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  1. Kwan YM, Meon S, Ho CL, Wong MY
    J. Plant Physiol., 2015 Feb 01;174:131-6.
    PMID: 25462975 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2014.10.003
    Nitric oxide associated 1 (NOA1) protein is implicated in plant disease resistance and nitric oxide (NO) biosynthesis. A full-length cDNA encoding of NOA1 protein from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) was isolated and designated as EgNOA1. Sequence analysis suggested that EgNOA1 was a circular permutated GTPase with high similarity to the bacterial YqeH protein of the YawG/YlqF family. The gene expression of EgNOA1 and NO production in oil palm root tissues treated with Ganoderma boninense, the causal agent of basal stem rot (BSR) disease were profiled to investigate the involvement of EgNOA1 during fungal infection and association with NO biosynthesis. Real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis revealed that the transcript abundance of EgNOA1 in root tissues was increased by G. boninense treatment. NO burst in Ganoderma-treated root tissue was detected using Griess reagent, in advance of the up-regulation of the EgNOA1 transcript. This indicates that NO production was independent of EgNOA1. However, the induced expression of EgNOA1 in Ganoderma-treated root tissues implies that it might be involved in plant defense responses against pathogen infection.
  2. Goh HH, Sloan J, Malinowski R, Fleming A
    J. Plant Physiol., 2014 Feb 15;171(3-4):329-39.
    PMID: 24144490 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2013.09.009
    Expansins have long been implicated in the control of cell wall extensibility. However, despite ample evidence supporting a role for these proteins in the endogenous mechanism of plant growth, there are also examples in the literature where the outcome of altered expansin gene expression is difficult to reconcile with a simplistic causal linkage to growth promotion. To investigate this problem, we report on the analysis of transgenic Arabidopsis plants in which a heterologous cucumber expansin can be inducibly overexpressed. Our results indicate that the effects of expansin expression on growth depend on the degree of induction of expansin expression and the developmental pattern of organ growth. They support the role of expansin in directional cell expansion. They are also consistent with the idea that excess expansin might itself impede normal activities of cell wall modifications, culminating in both growth promotion and repression depending on the degree of expression.
  3. Tan YC, Yeoh KA, Wong MY, Ho CL
    J. Plant Physiol., 2013 Nov 01;170(16):1455-60.
    PMID: 23769496 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2013.05.009
    Basal stem rot (BSR) is a major disease of oil palm caused by a pathogenic fungus, Ganoderma boninense. However, the interaction between the host plant and its pathogen is not well characterized. To better understand the response of oil palm to G. boninense, transcript profiles of eleven putative defence-related genes from oil palm were measured by quantitative reverse-transcription (qRT)-PCR in the roots of oil palms treated with G. boninense from 3 to 12 weeks post infection (wpi). These transcripts encode putative Bowman-Birk serine protease inhibitors (EgBBI1 and 2), defensin (EgDFS), dehydrin (EgDHN), early methionine-labeled polypeptides (EgEMLP1 and 2), glycine-rich RNA binding protein (EgGRRBP), isoflavone reductase (EgIFR), metallothionein-like protein (EgMT), pathogenesis-related-1 protein (EgPRP), and type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein (EgT2RIP). The transcript abundance of EgBBI2 increased in G. boninense-treated roots at 3 and 6wpi compared to those of controls; while the transcript abundance of EgBBI1, EgDFS, EgEMLP1, EgMT, and EgT2RIP increased in G. boninense-treated roots at 6 or 12wpi. Meanwhile, the gene expression of EgDHN was up-regulated at all three time points in G. boninense-treated roots. The expression profiles of the eleven transcripts were also studied in leaf samples upon inoculation of G. boninense and Trichoderma harzianum to identify potential biomarkers for early detection of BSR. Two candidate genes (EgEMLP1 and EgMT) that have different profiles in G. boninense-treated leaves compared to those infected by T. harzianum may have the potential to be developed as biomarkers for early detection of G. boninense infection.
