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Journal Cover   Plant Molecular Biology
  [SJR: 1.769]   [H-I: 112]   [10 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1573-5028 - ISSN (Online) 0167-4412
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2300 journals]
  • Multiple internal sorting determinants can contribute to the trafficking
           of cruciferin to protein storage vacuoles
    • Abstract: Abstract Trafficking of seed storage proteins to protein storage vacuoles is mediated by carboxy terminal and internal sorting determinants (ISDs). Protein modelling was used to identify candidate ISDs residing near surface-exposed regions in Arabidopsis thaliana cruciferin A (AtCruA). These were verified by AtCruA fusion to yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) and expression in developing embryos of A. thaliana. As the presence of endogenous cruciferin was found to mask the effects of weaker ISDs, experiments were conducted in a line that was devoid of cruciferin. In total, nine ISDs were discovered and a core determinant defined using a series of alanine scanning and deletion mutant variants. Coupling of functional data from AtCruA ISD-YFP fusions with statistical analysis of the physiochemical properties of analogous regions from several 11/12S globulins revealed that cruciferin ISDs likely adhere to the following rules: (1) ISDs are adjacent to or within hydrophilic, surface-exposed regions that serve to present them on the protein’s surface; (2) ISDs generally have a hydrophobic character; (3) ISDs tend to have Leu or Ile residues at their core; (4) ISDs are approximately eight amino acids long with the physiochemical consensus [hydrophobic][preferably charged][small or hydrophobic, but not tiny][IL][polar, preferably charged][small, but not charged][hydrophobic, not charged, preferably not polar][hydrophobic, not tiny, preferably not polar]. Microscopic evidence is also presented for the presence of an interconnected protein storage vacuolar network in embryo cells, rather than discreet, individual vacuoles.
      PubDate: 2015-02-22
  • Telomere dynamics in the lower plant Physcomitrella patens
    • Abstract: Abstract A comparative approach in biology is needed to assess the universality of rules governing this discipline. In plant telomere research, most of the key principles were established based on studies in only single model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. These principles include the absence of telomere shortening during plant development and the corresponding activity of telomerase in dividing (meristem) plant cells. Here we examine these principles in Physcomitrella patens as a representative of lower plants. To follow telomerase expression, we first characterize the gene coding for the telomerase reverse transcriptase subunit PpTERT in P. patens, for which only incomplete prediction has been available so far. In protonema cultures of P. patens, growing by filament apical cell division, the proportion of apical (dividing) cells was quantified and telomere length, telomerase expression and activity were determined. Our results show telomere stability and demonstrate proportionality of telomerase activity and expression with the number of apical cells. In addition, we analyze telomere maintenance in mre11, rad50, nbs1, ku70 and lig4 mutants of P. patens and compare the impact of these mutations in double-strand-break (DSB) repair pathways with earlier observations in corresponding A. thaliana mutants. Telomere phenotypes are absent and DSB repair kinetics is not affected in P. patens mutants for DSB factors involved in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). This is compliant with the overall dominance of homologous recombination over NHEJ pathways in the moss, contrary to the inverse situation in flowering plants.
      PubDate: 2015-02-21
  • Differential regulation of genes by retrotransposons in rice promoters
    • Abstract: Abstract Rice genome harbors genes and promoters with retrotransposon insertions. There is very little information about their function. The effect of retrotransposon insertions in four rice promoter regions on gene regulation, was investigated using promoter-reporter gene constructs with and without retrotransposons. Differences in expression levels of gus and egfp reporter genes in forward orientation and rfp in reverse orientation were evaluated in rice plants with transient expression employing quantitative RT-PCR analysis, histochemical GUS staining, and eGFP and RFP fluorescent microscopy. The presence of SINE in the promoter 1 (P1) resulted in higher expression levels of the reporter genes, whereas the presence of LINE in P2 or gypsy LTR retrotransposon in P3 reduced expression of the reporter genes. Furthermore, the SINE in P1 acts as an enhancer in contrast with the LINE in P2 and the gypsy LTR retrotransposon in P3 which act as silencers. CTAA and CGG motifs in these retrotransposons are the likely candidates for the downregulation compared to TCTT motif (SINE) which is a candidate for the upregulation of gene expression. The effect of retrotransposons on gene regulation correlated with the earlier investigation of conservation patterns of these four retrotransposon insertions in several rice accessions implying their evolutionary significance.
