The rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, is an important plant species that is commercially grown to produce latex rubber in many countries. The rubber tree variety BPM 24 exhibits cytoplasmic male sterility, inherited from the variety GT 1.
We constructed the rubber tree mitochondrial genome of a cytoplasmic male sterile variety, BPM 24, using 454 sequencing, including 8 kb paired-end libraries, plus Illumina paired-end sequencing. We annotated this mitochondrial genome with the aid of Illumina RNA-seq data and performed comparative analysis. We then compared the sequence of BPM 24 to the contigs of the published rubber tree, variety RRIM 600, and identified a rearrangement that is unique to BPM 24 resulting in a novel transcript containing a portion of atp9.
The novel transcript is consistent with changes that cause cytoplasmic male sterility through a slight reduction to ATP production efficiency. The exhaustive nature of the search rules out alternative causes and supports previous findings of novel transcripts causing cytoplasmic male sterility.
Rubber tree; Hevea brasiliensis; Mitochondria; Cytoplasmic male sterility; Genome sequencing
Plant defensins are small (45–54 amino acids), basic, cysteine-rich proteins that have a major role in innate immunity in plants. Many defensins are potent antifungal molecules and are being evaluated for their potential to create crop plants with sustainable disease resistance. Defensins are produced as precursor molecules which are directed into the secretory pathway and are divided into two classes based on the absence (class I) or presence (class II) of an acidic C-terminal propeptide (CTPP) of about 33 amino acids. The function of this CTPP had not been defined.
By transgenically expressing the class II plant defensin NaD1 with and without its cognate CTPP we have demonstrated that NaD1 is phytotoxic to cotton plants when expressed without its CTPP. Transgenic cotton plants expressing constructs encoding the NaD1 precursor with the CTPP had the same morphology as non-transgenic plants but expression of NaD1 without the CTPP led to plants that were stunted, had crinkled leaves and were less viable. Immunofluorescence microscopy and transient expression of a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-CTPP chimera were used to confirm that the CTPP is sufficient for vacuolar targeting. Finally circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy were used to show that the CTPP adopts a helical confirmation.
In this report we have described the role of the CTPP on NaD1, a class II defensin from Nicotiana alata flowers. The CTPP of NaD1 is sufficient for vacuolar targeting and plays an important role in detoxification of the defensin as it moves through the plant secretory pathway. This work may have important implications for the use of defensins for disease protection in transgenic crops.
Plant defensin; Phytotoxicity; Vacuolar targeting; Transgenic cotton
Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) represent a ubiquitous gene family encoding detoxification enzymes able to recognize reactive electrophilic xenobiotic molecules as well as compounds of endogenous origin. Anthocyanin pigments require GSTs for their transport into the vacuole since their cytoplasmic retention is toxic to the cell. Anthocyanin accumulation in Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck fruit flesh determines different phenotypes affecting the typical pigmentation of Sicilian blood oranges. In this paper we describe: i) the characterization of the GST gene family in C. sinensis through a systematic EST analysis; ii) the validation of the EST assembly by exploiting the genome sequences of C. sinensis and C. clementina and their genome annotations; iii) GST gene expression profiling in six tissues/organs and in two different sweet orange cultivars, Cadenera (common) and Moro (pigmented).
We identified 61 GST transcripts, described the full- or partial-length nature of the sequences and assigned to each sequence the GST class membership exploiting a comparative approach and the classification scheme proposed for plant species. A total of 23 full-length sequences were defined. Fifty-four of the 61 transcripts were successfully aligned to the C. sinensis and C. clementina genomes. Tissue specific expression profiling demonstrated that the expression of some GST transcripts was 'tissue-affected' and cultivar specific. A comparative analysis of C. sinensis GSTs with those from other plant species was also considered. Data from the current analysis are accessible at http://biosrv.cab.unina.it/citrusGST/, with the aim to provide a reference resource for C. sinensis GSTs.
This study aimed at the characterization of the GST gene family in C. sinensis. Based on expression patterns from two different cultivars and on sequence-comparative analyses, we also highlighted that two sequences, a Phi class GST and a Mapeg class GST, could be involved in the conjugation of anthocyanin pigments and in their transport into the vacuole, specifically in fruit flesh of the pigmented cultivar.
Sweet orange; GST; Expressed sequence tag; Gene family; Anthocyanin vacuolarization
Proanthocyanidins (PAs) are secondary metabolites that strongly affect plant quality traits. The concentration and the structure of these metabolites influence the palatability and nutritional value of forage legumes. Hence, modulating PAs in the leaves of forage legumes is of paramount relevance for forage breeders worldwide. The lack of genetic variation in the leaf PA trait within the most important forage species and the difficulties in engineering this pathway via the ectopic expression of regulatory genes, prompted us to pursue alternative strategies to enhance this trait in forage legumes of agronomic interest. The Lotus genus includes forage species which accumulate PAs in edible organs and can thus be used as potential donor parents in breeding programs.
