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Journal Cover Plant Molecular Biology
  [SJR: 1.842]   [H-I: 121]   [9 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  [2335 journals]
  • The Hevea brasiliensis XIP aquaporin subfamily: genomic, structural and
    • Abstract: Abstract X-Intrinsic Proteins (XIP) were recently identified in a narrow range of plants as a full clade within the aquaporins. These channels reportedly facilitate the transport of a wide range of hydrophobic solutes. The functional roles of XIP in planta remain poorly identified. In this study, we found three XIP genes (HbXIP1;1, HbXIP2;1 and HbXIP3;1) in the Hevea brasiliensis genome. Comprehensive bioinformatics, biochemical and structural analyses were used to acquire a better understanding of this AQP subfamily. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that HbXIPs clustered into two major groups, each distributed in a specific lineage of the order Malpighiales. Tissue-specific expression profiles showed that only HbXIP2;1 was expressed in all the vegetative tissues tested (leaves, stem, bark, xylem and latex), suggesting that HbXIP2;1 could take part in a wide range of cellular processes. This is particularly relevant to the rubber-producing laticiferous system, where this isoform was found to be up-regulated during tapping and ethylene treatments. Furthermore, the XIP transcriptional pattern is significantly correlated to latex production level. Structural comparison with SoPIP2;1 from Spinacia oleracea species provides new insights into the possible role of structural checkpoints by which HbXIP2;1 ensures glycerol transfer across the membrane. From these results, we discuss the physiological involvement of glycerol and HbXIP2;1 in water homeostasis and carbon stream of challenged laticifers. The characterization of HbXIP2;1 during rubber tree tapping lends new insights into molecular and physiological response processes of laticifer metabolism in the context of latex exploitation.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • OsPhyA modulates rice flowering time mainly through OsGI under short days
           and Ghd7 under long days in the absence of phytochrome B
    • Abstract: Abstract Phytochromes recognize light signals and control diverse developmental processes. In rice, all three phytochrome genes—OsphyA, OsphyB, and OsphyC—are involved in regulating flowering time. We investigated the role of OsPhyA by comparing the osphyA osphyB double mutant to an osphyB single mutant. Plants of the double mutant flowered later than the single under short days (SD) but bolted earlier under long days (LD). Under SD, this delayed-flowering phenotype was primarily due to the decreased expression of Oryza sativa GIGANTEA (OsGI), which controls three flowering activators: Heading date 1 (Hd1), OsMADS51, and Oryza sativa Indeterminate 1 (OsId1). Under LD, although the expression of several repressors, e.g., Hd1, Oryza sativa CONSTANS-like 4 (OsCOL4), and AP2 genes, was affected in the double mutant, that of Grain number, plant height and heading date 7 (Ghd7) was the most significantly reduced. These results indicated that OsPhyA influences flowering time mainly by affecting the expression of OsGI under SD and Ghd7 under LD when phytochrome B is absent. We also demonstrated that far-red light delays flowering time via both OsPhyA and OsPhyB.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Recognition of a wide-range of S-RNases by S locus F-box like 2, a
           general-inhibitor candidate in the Prunus -specific S-RNase-based
           self-incompatibility system
    • Abstract: Abstract Many species in the Rosaceae, the Solanaceae, and the Plantaginaceae exhibit S-RNase-based gametophytic self-incompatibility (GSI). This system comprises S-ribonucleases (S-RNases) as the pistil S determinant and a single or multiple F-box proteins as the pollen S determinants. In Prunus, pollen specificity is determined by a single S haplotype-specific F-box protein (SFB). The results of several studies suggested that SFB exerts cognate S-RNase cytotoxicity, and a hypothetical general inhibitor (GI) is assumed to detoxify S-RNases in non-specific manner unless it is affected by SFB. Although the identity of the GI is unknown, phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses have indicated that S locus F-box like 1–3 (or S