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1.  Construction and EST sequencing of full-length, drought stress cDNA libraries for common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:171.
Common bean is an important legume crop with only a moderate number of short expressed sequence tags (ESTs) made with traditional methods. The goal of this research was to use full-length cDNA technology to develop ESTs that would overlap with the beginning of open reading frames and therefore be useful for gene annotation of genomic sequences. The library was also constructed to represent genes expressed under drought, low soil phosphorus and high soil aluminum toxicity. We also undertook comparisons of the full-length cDNA library to two previous non-full clone EST sets for common bean.
Two full-length cDNA libraries were constructed: one for the drought tolerant Mesoamerican genotype BAT477 and the other one for the acid-soil tolerant Andean genotype G19833 which has been selected for genome sequencing. Plants were grown in three soil types using deep rooting cylinders subjected to drought and non-drought stress and tissues were collected from both roots and above ground parts. A total of 20,000 clones were selected robotically, half from each library. Then, nearly 10,000 clones from the G19833 library were sequenced with an average read length of 850 nucleotides. A total of 4,219 unigenes were identified consisting of 2,981 contigs and 1,238 singletons. These were functionally annotated with gene ontology terms and placed into KEGG pathways. Compared to other EST sequencing efforts in common bean, about half of the sequences were novel or represented the 5' ends of known genes.
The present full-length cDNA libraries add to the technological toolbox available for common bean and our sequencing of these clones substantially increases the number of unique EST sequences available for the common bean genome. All of this should be useful for both functional gene annotation, analysis of splice site variants and intron/exon boundary determination by comparison to soybean genes or with common bean whole-genome sequences. In addition the library has a large number of transcription factors and will be interesting for discovery and validation of drought or abiotic stress related genes in common bean.
PMCID: PMC3240127  PMID: 22118559
2.  Gene-based SSR markers for common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) derived from root and leaf tissue ESTs: an integration of the BMc series 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:50.
Sequencing of cDNA libraries for the development of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) as well as for the discovery of simple sequence repeats (SSRs) has been a common method of developing microsatellites or SSR-based markers. In this research, our objective was to further sequence and develop common bean microsatellites from leaf and root cDNA libraries derived from the Andean gene pool accession G19833 and the Mesoamerican gene pool accession DOR364, mapping parents of a commonly used reference map. The root libraries were made from high and low phosphorus treated plants.
A total of 3,123 EST sequences from leaf and root cDNA libraries were screened and used for direct simple sequence repeat discovery. From these EST sequences we found 184 microsatellites; the majority containing tri-nucleotide motifs, many of which were GC rich (ACC, AGC and AGG in particular). Di-nucleotide motif microsatellites were about half as common as the tri-nucleotide motif microsatellites but most of these were AGn microsatellites with a moderate number of ATn microsatellites in root ESTs followed by few ACn and no GCn microsatellites. Out of the 184 new SSR loci, 120 new microsatellite markers were developed in the BMc (Bean Microsatellites from cDNAs) series and these were evaluated for their capacity to distinguish bean diversity in a germplasm panel of 18 genotypes. We developed a database with images of the microsatellites and their polymorphism information content (PIC), which averaged 0.310 for polymorphic markers.
The present study produced information about microsatellite frequency in root and leaf tissues of two important genotypes for common bean genomics: namely G19833, the Andean genotype selected for whole genome shotgun sequencing from race Peru, and DOR364 a race Mesoamerica subgroup 2 genotype that is a small-red seeded, released variety in Central America. Both race Peru and Mesoamerica subgroup 2 (small red beans) have been understudied in comparison to race Nueva Granada and Mesoamerica subgroup 1 (black beans) both with regards to gene expression and as sources of markers. However, we found few differences between SSR type and frequency between the G19833 leaf and DOR364 root tissue-derived ESTs. Overall, our work adds to the analysis of microsatellite frequency evaluation for common bean and provides a new set of 120 BMc markers which combined with the 248 previously developed BMc markers brings the total in this series to 368 markers. Once we include BMd markers, which are derived from GenBank sequences, the current total of gene-based markers from our laboratory surpasses 500 markers. These markers are basic for studies of the transcriptome of common bean and can form anchor points for genetic mapping studies in the future.
