis accessions, can be a routine procedure when genome-wide genotyping is efficient, economical and accessible.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Fusarium oxysporum; Quantitative disease resistance; QTL mapping; Crossover interference
Within the Arabidopsis genome, there are 272 cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (P450) genes. However, the biological functions of the majority of these P450s remain unknown. The CYP709B family of P450s includes three gene members, CYP709B1, CYP709B2 and CYP709B3, which have high amino acid sequence similarity and lack reports elucidating biological functions.
We identified T-DNA insertion-based null mutants of the CYP709B subfamily of genes. No obvious morphological phenotypes were exhibited under normal growth conditions. When the responses to ABA and salt stress were studied in these mutants, only the cyp709b3 mutant showed sensitivity to ABA and salt during germination. Under moderate salt treatment (150 mM NaCl), cyp709b3 showed a higher percentage of damaged seedlings, indicating a lower tolerance to salt stress. CYP709B3 was highly expressed in all analyzed tissues and especially high in seedlings and leaves. In contrast, CYP709B1 and CYP709B2 were highly expressed in siliques, but were at very low levels in other tissues. Under salt stress condition, CYP709B3 gene expression was induced after 24 hr and remained at high expression level. Expression of the wild type CYP709B3 gene in the cyp709b3 mutant fully complemented the salt intolerant phenotype. Furthermore, metabolite profiling analysis revealed some differences between wild type and cyp709b3 mutant plants, supporting the salt intolerance phenotype of the cyp709b3 mutant.
These results suggest that CYP709B3 plays a role in ABA and salt stress response and provides evidence to support the functions of cytochrome P450 enzymes in plant stress response.
CYP709B; Salt tolerance; Germination; Expression pattern; Metabolic profile
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are potentially carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic to both human and non-human organisms. Dietary intake of PAHs is a dominant route of exposure for the general population where food crops are a major source of dietary PAHs. Over 20% of main food crops contain PAHs that exceed the control limits in China. However, the mechanisms on PAH accumulation in crops are not well understood.
Here we report the physiological mechanism of potassium (K+)-stimulated uptake of phenanthrene (PHE, a model PAH) in wheat. PHE uptake is stimulated by the external K+. The addition of blockers (tetraethlyammonium and barium) for K+ channels does not suppress the process, suggesting that K+ channels are not involved. The introduction of PHE and K+ elicits a much greater depolarization in root cell membrane potential than that of either PHE or K+. K+ activates the plasma membrane proton (H+)-ATPase in a K+-dependent manner. The pattern is quite similar to that in PHE uptake in the presence of K+. The external medium pH treated with PHE and K+ is higher than that with K+, and lower than that with PHE, indicating that H+ pump involves in the interaction between PHE and K+ uptake.
Therefore, it is concluded that a K+ influx/H+ efflux reaction is coupled with the transport of PHE into wheat root cells. Our results provide a novel insight into the PHE uptake by crop roots.
Phenanthrene; Plasma membrane H+-ATPase; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Potassium; Wheat root uptake
Maturity date (MD) is a crucial factor for marketing of fresh fruit, especially those with limited shelf-life such as peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch): selection of several cultivars with differing MD would be advantageous to cover and extend the marketing season. Aims of this work were the fine mapping and identification of candidate genes for the major maturity date locus previously identified on peach linkage group 4. To improve genetic resolution of the target locus two F2 populations derived from the crosses Contender x Ambra (CxA, 306 individuals) and PI91459 (NJ Weeping) x Bounty (WxBy, 103 individuals) were genotyped with the Sequenom and 9K Illumina Peach Chip SNP platforms, respectively.
Recombinant individuals from the WxBy F2 population allowed the localisation of maturity date locus to a 220 kb region of the peach genome. Among the 25 annotated genes within this interval, functional classification identified ppa007577m and ppa008301m as the most likely candidates, both encoding transcription factors of the NAC (NAM/ATAF1, 2/CUC2) family. Re-sequencing of the four parents and comparison with the reference genome sequence uncovered a deletion of 232 bp in the upstream region of ppa007577m that is homozygous in NJ Weeping and heterozygous in Ambra, Bounty and the WxBy F1 parent. However, this variation did not segregate in the CxA F2 population being the CxA F1 parent homozygous for the reference allele. The second gene was thus examined as a candidate for maturity date. Re-sequencing of ppa008301m, showed an in-frame insertion of 9 bp in the last exon that co-segregated with the maturity date locus in both CxA and WxBy F2 populations.
