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1.  Identification and characterization of small non-coding RNAs from Chinese fir by high throughput sequencing 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:146.
Background
Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) play key roles in plant development, growth and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. At least four classes of sRNAs have been well characterized in plants, including repeat-associated siRNAs (rasiRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), trans-acting siRNAs (tasiRNAs) and natural antisense transcript-derived siRNAs. Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) is one of the most important coniferous evergreen tree species in China. No sRNA from Chinese fir has been described to date.
Results
To obtain sRNAs in Chinese fir, we sequenced a sRNA library generated from seeds, seedlings, leaves, stems and calli, using Illumina high throughput sequencing technology. A comprehensive set of sRNAs were acquired, including conserved and novel miRNAs, rasiRNAs and tasiRNAs. With BLASTN and MIREAP we identified a total of 115 conserved miRNAs comprising 40 miRNA families and one novel miRNA with precursor sequence. The expressions of 16 conserved and one novel miRNAs and one tasiRNA were detected by RT-PCR. Utilizing real time RT-PCR, we revealed that four conserved and one novel miRNAs displayed developmental stage-specific expression patterns in Chinese fir. In addition, 209 unigenes were predicted to be targets of 30 Chinese fir miRNA families, of which five target genes were experimentally verified by 5' RACE, including a squamosa promoter-binding protein gene, a pentatricopeptide (PPR) repeat-containing protein gene, a BolA-like family protein gene, AGO1 and a gene of unknown function. We also demonstrated that the DCL3-dependent rasiRNA biogenesis pathway, which had been considered absent in conifers, existed in Chinese fir. Furthermore, the miR390-TAS3-ARF regulatory pathway was elucidated.
Conclusions
We unveiled a complex population of sRNAs in Chinese fir through high throughput sequencing. This provides an insight into the composition and function of sRNAs in Chinese fir and sheds new light on land plant sRNA evolution.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-146
PMCID: PMC3462689  PMID: 22894611
Chinese fir; miRNA; rasiRNA; tasiRNA; Cunninghamia lanceolata
2.  Transcriptome-wide identification and characterization of miRNAs from Pinus densata 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:132.
Background
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in diverse developmental processes, nutrient homeostasis and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. The biogenesis and regulatory functions of miRNAs have been intensively studied in model angiosperms, such as Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa and Populus trichocarpa. However, global identification of Pinus densata miRNAs has not been reported in previous research.
Results
Here, we report the identification of 34 conserved miRNAs belonging to 25 miRNA families from a P. densata mRNA transcriptome database using local BLAST and MIREAP programs. The primary and/or precursor sequences of 29 miRNAs were further confirmed by RT-PCR amplification and subsequent sequencing. The average value of the minimal folding free energy indexes of the 34 miRNA precursors was 0.92. Nineteen (58%) mature miRNAs began with a 5' terminal uridine residue. Analysis of miRNA precursors showed that 19 mature miRNAs were novel members of 14 conserved miRNA families, of which 17 miRNAs were further validated by subcloning and sequencing. Using real-time quantitative RT-PCR, we found that the expression levels of 7 miRNAs were more than 2-fold higher in needles than in stems. In addition, 72 P. densata mRNAs were predicted to be targets of 25 miRNA families. Four target genes, including a nodal modulator 1-like protein gene, two GRAS family transcription factor protein genes and one histone deacetylase gene, were experimentally verified to be the targets of 3 P. densata miRNAs, pde-miR162a, pde-miR171a and pde-miR482a, respectively.
Conclusions
This study led to the discovery of 34 conserved miRNAs comprising 25 miRNA families from Pinus densata. These results lay a solid foundation for further studying the regulative roles of miRNAs in the development, growth and responses to environmental stresses in P. densata.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-132
PMCID: PMC3347991  PMID: 22480283
Pinus densata; miRNA; Transcriptome
3.  Golgi Apparatus-Localized Synaptotagmin 2 Is Required for Unconventional Secretion in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26477.