locus F-box with low allelic sequence polymorphism 1–3; SLFL1–3), which are encoded by a region of the Prunus genome linked to the S locus, are good GI candidates. Here, we examined the biochemical characteristics of SLFL1–3 to determine whether they have appropriate GI characteristics. Pull-down assays and quantitative expression analyses indicated that Prunus avium SLFL1–3 mainly formed a canonical SCF complex with PavSSK1 and PavCul1A. Binding assays with PavS1,3,4,6-RNases showed that PavSLFL1, PavSLFL2, and PavSLFL3 bound to PavS3-RNase, all PavS-RNases tested, and none of the PavS-RNases tested, respectively. Together, these results suggested that SLFL2 has the appropriate characteristics to be the GI in sweet cherry pollen, while SLFL1 may redundantly work with SLFL2 to detoxify all S-RNases. We discuss the possible roles of SLFL1–3 as the GI in the Prunus-specific S-RNase-based GSI mechanism.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Characterization of OfWRKY3, a transcription factor that positively
           regulates the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase gene OfCCD4 in Osmanthus
    • Abstract: Abstract The sweet osmanthus carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 4 (OfCCD4) cleaves carotenoids such as β-carotene and zeaxanthin to yield β-ionone. OfCCD4 is a member of the CCD gene family, and its promoter contains a W-box palindrome with two reversely oriented TGAC repeats, which are the proposed binding sites of WRKY transcription factors. We isolated three WRKY cDNAs from the petal of Osmanthus fragrans. One of them, OfWRKY3, encodes a protein containing two WRKY domains and two zinc finger motifs. OfWRKY3 and OfCCD4 had nearly identical expression profile in petals of ‘Dangui’ and ‘Yingui’ at different flowering stages and showed similar expression patterns in petals treated by salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and abscisic acid. Activation of OfCCD4pro:GUS by OfWRKY3 was detected in coinfiltrated tobacco leaves and very weak GUS activity was detected in control tissues, indicating that OfWRKY3 can interact with the OfCCD4 promoter. Yeast one-hybrid and electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed that OfWRKY3 was able to bind to the W-box palindrome motif present in the OfCCD4 promoter. These results suggest that OfWRKY3 is a positive regulator of the OfCCD4 gene, and might partly account for the biosynthesis of β-ionone in sweet osmanthus.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Integrated bioinformatics to decipher the ascorbic acid metabolic network
           in tomato
    • Abstract: Abstract Ascorbic acid is involved in a plethora of reactions in both plant and animal metabolism. It plays an essential role neutralizing free radicals and acting as enzyme co-factor in several reaction. Since humans are ascorbate auxotrophs, enhancing the nutritional quality of a widely consumed vegetable like tomato is a desirable goal. Although the main reactions of the ascorbate biosynthesis, recycling and translocation pathways have been characterized, the assignment of tomato genes to each enzymatic step of the entire network has never been reported to date. By integrating bioinformatics approaches, omics resources and transcriptome collections today available for tomato, this study provides an overview on the architecture of the ascorbate pathway. In particular, 237 tomato loci were associated with the different enzymatic steps of the network, establishing the first comprehensive reference collection of candidate genes based on the recently released tomato gene annotation. The co-expression analyses performed by using RNA-Seq data supported the functional investigation of main expression patterns for the candidate genes and highlighted a coordinated spatial–temporal regulation of genes of the different pathways across tissues and developmental stages. Taken together these results provide evidence of a complex interplaying mechanism and highlight the pivotal role of functional related genes. The definition of genes contributing to alternative pathways and their expression profiles corroborates previous hypothesis on mechanisms of accumulation of ascorbate in the later stages of fruit ripening. Results and evidences here provided may facilitate the development of novel strategies for biofortification of tomato fruit with Vitamin C and offer an example framework for similar studies concerning other metabolic pathways and species.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Production of dengue virus envelope protein domain III-based antigens in