Using two different segregating populations, the map position of the maturity date locus was refined from 3.56 Mb to 220 kb. A sequence variant in the NAC gene ppa008301m was shown to co-segregate with the maturity date locus, suggesting this gene as a candidate controlling ripening time in peach. If confirmed on other genetic materials, this variant may be used for marker-assisted breeding of new cultivars with differing maturity date.
Maturity date; Prunus persica; QTL; Candidate gene
Cortical microtubules form a dynamic network and continuously undergo shrinking (catastrophe), pausing and rebuilding (rescue). The advantage of such a dynamic system is that it may mediate appropriate responses in a short time span. Microtubules are known to play a pivotal role in determining the orientation of the cellulose microfibril deposition in the plant cell wall. The latter is a solid exoskeleton surrounding the protoplast. It forms the physical framework that interconnects most cells and has to bear the tensile stresses within the tissue. Here we describe the effect of externally applied pressure on microtubule organization in growing Arabidopsis leaves.
Confocal microscopy examination of transgenic plants bearing GFP-tagged TUA6 proteins led to the observation that application of an additional mechanical pressure on growing Arabidopsis leaves triggers an excessive bundling of microtubules within the individual cell. Besides, the microtubules seem to align in neighboring cells, creating a 'continuous’ supracellular pattern. This effect occurs within 3 hours after applied external force and is age-dependent, whereby only cells of leaves up to 19 days after sowing (DAS) are susceptible to the applied pressure.
Upon externally applied pressure on developing Arabidopsis leaves, microtubules bundle and rearrange to form seemingly continuous supracellular patterns. As microtubules guide the cellulose synthase complexes, this observed reorganisation pattern probably affects the cellulose deposition, contributing to the reinforcement of the cell wall in a particular position to cope with the extra-applied pressure. The age-effect is reasonable, since younger cells, which are actively shaping their cell walls, are more vulnerable to altered mechanical stresses while in leaves older than 19 DAS, the walls are more robust and therefore can sustain the applied forces.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Cell development; Leaf; Mechanical stress; Microtubules
Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) is an economically important fiber and oil crop that has been grown for thousands of years. The genome has been recently sequenced and transcriptomics are providing information on candidate genes potentially related to agronomically-important traits. In order to accelerate functional characterization of these genes we have generated a flax EMS mutant population that can be used as a TILLinG (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes) platform for forward and reverse genetics.
A population of 4,894 M2 mutant seed families was generated using 3 different EMS concentrations (0.3%, 0.6% and 0.75%) and used to produce M2 plants for subsequent phenotyping and DNA extraction. 10,839 viable M2 plants (4,033 families) were obtained and 1,552 families (38.5%) showed a visual developmental phenotype (stem size and diameter, plant architecture, flower-related). The majority of these families showed more than one phenotype. Mutant phenotype data are organised in a database and can be accessed and searched at UTILLdb (http://urgv.evry.inra.fr/UTILLdb). Preliminary screens were also performed for atypical fiber and seed phenotypes. Genomic DNA was extracted from 3,515 M2 families and eight-fold pooled for subsequent mutant detection by ENDO1 nuclease mis-match cleavage. In order to validate the collection for reverse genetics, DNA pools were screened for two genes coding enzymes of the lignin biosynthesis pathway: Coumarate-3-Hydroxylase (C3H) and Cinnamyl Alcohol Dehydrogenase (CAD). We identified 79 and 76 mutations in the C3H and CAD genes, respectively. The average mutation rate was calculated as 1/41 Kb giving rise to approximately 9,000 mutations per genome. Thirty-five out of the 52 flax cad mutant families containing missense or codon stop mutations showed the typical orange-brown xylem phenotype observed in CAD down-regulated/mutant plants in other species.
