Displaying all 12 publications

  1. Low ET, Rosli R, Jayanthi N, Mohd-Amin AH, Azizi N, Chan KL, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(1):e86728.
    PMID: 24497974 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086728
    Demand for palm oil has been increasing by an average of ∼8% the past decade and currently accounts for about 59% of the world's vegetable oil market. This drives the need to increase palm oil production. Nevertheless, due to the increasing need for sustainable production, it is imperative to increase productivity rather than the area cultivated. Studies on the oil palm genome are essential to help identify genes or markers that are associated with important processes or traits, such as flowering, yield and disease resistance. To achieve this, 294,115 and 150,744 sequences from the hypomethylated or gene-rich regions of Elaeis guineensis and E. oleifera genome were sequenced and assembled into contigs. An additional 16,427 shot-gun sequences and 176 bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC) were also generated to check the quality of libraries constructed. Comparison of these sequences revealed that although the methylation-filtered libraries were sequenced at low coverage, they still tagged at least 66% of the RefSeq supported genes in the BAC and had a filtration power of at least 2.0. A total 33,752 microsatellites and 40,820 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were identified. These represent the most comprehensive collection of microsatellites and SNPs to date and would be an important resource for genetic mapping and association studies. The gene models predicted from the assembled contigs were mined for genes of interest, and 242, 65 and 14 oil palm transcription factors, resistance genes and miRNAs were identified respectively. Examples of the transcriptional factors tagged include those associated with floral development and tissue culture, such as homeodomain proteins, MADS, Squamosa and Apetala2. The E. guineensis and E. oleifera hypomethylated sequences provide an important resource to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with important agronomic traits in oil palm.
  2. Ooi LC, Low ET, Abdullah MO, Nookiah R, Ting NC, Nagappan J, et al.
    Front Plant Sci, 2016;7:771.
    PMID: 27446094 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00771
    Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is the most productive oil bearing crop worldwide. It has three fruit forms, namely dura (thick-shelled), pisifera (shell-less) and tenera (thin-shelled), which are controlled by the SHELL gene. The fruit forms exhibit monogenic co-dominant inheritance, where tenera is a hybrid obtained by crossing maternal dura and paternal pisifera palms. Commercial palm oil production is based on planting thin-shelled tenera palms, which typically yield 30% more oil than dura palms, while pisifera palms are female-sterile and have little to no palm oil yield. It is clear that tenera hybrids produce more oil than either parent due to single gene heterosis. The unintentional planting of dura or pisifera palms reduces overall yield and impacts land utilization that would otherwise be devoted to more productive tenera palms. Here, we identify three additional novel mutant alleles of the SHELL gene, which encode a type II MADS-box transcription factor, and determine oil yield via control of shell fruit form phenotype in a manner similar to two previously identified mutant SHELL alleles. Assays encompassing all five mutations account for all dura and pisifera palms analyzed. By assaying for these variants in 10,224 mature palms or seedlings, we report the first large scale accurate genotype-based determination of the fruit forms in independent oil palm planting sites and in the nurseries that supply them throughout Malaysia. The measured non-tenera contamination rate (10.9% overall on a weighted average basis) underscores the importance of SHELL genetic testing of seedlings prior to planting in production fields. By eliminating non-tenera contamination, comprehensive SHELL genetic testing can improve sustainability by increasing yield on existing planted lands. In addition, economic modeling demonstrates that SHELL gene testing will confer substantial annual economic gains to the oil palm industry, to Malaysian gross national income and to Malaysian government tax receipts.
  3. Singh R, Low ET, Ooi LC, Ong-Abdullah M, Nookiah R, Ting NC, et al.
    Nat Commun, 2014 Jun 30;5:4106.
    PMID: 24978855 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5106
    Oil palm, a plantation crop of major economic importance in Southeast Asia, is the predominant source of edible oil worldwide. We report the identification of the virescens (VIR) gene, which controls fruit exocarp colour and is an indicator of ripeness. VIR is a R2R3-MYB transcription factor with homology to Lilium LhMYB12 and similarity to Arabidopsis production of anthocyanin pigment1 (PAP1). We identify five independent mutant alleles of VIR in over 400 accessions from sub-Saharan Africa that account for the dominant-negative virescens phenotype. Each mutation results in premature termination of the carboxy-terminal domain of VIR, resembling McClintock's C1-I allele in maize. The abundance of alleles likely reflects cultural practices, by which fruits were venerated for magical and medicinal properties. The identification of VIR will allow selection of the trait at the seed or early-nursery stage, 3-6 years before fruits are produced, greatly advancing introgression into elite breeding material.