           tobacco chloroplasts using inducible and constitutive expression systems
    • Abstract: Abstract Dengue fever is a disease in many parts of the tropics and subtropics and about half the world’s population is at risk of infection according to the World Health Organization. Dengue is caused by any of the four related dengue virus serotypes DEN-1, -2, -3 and -4, which are transmitted to people by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Currently there is only one vaccine (Dengvaxia®) available (limited to a few countries) on the market since 2015 after half a century’s intensive efforts. Affordable and accessible vaccines against dengue are hence still urgently needed. The dengue envelop protein domain III (EDIII), which is capable of eliciting serotype-specific neutralizing antibodies, has become the focus for subunit vaccine development. To contribute to the development of an accessible and affordable dengue vaccine, in the current study we have used plant-based vaccine production systems to generate a dengue subunit vaccine candidate in tobacco. Chloroplast genome engineering was applied to express serotype-specific recombinant EDIII proteins in tobacco chloroplasts using both constitutive and ethanol-inducible expression systems. Expression of a tetravalent antigen fusion construct combining EDIII polypeptides from all four serotypes was also attempted. Transplastomic EDIII-expressing tobacco lines were obtained and homoplasmy was verified by Southern blot analysis. Northern blot analyses showed expression of EDIII antigen-encoding genes. EDIII protein accumulation levels varied for the different recombinant EDIII proteins and the different expression systems, and reached between 0.8 and 1.6 % of total cellular protein. Our study demonstrates the suitability of the chloroplast compartment as a production site for an EDIII-based vaccine candidate against dengue fever and presents a Gateway® plastid transformation vector for inducible transgene expression.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
           redundant and divergent functions required for tomato reproductive
    • Abstract: Abstract Within the tomato MADS-box gene family, TOMATO AGAMOUS1 (TAG1) and ARLEQUIN/TOMATO AGAMOUS LIKE1 (hereafter referred to as TAGL1) are, respectively, members of the euAG and PLE lineages of the AGAMOUS clade. They perform crucial functions specifying stamen and carpel development in the flower and controlling late fruit development. To gain insight into the roles of TAG1 and TAGL1 genes and to better understand their functional redundancy and diversification, we characterized single and double RNAi silencing lines of these genes and analyzed expression profiles of regulatory genes involved in reproductive development. Double RNAi lines did show cell abnormalities in stamens and carpels and produced extremely small fruit-like organs displaying some sepaloid features. Expression analyses indicated that TAG1 and TAGL1 act together to repress fourth whorl sepal development, most likely through the MACROCALYX gene. Results also proved that TAG1 and TAGL1 have diversified their functions in fruit development: while TAG1 controls placenta and seed formation, TAGL1 participates in cuticle development and lignin biosynthesis inhibition. It is noteworthy that both TAG1 and double RNAi plants lacked seed development due to abnormalities in pollen formation. This seedless phenotype was not associated with changes in the expression of B-class stamen identity genes Tomato MADS-box 6 and Tomato PISTILLATA observed in silencing lines, suggesting that other regulatory factors should participate in pollen formation. Taken together, results here reported support the idea that both redundant and divergent functions of TAG1 and TAGL1 genes are needed to control tomato reproductive development.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Deep-sequence profiling of miRNAs and their target prediction in Monotropa
