Among major reactive oxygen species (ROS), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) exhibits dual roles in plant metabolism. Low levels of H2O2 modulate many biological/physiological processes in plants; whereas, its high level can cause damage to cell structures, having severe consequences. Thus, steady-state level of cellular H2O2 must be tightly regulated. Glutathione peroxidases (GPX) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) are two major ROS-scavenging enzymes which catalyze the reduction of H2O2 in order to prevent potential H2O2-derived cellular damage. Employing bioinformatics approaches, this study presents a comparative evaluation of both GPX and APX in 18 different plant species, and provides valuable insights into the nature and complex regulation of these enzymes. Herein, (a) potential GPX and APX genes/proteins from 18 different plant species were identified, (b) their exon/intron organization were analyzed, (c) detailed information about their physicochemical properties were provided, (d) conserved motif signatures of GPX and APX were identified, (e) their phylogenetic trees and 3D models were constructed, (f) protein-protein interaction networks were generated, and finally (g) GPX and APX gene expression profiles were analyzed. Study outcomes enlightened GPX and APX as major H2O2-scavenging enzymes at their structural and functional levels, which could be used in future studies in the current direction.
Blast is the most common biotic stress leading to the reduction of rice yield in many rice-growing areas of the world, including Malaysia. Improvement of blast resistance of rice varieties cultivated in blast endemic areas is one of the most important objectives of rice breeding programs. In this study, the marker-assisted backcrossing strategy was applied to improve the blast resistance of the most popular Malaysian rice variety MR219 by introgressing blast resistance genes from the Pongsu Seribu 2 variety. Two blast resistance genes, Pi-b and Pi-kh, were pyramided into MR219. Foreground selection coupled with stringent phenotypic selection identified 15 plants homozygous for the Pi-b and Pi-kh genes, and background selection revealed more than 95% genome recovery of MR219 in advanced blast resistant lines. Phenotypic screening against blast disease indicated that advanced homozygous blast resistant lines were strongly resistant against pathotype P7.2 in the blast disease endemic areas. The morphological, yield, grain quality, and yield-contributing characteristics were significantly similar to those of MR219. The newly developed blast resistant improved lines will retain the high adoptability of MR219 by farmers. The present results will also play an important role in sustaining the rice production of Malaysia.
Even though microalgal biomass is leading the third generation biofuel research, significant effort is required to establish an economically viable commercial-scale microalgal biofuel production system. Whilst a significant amount of work has been reported on large-scale cultivation of microalgae using photo-bioreactors and pond systems, research focus on establishing high performance downstream dewatering operations for large-scale processing under optimal economy is limited. The enormous amount of energy and associated cost required for dewatering large-volume microalgal cultures has been the primary hindrance to the development of the needed biomass quantity for industrial-scale microalgal biofuels production. The extremely dilute nature of large-volume microalgal suspension and the small size of microalgae cells in suspension create a significant processing cost during dewatering and this has raised major concerns towards the economic success of commercial-scale microalgal biofuel production as an alternative to conventional petroleum fuels. This article reports an effective framework to assess the performance of different dewatering technologies as the basis to establish an effective two-stage dewatering system. Bioflocculation coupled with tangential flow filtration (TFF) emerged a promising technique with total energy input of 0.041 kWh, 0.05 kg CO2 emissions and a cost of $ 0.0043 for producing 1 kg of microalgae biomass. A streamlined process for operational analysis of two-stage microalgae dewatering technique, encompassing energy input, carbon dioxide emission, and process cost, is presented.
Rice is a staple and most important security food crop consumed by almost half of the world's population. More rice production is needed due to the rapid population growth in the world. Rice blast caused by the fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae is one of the most destructive diseases of this crop in different part of the world. Breakdown of blast resistance is the major cause of yield instability in several rice growing areas. There is a need to develop strategies providing long-lasting disease resistance against a broad spectrum of pathogens, giving protection for a long time over a broad geographic area, promising for sustainable rice production in the future. So far, molecular breeding approaches involving DNA markers, such as QTL mapping, marker-aided selection, gene pyramiding, allele mining and genetic transformation have been used to develop new resistant rice cultivars. Such techniques now are used as a low-cost, high-throughput alternative to conventional methods allowing rapid introgression of disease resistance genes into susceptible varieties as well as the incorporation of multiple genes into individual lines for more durable blast resistance. The paper briefly reviewed the progress of studies on this aspect to provide the interest information for rice disease resistance breeding. This review includes examples of how advanced molecular method have been used in breeding programs for improving blast resistance. New information and knowledge gained from previous research on the recent strategy and challenges towards improvement of blast disease such as pyramiding disease resistance gene for creating new rice varieties with high resistance against multiple diseases will undoubtedly provide new insights into the rice disease control.