We have developed a flax mutant population that can be used as an efficient forward and reverse genetics tool. The collection has an extremely high mutation rate that enables the detection of large numbers of independant mutant families by screening a comparatively low number of M2 families. The population will prove to be a valuable resource for both fundamental research and the identification of agronomically-important genes for crop improvement in flax.
Flax; TILLinG; Mutants; Fiber; Lignin; Lignan; Oil; Fatty acids
High temperature stress responses are vital for plant survival. The mechanisms that plants use to sense high temperatures are only partially understood and involve multiple sensing and signaling pathways. Here we describe the development of the RootScope, an automated microscopy system for quantitating heat shock responses in plant roots.
The promoter of Hsp17.6 was used to build a Hsp17.6p:GFP transcriptional reporter that is induced by heat shock in Arabidopsis. An automated fluorescence microscopy system which enables multiple roots to be imaged in rapid succession was used to quantitate Hsp17.6p:GFP response dynamics. Hsp17.6p:GFP signal increased with temperature increases from 28°C to 37°C. At 40°C the kinetics and localization of the response are markedly different from those at 37°C. This suggests that different mechanisms mediate heat shock responses above and below 37°C. Finally, we demonstrate that Hsp17.6p:GFP expression exhibits wave like dynamics in growing roots.
The RootScope system is a simple and powerful platform for investigating the heat shock response in plants.
Heat shock; Thermometer; Thermostat; Automated imaging; Quantitative imaging; Temperature; Arabidopsis
The formation of functional symbiotic nodules is the result of a coordinated developmental program between legumes and rhizobial bacteria. Genetic analyses in legumes have been used to dissect the signaling processes required for establishing the legume-rhizobial endosymbiotic association. Compared to the early events of the symbiotic interaction, less attention has been paid to plant loci required for rhizobial colonization and the functioning of the nodule. Here we describe the identification and characterization of a number of new genetic loci in Medicago truncatula that are required for the development of effective nitrogen fixing nodules.
Approximately 38,000 EMS and fast neutron mutagenized Medicago truncatula seedlings were screened for defects in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Mutant plants impaired in nodule development and efficient nitrogen fixation were selected for further genetic and phenotypic analysis. Nine mutants completely lacking in nodule formation (Nod-) represented six complementation groups of which two novel loci have been identified. Eight mutants with ineffective nodules (Fix-) represented seven complementation groups, out of which five were new monogenic loci. The Fix- M. truncatula mutants showed symptoms of nitrogen deficiency and developed small white nodules. Microscopic analysis of Fix- nodules revealed that the mutants have defects in the release of rhizobia from infection threads, differentiation of rhizobia and maintenance of persistence of bacteria in nodule cells. Additionally, we monitored the transcriptional activity of symbiosis specific genes to define what transcriptional stage of the symbiotic process is blocked in each of the Fix- mutants. Based on the phenotypic and gene expression analysis a functional hierarchy of the FIX genes is proposed.
The new symbiotic loci of M. truncatula isolated in this study provide the foundation for further characterization of the mechanisms underpinning nodulation, in particular the later stages associated with bacterial release and nodule function.
Medicago truncatula; Legume; Symbiosis; Mutant screen; Ineffective nitrogen fixation mutant
In plants, carotenoids serve as the precursors to C13-norisoprenoids, a group of apocarotenoid compounds with diverse biological functions. Enzymatic cleavage of carotenoids catalysed by members of the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (CCD) family has been shown to produce a number of industrially important volatile flavour and aroma apocarotenoids including β-ionone, geranylacetone, pseudoionone, α-ionone and 3-hydroxy-β-ionone in a range of plant species. Apocarotenoids contribute to the floral and fruity attributes of many wine cultivars and are thereby, at least partly, responsible for the “varietal character”. Despite their importance in grapes and wine; carotenoid cleavage activity has only been described for VvCCD1 and the mechanism(s) and regulation of carotenoid catabolism remains largely unknown.