      PubDate: 2015-02-20
  • TaRAR1 and TaSGT1 associate with TaHsp90 to function in bread wheat (
           Triticum aestivum L.) seedling growth and stripe rust resistance
    • Abstract: Abstract RAR1 and SGT1 are important co-chaperones of Hsp90. We previously showed that TaHsp90.1 is required for wheat seedling growth, and that TaHsp90.2 and TaHsp90.3 are essential for resistance (R) gene mediated resistance to stripe rust fungus. Here, we report the characterization of TaRAR1 and TaSGT1 genes in bread wheat. TaRAR1 and TaSGT1 each had three homoeologs, which were located on wheat groups 2 and 3 chromosomes, respectively. Strong inhibition of seedling growth was observed after silencing TaSGT1 but not TaRAR1. In contrast, decreasing the expression of TaRAR1 or TaSGT1 could all compromise R gene mediated resistance to stripe rust fungus infection. Protein–protein interactions were found among TaRAR1, TaSGT1 and TaHsp90. The N-terminus of TaHsp90, the CHORD-I and CHORD-II domains of TaRAR1 and the CS domain of TaSGT1 may be instrumental for the interactions among the three proteins. Based on this work and our previous study on TaHsp90, we speculate that the TaSGT1–TaHsp90.1 interaction is important for maintaining bread wheat seedling growth. The TaRAR1–TaSGT1–TaHsp90.2 and TaRAR1–TaSGT1–TaHsp90.3 interactions are involved in controlling the resistance to stripe rust disease. The new information obtained here should aid further functional investigations of TaRAR1–TaSGT1–TaHsp90 complexes in regulating bread wheat growth and disease resistance.
      PubDate: 2015-02-20
  • Appearance and elaboration of the ethylene receptor family during land
           plant evolution
    • Abstract: Abstract Ethylene is perceived following binding to endoplasmic reticulum-localized receptors, which in Arabidopsis thaliana, include ETR1, ERS1, EIN4, ETR2, and ERS2. These receptors fall into two subfamilies based on conservation of features within their histidine kinase domain. Subfamily 1 contains ETR1 and ERS1 whereas subfamily 2 contains EIN4, ETR2, and ERS2. Because ethylene receptors are found only in plants, this raises questions of when each receptor evolved. Here it is shown that subfamily 1 receptors encoded by a multigene family are present in all charophytes examined, these being most homologous to ETR1 based on their evolutionary relationship as well as containing histidine kinase and receiver domains. In charophytes and Physcomitrella patens, one or more gene family members contain the intron characteristic of subfamily 2 genes, indicating the first step in subfamily 2 receptor evolution. ERS1 homologs appear in basal angiosperm species after Amborella trichopoda and, in some early and basal angiosperm species and monocots in general, it is the only subfamily 1 receptor present. Distinct EIN4 and ETR2 homologs appear only in core eudicots and ERS2 homologs appear only in the Brassicaceae, suggesting it is the most recent receptor to evolve. These findings show that a subfamily 1 receptor had evolved and a subfamily 2 receptor had begun to evolve in plants prior to the colonization of land and only these two existed up to the appearance of the first basal angiosperm. The appearance of ERS2 in the Brassicaceae suggests ongoing evolution of the ethylene receptor family.