    • Abstract: Abstract Myco-heterotroph Monotropa hypopitys is a widely spread perennial herb used to study symbiotic interactions and physiological mechanisms underlying the development of non-photosynthetic plant. Here, we performed, for the first time, transcriptome-wide characterization of M. hypopitys miRNA profile using high throughput Illumina sequencing. As a result of small RNA library sequencing and bioinformatic analysis, we identified 55 members belonging to 40 families of known miRNAs and 17 putative novel miRNAs unique for M. hypopitys. Computational screening revealed 206 potential mRNA targets for known miRNAs and 31 potential mRNA targets for novel miRNAs. The predicted target genes were described in Gene Ontology terms and were found to be involved in a broad range of metabolic and regulatory pathways. The identification of novel M. hypopitys-specific miRNAs, some with few target genes and low abundances, suggests their recent evolutionary origin and participation in highly specialized regulatory mechanisms fundamental for non-photosynthetic biology of M. hypopitys. This global analysis of miRNAs and their potential targets in M. hypopitys provides a framework for further investigation of miRNA role in the evolution and establishment of non-photosynthetic myco-heterotrophs.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Regulatory function of Arabidopsis lipid transfer protein 1 (LTP1) in
           ethylene response and signaling
    • Abstract: Abstract Ethylene as a gaseous plant hormone is directly involved in various processes during plant growth and development. Much is known regarding the ethylene receptors and regulatory factors in the ethylene signal transduction pathway. In Arabidopsis thaliana, REVERSION-TO-ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY1 (RTE1) can interact with and positively regulates the ethylene receptor ETHYLENE RESPONSE1 (ETR1). In this study we report the identification and characterization of an RTE1-interacting protein, a putative Arabidopsis lipid transfer protein 1 (LTP1) of unknown function. Through bimolecular fluorescence complementation, a direct molecular interaction between LTP1 and RTE1 was verified in planta. Analysis of an LTP1-GFP fusion in transgenic plants and plasmolysis experiments revealed that LTP1 is localized to the cytoplasm. Analysis of ethylene responses showed that the ltp1 knockout is hypersensitive to 1-aminocyclopropanecarboxylic acid (ACC), while LTP1 overexpression confers insensitivity. Analysis of double mutants etr1-2 ltp1 and rte1-3 ltp1 demonstrates a regulatory function of LTP1 in ethylene receptor signaling through the molecular association with RTE1. This study uncovers a novel function of Arabidopsis LTP1 in the regulation of ethylene response and signaling.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Phenotypic and chemotypic studies using Arabidopsis and yeast reveal that
           GHB converts to SSA and induce toxicity
    • Abstract: Abstract γ-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a naturally occurring compound. It is detected in organisms such as yeasts, plants and mammals. GHB is produced from the reduction of succinic semialdehyde (SSA) by the activity of GHB dehydrogenase. Arabidopsis genome contains two GHB dehydrogenase encoding genes. The accumulation of GHB in ssadh mutants led to the speculation that GHB is the cause of aberrant phenotypes. Conversely, the accumulation of GHB in Arabidopsis plants subjected to abiotic stresses was described as a way of avoiding SSA induced damage. To resolve these contrasting views on GHB, we examined the effect of exogenous GHB and SSA on the growth of yeast and Arabidopsis plants. GHB concentrations up to 1.5 mM didn’t affect shoots of Arabidopsis plants; however, root growth was inhibited. In contrast, 0.3 mM SSA has severely affected the growth of plants. Treatment of yeast wild-type strain with 10 mM SSA and 10 mM GHB didn’t affect the growth. However, the growth of yeast uga2 mutant was greatly inhibited by the same concentration of SSA, but not GHB. Metabolic analysis and enzyme activity assay on native gel showed that Arabidopsis, but not yeast, possesses a GHB dehydrogenase activity that converts GHB back to SSA. The enzymatic assay has also indicated the existence of an additional GHB dehydrogenase encoding gene(s) in Arabidopsis genome. Taken together, we conclude that GHB is less toxic than SSA. Its accumulation in ssadh mutants and during abiotic stresses is a response to avoid the SSA induced damage.