Three grapevine-derived CCD-encoding genes have been isolated and shown to be functional with unique substrate cleavage capacities. Our results demonstrate that the VvCCD4a and VvCCD4b catalyse the cleavage of both linear and cyclic carotenoid substrates. The expression of VvCCD1, VvCCD4a and VvCCD4b was detected in leaf, flower and throughout berry development. VvCCD1 expression was constitutive, whereas VvCCD4a expression was predominant in leaves and VvCCD4b in berries. A transgenic population with a 12-fold range of VvCCD1 expression exhibited a lack of correlation between VvCCD1 expression and carotenoid substrates and/or apocarotenoid products in leaves, providing proof that the in planta function(s) of VvCCD1 in photosynthetically active tissue is distinct from the in vitro activities demonstrated. The isolation and functional characterisation of VvCCD4a and VvCCD4b identify two additional CCDs that are functional in grapevine.
Taken together, our results indicate that the three CCDs are under various levels of control that include gene expression (spatial and temporal), substrate specificity and compartmentalisation that act individually and/or co-ordinately to maintain carotenoid and volatile apocarotenoid levels in plants. Altering the expression of VvCCD1 in a transgenic grapevine population illustrated the divergence between the in vitro enzyme activity and the in planta activity of this enzyme, thereby contributing to the efforts to understand how enzymatic degradation of carotenoids involved in photosynthesis occurs. The identification and functional characterisation of VvCCD4a and VvCCD4b suggest that these enzymes are primarily responsible for catalysing the cleavage of plastidial carotenoids.
Vitis vinifera L; Grapevine; Carotenoid; Apocarotenoid; Cleavage dioxygenase; CCD1; VvCCD4
The terpenoid indole alkaloid (TIA) pathway leads to the production of pharmaceutically important drugs, such as the anticancer compounds vinblastine and vincristine. Unfortunately, these drugs are produced in trace amounts, causing them to be very costly. To increase production of these drugs, an improved understanding of the TIA regulatory pathway is needed. Towards this end, transgenic Catharanthus roseus hairy roots that overexpress the ORCA2 TIA transcriptional activator were generated and characterized.
Transcriptional profiling experiments revealed that overexpression of ORCA2 results in altered expression of key genes from the indole and terpenoid pathways, which produce precursors for the TIA pathway, and from the TIA pathway itself. In addition, metabolite-profiling experiments revealed that overexpression of ORCA2 significantly affects the levels of several TIA metabolites. ORCA2 overexpression also causes significant increases in transcript levels of several TIA regulators, including TIA transcriptional repressors.
Results presented here indicate that ORCA2 plays a critical role in regulation of TIA metabolism. ORCA2 regulates expression of key genes from both feeder pathways, as well as the genes (STR and SGD) encoding the enzymes that catalyze the first two steps in TIA biosynthesis. ORCA2 may play an especially important role in regulation of the downstream branches of the TIA pathway, as it regulates four out of five genes characterized from this part of the pathway. Regulation of TIA transcriptional repressors by ORCA2 may provide a mechanism whereby increases in TIA metabolite levels in response to external stimuli are transient and limited in magnitude.
Terpenoid indole alkaloids; ORCA2; Catharanthus roseus; Hairy root cultures
Global warming predictions indicate that temperatures will increase by another 2-6°C by the end of this century. High temperature is a major abiotic stress limiting plant growth and productivity in many areas of the world. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a model herbaceous bioenergy crop, due to its rapid growth rate, reliable biomass yield, minimal requirements of water and nutrients, adaptability to grow on marginal lands and widespread distribution throughout North America. The effect of high temperature on switchgrass physiology, cell wall composition and biomass yields has been reported. However, there is void in the knowledge of the molecular responses to heat stress in switchgrass.
We conducted long-term heat stress treatment (38°/30°C, day/night, for 50 days) in the switchgrass cultivar Alamo. A significant decrease in the plant height and total biomass was evident in the heat stressed plants compared to controls. Total RNA from control and heat stress samples were used for transcriptome analysis with switchgrass Affymetrix genechips. Following normalization and pre-processing, 5365 probesets were identified as differentially expressed using a 2-fold cutoff. Of these, 2233 probesets (2000 switchgrass unigenes) were up-regulated, and 3132 probesets (2809 unigenes) were down-regulated. Differential expression of 42 randomly selected genes from this list was validated using RT-PCR. Rice orthologs were retrieved for 78.7% of the heat stress responsive switchgrass probesets. Gene ontology (GOs) enrichment analysis using AgriGO program showed that genes related to ATPase regulator, chaperone binding, and protein folding was significantly up-regulated. GOs associated with protein modification, transcription, phosphorus and nitrogen metabolic processes, were significantly down-regulated by heat stress.
