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1.  Plasma membrane protein OsMCA1 is involved in regulation of hypo-osmotic shock-induced Ca2+ influx and modulates generation of reactive oxygen species in cultured rice cells 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:11.
Mechanosensing and its downstream responses are speculated to involve sensory complexes containing Ca2+-permeable mechanosensitive channels. On recognizing osmotic signals, plant cells initiate activation of a widespread signal transduction network that induces second messengers and triggers inducible defense responses. Characteristic early signaling events include Ca2+ influx, protein phosphorylation and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Pharmacological analyses show Ca2+ influx mediated by mechanosensitive Ca2+ channels to influence induction of osmotic signals, including ROS generation. However, molecular bases and regulatory mechanisms for early osmotic signaling events remain poorly elucidated.
We here identified and investigated OsMCA1, the sole rice homolog of putative Ca2+-permeable mechanosensitive channels in Arabidopsis (MCAs). OsMCA1 was specifically localized at the plasma membrane. A promoter-reporter assay suggested that OsMCA1 mRNA is widely expressed in seed embryos, proximal and apical regions of shoots, and mesophyll cells of leaves and roots in rice. Ca2+ uptake was enhanced in OsMCA1-overexpressing suspension-cultured cells, suggesting that OsMCA1 is involved in Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane. Hypo-osmotic shock-induced ROS generation mediated by NADPH oxidases was also enhanced in OsMCA1-overexpressing cells. We also generated and characterized OsMCA1-RNAi transgenic plants and cultured cells; OsMCA1-suppressed plants showed retarded growth and shortened rachises, while OsMCA1-suppressed cells carrying Ca2+-sensitive photoprotein aequorin showed partially impaired changes in cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]cyt) induced by hypo-osmotic shock and trinitrophenol, an activator of mechanosensitive channels.
We have identified a sole MCA ortholog in the rice genome and developed both overexpression and suppression lines. Analyses of cultured cells with altered levels of this putative Ca2+-permeable mechanosensitive channel indicate that OsMCA1 is involved in regulation of plasma membrane Ca2+ influx and ROS generation induced by hypo-osmotic stress in cultured rice cells. These findings shed light on our understanding of mechanical sensing pathways.
PMCID: PMC3313898  PMID: 22264357
2.  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
3.  Effects of abiotic stress on plants: a systems biology perspective 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:163.
The natural environment for plants is composed of a complex set of abiotic stresses and biotic stresses. Plant responses to these stresses are equally complex. Systems biology approaches facilitate a multi-targeted approach by allowing one to identify regulatory hubs in complex networks. Systems biology takes the molecular parts (transcripts, proteins and metabolites) of an organism and attempts to fit them into functional networks or models designed to describe and predict the dynamic activities of that organism in different environments. In this review, research progress in plant responses to abiotic stresses is summarized from the physiological level to the molecular level. New insights obtained from the integration of omics datasets are highlighted. Gaps in our knowledge are identified, providing additional focus areas for crop improvement research in the future.
PMCID: PMC3252258  PMID: 22094046
4.  Comparative genomic analysis of 1047 completely sequenced cDNAs from an Arabidopsis-related model halophyte, Thellungiella halophila 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:261.
Thellungiella halophila (also known as T. salsuginea) is a model halophyte with a small size, short life cycle, and small genome. Thellungiella genes exhibit a high degree of sequence identity with Arabidopsis genes (90% at the cDNA level). We previously generated a full-length enriched cDNA library of T. halophila from various tissues and from whole plants treated with salinity, chilling, freezing stress, or ABA. We determined the DNA sequences of 20 000 cDNAs at both the 5'- and 3' ends, and identified 9569 distinct genes.