      PubDate: 2016-07-01
  • Copy number variation at the HvCBF4–HvCBF2 genomic segment is a
           major component of frost resistance in barley
    • Abstract: Abstract A family of CBF transcription factors plays a major role in reconfiguring the plant transcriptome in response to low-freezing temperature in temperate cereals. In barley, more than 13 HvCBF genes map coincident with the major QTL FR-H2 suggesting them as candidates to explain the function of the locus. Variation in copy number (CNV) of specific HvCBFs was assayed in a panel of 41 barley genotypes using RT-qPCR. Taking advantage of an accurate phenotyping that combined Fv/Fm and field survival, resistance-associated variants within FR-H2 were identified. Genotypes with an increased copy number of HvCBF4 and HvCBF2 (at least ten and eight copies, respectively) showed greater frost resistance. A CAPS marker able to distinguish the CBF2A, CBF2B and CBF2A/B forms was developed and showed that all the higher-ranking genotypes in term of resistance harbour only CBF2A, while other resistant winter genotypes harbour also CBF2B, although at a lower CNV. In addition to the major involvement of the HvCBF4-HvCBF2 genomic segment in the proximal cluster of CBF elements, a negative role of HvCBF3 in the distal cluster was identified. Multiple linear regression models taking into account allelic variation at FR-H1/VRN-H1 explained 0.434 and 0.550 (both at p < 0.001) of the phenotypic variation for Fv/Fm and field survival respectively, while no interaction effect between CNV at the HvCBFs and FR-H1/VRN-H1 was found. Altogether our data suggest a major involvement of the CBF genes located in the proximal cluster, with no apparent involvement of the central cluster contrary to what was reported for wheat.
      PubDate: 2016-06-23
  • Enhanced production of resveratrol derivatives in tobacco plants by
           improving the metabolic flux of intermediates in the phenylpropanoid
    • Abstract: Abstract The biosynthesis of flavonoids such as anthocyanin and stilbenes has attracted increasing attention because of their potential health benefits. Anthocyanins and stilbenes share common phenylpropanoid precursor pathways. We previously reported that the overexpression of sweetpotato IbMYB1a induced anthocyanin pigmentation in transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants. In the present study, transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum SR1) plants (STS-OX and ROST-OX) expressing the RpSTS gene encoding stilbene synthase from rhubarb (Rheum palmatum L. cv. Jangyeop) and the RpSTS and VrROMT genes encoding resveratrol O-methyltransferase from frost grape (Vitis riparia) were generated under the control of 35S promoter. Phenotypic alterations in floral organs, such as a reduction in floral pigments and male sterility, were observed in STS-OX transgenic tobacco plants. However, we failed to obtain STS-OX and ROST-OX plants with high levels of resveratrol compounds. Therefore, to improve the production of resveratrol derivatives in plants, we cross-pollinated flowers of STS-OX or ROST-OX and IbMYB1a-OX transgenic lines (SM and RSM). Phenotypic changes in vegetative and reproductive development of SM and RSM plants were observed. Furthermore, by HPLC and LC-MS analyses, we found enhanced production of resveratrol derivatives such as piceid, piceid methyl ether, resveratrol methyl ether O-hexoside, and 5-methyl resveratrol-3,4′-O-β-d-diglucopyranoside in SM and RSM cross-pollinated lines. Here, total contents of trans- and cis-piceids ranged from approximately 104–240 µg/g fresh weight in SM (F2). Collectively, we suggest that coexpression of RpSTS and IbMYB1a via cross-pollination can induce enhanced production of resveratrol compounds in plants by increasing metabolic flux into stilbenoid biosynthesis.