We recovered a wild, diploid and PA-rich population of L. corniculatus and crossed with L. tenuis. The former grows in an alkaline-salty area in Spain while the latter is a diploid species, grown extensively in South American pastures, which does not accumulate PAs in the herbage. The resulting interspecific hybrids displayed several traits of outstanding agronomic relevance such as rhizome production, PA levels in edible tissues sufficient to prevent ruminal bloating (around 5 mg of PAs/g DW), biomass production similar to the cultivated parent and potential for adaptability to marginal lands. We show that PA levels correlate with expression levels of the R2R3MYB transcription factor TT2 and, in turn, with those of the key structural genes of the epicatechin and catechin biosynthetic pathways leading to PA biosynthesis.
The L. tenuis x L. corniculatus hybrids, reported herein, represent the first example of the introgression of the PA trait in forage legumes to levels known to provide nutritional and health benefits to ruminants. Apart from PAs, the hybrids have additional traits which may prove useful to breed forage legumes with increased persistence and adaptability to marginal conditions. Finally, our study suggests the hybrids and their progeny are an invaluable tool to gain a leap forward in our understanding of the genetic control of PA biosynthesis and tolerance to stresses in legumes.
Interspecific hybridization; Lotus; Proanthocyanidins (PAs); TT2; Forage legumes; Nutritive value
Arabidopsis ZBF1/MYC2bHLH transcription factor is a repressor of photomorphogenesis, and acts as a point of cross talk in light, abscisic acid (ABA) and jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathways. MYC2 also functions as a positive regulator of lateral root development and flowering time under long day conditions. However, the function of MYC2 in growth and development remains unknown in crop plants.
Here, we report the functional analyses of LeMYC2 in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). The amino acid sequence of LeMYC2 showed extensive homology with Arabidopsis MYC2, containing the conserved bHLH domain. To study the function of LeMYC2 in tomato, overexpression and RNA interference (RNAi) LeMYC2 tomato transgenic plants were generated. Examination of seedling morphology, physiological responses and light regulated gene expression has revealed that LeMYC2 works as a negative regulator of blue light mediated photomorphogenesis. Furthermore, LeMYC2 specifically binds to the G-box of LeRBCS-3A promoter. Overexpression of LeMYC2 has led to increased root length with more number of lateral roots. The tomato plants overexpressing LeMYC2 have reduced internode distance with more branches, and display the opposite morphology to RNAi transgenic lines. Furthermore, this study shows that LeMYC2 promotes ABA and JA responsiveness.
Collectively, this study highlights that working in light, ABA and JA signaling pathways LeMYC2 works as an important regulator for growth and development in tomato plants.
WD40 domains have been found in a plethora of eukaryotic proteins, acting as scaffolding molecules assisting proper activity of other proteins, and are involved in multi-cellular processes. They comprise several stretches of 44-60 amino acid residues often terminating with a WD di-peptide. They act as a site of protein-protein interactions or multi-interacting platforms, driving the assembly of protein complexes or as mediators of transient interplay among other proteins. In Arabidopsis, members of WD40 protein superfamily are known as key regulators of plant-specific events, biologically playing important roles in development and also during stress signaling.
Using reverse genetic and protein modeling approaches, we characterize GIGANTUS1 (GTS1), a new member of WD40 repeat protein in Arabidopsis thaliana and provide evidence of its role in controlling plant growth development. GTS1 is highly expressed during embryo development and negatively regulates seed germination, biomass yield and growth improvement in plants. Structural modeling analysis suggests that GTS1 folds into a β-propeller with seven pseudo symmetrically arranged blades around a central axis. Molecular docking analysis shows that GTS1 physically interacts with two ribosomal protein partners, a component of ribosome Nop16, and a ribosome-biogenesis factor L19e through β-propeller blade 4 to regulate cell growth development.
Our results indicate that GTS1 might function in plant developmental processes by regulating ribosomal structural features, activities and biogenesis in plant cells. Our results suggest that GIGANTUS1 might be a promising target to engineer transgenic plants with higher biomass and improved growth development for plant-based bioenergy production.
Arabidopsis; Gigantus1; Gene expression; Homology modeling; Docking
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are naturally occurring soil bacteria which benefit plants by improving plant productivity and immunity. The mechanisms involved in these processes include the regulation of plant hormone levels such as ethylene and abscisic acid (ABA). The aim of the present study was to determine whether the activity of Bacillus megaterium PGPR is affected by the endogenous ABA content of the host plant. The ABA-deficient tomato mutants flacca and sitiens and their near-isogenic wild-type parental lines were used. Growth, stomatal conductance, shoot hormone concentration, competition assay for colonization of tomato root tips, and root expression of plant genes expected to be modulated by ABA and PGPR were examined.