  4. Saed Taha R, Ismail I, Zainal Z, Abdullah SN
    J. Plant Physiol., 2012 Sep 01;169(13):1290-300.
    PMID: 22658816 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.05.001
    The stearoyl-acyl-carrier-protein (ACP) desaturase is a plastid-localized enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of stearoyl-ACP to oleoyl-ACP and plays an important role in the determination of the properties of the majority of cellular glycerolipids. Functional characterization of the fatty acid desaturase genes and their specific promoters is a prerequisite for altering the composition of unsaturated fatty acids of palm oil by genetic engineering. In this paper, the specificity and strength of the oil palm stearoyl-ACP desaturase gene promoter (Des) was evaluated in transgenic tomato plants. Transcriptional fusions between 5' deletions of the Des promoter (Des1-4) and the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene were generated and their expression analyzed in different tissues of stably transformed tomato plants. Histochemical analysis of the Des promoter deletion series revealed that GUS gene expression was confined to the tomato fruits. No expression was detected in vegetative tissues of the transgenic plants. The highest levels of GUS activity was observed in different tissues of ripe red fruits (vascular tissue, septa, endocarp, mesocarp and columella) and in seeds, which harbored the promoter region located between -590 and +10. A comparison of the promoter-deletion constructs showed that the Des4 promoter deletion (314bp) produced a markedly low level of GUS expression in fruits and seeds. Fluorometric analysis of the GUS activity revealed a 4-fold increase in the activity of the full-length Des promoter compared to the CaMV35S promoter. RNA-hybridization analyses provided additional evidence of increased GUS expression in fruits driven by a Des fragment. Taken together, these results demonstrate the potential of the Des promoter as a tool for the genetic engineering of oil palms and other species, including dicots, in improving the quality and nutritional value of the fruits.
  5. Yeoh KA, Othman A, Meon S, Abdullah F, Ho CL
    J. Plant Physiol., 2012 Oct 15;169(15):1565-70.
    PMID: 22854183 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.07.006
    Glucanases are enzymes that hydrolyze a variety β-d-glucosidic linkages. Plant β-1,3-glucanases are able to degrade fungal cell walls; and promote the release of cell-wall derived fungal elicitors. In this study, three full-length cDNA sequences encoding oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) glucanases were analyzed. Sequence analyses of the cDNA sequences suggested that EgGlc1-1 is a putative β-d-glucan exohydolase belonging to glycosyl hydrolase (GH) family 3 while EgGlc5-1 and EgGlc5-2 are putative glucan endo-1,3-β-glucosidases belonging to GH family 17. The transcript abundance of these genes in the roots and leaves of oil palm seedlings treated with Ganoderma boninense and Trichoderma harzianum was profiled to investigate the involvement of these glucanases in oil palm during fungal infection. The gene expression of EgGlc1-1 in the root of oil palm seedlings was increased by T. harzianum but suppressed by G. boninense; while the gene expression of both EgGlc5-1 and EgGlc5-2 in the roots of oil palm seedlings was suppressed by G. boninense or/and T. harzianum.
  6. Sultana S, Khew CY, Morshed MM, Namasivayam P, Napis S, Ho CL
    J. Plant Physiol., 2012 Feb 15;169(3):311-8.
    PMID: 22024734 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2011.09.004
    Monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), an important enzyme of the ascorbate-glutathione cycle, is involved in salt tolerance of plants through scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, a cDNA encoding MDHAR from the mangrove plant Acanthus ebracteatus was introduced into rice to examine its role in salt tolerance. Three stable transgenic lines (MT22, MT24 and MT25) overexpressing AeMDHAR were selected in vitro using hygromycin and confirmed by PCR, quantitative reverse-transcription (qRT) PCR and enzyme assay. The transgenic line MT24 was predicted to possess a single copy of the transgene while the other two transgenic lines were predicted to have multiple transgene integrations. The AeMDHAR transcripts were detected only in transgenic rice lines but not in untransformed rice. The abundance of AeMDHAR transcripts in transgenic lines MT22 and MT25 was approximately 2.75 times the amount found in MT24. The transgenic rice lines overexpressing AeMDHAR showed a significant increase in MDHAR enzyme activity compared to untransformed plants under both NaCl and control conditions. All transgenic lines showed better yield attributes such as a higher tiller number and increased 1000-grain weight compared to non-transgenics. They also showed tolerance to salt at germination and seedling stages. The transgenic line MT24, which harbors a single copy of AeMDHAR, displayed a lower rate of sterility, a higher number of tillers and longer panicle compared to untransformed plants when subjected to salt stress.
  7. Alizadeh F, Abdullah SN, Khodavandi A, Abdullah F, Yusuf UK, Chong PP
    J. Plant Physiol., 2011 Jul 01;168(10):1106-13.
    PMID: 21333381 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2010.12.007
    The expression profiles of Δ9 stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturase (SAD1 and SAD2) and type 3 metallothionein (MT3-A and MT3-B) were investigated in seedlings of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) artificially inoculated with the pathogenic fungus Ganoderma boninense and the symbiotic fungus Trichoderma harzianum. Expression of SAD1 and MT3-A in roots and SAD2 in leaves were significantly up-regulated in G. boninense inoculated seedlings at 21 d after treatment when physical symptoms had not yet appeared and thereafter decreased to basal levels when symptoms became visible. Our finding demonstrated that the SAD1 expression in leaves was significantly down-regulated to negligible levels at 42 and 63 d after treatment. The transcripts of MT3 genes were synthesized in G. boninense inoculated leaves at 42 d after treatment, and the analyses did not show detectable expression of these genes before 42 d after treatment. In T. harzianum inoculated seedlings, the expression levels of SAD1 and SAD2 increased gradually and were stronger in roots than leaves, while for MT3-A and MT3-B, the expression levels were induced in leaves at 3d after treatment and subsequently maintained at same levels until 63d after treatment. The MT3-A expression was significantly up-regulated in roots at 3d after treatment and thereafter were maintained at this level. Both SAD and MT3 expression were maintained at maximum levels or at levels higher than basal. This study demonstrates that oil palm was able to distinguish between pathogenic and symbiotic fungal interactions, thus resulting in different transcriptional activation profiles of SAD and MT3 genes. Increases in expression levels of SAD and MT3 would lead to enhanced resistance against G. boninense and down-regulation of genes confer potential for invasive growth of the pathogen. Differences in expression profiles of SAD and MT3 relate to plant resistance mechanisms while supporting growth enhancing effects of symbiotic T. harzianum.