  4. Singh R, Ong-Abdullah M, Low ET, Manaf MA, Rosli R, Nookiah R, et al.
    Nature, 2013 Aug 15;500(7462):335-9.
    PMID: 23883927 DOI: 10.1038/nature12309
    Oil palm is the most productive oil-bearing crop. Although it is planted on only 5% of the total world vegetable oil acreage, palm oil accounts for 33% of vegetable oil and 45% of edible oil worldwide, but increased cultivation competes with dwindling rainforest reserves. We report the 1.8-gigabase (Gb) genome sequence of the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, the predominant source of worldwide oil production. A total of 1.535 Gb of assembled sequence and transcriptome data from 30 tissue types were used to predict at least 34,802 genes, including oil biosynthesis genes and homologues of WRINKLED1 (WRI1), and other transcriptional regulators, which are highly expressed in the kernel. We also report the draft sequence of the South American oil palm Elaeis oleifera, which has the same number of chromosomes (2n = 32) and produces fertile interspecific hybrids with E. guineensis but seems to have diverged in the New World. Segmental duplications of chromosome arms define the palaeotetraploid origin of palm trees. The oil palm sequence enables the discovery of genes for important traits as well as somaclonal epigenetic alterations that restrict the use of clones in commercial plantings, and should therefore help to achieve sustainability for biofuels and edible oils, reducing the rainforest footprint of this tropical plantation crop.
  5. Rosli R, Amiruddin N, Ab Halim MA, Chan PL, Chan KL, Azizi N, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(4):e0194792.
    PMID: 29672525 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194792
    Comparative genomics and transcriptomic analyses were performed on two agronomically important groups of genes from oil palm versus other major crop species and the model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana. The first analysis was of two gene families with key roles in regulation of oil quality and in particular the accumulation of oleic acid, namely stearoyl ACP desaturases (SAD) and acyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterases (FAT). In both cases, these were found to be large gene families with complex expression profiles across a wide range of tissue types and developmental stages. The detailed classification of the oil palm SAD and FAT genes has enabled the updating of the latest version of the oil palm gene model. The second analysis focused on disease resistance (R) genes in order to elucidate possible candidates for breeding of pathogen tolerance/resistance. Ortholog analysis showed that 141 out of the 210 putative oil palm R genes had homologs in banana and rice. These genes formed 37 clusters with 634 orthologous genes. Classification of the 141 oil palm R genes showed that the genes belong to the Kinase (7), CNL (95), MLO-like (8), RLK (3) and Others (28) categories. The CNL R genes formed eight clusters. Expression data for selected R genes also identified potential candidates for breeding of disease resistance traits. Furthermore, these findings can provide information about the species evolution as well as the identification of agronomically important genes in oil palm and other major crops.
  6. Firdaus Raih M, Ahmad HA, Sharum MY, Azizi N, Mohamed R
    Appl. Bioinformatics, 2005;4(2):147-50.
    PMID: 16128617
    Bacterial proteases are an important group of enzymes that have very diverse biochemical and cellular functions. Proteases from prokaryotic sources also have a wide range of uses, either in medicine as pathogenic factors or in industry and therapeutics. ProLysED (Prokaryotic Lysis Enzymes Database), our meta-server integrated database of bacterial proteases, is a useful, albeit very niche, resource. The features include protease classification browsing and searching, organism-specific protease browsing, molecular information and visualisation of protease structures from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) as well as predicted protease structures.
  7. Singh R, Low ET, Ooi LC, Ong-Abdullah M, Ting NC, Nagappan J, et al.
    Nature, 2013 Aug 15;500(7462):340-4.