      PubDate: 2015-02-15
  • An abscisic acid inducible Arabidopsis MAPKKK, MAPKKK18 regulates leaf
           senescence via its kinase activity
    • Abstract: Abstract Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone that regulates many physiological functions, such as plant growth, development and stress responses. The MAPK cascade plays an important role in ABA signal transduction. Several MAPK and MAPKK molecules are reported to function in ABA signaling; however, there have been few studies related to the identification of MAPKKK upstream of MAPKK in ABA signaling. In this study, we show that an Arabidopsis MAPKKK, MAPKKK18 functions in ABA signaling. The expression of MAPKKK18 was induced by ABA treatment. Yeast two-hybrid analysis revealed that MAPKKKK18 interacted with MKK3, which interacted with C-group MAPK, MPK1/2/7. Immunoprecipitated kinase assay showed that the 3xFlag-tagged MAPKKK18, expressed in Arabidopsis plants, was activated when treated with ABA. These results indicate the possibility that the MAPK cascade is composed of MAPKKK18, MKK3 and MPK1/2/7 in ABA signaling. The transgenic plants overexpressing MAPKKK18 (35S:MAPKKK18) and its kinase negative mutant (35S:MAPKKK18 KN) were generated, and their growth was monitored. Compared with the WT plant, 35S:MAPKKK18 and 35S:MAPKKK18 KN showed smaller and bigger phenotypes, respectively. Senescence of the rosette leaves was promoted in 35S:MAPKKK18, but suppressed in 35S:MAPKKK18 KN. Furthermore, ABA-induced leaf senescence was accelerated in 35S:MAPKKK18. These results suggest that MAPKKK18 controls the plant growth by adjusting the timing of senescence via its protein kinase activity in ABA dependent manners.
      PubDate: 2015-02-14
  • Knock-down of stress inducible OsSRFP1 encoding an E3 ubiquitin ligase
           with transcriptional activation activity confers abiotic stress tolerance
           through enhancing antioxidant protection in rice
    • Abstract: Abstract E3 ubiquitin ligases are involved in a variety of physiological processes. This study demonstrated the function of a previously unknown rice RING finger E3 ligase, Oryza sativa Stress-related RING Finger Protein 1 (OsSRFP1) in stress responses in rice. OsSRFP1 was ubiquitously expressed in various rice organs, with the higher expression levels in roots, panicles and culm nodes. The transcript of OsSRFP1 was induced by cold, dehydration, salt, H2O2 and abscisic acid treatments. Interestingly, the OsSRFP1-overexpressing plants were less tolerant to salt, cold and oxidative stresses than wild type plants; while the RNA interference silencing of OsSRFP1 plants were more tolerant than wild type without yield penalty. Compared with the wild type, amounts of free proline and activities of antioxidant enzymes were increased in the RNAi plants but decreased in the overexpression plants under cold stress, which were inversely correlated with the malondialdehyde and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) levels in the tested lines. Microarray analysis showed that expression of numerous genes involving in ROS homeostasis was altered in the OsSRFP1-overexpressing plants under normal and cold conditions. In vitro ubiquitination assays showed that OsSRFP1 possessed E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and the intact RING domain was essential for the activity. Moreover, OsSRFP1 might function in transcriptional regulation with nuclear localization. Taken together, our results demonstrate that OsSRFP1 may have dual functions in post-translational and transcriptional regulations in modulating abiotic stress responses in rice, at least in part, by negatively regulating antioxidant enzymes-mediated reactive oxygen species removal.
      PubDate: 2015-02-11
  • Sequence variation, differential expression, and divergent evolution in
           starch-related genes among accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana
    • Abstract: Abstract Transitory starch metabolism is a nonlinear and highly regulated process. It originated very early in the evolution of chloroplast-containing cells and is largely based on a mosaic of genes derived from either the eukaryotic host cell or the prokaryotic endosymbiont. Initially located in the cytoplasm, starch metabolism was rewired into plastids in Chloroplastida. Relocation was accompanied by gene duplications that occurred in most starch-related gene families and resulted in subfunctionalization of the respective gene products. Starch-related isozymes were then evolutionary conserved by constraints such as internal starch structure, posttranslational protein import into plastids and interactions with other starch-related proteins. 25 starch-related genes in 26 accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana were sequenced to assess intraspecific diversity, phylogenetic relationships, and modes of selection. Furthermore, sequences derived from additional 80 accessions that are publicly available were analyzed. Diversity varies significantly among the starch-related genes. Starch synthases and phosphorylases exhibit highest nucleotide diversities, while pyrophosphatases and debranching enzymes are most conserved. The gene trees are most compatible with a scenario of extensive recombination, perhaps in a Pleistocene refugium. Most genes are under purifying selection, but disruptive selection was inferred for a few genes/substitutiones. To study transcript levels, leaves were harvested throughout the light period. By quantifying the transcript levels and by analyzing the sequence of the respective accessions, we were able to estimate whether transcript levels are mainly determined by genetic (i.e., accession dependent) or physiological (i.e., time dependent) parameters. We also identified polymorphic sites that putatively affect pattern or the level of transcripts.