Many algae are rich sources of sulfated polysaccharides with biological activities. The physicochemical/rheological properties and biological activities of sulfated polysaccharides are affected by the pattern and number of sulfate moieties. Sulfation of carbohydrates is catalyzed by carbohydrate sulfotransferases (CHSTs) while modification of sulfate moieties on sulfated polysaccharides was presumably catalyzed by sulfatases including formylglycine-dependent sulfatases (FGly-SULFs). Post-translationally modification of Cys to FGly in FGly-SULFs by sulfatase modifiying factors (SUMFs) is necessary for the activity of this enzyme. The aims of this study are to mine for sequences encoding algal CHSTs, FGly-SULFs and putative SUMFs from the fully sequenced algal genomes and to infer their phylogenetic relationships to their well characterized counterparts from other organisms. Algal sequences encoding CHSTs, FGly-SULFs, SUMFs, and SUMF-like proteins were successfully identified from green and brown algae. However, red algal FGly-SULFs and SUMFs were not identified. In addition, a group of SUMF-like sequences with different gene structure and possibly different functions were identified for green, brown and red algae. The phylogeny of these putative genes contributes to the corpus of knowledge of an unexplored area. The analyses of these putative genes contribute toward future production of existing and new sulfated carbohydrate polymers through enzymatic synthesis and metabolic engineering.
Crop plants encounter thermal environments which fluctuate on a diurnal and seasonal basis. Future climate resilient cultivars will need to respond to thermal profiles reflecting more variable conditions, and harness plasticity that involves regulation of epigenetic processes and complex genomic regulatory networks. Compartmentalization within plant cells insulates the genomic central processing unit within the interphase nucleus. This review addresses the properties of the chromatin hardware in which the genome is embedded, focusing on the biophysical and thermodynamic properties of DNA, histones and nucleosomes. It explores the consequences of thermal and ionic variation on the biophysical behavior of epigenetic marks such as DNA cytosine methylation (5mC), and histone variants such as H2A.Z, and how these contribute to maintenance of chromatin integrity in the nucleus, while enabling specific subsets of genes to be regulated. Information is drawn from theoretical molecular in vitro studies as well as model and crop plants and incorporates recent insights into the role epigenetic processes play in mediating between environmental signals and genomic regulation. A preliminary speculative framework is outlined, based on the evidence of what appears to be a cohesive set of interactions at molecular, biophysical and electrostatic level between the various components contributing to chromatin conformation and dynamics. It proposes that within plant nuclei, general and localized ionic homeostasis plays an important role in maintaining chromatin conformation, whilst maintaining complex genomic regulation that involves specific patterns of epigenetic marks. More generally, reversible changes in DNA methylation appear to be consistent with the ability of nuclear chromatin to manage variation in external ionic and temperature environment. Whilst tentative, this framework provides scope to develop experimental approaches to understand in greater detail the internal environment of plant nuclei. It is hoped that this will generate a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying genotype × environment interactions that may be beneficial for long-term improvement of crop performance in less predictable climates.
After yield, quality is one of the most important aspects of rice breeding. Preference for rice quality varies among cultures and regions; therefore, rice breeders have to tailor the quality according to the preferences of local consumers. Rice quality assessment requires routine chemical analysis procedures. The advancement of molecular marker technology has revolutionized the strategy in breeding programs. The availability of rice genome sequences and the use of forward and reverse genetics approaches facilitate gene discovery and the deciphering of gene functions. A well-characterized gene is the basis for the development of functional markers, which play an important role in plant genotyping and, in particular, marker-assisted breeding. In addition, functional markers offer advantages that counteract the limitations of random DNA markers. Some functional markers have been applied in marker-assisted breeding programs and have successfully improved rice quality to meet local consumers' preferences. Although functional markers offer a plethora of advantages over random genetic markers, the development and application of functional markers should be conducted with care. The decreasing cost of sequencing will enable more functional markers for rice quality improvement to be developed, and application of these markers in rice quality breeding programs is highly anticipated.