Contrary to the wild-type plants in which PGPR stimulated growth rates, PGPR caused growth inhibition in ABA-deficient mutant plants. PGPR also triggered an over accumulation of ethylene in ABA-deficient plants which correlated with a higher expression of the pathogenesis-related gene Sl-PR1b.
Positive correlation between over-accumulation of ethylene and a higher expression of Sl-PR1b in ABA-deficient mutant plants could indicate that maintenance of normal plant endogenous ABA content may be essential for the growth promoting action of B. megaterium by keeping low levels of ethylene production.
Abscisic acid; Bacillus megaterium; Ethylene; Hormones; PGPR; Solanum lycopersicum; Rhizobacteria
Effective improvement in sorghum crop development necessitates a genomics-based approach to identify functional genes and QTLs. Sequenced in 2009, a comprehensive annotation of the sorghum genome and the development of functional genomics resources is key to enable the discovery and deployment of regulatory and metabolic genes and gene networks for crop improvement.
This study utilizes the first commercially available whole-transcriptome sorghum microarray (Sorgh-WTa520972F) to identify tissue and genotype-specific expression patterns for all identified Sorghum bicolor exons and UTRs. The genechip contains 1,026,373 probes covering 149,182 exons (27,577 genes) across the Sorghum bicolor nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrial genomes. Specific probesets were also included for putative non-coding RNAs that may play a role in gene regulation (e.g., microRNAs), and confirmed functional small RNAs in related species (maize and sugarcane) were also included in our array design. We generated expression data for 78 samples with a combination of four different tissue types (shoot, root, leaf and stem), two dissected stem tissues (pith and rind) and six diverse genotypes, which included 6 public sorghum lines (R159, Atlas, Fremont, PI152611, AR2400 and PI455230) representing grain, sweet, forage, and high biomass ideotypes.
Here we present a summary of the microarray dataset, including analysis of tissue-specific gene expression profiles and associated expression profiles of relevant metabolic pathways. With an aim to enable identification and functional characterization of genes in sorghum, this expression atlas presents a new and valuable resource to the research community.
Sorghum bicolor; Gene atlas; Transcriptome; Gene expression; Functional genomics; Microarray
In the model single-cell C4 plant Bienertia sinuspersici, chloroplast- and nuclear-encoded photosynthetic enzymes, characteristically confined to either bundle sheath or mesophyll cells in Kranz-type C4 leaves, all occur together within individual leaf chlorenchyma cells. Intracellular separation of dimorphic chloroplasts and key enzymes within central and peripheral compartments allow for C4 carbon fixation analogous to NAD-malic enzyme (NAD-ME) Kranz type species. Several methods were used to investigate dimorphic chloroplast differentiation in B. sinuspersici.
Confocal analysis revealed that Rubisco-containing chloroplasts in the central compartment chloroplasts (CCC) contained more photosystem II proteins than the peripheral compartment chloroplasts (PCC) which contain pyruvate,Pi dikinase (PPDK), a pattern analogous to the cell type-specific chloroplasts of many Kranz type NAD-ME species. Transient expression analysis using GFP fusion constructs containing various lengths of a B. sinuspersici Rubisco small subunit (RbcS) gene and the transit peptide of PPDK revealed that their import was not specific to either chloroplast type. Immunolocalization showed the rbcL-specific mRNA binding protein RLSB to be selectively localized to the CCC in B. sinuspersici, and to Rubisco-containing BS chloroplasts in the closely related Kranz species Suaeda taxifolia. Comparative fluorescence analyses were made using redox-sensitive and insensitive GFP forms, as well comparative staining using the peroxidase indicator 3,3-diaminobenzidine (DAB), which demonstrated differences in stromal redox potential, with the CCC having a more negative potential than the PCC.
Both CCC RLSB localization and the differential chloroplast redox state are suggested to have a role in post-transcriptional rbcL expression.
Single-cell C4 photosynthesis; Bienertia sinuspersici; Dimorphic chloroplasts; Chloroplast differentiation
Modern watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) cultivars share a narrow genetic base due to many years of selection for desirable horticultural qualities. Wild subspecies within C. lanatus are important potential sources of novel alleles for watermelon breeding, but successful trait introgression into elite cultivars has had limited success. The application of marker assisted selection (MAS) in watermelon is yet to be realized, mainly due to the past lack of high quality genetic maps. Recently, a number of useful maps have become available, however these maps have few common markers, and were constructed using different marker sets, thus, making integration and comparative analysis among maps difficult. The objective of this research was to use single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) anchor markers to construct an integrated genetic map for C. lanatus.