Background
Most secretory proteins contain signal peptides that direct their sorting to the ER and secreted via the conventional ER/Golgi transport pathway, while some signal-peptide-lacking proteins have been shown to export through ER/Golgi independent secretory pathways. Hygromycin B is an aminoglycoside antibiotic produced by Streptomyces hygroscopicus that is active against both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The hygromycin phosphotransferase (HYGR) can phosphorylate and inactivate the hygromycin B, and has been widely used as a positive selective marker in the construction of transgenic plants. However, the localization and trafficking of HYGR in plant cells remain unknown. Synaptotagmins (SYTs) are involved in controlling vesicle endocytosis and exocytosis as calcium sensors in animal cells, while their functions in plant cells are largely unclear.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We found Arabidopsis synaptotagmin SYT2 was localized on the Golgi apparatus by immunofluorescence and immunogold labeling. Surprisingly, co-expression of SYT2 and HYGR caused hypersensitivity of the transgenic Arabidopsis plants to hygromycin B. HYGR, which lacks a signal sequence, was present in the cytoplasm as well as in the extracellular space in HYGR-GFP transgenic Arabidopsis plants and its secretion is not sensitive to brefeldin A treatment, suggesting it is not secreted via the conventional secretory pathway. Furthermore, we found that HYGR-GFP was truncated at carboxyl terminus of HYGR shortly after its synthesis, and the cells deficient SYT2 failed to efficiently truncate HYGR-GFP,resulting in HYGR-GFP accumulated in prevacuoles/vacuoles, indicating that SYT2 was involved in HYGR-GFP trafficking and secretion.
Conclusion/Significance
These findings reveal for the first time that SYT2 is localized on the Golgi apparatus and regulates HYGR-GFP secretion via the unconventional protein transport from the cytosol to the extracelluar matrix in plant cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026477
PMCID: PMC3225361  PMID: 22140429
4.  Arabidopsis R-SNARE Proteins VAMP721 and VAMP722 Are Required for Cell Plate Formation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26129.
Background
Cell plate formation during plant cytokinesis is facilitated by SNARE complex-mediated vesicle fusion at the cell-division plane. However, our knowledge regarding R-SNARE components of membrane fusion machinery for cell plate formation remains quite limited.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report the in vivo function of Arabidopsis VAMP721 and VAMP722, two closely sequence-related R-SNAREs, in cell plate formation. Double homozygous vamp721vamp722 mutant seedlings showed lethal dwarf phenotypes and were characterized by rudimentary roots, cotyledons and hypocotyls. Furthermore, cell wall stubs and incomplete cytokinesis were frequently observed in vamp721vamp722 seedlings. Confocal images revealed that green fluorescent protein-tagged VAMP721 and VAMP722 were preferentially localized to the expanding cell plates in dividing cells. Drug treatments and co-localization analyses demonstrated that punctuate organelles labeled with VAMP721 and VAMP722 represented early endosomes overlapped with VHA-a1-labeled TGN, which were distinct from Golgi stacks and prevacuolar compartments. In addition, protein traffic to the plasma membrane, but not to the vacuole, was severely disrupted in vamp721vamp722 seedlings by subcellular localization of marker proteins.
Conclusion/Significance
These observations suggest that VAMP721 and VAMP722 are involved in secretory trafficking to the plasma membrane via TGN/early endosomal compartment, which contributes substantially to cell plate formation during plant cytokinesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026129
PMCID: PMC3191180  PMID: 22022536
5.  Disruption of actin filaments induces mitochondrial Ca2+ release to the cytoplasm and [Ca2+]c changes in Arabidopsis root hairs 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:53.
Background
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that move along actin filaments, and serve as calcium stores in plant cells. The positioning and dynamics of mitochondria depend on membrane-cytoskeleton interactions, but it is not clear whether microfilament cytoskeleton has a direct effect on mitochondrial function and Ca2+ storage. Therefore, we designed a series of experiments to clarify the effects of actin filaments on mitochondrial Ca2+ storage, cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]c), and the interaction between mitochondrial Ca2+ and cytoplasmic Ca2+ in Arabidopsis root hairs.
Results
In this study, we found that treatments with latrunculin B (Lat-B) and jasplakinolide (Jas), which depolymerize and polymerize actin filaments respectively, decreased membrane potential and Ca2+ stores in the mitochondria of Arabidopsis root hairs. Simultaneously, these treatments induced an instantaneous increase of cytoplasmic Ca2+, followed by a continuous decrease. All of these effects were inhibited by pretreatment with cyclosporin A (Cs A), a representative blocker of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). Moreover, we found there was a Ca2+ concentration gradient in mitochondria from the tip to the base of the root hair, and this gradient could be disrupted by actin-acting drugs.
Conclusions
Based on these results, we concluded that the disruption of actin filaments caused by Lat-B or Jas promoted irreversible opening of the mPTP, resulting in mitochondrial Ca2+ release into the cytoplasm, and consequent changes in [Ca2+]c. We suggest that normal polymerization and depolymerization of actin filaments are essential for mitochondrial Ca2+ storage in root hairs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-53
PMCID: PMC2923527  PMID: 20334630

Results 1-5 (5)