Expression levels of the NAC gene family were studied in rice infected with Rice dwarf virus (RDV), Rice black-streaked dwarf virus (RBSDV), Rice grassy stunt virus (RGSV), Rice ragged stunt virus (RRSV), and Rice transitory yellowing virus (RTYV). Microarray analysis showed that 75 (68%) OsNAC genes were differentially regulated during infection with RDV, RBSDV, RGSV, and RRSV compared with the control. The number of OsNAC genes up-regulated was highest during RGSV infection, while the lowest number was found during RTYV infection. These phenomena correlate with the severity of the syndromes induced by the virus infections. Most of the genes in the NAC subgroups NAC22, SND, ONAC2, ANAC34, and ONAC3 were down-regulated for all virus infections. These OsNAC genes might be related to the health stage maintenance of the host plants. Interestingly, most of the genes in the subgroups TIP and SNAC were more highly expressed during RBSDV and RGSV infections. These results suggested that OsNAC genes might be related to the responses induced by the virus infection. All of the genes assigned to the TIP subgroups were highly expressed during RGSV infection when compared with the control. For RDV infection, the number of activated genes was greatest during infection with the S-strain, followed by the D84-strain and the O-strain, with seven OsNAC genes up-regulated during infection by all three strains. The Os12g03050 and Os11g05614 genes showed higher expression during infection with four of the five viruses, and Os11g03310, Os11g03370, and Os07g37920 genes showed high expression during at least three viral infections. We identified some duplicate genes that are classified as neofunctional and subfunctional according to their expression levels in different viral infections. A number of putative cis-elements were identified, which may help to clarify the function of these key genes in network pathways.
The global latitudinal gradient in biodiversity weakens in the high polar biome and so an alternative explanation for distribution of Arctic and Antarctic photoautotrophs is required. Here we identify how temporal, microclimate and evolutionary drivers of biogeography are important, rather than the macroclimate features that drive plant diversity patterns elsewhere. High polar ecosystems are biologically unique, with a more central role for bryophytes, lichens and microbial photoautotrophs over that of vascular plants. Constraints on vascular plants arise mainly due to stature and ontogenetic barriers. Conversely non-vascular plant and microbial photoautotroph distribution is correlated with favorable microclimates and the capacity for poikilohydric dormancy. Contemporary distribution also depends on evolutionary history, with adaptive and dispersal traits as well as legacy influencing biogeography. We highlight the relevance of these findings to predicting future impacts on diversity of polar photoautotrophs and to the current status of plants in Arctic and Antarctic conservation policy frameworks.
DOG(R)1, which encodes 2-deoxyglucose-6-phosphate phosphatase, has been used as a selectable marker gene to produce transgenic plants. In this study, a transformation vector, pBIDOG, which contains the DOG(R)1 gene, was transformed into oil palm embryogenic calli (EC) mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain LBA4404. Transformed EC were exposed to 400 mg l(-1) 2-deoxyglucose (2-DOG) as the selection agent. 2-DOG resistant tissues were regenerated into whole plantlets on various regeneration media containing the same concentration of 2-DOG. The plantlets were later transferred into soil and grown in a biosafety screenhouse. PCR and subsequently Southern blot analyses were carried out to confirm the integration of the transgene in the plantlets. A transformation efficiency of about 1.0% was obtained using DOG(R)1 gene into the genome of oil palm. This result demonstrates the potential of using combination of DOG(R)1 gene and 2-DOG for regenerating transgenic oil palm.