Under the framework of the high density genetic map, an integrated genetic map was constructed by merging data from four independent mapping experiments using a genetically diverse array of parental lines, which included three subspecies of watermelon. The 698 simple sequence repeat (SSR), 219 insertion-deletion (InDel), 36 structure variation (SV) and 386 SNP markers from the four maps were used to construct an integrated map. This integrated map contained 1339 markers, spanning 798 cM with an average marker interval of 0.6 cM. Fifty-eight previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) for 12 traits in these populations were also integrated into the map. In addition, new QTL identified for brix, fructose, glucose and sucrose were added. Some QTL associated with economically important traits detected in different genetic backgrounds mapped to similar genomic regions of the integrated map, suggesting that such QTL are responsible for the phenotypic variability observed in a broad array of watermelon germplasm.
The integrated map described herein enhances the utility of genomic tools over previous watermelon genetic maps. A large proportion of the markers in the integrated map are SSRs, InDels and SNPs, which are easily transferable across laboratories. Moreover, the populations used to construct the integrated map include all three watermelon subspecies, making this integrated map useful for the selection of breeding traits, identification of QTL, MAS, analysis of germplasm and commercial hybrid seed detection.
Watermelon; Integrated genetic map; QTL; Sugar content
The editors of BMC Plant Biology would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 13 (2013).
In a cDNA-AFLP analysis comparing transcript levels between powdery mildew (Oidium neolycopersici)-susceptible tomato cultivar Moneymaker (MM) and near isogenic lines (NILs) carrying resistance gene Ol-1 or Ol-4, a transcript-derived fragment (TDF) M11E69-195 was found to be present in NIL-Ol-1 but absent in MM and NIL-Ol-4. This TDF shows homology to acetolactate synthase (ALS). ALS is a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of branched-chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine, and it is also a target of commercial herbicides.
Three ALS homologs ALS1, ALS2, ALS3 were identified in the tomato genome sequence. ALS1 and ALS2 show high similarity, whereas ALS3 is more divergent. Transient silencing of both ALS1 and ALS2 in NIL-Ol-1 by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) resulted in chlorotic leaf areas that showed increased susceptibility to O. neolycopersici (On). VIGS results were confirmed by stable transformation of NIL-Ol-1 using an RNAi construct targeting both ALS1 and ALS2. In contrast, silencing of the three ALS genes individually by RNAi constructs did not compromise the resistance of NIL-Ol-1. Application of the herbicide chlorsulfuron to NIL-Ol-1 mimicked the VIGS phenotype and caused loss of its resistance to On. Susceptible MM and On-resistant line NIL-Ol-4 carrying a nucleotide binding site and leucine rich repeat (NB-LRR) resistance gene were also treated with chlorsulfuron. Neither the susceptibility of MM nor the resistance of NIL-Ol-4 was affected.
ALS is neither involved in basal defense, nor in resistance conferred by NB-LRR type resistance genes. Instead, it is specifically involved in Ol-1-mediated resistance to tomato powdery mildew, suggesting that ALS-induced change in amino acid homeostasis is important for resistance conferred by Ol-1.
Acetolactate synthase; Oidium neolycopersici; Resistance; Solanum lycoperisum; Amino acid homeostasis
Head blast caused by the fungal plant pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae is an upcoming threat for wheat and barley cultivation. We investigated the nonhost response of barley to an isolate of the Magnaporthe species complex which is pathogenic on Pennisetum spp. as a potential source for novel resistance traits.
Array experiments identified a barley gene encoding a putative cytochrome P450 monooxygenase whose transcripts accumulate to a higher concentration in the nonhost as compared to the host interaction. The gene clusters within the CYP96 clade of the P450 plant gene family and is designated as CYP96B22. Expression of CYP96B22 was triggered during the ectoparasitic growth of the pathogen on the outside of the leaf. Usage of a fungicidal treatment and a Magnaporthe mutant confirmed that penetration was not necessary for this early activation of CYP96B22. Transcriptional silencing of CYP96B22 using Barley stripe mosaic virus led to a decrease in penetration resistance of barley plants to Magnaporthe host and nonhost isolates. This phenotype seems to be specific for the barley-Magnaporthe interaction, since penetration of the adapted barley powdery mildew fungus was not altered in similarly treated plants.
Taken together our results suggest a cross-talk between barley and Magnaporthe isolates across the plant surface. Since members of the plant CYP96 family are known to be involved in synthesis of epicuticular waxes, these substances or their derivatives might act as signal components. We propose a functional overlap of CYP96B22 in the execution of penetration resistance during basal and nonhost resistance of barley against different Magnaporthe species.
