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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plants biosynthesize a great diversity of biologically active small molecules of interest for fragrances, flavors, and pharmaceuticals. Among specialized metabolites, terpenoids represent the greatest molecular diversity. Many terpenoids are very complex, and total chemical synthesis often requires many steps and difficult chemical reactions, resulting in a low final yield or incorrect stereochemistry. Several drug candidates with terpene skeletons are difficult to obtain by chemical synthesis due to their large number of chiral centers. Thus, biological production remains the preferred method for industrial production for many of these compounds. However, because these chemicals are often found in low abundance in the native plant, or are produced in plants which are difficult to cultivate, there is great interest in engineering increased production or expression of the biosynthetic pathways in heterologous hosts. Although there are many examples of successful engineering of microbes such as yeast or bacteria to produce these compounds, this often requires extensive changes to the host organism's metabolism. Optimization of plant gene expression, post-translational protein modifications, subcellular localization, and other factors often present challenges. To address the future demand for natural products used as drugs, new platforms are being established that are better suited for heterologous production of plant metabolites. Specifically, direct metabolic engineering of plants can provide effective heterologous expression for production of valuable plant-derived natural products. In this review, our primary focus is on small terpenoids and we discuss the benefits of plant expression platforms and provide several successful examples of stable production of small terpenoids in plants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jasmonates (JAs) [Jasmonic acid (JA) and methyl jasmonates (MeJAs)] are known to take part in various physiological processes. Exogenous application of JAs so far tested on different plants under abiotic stresses particularly salinity, drought, and temperature (low/high) conditions have proved effective in improving plant stress tolerance. However, its extent of effectiveness entirely depends on the type of plant species tested or its concentration. The effects of introgression or silencing of different JA- and Me-JA-related genes have been summarized in this review, which have shown a substantial role in improving crop yield and quality in different plants under stress or non-stress conditions. Regulation of JAs synthesis is impaired in stressed as well as unstressed plant cells/tissues, which is believed to be associated with a variety of metabolic events including signal transduction. Although, mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are important components of JA signaling and biosynthesis pathways, nitric oxide, ROS, calcium, ABA, ethylene, and salicylic acid are also important mediators of plant growth and development during JA signal transduction and synthesis. The exploration of other signaling molecules can be beneficial to examine the details of underlying molecular mechanisms of JA signal transduction. Much work is to be done in near future to find the proper answers of the questions like action of JA related metabolites, and identification of universal JA receptors etc. Complete signaling pathways involving MAPKs, CDPK, TGA, SIPK, WIPK, and WRKY transcription factors are yet to be investigated to understand the complete mechanism of action of JAs.
Magnaporthe oryzae is a rice blast fungus and plant pathogen that causes a serious rice disease and, therefore, poses a threat to the world's second most important food security crop. Plant transformation technology has become an adaptable system for cultivar improvement and to functionally analyze genes in plants. The objective of this study was to determine the effects (through over-expressing and using the CaMV 35S promoter) of Pikh on MR219 resistance because it is a rice variety that is susceptible to the blast fungus pathotype P7.2. Thus, a full DNA and coding DNA sequence (CDS) of the Pikh gene, 3172 bp, and 1206 bp in length, were obtained through amplifying the gDNA and cDNA template from a PH9-resistant rice variety using a specific primer. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation technology was also used to introduce the Pikh gene into the MR219 callus. Subsequently, transgenic plants were evaluated from the DNA to protein stages using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), semi-quantitative RT-PCR, real-time quantitative PCR and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Transgenic plants were also compared with a control using a real-time quantification technique (to quantify the pathogen population), and transgenic and control plants were challenged with the local most virulent M. oryzae pathotype, P7.2. Based on the results, the Pikh gene encodes a hydrophilic protein with 18 sheets, 4 helixes, and 21 coils. This protein contains 401 amino acids, among which the amino acid sequence from 1 to 376 is a non-cytoplasmic region, that from 377 to 397 is a transmembrane region, and that from 398 to 401 is a cytoplasmic region with no identified disordered regions. The Pikh gene was up-regulated in the transgenic plants compared with the control plants. The quantity of the amino acid leucine in the transgenic rice plants increased significantly from 17.131 in the wild-type to 47.865 mg g(-1) in transgenic plants. The M. oryzae population was constant at 31, 48, and 72 h after inoculation in transgenic plants, while it was increased in the inoculated control plants. This study successfully clarified that over-expression of the Pikh gene in transgenic plants can improve their blast resistance against the M. oryzae pathotype P7.2.
Analysis of repetitive DNA sequence content and divergence among the repetitive functional classes is a well-accepted approach for estimation of inter- and intra-generic differences in plant genomes. Among these elements, microsatellites, or Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs), have been widely demonstrated as powerful genetic markers for species and varieties discrimination. We present PlantFuncSSRs platform having more than 364 plant species with more than 2 million functional SSRs. They are provided with detailed annotations for easy functional browsing of SSRs and with information on primer pairs and associated functional domains. PlantFuncSSRs can be leveraged to identify functional-based genic variability among the species of interest, which might be of particular interest in developing functional markers in plants. This comprehensive on-line portal unifies mining of SSRs from first and next generation sequencing datasets, corresponding primer pairs and associated in-depth functional annotation such as gene ontology annotation, gene interactions and its identification from reference protein databases. PlantFuncSSRs is freely accessible at: http://www.bioinfocabd.upo.es/plantssr.