      PubDate: 2015-02-08
  • A combinatorial bidirectional and bicistronic approach for coordinated
           multi-gene expression in corn
    • Abstract: Abstract Transgene stacking in trait development process through genetic engineering is becoming complex with increased number of desired traits and multiple modes of action for each trait. We demonstrate here a novel gene stacking strategy by combining bidirectional promoter (BDP) and bicistronic approaches to drive coordinated expression of multi-genes in corn. A unidirectional promoter, Ubiquitin-1 (ZMUbi1), from Zea mays was first converted into a synthetic BDP, such that a single promoter can direct the expression of two genes from each end of the promoter. The BDP system was then combined with a bicistronic organization of genes at both ends of the promoter by using a Thosea asigna virus 2A auto-cleaving domain. With this gene stacking configuration, we have successfully obtained expression in transgenic corn of four transgenes; three transgenes conferring insect (cry34Ab1 and cry35Ab1) and herbicide (aad1) resistance, and a phiyfp reporter gene using a single ZMUbi1 bidirectional promoter. Gene expression analyses of transgenic corn plants confirmed better coordinated expression of the four genes compared to constructs driving each gene by independent unidirectional ZmUbi1 promoter. To our knowledge, this is the first report that demonstrates application of a single promoter for co-regulation of multiple genes in a crop plant. This stacking technology would be useful for engineering metabolic pathways both for basic and applied research.
      PubDate: 2015-02-06
  • Genetic manipulation of a high-affinity PHR1 target cis -element to
           improve phosphorous uptake in Oryza sativa L.
    • Abstract: Abstract Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for crop development and production. Phosphate starvation response 1 (PHR1) acts as the central regulator for Pi-signaling and Pi-homeostasis in plants by binding to the cis-element PHR1 binding sequence (P1BS; GNATATNC). However, how phosphate starvation-induced gene expression is regulated remains obscure. In this work, we investigated the DNA binding affinity of the PHR1 ortholog OsPHR2 to its downstream target genes in Oryza sativa (rice). We confirmed that a combination of P1BS and P1BS-like motifs are essential for stable binding by OsPHR2. Furthermore, we report that variations in P1BS motif bases affected the binding affinity of OsPHR2 and that the highest affinity motif was GaATATtC (designated the A–T-type P1BS). We also found that a combination of two A–T-type P1BS elements in tandem, namely HA-P1BS, was very efficient for binding of OsPHR2. Using the cis-regulator HA-P1BS, we modified the promoters of Transporter Traffic Facilitator 1 (PHF1), a key factor controlling endoplasmic reticulum-exit of phosphate transporters to the plasma membrane, for efficient uptake of phosphorous in an energetically neutral way. Transgenic plants with the modified promoters showed significantly enhanced tolerance to low phosphate stress in both solution and soil conditions, which provides a new strategy for crop improvement to enhance tolerance of nutrient deficiency.
      PubDate: 2015-02-06
  • Camelid nanobodies with high affinity for broad bean mottle virus : a
           possible promising tool to immunomodulate plant resistance against viruses
    • Abstract: Abstract Worldwide, plant viral infections decrease seriously the crop production yield, boosting the demand to develop new strategies to control viral diseases. One of these strategies to prevent viral infections, based on the immunomodulation faces many problems related to the ectopic expression of specific antibodies in planta. Camelid nanobodies, expressed in plants, may offer a solution as they are an attractive tool to bind efficiently to viral epitopes, cryptic or not accessible to conventional antibodies. Here, we report a novel, generic approach that might lead to virus resistance based on the expression of camelid specific nanobodies against Broad bean mottle virus (BBMV). Eight nanobodies, recognizing BBMV with high specificity and affinity, were retrieved after phage display from a large ‘immune’ library constructed from an immunized Arabic camel. By an in vitro assay we demonstrate how three nanobodies attenuate the BBMV spreading in inoculated Vicia faba plants. Furthermore, the in planta transient expression of these three selected nanobodies confirms their virus neutralizing capacity. In conclusion, this report supports that plant resistance against viral infections can be achieved by the in vivo expression of camelid nanobodies.
