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1.  Relationship, evolutionary fate and function of two maize co-orthologs of rice GW2 associated with kernel size and weight 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:143.
In rice, the GW2 gene, found on chromosome 2, controls grain width and weight. Two homologs of this gene, ZmGW2-CHR4 and ZmGW2-CHR5, have been found in maize. In this study, we investigated the relationship, evolutionary fate and putative function of these two maize genes.
The two genes are located on duplicated maize chromosomal regions that show co-orthologous relationships with the rice region containing GW2. ZmGW2-CHR5 is more closely related to the sorghum counterpart than to ZmGW2-CHR4. Sequence comparisons between the two genes in eight diverse maize inbred lines revealed that the functional protein domain of both genes is completely conserved, with no non-synonymous polymorphisms identified. This suggests that both genes may have conserved functions, a hypothesis that was further confirmed through linkage, association, and expression analyses. Linkage analysis showed that ZmGW2-CHR4 is located within a consistent quantitative trait locus (QTL) for one-hundred kernel weight (HKW). Association analysis with a diverse panel of 121 maize inbred lines identified one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the promoter region of ZmGW2-CHR4 that was significantly associated with kernel width (KW) and HKW across all three field experiments examined in this study. SNPs or insertion/deletion polymorphisms (InDels) in other regions of ZmGW2-CHR4 and ZmGW2-CHR5 were also found to be significantly associated with at least one of the four yield-related traits (kernel length (KL), kernel thickness (KT), KW and HKW). None of the polymorphisms in either maize gene are similar to each other or to the 1 bp InDel causing phenotypic variation in rice. Expression levels of both maize genes vary over ear and kernel developmental stages, and the expression level of ZmGW2-CHR4 is significantly negatively correlated with KW.
The sequence, linkage, association and expression analyses collectively showed that the two maize genes represent chromosomal duplicates, both of which function to control some of the phenotypic variation for kernel size and weight in maize, as does their counterpart in rice. However, the different polymorphisms identified in the two maize genes and in the rice gene indicate that they may cause phenotypic variation through different mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3017803  PMID: 20626916
2.  Effects of manganese-excess on CO2 assimilation, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, carbohydrates and photosynthetic electron transport of leaves, and antioxidant systems of leaves and roots in Citrus grandis seedlings 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:42.
Very little is known about the effects of manganese (Mn)-excess on citrus photosynthesis and antioxidant systems. Seedlings of sour pummelo (Citrus grandis) were irrigated for 17 weeks with nutrient solution containing 2 μM (control) or 500 μM (excess) MnSO4. The objective of this study were to understand the mechanisms by which Mn-excess leads to a decrease in CO2 assimilation and to test the hypothesis that Mn-induced changes in antioxidant systems differ between roots and leaves.
Mn-excess decreased CO2 assimilation and stomatal conductance, increased intercellular CO2 concentration, but did not affect chlorophyll (Chl) level. Both initial and total ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) activity in Mn-excess leaves decreased to a lesser extent than CO2 assimilation. Contents of glucose, fructose, starch and total nonstructural carbohydrates did not differ between Mn-excess leaves and controls, while sucrose content was higher in the former. Chl a fluorescence (OJIP) transients from Mn-excess leaves showed increased O-step and decreased P-step, accompanied by positive L- and K-bands. Mn-excess decreased maximum quantum yield of primary photochemistry (Fv/Fm) and total performance index (PItot,abs), but increased relative variable fluorescence at I-steps (VI) and energy dissipation. On a protein basis, Mn-excess leaves displayed higher activities of monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDAR), glutathione reductase (GR), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and guaiacol peroxidase (GPX) and contents of antioxidants, similar ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activities and lower dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) activities; while Mn-excess roots had similar or lower activities of antioxidant enzymes and contents of antioxidants. Mn-excess did not affect malondialdehyde (MDA) content of roots and leaves.
Mn-excess impaired the whole photosynthetic electron transport chain from the donor side of photosystem II (PSII) up to the reduction of end acceptors of photosystem I (PSI), thus limiting the production of reducing equivalents, and hence the rate of CO2 assimilation. Both the energy dissipation and the antioxidant systems were enhanced in Mn-excess leaves, while the antioxidant systems in Mn-excess roots were not up-regulated, but still remained high activity. The antioxidant systems in Mn-excess roots and leaves provided sufficient protection to them against oxidative damage.
PMCID: PMC2848762  PMID: 20205939

Results 1-2 (2)