    PMID: 23883930 DOI: 10.1038/nature12356
    A key event in the domestication and breeding of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis was loss of the thick coconut-like shell surrounding the kernel. Modern E. guineensis has three fruit forms, dura (thick-shelled), pisifera (shell-less) and tenera (thin-shelled), a hybrid between dura and pisifera. The pisifera palm is usually female-sterile. The tenera palm yields far more oil than dura, and is the basis for commercial palm oil production in all of southeast Asia. Here we describe the mapping and identification of the SHELL gene responsible for the different fruit forms. Using homozygosity mapping by sequencing, we found two independent mutations in the DNA-binding domain of a homologue of the MADS-box gene SEEDSTICK (STK, also known as AGAMOUS-LIKE 11), which controls ovule identity and seed development in Arabidopsis. The SHELL gene is responsible for the tenera phenotype in both cultivated and wild palms from sub-Saharan Africa, and our findings provide a genetic explanation for the single gene hybrid vigour (or heterosis) attributed to SHELL, via heterodimerization. This gene mutation explains the single most important economic trait in oil palm, and has implications for the competing interests of global edible oil production, biofuels and rainforest conservation.
  8. Ong-Abdullah M, Ordway JM, Jiang N, Ooi SE, Kok SY, Sarpan N, et al.
    Nature, 2015 Sep 24;525(7570):533-7.
    PMID: 26352475 DOI: 10.1038/nature15365
    Somaclonal variation arises in plants and animals when differentiated somatic cells are induced into a pluripotent state, but the resulting clones differ from each other and from their parents. In agriculture, somaclonal variation has hindered the micropropagation of elite hybrids and genetically modified crops, but the mechanism responsible remains unknown. The oil palm fruit 'mantled' abnormality is a somaclonal variant arising from tissue culture that drastically reduces yield, and has largely halted efforts to clone elite hybrids for oil production. Widely regarded as an epigenetic phenomenon, 'mantling' has defied explanation, but here we identify the MANTLED locus using epigenome-wide association studies of the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis. DNA hypomethylation of a LINE retrotransposon related to rice Karma, in the intron of the homeotic gene DEFICIENS, is common to all mantled clones and is associated with alternative splicing and premature termination. Dense methylation near the Karma splice site (termed the Good Karma epiallele) predicts normal fruit set, whereas hypomethylation (the Bad Karma epiallele) predicts homeotic transformation, parthenocarpy and marked loss of yield. Loss of Karma methylation and of small RNA in tissue culture contributes to the origin of mantled, while restoration in spontaneous revertants accounts for non-Mendelian inheritance. The ability to predict and cull mantling at the plantlet stage will facilitate the introduction of higher performing clones and optimize environmentally sensitive land resources.
  9. Sanusi NSNM, Rosli R, Halim MAA, Chan KL, Nagappan J, Azizi N, et al.
    Database (Oxford), 2018 01 01;2018.
    PMID: 30239681 DOI: 10.1093/database/bay095
    A set of Elaeis guineensis genes had been generated by combining two gene prediction pipelines: Fgenesh++ developed by Softberry and Seqping by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. PalmXplore was developed to provide a scalable data repository and a user-friendly search engine system to efficiently store, manage and retrieve the oil palm gene sequences and annotations. Information deposited in PalmXplore includes predicted genes, their genomic coordinates, as well as the annotations derived from external databases, such as Pfam, Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes. Information about genes related to important traits, such as those involved in fatty acid biosynthesis (FAB) and disease resistance, is also provided. The system offers Basic Local Alignment Search Tool homology search, where the results can be downloaded or visualized in the oil palm genome browser (MYPalmViewer). PalmXplore is regularly updated offering new features, improvements to genome annotation and new genomic sequences. The system is freely accessible at http://palmxplore.mpob.gov.my.
  10. Chan KL, Tatarinova TV, Rosli R, Amiruddin N, Azizi N, Halim MAA, et al.
    Biol. Direct, 2017 Sep 08;12(1):21.
    PMID: 28886750 DOI: 10.1186/s13062-017-0191-4
    BACKGROUND: Oil palm is an important source of edible oil. The importance of the crop, as well as its long breeding cycle (10-12 years) has led to the sequencing of its genome in 2013 to pave the way for genomics-guided breeding. Nevertheless, the first set of gene predictions, although useful, had many fragmented genes. Classification and characterization of genes associated with traits of interest, such as those for fatty acid biosynthesis and disease resistance, were also limited. Lipid-, especially fatty acid (FA)-related genes are of particular interest for the oil palm as they specify oil yields and quality. This paper presents the characterization of the oil palm genome using different gene prediction methods and comparative genomics analysis, identification of FA biosynthesis and disease resistance genes, and the development of an annotation database and bioinformatics tools.