      PubDate: 2015-02-04
  • Characterization of common and distinctive adjustments of wild barley leaf
           proteome under drought acclimation, heat stress and their combination
    • Abstract: Abstract In nature, plants are often exposed to combinations of different stresses at the same time, while in many laboratory studies of molecular stress induction phenomena, single stress responses are analyzed. This study aims to identify the common (i.e. more general stress-responsive) and the stress-specific adjustments of the leaf proteome of wild barley to two often co-occurring stress phenomena, i.e. in response to (long-term) drought acclimation (DA) or to (transient) heat stress (HS). In addition, we analyzed those alterations which are specific for the combination of both stresses. Leaf proteome analysis was performed using 2D difference gel electrophoresis followed by protein identification via mass spectrometry with a 1.5 threshold value of changes in relative protein contents. DA resulted in specific upregulation of proteins with cell detoxification functions, water homeostasis maintenance, amino acids synthesis and lipid metabolism and distinct forms of heat shock proteins (HSPs) and proteins with chaperon functions while proteins related to nitrogen metabolism were downregulated. This response was distinguished from the response to transient HS, which included upregulation of a broad range of HSP products. The common response to both stressors revealed upregulation of additional forms of HSPs and the downregulation of enzymes of the photosynthetic apparatus and chlorophyll binding proteins. The simultaneous exposure to both stress conditions resulted mostly in a combination of both stress responses and to unique abundance changes of proteins with yet unclear functions.
      PubDate: 2015-02-03
  • Biofortification of rice with lysine using endogenous histones
    • Abstract: Abstract Rice is the most consumed cereal grain in the world, but deficient in the essential amino acid lysine. Therefore, people in developing countries with limited food diversity who rely on rice as their major food source may suffer from malnutrition. Biofortification of stable crops by genetic engineering provides a fast and sustainable method to solve this problem. In this study, two endogenous rice lysine-rich histone proteins, RLRH1 and RLRH2, were over-expressed in rice seeds to achieve lysine biofortification. Their protein sequences passed an allergic sequence-based homology test. Their accumulations in rice seeds were raised to a moderate level by the use of a modified rice glutelin 1 promoter with lowered expression strength to avoid the occurrence of physiological abnormalities like unfolded protein response. The expressed proteins were further targeted to protein storage vacuoles for stable storage using a glutelin 1 signal peptide. The lysine content in the transgenic rice seeds was enhanced by up to 35 %, while other essential amino acids remained balanced, meeting the nutritional standards of the World Health Organization. No obvious unfolded protein response was detected. Different degrees of chalkiness, however, were detected in the transgenic seeds, and were positively correlated with both the levels of accumulated protein and lysine enhancement. This study offered a solution to the lysine deficiency in rice, while at the same time addressing concerns about food safety and physiological abnormalities in biofortified crops.
      PubDate: 2015-02-01
  • Tissue-specific expression of a soybean hypersensitive-induced response
           (HIR) protein gene promoter
    • Abstract: Abstract A Glycine max gene encoding a putative protein similar to hypersensitive-induced response proteins (HIR) was identified as a gene with preferred expressions in flowers and developing seeds by whole transcriptome gene expression profiling. Its promoter gm-hir1 was cloned and revealed to strongly express a fluorescence reporter gene primarily in integuments, anther tapetum, and seed coat with unique tissue-specificity. Expression in the inner integument was apparent prior to pollination, while expression in the outer integument started to develop from the micropylar end outward as the embryo matured. A 5′-deletion study showed that the promoter can be truncated to 600 bp long relative to the translation start site without affecting expression. A positive regulatory element was identified between 600 and 481 bp that controls expression in the inner integument, with no noticeable effect on expression in the outer integument or tapetum. Additionally, removal of the 5′UTR intron had no effect on levels or location of gm-hir1 expression while truncation to 370 bp resulted in a complete loss of expression suggesting that elements controlling both the outer integument and tapetum expression are located within the 481–370 bp region.