PMCID: PMC3068092  PMID: 21426554
3.  Variation and inheritance of iron reductase activity in the roots of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and association with seed iron accumulation QTL 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:215.
Iron deficiency anemia is a global problem which often affects women and children of developing countries. Strategy I plants, such as common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) take up iron through a process that involves an iron reduction mechanism in their roots; this reduction is required to convert ferric iron to ferrous iron. Root absorbed iron is critical for the iron nutrition of the plant, and for the delivery of iron to the shoot and ultimately the seeds. The objectives of this study were to determine the variability and inheritance for iron reductase activity in a range of genotypes and in a low × high seed iron cross (DOR364 × G19833), to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for this trait, and to assess possible associations with seed iron levels.
The experiments were carried out with hydroponically grown plants provided different amounts of iron varying between 0 and 20 μM Fe(III)-EDDHA. The parents, DOR364 and G19833, plus 13 other cultivated or wild beans, were found to differ in iron reductase activity. Based on these initial experiments, two growth conditions (iron limited and iron sufficient) were selected as treatments for evaluating the DOR364 × G19833 recombinant inbred lines. A single major QTL was found for iron reductase activity under iron-limited conditions (1 μM Fe) on linkage group b02 and another major QTL was found under iron sufficient conditions (15 μM Fe) on linkage group b11. Associations between the b11 QTL were found with several QTL for seed iron.
Genes conditioning iron reductase activity in iron sufficient bean plants appear to be associated with genes contributing to seed iron accumulation. Markers for bean iron reductase (FRO) homologues were found with in silico mapping based on common bean synteny with soybean and Medicago truncatula on b06 and b07; however, neither locus aligned with the QTL for iron reductase activity. In summary, the QTL for iron reductase activity under iron limited conditions may be useful in environments where beans are grown in alkaline soils, while the QTL for iron reductase under sufficiency conditions may be useful for selecting for enhanced seed nutritional quality.
PMCID: PMC3095315  PMID: 20923552
4.  Linkage disequilibrium at the APA insecticidal seed protein locus of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:79.
An interesting seed protein family with a role in preventing insect herbivory is the multi-gene, APA family encoding the α-amylase inhibitor, phytohemagglutinin and arcelin proteins of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Variability for this gene family exists and has been exploited to breed for insect resistance. For example, the arcelin locus has been successfully transferred from wild to cultivated common bean genotypes to provide resistance against the bruchid species Zabrotes subfasciatus although the process has been hampered by a lack of genetic tools for and understanding about the locus. In this study, we analyzed linkage disequilibrium (LD) between microsatellite markers at the APA locus and bruchid resistance in a germplasm survey of 105 resistant and susceptible genotypes and compared this with LD in other parts of the genome.
Microsatellite allele diversity was found to vary with each of the eight APA-linked markers analyzed, and two markers within the APA locus were found to be diagnostic for bruchid resistance or susceptibility and for the different arcelin alleles inherited from the wild accessions. Arc1 was found to provide higher levels of resistance than Arc5 and the markers in the APA locus were highly associated with resistance showing that introgression of this gene-family from wild beans provides resistance in cultivated beans. LD around the APA locus was found to be intermediate compared to other regions of the genome and the highest LD was found within the APA locus itself for example between the markers PV-atct001 and PV-ag004.
We found the APA locus to be an important genetic determinant of bruchid resistance and also found that LD existed mostly within the APA locus but not beyond it. Moderate LD was also found for some other regions of the genome perhaps related to domestication genes. The LD pattern may reflect the introgression of arcelin from the wild into the cultivated background through breeding. LD and association studies for the arcelin gene, linked genes and other members of the APA family are essential for breaking linkage drag while maintaining high levels of bruchid resistance in common bean.