      PubDate: 2016-06-23
  • AraPPISite: a database of fine-grained protein–protein interaction
           site annotations for Arabidopsis thaliana
    • Abstract: Abstract Knowledge about protein interaction sites provides detailed information of protein–protein interactions (PPIs). To date, nearly 20,000 of PPIs from Arabidopsis thaliana have been identified. Nevertheless, the interaction site information has been largely missed by previously published PPI databases. Here, AraPPISite, a database that presents fine-grained interaction details for A. thaliana PPIs is established. First, the experimentally determined 3D structures of 27 A. thaliana PPIs are collected from the Protein Data Bank database and the predicted 3D structures of 3023 A. thaliana PPIs are modeled by using two well-established template-based docking methods. For each experimental/predicted complex structure, AraPPISite not only provides an interactive user interface for browsing interaction sites, but also lists detailed evolutionary and physicochemical properties of these sites. Second, AraPPISite assigns domain–domain interactions or domain–motif interactions to 4286 PPIs whose 3D structures cannot be modeled. In this case, users can easily query protein interaction regions at the sequence level. AraPPISite is a free and user-friendly database, which does not require user registration or any configuration on local machines. We anticipate AraPPISite can serve as a helpful database resource for the users with less experience in structural biology or protein bioinformatics to probe the details of PPIs, and thus accelerate the studies of plant genetics and functional genomics. AraPPISite is available at
      PubDate: 2016-06-23
  • Irregular xylem 7 (IRX7) is required for anchoring seed coat mucilage in
    • Abstract: Abstract Large quantities of mucilage are synthesized in seed coat epidermis cells during seed coat differentiation. This process is an ideal model system for the study of plant cell wall biosynthesis and modifications. In this study, we show that mutation in Irregular Xylem 7 (IRX7) results in a defect in mucilage adherence due to reduced xylan biosynthesis. IRX7 was expressed in the seeds from 4 days post-anthesis (DPA) to 13 DPA, with the peak of expression at 13 DPA. The seed coat epidermis cells of irx7 displayed no aberrant morphology during differentiation, and these cells synthesized and deposited the same amount of mucilage as did wild type (WT) cells. However, the distribution of the water-soluble vs. adherent mucilage layers was significantly altered in irx7 compared to the WT. Both the amount of xylose and the extent of glycosyl linkages of xylan was dramatically decreased in irx7 water-soluble and adherent mucilage compared to the WT. The polymeric structure of water-soluble mucilage was altered in irx7, with a total loss of the higher molecular weight polymer components present in the WT. Correspondingly, whole-seed immunolabeling assays and dot-immunoassays of extracted mucilage indicated dramatic changes in rhamnogalacturonan I (RG I) and xylan epitopes in irx7 mucilage. Furthermore, the crystalline cellulose content was significantly reduced in irx7 mucilage. Taken together, these results indicate that xylan synthesized by IRX7 plays an essential role in maintaining the adhesive property of seed coat mucilage, and its structural role is potentially implemented through its interaction with cellulose.
      PubDate: 2016-06-22
  • SUMO proteases ULP1c and ULP1d are required for development and osmotic
           stress responses in Arabidopsis thaliana
    • Abstract: Abstract Sumoylation is an essential post-translational regulator of plant development and the response to environmental stimuli. SUMO conjugation occurs via an E1-E2-E3 cascade, and can be removed by SUMO proteases (ULPs). ULPs are numerous and likely to function as sources of specificity within the pathway, yet most ULPs remain functionally unresolved. In this report we used loss-of-function reverse genetics and transcriptomics to functionally characterize Arabidopsis thaliana ULP1c and ULP1d SUMO proteases. GUS reporter assays implicated ULP1c/d in various developmental stages, and subsequent defects in growth and germination were uncovered using loss-of-function mutants. Microarray analysis evidenced not only a deregulation of genes involved in development, but also in genes controlled by various drought-associated transcriptional regulators. We demonstrated that ulp1c ulp1d displayed diminished in vitro root growth under low water potential and higher stomatal aperture, yet leaf transpirational water loss and whole drought tolerance were not significantly altered. Generation of a triple siz1 ulp1c ulp1d mutant suggests that ULP1c/d and the SUMO E3 ligase SIZ1 may display separate functions in development yet operate epistatically in response to water deficit. We provide experimental evidence that Arabidopsis ULP1c and ULP1d proteases act redundantly as positive regulators of growth, and operate mainly as isopeptidases downstream of SIZ1 in the control of water deficit responses.