      PubDate: 2015-02-01
  • Rice phenylalanine ammonia-lyase gene OsPAL4 is associated with broad
           spectrum disease resistance
    • Abstract: Abstract Most agronomically important traits, including resistance against pathogens, are governed by quantitative trait loci (QTL). QTL-mediated resistance shows promise of being effective and long-lasting against diverse pathogens. Identification of genes controlling QTL-based disease resistance contributes to breeding for cultivars that exhibit high and stable resistance. Several defense response genes have been successfully used as good predictors and contributors to QTL-based resistance against several devastating rice diseases. In this study, we identified and characterized a rice (Oryza sativa) mutant line containing a 750 bp deletion in the second exon of OsPAL4, a member of the phenylalanine ammonia-lyase gene family. OsPAL4 clusters with three additional OsPAL genes that co-localize with QTL for bacterial blight and sheath blight disease resistance on rice chromosome 2. Self-pollination of heterozygous ospal4 mutant lines produced no homozygous progeny, suggesting that homozygosity for the mutation is lethal. The heterozygous ospal4 mutant line exhibited increased susceptibility to three distinct rice diseases, bacterial blight, sheath blight, and rice blast. Mutation of OsPAL4 increased expression of the OsPAL2 gene and decreased the expression of the unlinked OsPAL6 gene. OsPAL2 function is not redundant because the changes in expression did not compensate for loss of disease resistance. OsPAL6 co-localizes with a QTL for rice blast resistance, and is down-regulated in the ospal4 mutant line; this may explain enhanced susceptibility to Magnoporthe oryzae. Overall, these results suggest that OsPAL4 and possibly OsPAL6 are key contributors to resistance governed by QTL and are potential breeding targets for improved broad-spectrum disease resistance in rice.
      PubDate: 2015-02-01
  • The wheat NHX antiporter gene TaNHX2 confers salt tolerance in transgenic
           alfalfa by increasing the retention capacity of intracellular potassium
    • Abstract: Abstract Previous studies have shown that TaNHX2 transgenic alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) accumulated more K+ and less Na+ in leaves than did the wild-type plants. To investigate whether the increased K+ accumulation in transgenic plants is attributed to TaNHX2 gene expression and whether the compartmentalization of Na+ into vacuoles or the intracellular compartmentalization of potassium is the critical mechanism for TaNHX2-dependent salt tolerance in transgenic alfalfa, aerated hydroponic culture was performed under three different stress conditions: control condition (0.1 mM Na+ and 6 mM K+ inside culture solution), K+-sufficient salt stress (100 mM NaCl and 6 mM K+) and K+-insufficient salt stress (100 mM NaCl and 0.1 mM K+). The transgenic alfalfa plants had lower K+ efflux through specific K+ channels and higher K+ absorption through high-affinity K+ transporters than did the wild-type plants. Therefore, the transgenic plants had greater K+ contents and [K+]/[Na+] ratios in leaf tissue and cell sap. The intracellular compartmentalization of potassium is critical for TaNHX2-induced salt tolerance in transgenic alfalfa.
      PubDate: 2014-12-31
  • Cucumber ECERIFERUM1 ( CsCER1 ), which influences the cuticle properties
           and drought tolerance of cucumber, plays a key role in VLC alkanes
    • Abstract: Abstract Most land plants have a wax layer which covers their aerial parts to protect them from environmental stresses, such as drought, UV radiation, and pathogenic invasion. The wax biosynthesis has been well studied previously in Arabidopsis, but it still remains elusive in cucumber. Here, we isolated a CER1 homolog CsCER1 in cucumber, and we found that the expression of CsCER1 in the cucumber line 3401 which shows waxy fruit phenotype is much higher than that in the cucumber line 3413 which displays glossy fruit phenotype. Spatial and temporal expression analyses revealed that CsCER1 is specifically expressed in the epidermis where waxes are synthesized, and sub-cellular location showed that CsCER1 protein is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum. The expression of CsCER1 can be induced by low temperature, drought, salt stress and abscisic acid. In addition, abnormal expressions of CsCER1 in transgenic cucumber plants have dramatic effects on very-long-chain (VLC) alkanes biosynthesis, cuticle permeability, and drought resistance. Our data suggested that CsCER1 plays an important role in VLC alkanes biosynthesis in cucumber.