PMCID: PMC3095353  PMID: 20429910
5.  Iron and ferritin accumulate in separate cellular locations in Phaseolus seeds 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:26.
Iron is an important micronutrient for all living organisms. Almost 25% of the world population is affected by iron deficiency, a leading cause of anemia. In plants, iron deficiency leads to chlorosis and reduced yield. Both animals and plants may suffer from iron deficiency when their diet or environment lacks bioavailable iron. A sustainable way to reduce iron malnutrition in humans is to develop staple crops with increased content of bioavailable iron. Knowledge of where and how iron accumulates in seeds of crop plants will increase the understanding of plant iron metabolism and will assist in the production of staples with increased bioavailable iron.
Here we reveal the distribution of iron in seeds of three Phaseolus species including thirteen genotypes of P. vulgaris, P. coccineus, and P. lunatus. We showed that high concentrations of iron accumulate in cells surrounding the provascular tissue of P. vulgaris and P. coccineus seeds. Using the Perls' Prussian blue method, we were able to detect iron in the cytoplasm of epidermal cells, cells near the epidermis, and cells surrounding the provascular tissue. In contrast, the protein ferritin that has been suggested as the major iron storage protein in legumes was only detected in the amyloplasts of the seed embryo. Using the non-destructive micro-PIXE (Particle Induced X-ray Emission) technique we show that the tissue in the proximity of the provascular bundles holds up to 500 μg g-1 of iron, depending on the genotype. In contrast to P. vulgaris and P. coccineus, we did not observe iron accumulation in the cells surrounding the provascular tissues of P. lunatus cotyledons. A novel iron-rich genotype, NUA35, with a high concentration of iron both in the seed coat and cotyledons was bred from a cross between an Andean and a Mesoamerican genotype.
The presented results emphasize the importance of complementing research in model organisms with analysis in crop plants and they suggest that iron distribution criteria should be integrated into selection strategies for bean biofortification.
PMCID: PMC2831038  PMID: 20149228
6.  Development and diversity of Andean-derived, gene-based microsatellites for common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:100.
Gene-based (genic) microsatellites are a useful tool for plant genetics and simple sequence repeat loci can often be found in coding regions of the genome. While EST sequencing can be used to discover genic microsatellites, direct screening of cDNA libraries for repeat motifs can save on overall sequencing costs. The objective of this research was to screen a large cDNA library from and Andean common bean genotype for six di-nucleotide and tri-nucleotide repeat motifs through a filter hybridization approach and to develop microsatellite markers from positive clones.
Robotics were used for high-throughput colony picking and to create a high-density filter of 18,432 double spotted cDNA clones which was followed by hybridization with repeat motif containing probes based on GA, CA, AAT, CAG, CAA and ACG repeats. A total of 1203 positive clones were identified by their addresses and sequenced from 5' ends and if required from 3' ends to confirm repeat motif and length. Out of 886 high quality sequences, 497 had complete microsatellite loci that were not truncated by the sequencing reaction and of these tri-nucleotide repeats were more common than di-nucleotide repeats. Different motifs were found in different frequencies in the 5' and 3' ends of the cDNAs. In a microsatellite development program, primers were designed for 248 SSR loci which were tested on a panel of 18 common bean genotypes to determine their potential as genetic markers finding higher average polymorphism information content for di-nucleotide repeat markers (0.3544) than for tri-nucleotide repeat markers (0.1536).
The present study provides a set of validated gene-based markers for common bean that are derived from G19833, an Andean landrace that is an important source of disease and abiotic stress tolerance which has been used for physical map development and as a mapping parent. Gene-based markers appear to be very efficient at separating divergent wild and cultivated accessions as well as Andean and Mesoamerican genepools and therefore will be useful for diversity analyses and for comparative and transcript mapping in common bean.
PMCID: PMC3091531  PMID: 19646251

Results 1-6 (6)