Plausible connections were identified between the identified GOs, physiological responses and heat response phenotype observed in switchgrass plants. Comparative transcriptome analysis in response to heat stress among four monocots – switchgrass, rice, wheat and maize identified 16 common genes, most of which were associated with protein refolding processes. These core genes will be valuable biomarkers for identifying heat sensitive plant germplasm since they are responsive to both short duration as well as chronic heat stress treatments, and are also expressed in different plant growth stages and tissue types.
Switchgrass; Biofuel; Microarray; Heat stress; Transcriptome
Corylus was renowned for its production of hazelnut and taxol. To understand the local adaptation of Chinese species and speed up breeding efforts in China, we analyzed the leaf transcriptome of Corylus mandshurica, which had a high tolerance to fungal infections and cold.
A total of 12,255,030 clean pair-end reads were generated and then assembled into 37,846 Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) sequences. During functional annotation, 26,565 ESTs were annotated with Gene Ontology (GO) terms using Blast2go and 11,056 ESTs were grouped into the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways using KEGG Automatic Annotation Server (KAAS). We identified 45 ESTs that were homologous to enzymes and transcription factors responsible for taxol synthesis. The most differentiated orthologs between C. mandshurica and a European congener, C. avellana, were enriched in stress tolerance to fungal resistance and cold.
In this study, we detected a set of genes related to taxol synthesis in a taxol-producing angiosperm species for the first time and found a close relationship between most differentiated genes and different adaptations to fungal infection and cold in C. mandshurica and C. avellana. These findings provided tools to improve our understanding of local adaptation, genetic breeding and taxol production in hazelnut.
Corylus mandshurica; Transcriptome; Adaptation; Divergence; Fungi/fungus; Cold/frigid; Taxol/paclitaxel
The rice transcription factor WRKY45 plays a crucial role in salicylic acid (SA)/benzothiadiazole (BTH)-induced disease resistance. Its knockdown severely reduces BTH-induced resistance to the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae and the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo). Conversely, overexpression of WRKY45 induces extremely strong resistance to both of these pathogens. To elucidate the molecular basis of WRKY45-dependent disease resistance, we analyzed WRKY45-regulated gene expression using rice transformants and a transient gene expression system.
We conducted a microarray analysis using WRKY45-knockdown (WRKY45-kd) rice plants, and identified WRKY45-dependent genes among the BTH-responsive genes. The BTH-responsiveness of 260 genes was dependent on WRKY45. Among these, 220 genes (85%), many of which encoded PR proteins and proteins associated with secondary metabolism, were upregulated by BTH. Only a small portion of these genes overlapped with those regulated by OsNPR1/NH1, supporting the idea that the rice SA pathway branches into WRKY45- regulated and OsNPR1/NH1-regulated subpathways. Dexamethazone-induced expression of myc-tagged WRKY45 in rice immediately upregulated transcription of endogenous WRKY45 and genes encoding the transcription factors WRKY62, OsNAC4, and HSF1, all of which have been reported to have defense-related functions. This was followed by upregulation of defense genes encoding PR proteins and secondary metabolic enzymes. Many of these genes were also induced after M. oryzae infection. Their temporal transcription patterns were consistent with those after dexamethazone-induced WRKY45 expression. In a transient expression system consisting of particle bombardment of rice coleoptiles, WRKY45 acted as an effector to trans-activate reporter genes in which the luciferase coding sequence was fused to upstream and intragenic sequences of WRKY62 and OsNAC4. Trans-activation of transcription occurred through a W-box-containing sequence upstream of OsNAC4 and mutations in the W-boxes abolished the trans-activation.
These data suggest a role of WRKY45 in BTH-induced disease resistance as a master regulator of the transcriptional cascade regulating defense responses in one of two branches in the rice SA pathway.