Nonhost resistance; Magnaporthe oryzae; Head blast; Cytochrome P450; Wax; Cuticle; Penetration; BSMV-VIGS
Cytokinins control numerous plant developmental processes, including meristem formation and activity, nutrient distribution, senescence timing and responses to both the abiotic and biotic environments. Cytokinin signaling leads to the activation of type-B response regulators (RRBs), Myb-like transcription factors that are activated by the phosphorylation of a conserved aspartate residue in their response receiver domain. Consistent with this, overexpression of RRBs does not substantially alter plant development, but instead leads to cytokinin hypersensitivity.
Here we present comparative analysis of plants overexpressing Arabidopsis RRB 1 (ARR1) or a phosphomimic ARR1D94E mutant in which the conserved aspartate-94 (D94) is replaced by the phosphomimic residue glutamate (E). The D94E substitution causes a 100-fold increase in response activation and instigates developmental and physiological changes that characterize wild-type plants treated with cytokinins or transgenic plants with increased cytokinin content.
The current model of cytokinin signaling emphasizes the essential role of conserved aspartate residue phosphorylation of RRBs in promoting cytokinin responses. Our comparative analyses of developmental and physiological traits of ARR1 and ARR1D94E overexpressing plants revealed that the ARR1D94E protein is indeed a constitutive and wide-spectrum cytokinin response activator.
Arabidopsis; Cytokinin signaling; Type-B response regulator; Phosphomimic mutation; Constitutive hormone response
Identifying the target genes of transcription factors is important for unraveling regulatory networks in all types of organisms. Our interest was precisely to uncover the spectrum of loci regulated by a widespread plant transcription factor involved in physiological adaptation to drought, a type of stress that plants have encountered since the colonization of land habitats 400 MYA. The regulator under study, named ASR1, is exclusive to the plant kingdom (albeit absent in Arabidopsis) and known to alleviate the stress caused by restricted water availability. As its target genes are still unknown despite the original cloning of Asr1 cDNA 20 years ago, we examined the tomato genome for specific loci interacting in vivo with this conspicuous protein.
We performed ChIP followed by high throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) on leaves from stressed tomato plants, using a high-quality anti-ASR1 antibody. In this way, we unraveled a novel repertoire of target genes, some of which are clearly involved in the response to drought stress. Many of the ASR1-enriched genomic loci we found encode enzymes involved in cell wall synthesis and remodeling as well as channels implicated in water and solute flux, such as aquaporins. In addition, we were able to determine a robust consensus ASR1-binding DNA motif.
The finding of cell wall synthesis and aquaporin genes as targets of ASR1 is consistent with their suggested role in the physiological adaptation of plants to water loss. The results gain insight into the environmental stress-sensing pathways leading to plant tolerance of drought.
Tomato; ASR1; ChIP-seq; Water stress; Cell wall; Aquaporin
The model grass Brachypodium distachyon is increasingly used to study various aspects of grass biology. A large and genotypically diverse collection of B. distachyon germplasm has been assembled by the research community. The natural variation in this collection can serve as a powerful experimental tool for many areas of inquiry, including investigating biomass traits.
We surveyed the phenotypic diversity in a large collection of inbred lines and then selected a core collection of lines for more detailed analysis with an emphasis on traits relevant to the use of grasses as biofuel and grain crops. Phenotypic characters examined included plant height, growth habit, stem density, flowering time, and seed weight. We also surveyed differences in cell wall composition using near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) and comprehensive microarray polymer profiling (CoMPP). In all cases, we observed extensive natural variation including a two-fold variation in stem density, four-fold variation in ferulic acid bound to hemicellulose, and 1.7-fold variation in seed mass.
These characterizations can provide the criteria for selecting diverse lines for future investigations of the genetic basis of the observed phenotypic variation.
Brachypodium distachyon; Cell wall; NIR; Seed; Biofuel
The elongating maize internode represents a useful system for following development of cell walls in vegetative cells in the Poaceae family. Elongating internodes can be divided into four developmental zones, namely the basal intercalary meristem, above which are found the elongation, transition and maturation zones. Cells in the basal meristem and elongation zones contain mainly primary walls, while secondary cell wall deposition accelerates in the transition zone and predominates in the maturation zone.