      PubDate: 2014-12-25
  • Over-expression of mouse ornithine decarboxylase gene under the control of
           fruit-specific promoter enhances fruit quality in tomato
    • Abstract: Abstract Diamine putrescine (Put) and polyamines; spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) are essential component of every cell because of their involvement in the regulation of cell division, growth and development. The aim of this study is to enhance the levels of Put during fruit development and see its implications in ripening and quality of tomato fruits. Transgenic tomato plants over-expressing mouse ornithine decarboxylase gene under the control of fruit-specific promoter (2A11) were developed. Transgenic fruits exhibited enhanced levels of Put, Spd and Spm, with a concomitant reduction in ethylene levels, rate of respiration and physiological loss of water. Consequently such fruits displayed significant delay of on-vine ripening and prolonged shelf life over untransformed fruits. The activation of Put biosynthetic pathway at the onset of ripening in transgenic fruits is also consistent with the improvement of qualitative traits such as total soluble solids, titratable acids and total sugars. Such changes were associated with alteration in expression pattern of ripening specific genes. Transgenic fruits were also fortified with important nutraceuticals like lycopene, ascorbate and antioxidants. Therefore, these transgenic tomatoes would be useful for the improvement of tomato cultivars through breeding approaches.
      PubDate: 2014-12-24
  • Arabidopsis thaliana thymidine kinase 1a is ubiquitously expressed during
           development and contributes to confer tolerance to genotoxic stress
    • Abstract: Abstract Thymidine kinase catalyzes the first step in the nucleotide salvage pathway by transferring a phosphate group to a thymidine molecule. In mammals thymidine kinase supplies deoxyribonucleotides for DNA replication and DNA repair, and the expression of the gene is tightly regulated during the cell cycle. Although this gene is phylogenetically conserved in many taxa, its physiological function in plants remains unknown. The genome of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana has two thymidine kinase genes (AtTK1a and AtTK1b) and microarray data suggest they might have redundant roles. In this study we analyzed the TK1a function by evaluating its expression pattern during development and in response to genotoxic stress. We also studied its role in DNA repair by the characterization of a mutant that contained the T-DNA insertion in the promoter region of the TK1a gene. We found that TK1a is expressed in most tissues during plant development and it was differentially induced by ultraviolet-C radiation because TK1b expression was unaffected. In the mutant, the T-DNA insertion caused a 40 % rise in transcript levels and enzyme activity in Arabidopsis seedlings compared to wild-type plants. This elevation was enough to confer tolerance to ultraviolet-C irradiation in dark conditions, as determined by root growth, and meristem length and structure. TK1a overexpression also provided tolerance to genotoxins that induce double-strand break. Our results suggest that thymidine kinase contributes to several DNA repair pathways by providing deoxythymidine triphosphate that serve as precursors for DNA repair and to balance deoxyribonucleotides pools.
      PubDate: 2014-12-24
  • The pearl millet mitogen-activated protein kinase PgMPK4 is involved in
           responses to downy mildew infection and in jasmonic- and salicylic
           acid-mediated defense
    • Abstract: Abstract Plant mitogen-activated protein kinases (MPKs) transduce signals required for the induction of immunity triggered by host recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns. We isolated a full-length cDNA of a group B MPK (PgMPK4) from pearl millet. Autophosphorylation assay of recombinant PgMPK4 produced in Escherichia coli confirmed it as a kinase. Differential accumulation of PgMPK4 mRNA and kinase activity was observed between pearl millet cultivars 852B and IP18292 in response to inoculation with the downy mildew oomycete pathogen Sclerospora graminicola. This increased accumulation of PgMPK4 mRNA, kinase activity as well as nuclear-localization of PgMPK protein(s) was only detected in the S. graminicola resistant cultivar IP18292 with a ~tenfold peak at 9 h post inoculation. In the susceptible cultivar 852B, PgMPK4 mRNA and immuno-detectable nuclear PgMPK could be induced by application of the chemical elicitor β-amino butyric acid, the non-pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens, or by the phytohormones jasmonic acid (JA) or salicylic acid (SA). Furthermore, kinase inhibitor treatments indicated that PgMPK4 is involved in the JA- and SA-mediated expression of three defense genes, lipoxygenase, catalase 3 and polygalacturonase-inhibitor protein. These findings indicate that PgMPK/s contribute to pearl millet defense against the downy mildew pathogen by activating the expression of defense proteins.
      PubDate: 2014-12-20
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