WRKY; Salicylic acid; Benzothiadiazole; Magnaporthe oryzae; OsNPR1
Cultivated grapevines, Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa, evolved from their wild relative, V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris. They were domesticated in Central Asia in the absence of the powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, which is thought to have originated in North America. However, powdery mildew resistance has previously been discovered in two Central Asian cultivars and in Chinese Vitis species.
A set of 380 unique genotypes were evaluated with data generated from 34 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The set included 306 V. vinifera cultivars, 40 accessions of V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, and 34 accessions of Vitis species from northern Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Based on the presence of four SSR alleles previously identified as linked to the powdery mildew resistance locus, Ren1, 10 new mildew resistant genotypes were identified in the test set: eight were V. vinifera cultivars and two were V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris based on flower and seed morphology. Sequence comparison of a 620 bp region that includes the Ren1-linked allele (143 bp) of the co-segregating SSR marker SC8-0071-014, revealed that the ten newly identified genotypes have sequences that are essentially identical to the previously identified mildew resistant V. vinifera cultivars: ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’. Kinship analysis determined that three of the newly identified powdery mildew resistant accessions had a relationship with ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’, and that six were not related to any other accession in this study set. Clustering procedures assigned accessions into three groups: 1) Chinese species; 2) a mixed group of cultivated and wild V. vinifera; and 3) table grape cultivars, including nine of the powdery mildew resistant accessions. Gene flow was detected among the groups.
This study provides evidence that powdery mildew resistance is present in V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, the dioecious wild progenitor of the cultivated grape. Four first-degree parent progeny relationships were discovered among the hermaphroditic powdery mildew resistant cultivars, supporting the existence of intentional grape breeding efforts. Although several Chinese grape species are resistant to powdery mildew, no direct genetic link to the resistance found in V. vinifera could be established.
Powdery mildew resistance; Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa; Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris; Gene flow
Tamarix spp. are woody halophyte, which are very tolerant to abiotic stresses such as salinity and drought, but little is known about their specific stress response systems. Basic leucine zipper proteins (bZIPs) play important roles in the ability of plants to withstand adverse environmental conditions. However, their exact roles in abiotic stress tolerance are still not fully known. In the current study, we functionally characterized a bZIP gene (ThbZIP1) from Tamarix hispida in response to abiotic stresses.
We addressed the regulatory network of ThbZIP1 in three levels, i.e. its upstream regulators, the cis-acting elements recognized by ThbZIP1, and its downstream target genes. Two MYCs were found to bind to E-box, in the promoter of ThbZIP1 to activate its expression. Expression of ThbZIP1 is induced by ABA, salt, drought, methyl viologen and cold. ThbZIP1 can specifically bind to ACGT elements, with the highest binding affinity to the C-box, followed by the G-box and lastly the A-box. Compared with wild-type (Col-0) Arabidopsis, transgenic plants expressing ThbZIP1 had an increased tolerance to drought and salt, but had an increased sensitivity to ABA during seed germination and root growth; meanwhile, ROS level, cell death and water loss rate in transgenic plants were significantly reduced. Microarray analyses showed that many ROS scavenging genes were up-regulated by ThbZIP1 under salt stress conditions.
Based on these data, we suggest that ThbZIP1 confers abiotic stress tolerance through activating stress tolerance genes to modulate ROS scavenging ability and other physiological changes involved in stress tolerance, and plays an important role in the ABA-mediated stress response of T. hispida.
Abiotic stress; bZIP transcription factor; Arabidopsis thaliana; Gene expression regulation; Tamarix hispida; Yeast one-hybrid
WRKY genes encode one of the most abundant groups of transcription factors in higher plants, and its members regulate important biological process such as growth, development, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Although the soybean genome sequence has been published, functional studies on soybean genes still lag behind those of other species.