Here, we completely sequenced 1047 Thellungiella full-length cDNAs representing abiotic-stress-related genes, transcription factor genes, and protein phosphatase 2C genes. The predicted coding sequences, 5'-UTRs, and 3'-UTRs were compared with those of orthologous genes from Arabidopsis for length, sequence similarity, and structure. The 5'-UTR sequences of Thellungiella and Arabidopsis orthologs shared a significant level of similarity, although the motifs were rearranged. While examining the stress-related Thellungiella coding sequences, we found a short splicing variant of T. halophila salt overly sensitive 1 (ThSOS1), designated ThSOS1S. ThSOS1S contains the transmembrane domain of ThSOS1 but lacks the C-terminal hydrophilic region. The expression level of ThSOS1S under normal growth conditions was higher than that of ThSOS1. We also compared the expression levels of Na+-transport-system genes between Thellungiella and Arabidopsis by using full-length cDNAs from each species as probes. Several genes that play essential roles in Na+ excretion, compartmentation, and diffusion (SOS1, SOS2, NHX1, and HKT1) were expressed at higher levels in Thellungiella than in Arabidopsis.
The full-length cDNA sequences obtained in this study will be essential for the ongoing annotation of the Thellungiella genome, especially for further improvement of gene prediction. Moreover, they will enable us to find splicing variants such as ThSOS1S (AB562331).
PMCID: PMC3017837  PMID: 21106055
5.  A simple and high-sensitivity method for analysis of ubiquitination and polyubiquitination based on wheat cell-free protein synthesis 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:39.
Ubiquitination is mediated by the sequential action of at least three enzymes: the E1 (ubiquitin-activating enzyme), E2 (ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme) and E3 (ubiquitin ligase) proteins. Polyubiquitination of target proteins is also implicated in several critical cellular processes. Although Arabidopsis genome research has estimated more than 1,300 proteins involved in ubiquitination, little is known about the biochemical functions of these proteins. Here we demonstrate a novel, simple and high-sensitive method for in vitro analysis of ubiquitination and polyubiquitination based on wheat cell-free protein synthesis and luminescent detection.
Using wheat cell-free synthesis, 11 E3 proteins from Arabidopsis full-length cDNA templates were produced. These proteins were analyzed either in the translation mixture or purified recombinant protein from the translation mixture. In our luminescent method using FLAG- or His-tagged and biotinylated ubiquitins, the polyubiquitin chain on AtUBC22, UPL5 and UPL7 (HECT) and CIP8 (RING) was detected. Also, binding of ubiquitin to these proteins was detected using biotinylated ubiquitin and FLAG-tagged recombinant protein. Furthermore, screening of the RING 6 subgroup demonstrated that At1g55530 was capable of polyubiquitin chain formation like CIP8. Interestingly, these ubiquitinations were carried out without the addition of exogenous E1 and/or E2 proteins, indicating that these enzymes were endogenous to the wheat cell-free system. The amount of polyubiquitinated proteins in the crude translation reaction mixture was unaffected by treatment with MG132, suggesting that our system does not contain 26S proteasome-dependent protein degradation activity.
In this study, we developed a simple wheat cell-free based luminescence method that could be a powerful tool for comprehensive ubiquitination analysis.
PMCID: PMC2674041  PMID: 19348673
6.  Large-scale collection and annotation of full-length enriched cDNAs from a model halophyte, Thellungiella halophila 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:115.
Thellungiella halophila (also known as Thellungiella salsuginea) is a model halophyte with a small plant size, short life cycle, and small genome. It easily undergoes genetic transformation by the floral dipping method used with its close relative, Arabidopsis thaliana. Thellungiella genes exhibit high sequence identity (approximately 90% at the cDNA level) with Arabidopsis genes. Furthermore, Thellungiella not only shows tolerance to extreme salinity stress, but also to chilling, freezing, and ozone stress, supporting the use of Thellungiella as a good genomic resource in studies of abiotic stress tolerance.
We constructed a full-length enriched Thellungiella (Shan Dong ecotype) cDNA library from various tissues and whole plants subjected to environmental stresses, including high salinity, chilling, freezing, and abscisic acid treatment. We randomly selected about 20 000 clones and sequenced them from both ends to obtain a total of 35 171 sequences. CAP3 software was used to assemble the sequences and cluster them into 9569 nonredundant cDNA groups. We named these cDNAs "RTFL" (RIKEN Thellungiella Full-Length) cDNAs. Information on functional domains and Gene Ontology (GO) terms for the RTFL cDNAs were obtained using InterPro. The 8289 genes assigned to InterPro IDs were classified according to the GO terms using Plant GO Slim. Categorical comparison between the whole Arabidopsis genome and Thellungiella genes showing low identity to Arabidopsis genes revealed that the population of Thellungiella transport genes is approximately 1.5 times the size of the corresponding Arabidopsis genes. This suggests that these genes regulate a unique ion transportation system in Thellungiella.