The phagocyte-microbe interactions in the immune system is a defense mechanism but when excessively or inappropriately deployed can harm host tissues and participate in the development of different non-immune and immune chronic inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune problems, allergies, some rheumatoid disorders, cancers and others. Immunodrugs include organic synthetics, biological agents such as cytokines and antibodies acting on single targets or pathways have been used to treat immune-related diseases but with limited success. Most of immunostimulants and immunosuppressants in clinical use are the cytotoxic drugs which possess serious side effects. There is a growing interest to use herbal medicines as multi-component agents to modulate the complex immune system in the prevention of infections rather than treating the immune-related diseases. Many therapeutic effects of plant extracts have been suggested to be due to their wide array of immunomodulatory effects and influence on the immune system of the human body. Phytochemicals such as flavonoids, polysaccharides, lactones, alkaloids, diterpenoids and glycosides, present in several plants, have been reported to be responsible for the plants immunomodulating properties. Thus the search for natural products of plant origin as new leads for development of potent and safe immunosuppressant and immunostimulant agents is gaining much major research interest. The present review will give an overview of widely investigated plant-derived compounds (curcumin, resveratrol, epigallocatechol-3-gallate, quercetin, colchicine, capsaicin, andrographolide, and genistein) which have exhibited potent effects on cellular and humoral immune functions in pre-clinical investigations and will highlight their clinical potential.
Climate change affects agricultural productivity worldwide. Increased prices of food commodities are the initial indication of drastic edible yield loss, which is expected to increase further due to global warming. This situation has compelled plant scientists to develop climate change-resilient crops, which can withstand broad-spectrum stresses such as drought, heat, cold, salinity, flood, submergence and pests, thus helping to deliver increased productivity. Genomics appears to be a promising tool for deciphering the stress responsiveness of crop species with adaptation traits or in wild relatives toward identifying underlying genes, alleles or quantitative trait loci. Molecular breeding approaches have proven helpful in enhancing the stress adaptation of crop plants, and recent advances in high-throughput sequencing and phenotyping platforms have transformed molecular breeding to genomics-assisted breeding (GAB). In view of this, the present review elaborates the progress and prospects of GAB for improving climate change resilience in crops, which is likely to play an ever increasing role in the effort to ensure global food security.
Biodegradable plastics, mainly polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which are traditionally produced by bacterial cells, have been produced in the cells of more than 15 plant species. Since the production of biodegradable plastics and the synthesis of oil in plants share the same substrate, acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), producing PHB in oil bearing crops, such as oil palm, will be advantageous. In this study, three bacterial genes, bktB, phaB, and phaC, which are required for the synthesis of PHB and selectable marker gene, bar, for herbicide Basta resistant, were transformed into embryogenic calli. A number of transformed embryogenic lines resistant to herbicide Basta were obtained and were later regenerated to produce few hundred plantlets. Molecular analyses, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Southern blot, and real-time PCR have demonstrated stable integration and expression of the transgenes in the oil palm genome. HPLC and Nile blue A staining analyses confirmed the synthesis of PHB in some of the plantlets.
Recent achievements in plant microRNA (miRNA), a large class of small and non-coding RNAs, are very exciting. A wide array of techniques involving forward genetic, molecular cloning, bioinformatic analysis, and the latest technology, deep sequencing have greatly advanced miRNA discovery. A tiny miRNA sequence has the ability to target single/multiple mRNA targets. Most of the miRNA targets are transcription factors (TFs) which have paramount importance in regulating the plant growth and development. Various families of TFs, which have regulated a range of regulatory networks, may assist plants to grow under normal and stress environmental conditions. This present review focuses on the regulatory relationships between miRNAs and different families of TFs like; NF-Y, MYB, AP2, TCP, WRKY, NAC, GRF, and SPL. For instance NF-Y play important role during drought tolerance and flower development, MYB are involved in signal transduction and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, AP2 regulate the floral development and nodule formation, TCP direct leaf development and growth hormones signaling. WRKY have known roles in multiple stress tolerances, NAC regulate lateral root formation, GRF are involved in root growth, flower, and seed development, and SPL regulate plant transition from juvenile to adult. We also studied the relation between miRNAs and TFs by consolidating the research findings from different plant species which will help plant scientists in understanding the mechanism of action and interaction between these regulators in the plant growth and development under normal and stress environmental conditions.