The major wall components cellulose, lignin and glucuronoarabinoxylan (GAX) increased without any abrupt changes across the elongation, transition and maturation zones, although GAX appeared to increase more between the elongation and transition zones. Microarray analyses show that transcript abundance of key glycosyl transferase genes known to be involved in wall synthesis or re-modelling did not match the increases in cellulose, GAX and lignin. Rather, transcript levels of many of these genes were low in the meristematic and elongation zones, quickly increased to maximal levels in the transition zone and lower sections of the maturation zone, and generally decreased in the upper maturation zone sections. Genes with transcript profiles showing this pattern included secondary cell wall CesA genes, GT43 genes, some β-expansins, UDP-Xylose synthase and UDP-Glucose pyrophosphorylase, some xyloglucan endotransglycosylases/hydrolases, genes involved in monolignol biosynthesis, and NAM and MYB transcription factor genes.
The data indicated that the enzymic products of genes involved in cell wall synthesis and modification remain active right along the maturation zone of elongating maize internodes, despite the fact that corresponding transcript levels peak earlier, near or in the transition zone.
Cell walls; Cellulose; Cereals; Lignin; Polysaccharides; Transcription factors
Besides gene duplication and de novo gene generation, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is another important way of acquiring new genes. HGT may endow the recipients with novel phenotypic traits that are important for species evolution and adaption to new ecological niches. Parasitic systems expectedly allow the occurrence of HGT at relatively high frequencies due to their long-term physical contact. In plants, a number of HGT events have been reported between the organelles of parasites and the hosts, but HGT between host and parasite nuclear genomes has rarely been found.
A thorough transcriptome screening revealed that a strictosidine synthase-like (SSL) gene in the root parasitic plant Orobanche aegyptiaca and the shoot parasitic plant Cuscuta australis showed much higher sequence similarities with those in Brassicaceae than with those in their close relatives, suggesting independent gene horizontal transfer events from Brassicaceae to these parasites. These findings were strongly supported by phylogenetic analysis and their identical unique amino acid residues and deletions. Intriguingly, the nucleus-located SSL genes in Brassicaceae belonged to a new member of SSL gene family, which were originated from gene duplication. The presence of introns indicated that the transfer occurred directly by DNA integration in both parasites. Furthermore, positive selection was detected in the foreign SSL gene in O. aegyptiaca but not in C. australis. The expression of the foreign SSL genes in these two parasitic plants was detected in multiple development stages and tissues, and the foreign SSL gene was induced after wounding treatment in C. australis stems. These data imply that the foreign genes may still retain certain functions in the recipient species.
Our study strongly supports that parasitic plants can gain novel nuclear genes from distantly related host species by HGT and the foreign genes may execute certain functions in the new hosts.
Cuscuta; Horizontal gene transfer; New genes; Orobanche; Parasitic plants; Strictosidine Synthase-Like Genes
The diploid (2n = 2x = 14) strawberry model plant Fragaria vesca ssp. vesca ‘Hawaii 4’ was employed for functional analysis of expressed DNA sequences initially identified as being unique to Fragaria and of unknown or poorly understood function. ‘Hawaii 4’ is prominent in strawberry research due to its ease of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and regenerability, and its status as the source of the first complete strawberry genomic sequence. Our studies of a set of transformants have documented intriguing, construct-associated effects on leaf morphology, and provide important and unexpected insights into the performance of the ‘Hawaii 4’ transformation and regeneration system.
Following Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of leaf explants with gene constructs carried by Gateway® vectors, plants were regenerated using a modified version of an established ‘Hawaii 4’ protocol. Expanding upon the findings of prior studies, we documented that plantlet regeneration was occurring via a somatic embryogenic rather than an organogenic developmental pathway. Among transformants, several variations in leaf morphology were observed. Unexpectedly, a particular leaf variant type, occurring in ~17% of all regenerants independent of construct type, was found to be attributable to tetraploidy. The tetraploidy-associated alteration in leaf morphology could be differentiated from the leaf morphology of diploid regenerants on the basis of a quantitative ratio of leaf dimensions: B/A, where B is the width of the central leaflet and A is the overall width of the trifoliate leaf. Variant effects on leaf morphology of four different transgenic constructs were also documented, and were in all cases distinguishable from the effects of tetraploidy.
These results define opportunities to optimize the existing ‘Hawaii 4’ protocol by focusing on treatments that specifically promote somatic embryogenesis. The reported morphological metric and descriptions will guide future transgenic studies using the ‘Hawaii 4’ model system by alerting researchers to the potential occurrence of polyploid regenerants, and to differentiating the effects on leaf morphology due to polyploidy versus transgenic manipulations. Finally, an intriguing spectrum of leaf morphology alterations resulting from manipulation of expressed sequences of uncertain function is documented, providing a foundation for detailed studies of the respective genes and their functional roles.