We identified a total of 133 WRKY members in the soybean genome. According to structural features of their encoded proteins and to the phylogenetic tree, the soybean WRKY family could be classified into three groups (groups I, II, and III). A majority of WRKY genes (76.7%; 102 of 133) were segmentally duplicated and 13.5% (18 of 133) of the genes were tandemly duplicated. This pattern was not apparent in Arabidopsis or rice. The transcriptome atlas revealed notable differential expression in either transcript abundance or in expression patterns under normal growth conditions, which indicated wide functional divergence in this family. Furthermore, some critical amino acids were detected using DIVERGE v2.0 in specific comparisons, suggesting that these sites have contributed to functional divergence among groups or subgroups. In addition, site model and branch-site model analyses of positive Darwinian selection (PDS) showed that different selection regimes could have affected the evolution of these groups. Sites with high probabilities of having been under PDS were found in groups I, II c, II e, and III. Together, these results contribute to a detailed understanding of the molecular evolution of the WRKY gene family in soybean.
In this work, all the WRKY genes, which were generated mainly through segmental duplication, were identified in the soybean genome. Moreover, differential expression and functional divergence of the duplicated WRKY genes were two major features of this family throughout their evolutionary history. Positive selection analysis revealed that the different groups have different evolutionary rates. Together, these results contribute to a detailed understanding of the molecular evolution of the WRKY gene family in soybean.
Grafting is widely used in the agriculture of fruit-bearing crops; rootstocks are known to confer differences in scion biomass in addition to improving other traits of agricultural interest. However, little is known about the effect of rootstocks on scion gene expression. The objective of this study was to determine whether hetero-grafting the grapevine variety Vitis vinifera cv. 'Cabernet Sauvignon N’ with two different rootstocks alters gene expression in the shoot apex in comparison to the auto-grafted control. Cabernet Sauvignon was hetero-grafted with two commercial rootstock genotypes and auto-grafted with itself. Vigor was quantified by measurements of root, stem, leaf and trunk biomass. Gene expression profiling was done using a whole genome grapevine microarray; four pools of five shoot apex samples were harvested 4 months after grafting for each scion/rootstock combination.
The rootstocks increased stem biomass or conferred increased vigor by the end of the first growth cycle. Globally hetero-grafting two different genotypes together triggered an increase in shoot apex gene expression; however no genes were differentially expressed between the two hetero-grafts. The functional categories related to DNA, chromatin structure, histones, flavonoids and leucine rich repeat containing receptor kinases were the most enriched in the up-regulated genes in the shoot apex of hetero-grafted plants.
The choice of rootstock genotype had little effect on the gene expression in the shoot apex; this could suggest that auto- and hetero-grafting was the major factor regulating gene expression.
Crambe abyssinica produces high erucic acid (C22:1, 55-60%) in the seed oil, which can be further increased by reduction of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels. The omega-6 fatty acid desaturase enzyme (FAD2) is known to be involved in PUFA biosynthesis. In crambe, three CaFAD2 genes, CaFAD2-C1, CaFAD2-C2 and CaFAD2-C3 are expressed.
The individual effect of each CaFAD2 gene on oil composition was investigated through studying transgenic lines (CaFAD2-RNAi) for differential expression levels in relation to the composition of seed-oil. Six first generation transgenic plants (T1) showed C18:1 increase (by 6% to 10.5%) and PUFA reduction (by 8.6% to 10.2%). The silencing effect in these T1-plants ranged from the moderate silencing (40% to 50% reduction) of all three CaFAD2 genes to strong silencing (95% reduction) of CaFAD2-C3 alone. The progeny of two T1-plants (WG4-4 and WG19-6) was further analysed. Four or five transgene insertions are characterized in the progeny (T2) of WG19-6 in contrast to a single insertion in the T2 progeny of WG4-4. For the individual T2-plants of both families (WG19-6 and WG4-4), seed-specific silencing of CaFAD2-C1 and CaFAD2-C2 was observed in several individual T2-plants but, on average in both families, the level of silencing of these genes was not significant. A significant reduction in expression level (P < 0.01) in both families was only observed for CaFAD2-C3 together with significantly different C18:1 and PUFA levels in oil.
CaFAD2-C3 expression is highly correlated to levels of C18:1 (r = -0.78) and PUFA (r = 0.75), which suggests that CaFAD2-C3 is the most important one for changing the oil composition of crambe.
Crambe abyssinica; Fatty acid desaturase 2; Oil crop; Oleic acid; Polyunsaturated fatty acid; RNAi; Gene expression