Polygonum minus is an herbal plant that grows in Southeast Asian countries and traditionally used as medicine. This plant produces diverse secondary metabolites such as phenolic compounds and their derivatives, which are known to have roles in plant abiotic and biotic stress responses. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) is a plant signaling molecule that triggers transcriptional reprogramming in secondary metabolism and activation of defense responses against many biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the effect of MeJA elicitation on the genome-wide expression profile in the leaf tissue of P. minus has not been well-studied due to the limited genetic information. Hence, we performed Illumina paired-end RNA-seq for de novo reconstruction of P. minus leaf transcriptome to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to MeJA elicitation. A total of 182,111 unique transcripts (UTs) were obtained by de novo assembly of 191.57 million paired-end clean reads using Trinity analysis pipeline. A total of 2374 UTs were identified to be significantly up-/down-regulated 24 h after MeJA treatment. These UTs comprising many genes related to plant secondary metabolite biosynthesis, defense and stress responses. To validate our sequencing results, we analyzed the expression of 21 selected DEGs by quantitative real-time PCR and found a good correlation between the two analyses. The single time-point analysis in this work not only provides a useful genomic resource for P. minus but also gives insights on molecular mechanisms of stress responses in P. minus.
Epidemics caused by fungal plant pathogens pose a major threat to agro-ecosystems and impact global food security. High-throughput sequencing enabled major advances in understanding how pathogens cause disease on crops. Hundreds of fungal genomes are now available and analyzing these genomes highlighted the key role of effector genes in disease. Effectors are small secreted proteins that enhance infection by manipulating host metabolism. Fungal genomes carry 100s of putative effector genes, but the lack of homology among effector genes, even for closely related species, challenges evolutionary and functional analyses. Furthermore, effector genes are often found in rapidly evolving chromosome compartments which are difficult to assemble. We review how population and comparative genomics toolsets can be combined to address these challenges. We highlight studies that associated genome-scale polymorphisms with pathogen lifestyles and adaptation to different environments. We show how genome-wide association studies can be used to identify effectors and other pathogenicity-related genes underlying rapid adaptation. We also discuss how the compartmentalization of fungal genomes into core and accessory regions shapes the evolution of effector genes. We argue that an understanding of genome evolution provides important insight into the trajectory of host-pathogen co-evolution.
The arrangement of leaf material is critical in determining the light environment, and subsequently the photosynthetic productivity of complex crop canopies. However, links between specific canopy architectural traits and photosynthetic productivity across a wide genetic background are poorly understood for field grown crops. The architecture of five genetically diverse rice varieties-four parental founders of a multi-parent advanced generation intercross (MAGIC) population plus a high yielding Philippine variety (IR64)-was captured at two different growth stages using a method for digital plant reconstruction based on stereocameras. Ray tracing was employed to explore the effects of canopy architecture on the resulting light environment in high-resolution, whilst gas exchange measurements were combined with an empirical model of photosynthesis to calculate an estimated carbon gain and total light interception. To further test the impact of different dynamic light patterns on photosynthetic properties, an empirical model of photosynthetic acclimation was employed to predict the optimal light-saturated photosynthesis rate (Pmax ) throughout canopy depth, hypothesizing that light is the sole determinant of productivity in these conditions. First, we show that a plant type with steeper leaf angles allows more efficient penetration of light into lower canopy layers and this, in turn, leads to a greater photosynthetic potential. Second the predicted optimal Pmax responds in a manner that is consistent with fractional interception and leaf area index across this germplasm. However, measured Pmax , especially in lower layers, was consistently higher than the optimal Pmax indicating factors other than light determine photosynthesis profiles. Lastly, varieties with more upright architecture exhibit higher maximum quantum yield of photosynthesis indicating a canopy-level impact on photosynthetic efficiency.
Plant cells biosynthesize primary cell walls (PCW) in all cells and produce secondary cell walls (SCWs) in specific cell types that conduct water and/or provide mechanical support, such as xylem vessels and fibers. The characteristic mechanical stiffness, chemical recalcitrance, and hydrophobic nature of SCWs result from the organization of SCW-specific biopolymers, i.e., highly ordered cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Synthesis of these SCW-specific biopolymers requires SCW-specific enzymes that are regulated by SCW-specific transcription factors. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge of the transcriptional regulation of SCW formation in plant cells. Advances in research on SCW biosynthesis during the past decade have expanded our understanding of the transcriptional regulation of SCW formation, particularly the functions of the NAC and MYB transcription factors. Focusing on the NAC-MYB-based transcriptional network, we discuss the regulatory systems that evolved in land plants to modify the cell wall to serve as a key component of structures that conduct water and provide mechanical support.