Fragaria; Strawberry; Transgenes; Leaf morphology; Tetraploidy; Somatic embryogenesis
Reconstruction of the parental origins of cultivated plants from wild relatives, especially after long periods of domestication, is not a trivial task. However, recent advances in molecular phylogenetics, among other approaches, have proved to be very informative in analyses of the origin and evolution of polyploid genomes. An established minor garden crop, triploid onion Allium × cornutum (Clementi ex Visiani, 1842) (2n = 3x = 24), is widespread in southeastern Asia and Europe. Our previous cytogenetic analyses confirmed its highly heterozygous karyotype and indicated its possible complex triparental genome origin. Allium cepa L. and Allium roylei Stearn were suggested as two putative parental species of A. × cornutum, whereas the third parental species remained hitherto unknown.
Here we report the phylogenetic analyses of the internal transcribed spacers ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 of 35S rDNA and the non-transcribed spacer (NTS) region of 5S rDNA of A. × cornutum and its relatives of the section Cepa. Both ITS and NTS sequence data revealed intra-individual variation in triploid onion, and these data clustered into the three main clades, each with high sequence homology to one of three other species of section Cepa: A. cepa, A. roylei, and unexpectedly, the wild Asian species Allium pskemense B. Fedtsh. Allium pskemense is therefore inferred to be the third, so far unknown, putative parental species of triploid onion Allium × cornutum. The 35S and 5S rRNA genes were found to be localised on somatic chromosomes of A. × cornutum and its putative parental species by double fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). The localisation of 35S and 5S rDNA in A. × cornutum chromosomes corresponded to their respective positions in the three putative parental species, A. cepa, A. pskemense, and A. roylei. GISH (genomic in situ hybridisation) using DNA of the three putative parental diploids corroborated the results of the phylogenetic study.
The combined molecular, phylogenetic and cytogenetic data obtained in this study provided evidence for a unique triparental origin of triploid onion A. × cornutum with three putative parental species, A. cepa, A. pskemense, and A. roylei.
Allium × cornutum; Allium cepa; Allium roylei; Allium pskemense; Triparental hybrid; Triploid; Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH); ITS1-5.8S-ITS2; 5S rDNA non-transcribed spacer (NTS); Genomic in situ hybridisation (GISH)
Proline (Pro) dehydrogenase (ProDH) potentiates the oxidative burst and cell death of the plant Hypersensitive Response (HR) by mechanisms not yet elucidated. ProDH converts Pro into ∆1 pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) and can act together with P5C dehydrogenase (P5CDH) to produce Glu, or with P5C reductase (P5CR) to regenerate Pro and thus stimulate the Pro/P5C cycle. To better understand the effects of ProDH in HR, we studied the enzyme at three stages of the defense response differing in their ROS and cell death levels. In addition, we tested if ProDH requires P5CDH to potentiate HR.
Control and infected leaves of wild type and p5cdh plants were used to monitor ProDH activity, in vivo Pro catabolism, amino acid content, and gene expression. Wild type plants activated ProDH at all HR stages. They did not consume Pro during maximal ROS accumulation, and maintained almost basal P5C levels at all conditions. p5cdh mutants activated ProDH as wild type plants. They achieved maximum oxidative burst and cell death levels producing normal HR lesions, but evidenced premature defense activation.
ProDH activation has different effects on HR. Before the oxidative burst it leads to Pro consumption involving the action of P5CDH. During the oxidative burst, ProDH becomes functionally uncoupled to P5CDH and apparently works with P5CR. The absence of P5CDH does not reduce ROS, cell death, or pathogen resistance, indicating this enzyme is not accompanying ProDH in the potentiation of these defense responses. In contrast, p5cdh infected plants displayed increased ROS burst and earlier initiation of HR cell death. In turn, our results suggest that ProDH may sustain HR by participating in the Pro/P5C cycle, whose action on HR must be formally evaluated in a future.
Proline metabolism; Proline dehydrogenase/oxidase; P5C; Stress responses; Arabidopsis; Pseudomonas syringae; Hypersensitive Response; Cell death; Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
Studies in Arabidopsis show that DELLA genes may differentially affect responses to biotrophic and necrophic pathogens. A recent report based on the study of DELLA-producing reduced height (Rht) genes in wheat and barley also hypothesized that DELLA genes likely increased susceptibility to necrotrophs but increased resistance to biotrophs.
Effects of uzu, a non-GA (gibberellic acid)-responsive semi-dwarfing gene, on Fusarium crown rot (FCR) resistance in barley were investigated. Fifteen pairs of near isogenic lines for this gene were generated and assessed under two different temperature regimes. Similar to its impacts on plant height, the semi-dwarfing gene uzu also showed larger effects on FCR severity in the high temperature regime when compared with that in the low temperature regime.
Results from this study add to the growing evidence showing that the effects of plant height on Fusarium resistances are unlikely related to DELLA genes but due to direct or indirect effects of height difference per se. The interaction between these two characteristics highlights the importance of understanding relationships between resistance and other traits of agronomic importance as the value of a resistance gene could be compromised if it dramatically affects plant development and morphology.