As the number of Thellungiella halophila (Thellungiella salsuginea) expressed sequence tags (ESTs) was 9388 in July 2008, the number of ESTs has increased to approximately four times the original value as a result of this effort. Our sequences will thus contribute to correct future annotation of the Thellungiella genome sequence. The full-length enriched cDNA clones will enable the construction of overexpressing mutant plants by introduction of the cDNAs driven by a constitutive promoter, the complementation of Thellungiella mutants, and the determination of promoter regions in the Thellungiella genome.
PMCID: PMC2621223  PMID: 19014467
7.  TriMEDB: A database to integrate transcribed markers and facilitate genetic studies of the tribe Triticeae 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:72.
The recent rapid accumulation of sequence resources of various crop species ensures an improvement in the genetics approach, including quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis as well as the holistic population analysis and association mapping of natural variations. Because the tribe Triticeae includes important cereals such as wheat and barley, integration of information on the genetic markers in these crops should effectively accelerate map-based genetic studies on Triticeae species and lead to the discovery of key loci involved in plant productivity, which can contribute to sustainable food production. Therefore, informatics applications and a semantic knowledgebase of genome-wide markers are required for the integration of information on and further development of genetic markers in wheat and barley in order to advance conventional marker-assisted genetic analyses and population genomics of Triticeae species.
The Triticeae mapped expressed sequence tag (EST) database (TriMEDB) provides information, along with various annotations, regarding mapped cDNA markers that are related to barley and their homologues in wheat. The current version of TriMEDB provides map-location data for barley and wheat ESTs that were retrieved from 3 published barley linkage maps (the barley single nucleotide polymorphism database of the Scottish Crop Research Institute, the barley transcript map of Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, and HarvEST barley ver. 1.63) and 1 diploid wheat map. These data were imported to CMap to allow the visualization of the map positions of the ESTs and interrelationships of these ESTs with public gene models and representative cDNA sequences. The retrieved cDNA sequences corresponding to each EST marker were assigned to the rice genome to predict an exon-intron structure. Furthermore, to generate a unique set of EST markers in Triticeae plants among the public domain, 3472 markers were assembled to form 2737 unique marker groups as contigs. These contigs were applied for pairwise comparison among linkage maps obtained from different EST map resources.
TriMEDB provides information regarding transcribed genetic markers and functions as a semantic knowledgebase offering an informatics facility for the acceleration of QTL analysis and for population genetics studies of Triticeae.
PMCID: PMC2474609  PMID: 18590523
8.  Sequencing analysis of 20,000 full-length cDNA clones from cassava reveals lineage specific expansions in gene families related to stress response 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:66.
Cassava, an allotetraploid known for its remarkable tolerance to abiotic stresses is an important source of energy for humans and animals and a raw material for many industrial processes. A full-length cDNA library of cassava plants under normal, heat, drought, aluminum and post harvest physiological deterioration conditions was built; 19968 clones were sequence-characterized using expressed sequence tags (ESTs).
The ESTs were assembled into 6355 contigs and 9026 singletons that were further grouped into 10577 scaffolds; we found 4621 new cassava sequences and 1521 sequences with no significant similarity to plant protein databases. Transcripts of 7796 distinct genes were captured and we were able to assign a functional classification to 78% of them while finding more than half of the enzymes annotated in metabolic pathways in Arabidopsis. The annotation of sequences that were not paired to transcripts of other species included many stress-related functional categories showing that our library is enriched with stress-induced genes. Finally, we detected 230 putative gene duplications that include key enzymes in reactive oxygen species signaling pathways and could play a role in cassava stress response features.
The cassava full-length cDNA library here presented contains transcripts of genes involved in stress response as well as genes important for different areas of cassava research. This library will be an important resource for gene discovery, characterization and cloning; in the near future it will aid the annotation of the cassava genome.
PMCID: PMC2245942  PMID: 18096061

Results 1-8 (8)