      PubDate: 2016-06-21
  • Rice bifunctional phytocystatin is a dual modulator of legumain and
           papain-like proteases
    • Abstract: Abstract Phytocystatins are well-known inhibitors of C1A cysteine proteinases. However, previous research has revealed legumain (C13) protease inhibition via a carboxy-extended phytocystatin. Among the 12 phytocystatins genes in rice, OcXII is the only gene possessing this carboxy-terminal extension. The specific legumain inhibition activity was confirmed, in our work, using a recombinant OcXII harboring only the carboxy-terminal domain and this part did not exhibit any effect on papain-like activities. Meanwhile, rice plants silenced at the whole OcXII gene presented higher legumain and papain-like proteolytic activities, resulting in a faster initial seedling growth. However, when germinated under stressful alkaline conditions, OcXII-silenced plants exhibited impaired root formation and delayed shoot growth. Interestingly, the activity of OcXII promoter gene was detected in the rice seed scutellum region, and decreases with seedling growth. Seeds from these plants also exhibited slower growth at germination under ABA or alkaline conditions, while maintaining very high levels of OcXII transcriptional activation. This likely reinforces the proteolytic control necessary for seed germination and growth. In addition, increased legumain activity was detected in OcXII RNAi plants subjected to a fungal elicitor. Overall, the results of this study highlight the association of OcXII with not only plant development processes, but also with stress response pathways. The results of this study reinforce the bifunctional ability of carboxy-extended phytocystatins in regulating legumain proteases via its carboxy-extended domain and papain-like proteases by its amino-terminal domain.
      PubDate: 2016-06-20
  • Comparative analysis of the pteridophyte Adiantum MFT ortholog reveals the
           specificity of combined FT/MFT C and N terminal interaction with FD for
           the regulation of the downstream gene AP1
    • Abstract: Abstract To study the evolution of phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein (PEBP) gene families in non-flowering plants, we performed a functional analysis of the PEBP gene AcMFT of the MFT clade in the pteridophyte Adiantum capillus-veneris. The expression of AcMFT was regulated by photoperiod similar to that for FT under both long day and short day conditions. Ectopic expression of AcMFT in Arabidopsis promotes the floral transition and partially complements the late flowering defect in transgenic Arabidopsis ft-1 mutants, suggesting that AcMFT functions similarly to FT in flowering plants. Interestingly, a similar partial compensation of the ft-1 late flowering phenotype was observed in Arabidopsis ectopically expressing only exon 4 of the C terminus of AcMFT and FT. This result indicated that the fourth exon of AcMFT and FT plays a similar and important role in promoting flowering. Further analysis indicated that exons 1–3 in the N terminus specifically enhanced the function of FT exon 4 in controlling flowering in Arabidopsis. Protein pull-down assays indicated that Arabidopsis FD proteins interact with full-length FT and AcMFT, as well as peptides encoded by 1–3 exon fragments or the 4th exon alone. Furthermore, similar FRET efficiencies for FT-FD and AcMFT-FD heterodimer in nucleus were observed. These results indicated that FD could form the similar complex with FT and AcMFT. Further analysis indicated that the expression of AP1, a gene downstream of FT, was up-regulated more strongly by FT than AcMFT in transgenic Arabidopsis. Our results revealed that AcMFT from a non-flowering plant could interact with FD to regulate the floral transition and that this function was reduced due to the weakened ability of AcMFT-FD to activate the downstream gene AP1.