    RESULTS: Using two independent gene-prediction pipelines, Fgenesh++ and Seqping, 26,059 oil palm genes with transcriptome and RefSeq support were identified from the oil palm genome. These coding regions of the genome have a characteristic broad distribution of GC3 (fraction of cytosine and guanine in the third position of a codon) with over half the GC3-rich genes (GC3 ≥ 0.75286) being intronless. In comparison, only one-seventh of the oil palm genes identified are intronless. Using comparative genomics analysis, characterization of conserved domains and active sites, and expression analysis, 42 key genes involved in FA biosynthesis in oil palm were identified. For three of them, namely EgFABF, EgFABH and EgFAD3, segmental duplication events were detected. Our analysis also identified 210 candidate resistance genes in six classes, grouped by their protein domain structures.

    CONCLUSIONS: We present an accurate and comprehensive annotation of the oil palm genome, focusing on analysis of important categories of genes (GC3-rich and intronless), as well as those associated with important functions, such as FA biosynthesis and disease resistance. The study demonstrated the advantages of having an integrated approach to gene prediction and developed a computational framework for combining multiple genome annotations. These results, available in the oil palm annotation database ( http://palmxplore.mpob.gov.my ), will provide important resources for studies on the genomes of oil palm and related crops.

    REVIEWERS: This article was reviewed by Alexander Kel, Igor Rogozin, and Vladimir A. Kuznetsov.

  11. Amiruddin N, Chan PL, Azizi N, Morris PE, Chan KL, Ong PW, et al.
    Plant Cell Physiol., 2020 Apr 01;61(4):735-747.
    PMID: 31883014 DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcz237
    Acyl-CoA-binding proteins (ACBPs) are involved in binding and trafficking acyl-CoA esters in eukaryotic cells. ACBPs contain a well-conserved acyl-CoA-binding domain. Their various functions have been characterized in the model plant Arabidopsis and, to a lesser extent, in rice. In this study, genome-wide detection and expression analysis of ACBPs were performed on Elaeis guineensis (oil palm), the most important oil crop in the world. Seven E. guineensis ACBPs were identified and classified into four groups according to their deduced amino acid domain organization. Phylogenetic analysis showed conservation of this family with other higher plants. All seven EgACBPs were expressed in most tissues while their differential expression suggests various functions in specific tissues. For example, EgACBP3 had high expression in inflorescences and stalks while EgACBP1 showed strong expression in leaves. Because of the importance of E. guineensis as an oil crop, expression of EgACBPs was specifically examined during fruit development. EgACBP3 showed high expression throughout mesocarp development, while EgACBP1 had enhanced expression during rapid oil synthesis. In endosperm, both EgACBP1 and EgACBP3 exhibited increased expression during seed development. These results provide important information for further investigations on the biological functions of EgACBPs in various tissues and, in particular, their roles in oil synthesis.
  12. Hassaballah AI, Hassan MA, Mardi AN, Hamdi M
    PLoS ONE, 2013;8(12):e82703.
    PMID: 24367544 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082703
    The determination of the myocardium's tissue properties is important in constructing functional finite element (FE) models of the human heart. To obtain accurate properties especially for functional modeling of a heart, tissue properties have to be determined in vivo. At present, there are only few in vivo methods that can be applied to characterize the internal myocardium tissue mechanics. This work introduced and evaluated an FE inverse method to determine the myocardial tissue compressibility. Specifically, it combined an inverse FE method with the experimentally-measured left ventricular (LV) internal cavity pressure and volume versus time curves. Results indicated that the FE inverse method showed good correlation between LV repolarization and the variations in the myocardium tissue bulk modulus K (K = 1/compressibility), as well as provided an ability to describe in vivo human myocardium material behavior. The myocardium bulk modulus can be effectively used as a diagnostic tool of the heart ejection fraction. The model developed is proved to be robust and efficient. It offers a new perspective and means to the study of living-myocardium tissue properties, as it shows the variation of the bulk modulus throughout the cardiac cycle.
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