Plant height; Fusarium crown rot; uzu gene; Near isogenic lines; DELLA proteins
Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is essential for plant growth, and phosphorus deficiency is a main limiting factor in plant development. Its acquisition is largely mediated by Pht1 transporters, a family of plasma membrane-located proteins. Chrysanthemum is one of the most important ornamental plants, its productivity is usually compromised when grown in phosphate deficient soils, but the study of phosphate transporters in chrysanthemum is limited.
We described the isolation from chrysanthemum of a homolog of the Phosphate Transporter 1 (PT1) family. Its predicted product is a protein with 12 transmembrane domains, highly homologous with other high affinity plant Pi transporters. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis revealed that the gene was transcribed strongly in the root, weakly in the stem and below the level of detection in the leaf of chrysanthemum plants growing in either sufficient or deficient Pi conditions. Transcript abundance was greatly enhanced in Pi-starved roots. A complementation assay in yeast showed that CmPT1 partially compensated for the absence of phosphate transporter activity in yeast strain MB192. The estimated K
of CmPT1 was 35.2 μM. Under both Pi sufficient and deficient conditions, transgenic plants constitutively expressing CmPT1 grew taller than the non-transformed wild type, produced a greater volume of roots, accumulated more biomass and took up more phosphate.
CmPT1 encodes a typical, root-expressed, high affinity phosphate transporter, plays an important role in coping Pi deficiency of chrysanthemum plants.
Chrysanthemum morifolium; CmPT1; Functional characterization; Complementation assay; Transgenic plants
Deciphering the genetic structure of Arabidopsis thaliana diversity across its geographic range provides the bases for elucidating the demographic history of this model plant. Despite the unique A. thaliana genomic resources currently available, its history in North Africa, the extreme southern limit in the biodiversity hotspot of the Mediterranean Basin, remains virtually unknown.
To approach A. thaliana evolutionary history in North Africa, we have analysed the genetic diversity and structure of 151 individuals collected from 20 populations distributed across Morocco. Genotyping of 249 genome-wide SNPs indicated that Morocco contains substantially lower diversity than most analyzed world regions. However, IBD, STRUCTURE and PCA clustering analyses showed that genetic variation is strongly geographically structured. We also determined the genetic relationships between Morocco and the closest European region, the Iberian Peninsula, by analyses of 201 populations from both regions genotyped with the same SNPs. These analyses detected four genetic groups, but all Moroccan accessions belonged to a common Iberian/Moroccan cluster that appeared highly differentiated from the remaining groups. Thus, we identified a genetic lineage with an isolated demographic history in the south-western Mediterranean region. The existence of this lineage was further supported by the study of several flowering genes and traits, which also found Moroccan accessions similar to the same Iberian group. Nevertheless, genetic diversity for neutral SNPs and flowering genes was higher in Moroccan than in Iberian populations of this lineage. Furthermore, we analyzed the genetic relationships between Morocco and other world regions by joint analyses of a worldwide collection of 337 accessions, which detected an additional weak relationship between North Africa and Asia.
The patterns of genetic diversity and structure of A. thaliana in Morocco show that North Africa is part of the species native range and support the occurrence of a glacial refugium in the Atlas Mountains. In addition, the identification of a genetic lineage specific of Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula indicates that the Strait of Gibraltar has been an A. thaliana migration route between Europe and Africa. Finally, the genetic relationship between Morocco and Asia suggests another migration route connecting north-western Africa and Asia.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Population genetics; Natural variation; Genetic diversity; Genetic structure; Demographic history; North Africa; Mediterranean Basin; Glacial refugium/refugia
In Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) the WD40 protein TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA1 (TTG1) controls five traits relevant for the adaptation of plants to environmental changes including the production of proanthocyanidin, anthocyanidin, seed coat mucilage, trichomes and root hairs. The analysis of different Brassicaceae species suggests that the function of TTG1 is conserved within the family.
In this work, we studied the function of TTG1 in Arabis alpina (A. alpina). A comparison of wild type and two Aattg1 alleles revealed that AaTTG1 is involved in the regulation of all five traits. A detailed analysis of the five traits showed striking phenotypic differences between A. alpina and A. thaliana such that trichome formation occurs also at later stages of leaf development and that root hairs form at non-root hair positions.
The evolutionary conservation of the regulation of the five traits by TTG1 on the one hand and the striking phenotypic differences make A. alpina a very interesting genetic model system to study the evolution of TTG1-dependent gene regulatory networks at a functional level.
Arabis alpina; TTG1; Trichomes; Root hairs; Pro-anthocyanidin; Anthocyanidin; Seed coat mucilage