      PubDate: 2016-05-23
  • Allantoin accumulation mediated by allantoinase downregulation and
           transport by Ureide Permease 5 confers salt stress tolerance to
           Arabidopsis plants
    • Abstract: Abstract Allantoin, a metabolite generated in the purine degradation pathway, was primarily considered an intermediate for recycling of the abundant nitrogen assimilated in plant purines. More specifically, tropical legumes utilize allantoin and allantoic acid as major nodule-to-shoot nitrogen transport compounds. In other species, an increase in allantoin content was observed under different stress conditions, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this work, Arabidopsis thaliana was used as a model system to investigate the effects of salt stress on allantoin metabolism and to know whether its accumulation results in plant protection. Plant seedlings treated with NaCl at different concentrations showed higher allantoin and lower allantoic acid contents. Treatments with NaCl favored the expression of genes involved in allantoin synthesis, but strongly repressed the unique gene encoding allantoinase (AtALN). Due to the potential regulatory role of this gene for allantoin accumulation, AtALN promoter activity was studied using a reporter system. GUS mediated coloration was found in specific plant tissues and was diminished with increasing salt concentrations. Phenotypic analysis of knockout, knockdown and stress-inducible mutants for AtALN revealed that allantoin accumulation is essential for salt stress tolerance. In addition, the possible role of allantoin transport was investigated. The Ureide Permease 5 (UPS5) is expressed in the cortex and endodermis of roots and its transcription is enhanced by salt treatment. Ups5 knockout plants under salt stress presented a susceptible phenotype and altered allantoin root-to-shoot content ratios. Possible roles of allantoin as a protectant compound in oxidative events or signaling are discussed.
      PubDate: 2016-05-21
  • Reduced function of the RNA-binding protein FPA rescues a T-DNA insertion
           mutant in the Arabidopsis ZHOUPI gene by promoting transcriptional
    • Abstract: Abstract T-DNA insertion mutants have been widely used to investigate plant gene functions. Unexpectedly, in several reported cases, the phenotype of T-DNA insertion mutations can be suppressed because of trans T-DNA interactions associated with epigenetic modification, which indicates that caution is needed when T-DNA mutants are used. In the present study, we characterized a novel process suppressing a T-DNA mutation. The spz2 (suppressor of zou 2) mutant was isolated as a suppressor of the phenotype of the zou-4 mutant caused by a T-DNA insertion in the first intron. The spz2 mutation partially recovered the native ZOU gene expression in the zou-4 background, but not in two other zou alleles, zou-2 and zou-3, with T-DNAs inserted in the exon and intron, respectively. The suppressed phenotype was inherited in a Mendelian fashion and is not associated with epigenetic modification. The recovery of the native ZOU gene expression in the spz2 zou-4 double mutant is caused by transcriptional read-through of the intronic T-DNA as a result of decreased proximal polyadenylation. SPZ2 encodes an RNA-binding protein, FPA, which is known to regulate polyadenylation site selection. This is the first example of FPA rescuing a T-DNA insertion mutation by affecting the polyadenylation site selection.
      PubDate: 2016-05-10
  • Jasmonate signaling is activated in the very early stages of iron
           deficiency responses in rice roots
    • Abstract: Abstract Under low iron availability, plants induce the expression of various genes involved in iron uptake and translocation at the transcriptional level. This iron deficiency response is affected by various plant hormones, but the roles of jasmonates in this response are not well-known. We investigated the involvement of jasmonates in rice iron deficiency responses. High rates of jasmonate-inducible genes were induced during the very early stages of iron deficiency treatment in rice roots. Many jasmonate-inducible genes were also negatively regulated by the ubiquitin ligases OsHRZ1 and OsHRZ2 and positively regulated by the transcription factor IDEF1. Ten out of 35 genes involved in jasmonate biosynthesis and signaling were rapidly induced at 3 h of iron deficiency treatment, and this induction preceded that of known iron deficiency-inducible genes involved in iron uptake and translocation. Twelve genes involved in jasmonate biosynthesis and signaling were also upregulated in HRZ-knockdown roots. Endogenous concentrations of jasmonic acid and jasmonoyl isoleucine tended to be rapidly increased in roots in response to iron deficiency treatment, whereas these concentrations were higher in HRZ-knockdown roots under iron-sufficient conditions. Analysis of the jasmonate-deficient cpm2 mutant revealed that jasmonates repress the expression of many iron deficiency-inducible genes involved in iron uptake and translocation under iron sufficiency, but this repression is partly canceled under an early stage of iron deficiency. These results indicate that jasmonate signaling is activated during the very early stages of iron deficiency, which is partly regulated by IDEF1 and OsHRZs.
      PubDate: 2016-05-03
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