  8. Othman R, Nuraziyan A
    J. Plant Physiol., 2010 Jan 15;167(2):131-7.
    PMID: 19729222 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2009.07.015
    Subtilisin-like serine proteases (EC 3.4.21) consist of a widespread family of enzymes that is involved in various processes including in plants. The full-length cDNA (CpSUB1) and the corresponding genomic DNA for papaya subtilase have been obtained using rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACEs) and PCR primer walking techniques, respectively. The cDNA clone contains an open reading frame of 2316bp encoding 772 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 82.6kDa and an isoelectric point (pI) of 8.97. The CpSUB1 gene is composed of nine exons and eight introns. The amino acid sequence encoded by CpSUB1 shared high identity (>60%) with the amino acid sequence of other plant subtilisin-like proteases. Sequence analysis of CpSUB1 revealed the presence of a possible signal peptide (25 amino acid residues) and an NH(2)-terminal prosequence (88 amino acid residues). In addition, papaya subtilase possesses the characteristic subtilisin catalytic triad amino acids namely Asp, His and Ser, together with the substrate-binding site, Asn. DNA hybridization analysis showed that subtilase gene exists as a single copy in the papaya genome. RNA hybridization analyses showed that expression of the subtilase transcripts was only detected in mesocarp but not in non-fruit tissues. Gene expression in fruit tissues reached the highest level during the ripening stage at which the fruits undergo dramatic softening process. Subsequently, pro-subtilase ( approximately 80kDa) was expressed as recombinant pro-enzyme ( approximately 97kDa), which was used to generate antiserum against papaya subtilase, anti-sub. Protein gel blot analysis using anti-sub towards total protein extracted from all ripening stages revealed that a protein with a molecular mass of approximately 70kDa reacted with the antiserum. Hence both RNA hybridization and protein gel blot analyses confirmed the presence of subtilase during papaya fruit ripening, pointing to its possible involvement in this important process.
  9. Kamaladini H, Nor Akmar Abdullah S, Aziz MA, Ismail IB, Haddadi F
    J. Plant Physiol., 2013 Feb 15;170(3):346-54.
    PMID: 23290536 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.10.017
    Metallothioneins (MTs) are cysteine-rich metal-binding proteins that are involved in cell growth regulation, transportation of metal ions and detoxification of heavy metals. A mesocarp-specific metallothionein-like gene (MT3-A) promoter was isolated from the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq). A vector construct containing the MT3-A promoter fused to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) gene in the pCAMBIA 1304 vector was produced and used in Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of tomato. Histochemical GUS assay of different tissues of transgenic tomato showed that the MT3-A promoter only drove GUS expression in the reproductive tissues and organs, including the anther, fruit and seed coat. Competitive RT-PCR and GUS fluorometric assay showed changes in the level of GUS mRNA and enzyme activity in the transgenic tomato (T(0)). No GUS mRNA was found in roots and leaves of transgenic tomato. In contrast, the leaves of transgenic tomato seedlings (T(1)) produced the highest GUS activity when treated with 150 μM Cu(2+) compared to the control (without Cu(2+)). However, Zn(2+) and Fe(2+) treatments did not show GUS expression in the leaves of the transgenic tomato seedlings. Interestingly, the results showed a breaking-off tissue-specific activity of the oil palm MT3-A promoter in T(1) seedlings of tomato when subjected to Cu(2+) ions.
  10. Jahan MS, Nozulaidi M, Khairi M, Mat N
    J. Plant Physiol., 2016 May 20;195:1-8.
    PMID: 26970687 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2016.03.002
    Light-harvesting complexes (LHCs) in photosystem II (PSII) regulate glutathione (GSH) functions in plants. To investigate whether LHCs control GSH biosynthesis that modifies guard cell abscisic acid (ABA) sensitivity, we evaluated GSH content, stomatal aperture, reactive oxygen species (ROS), weight loss and plant growth using a ch1-1 mutant that was defective of LHCs and compared this with wild-type (WT) Arabidopsis thaliana plants. Glutathione monoethyl ester (GSHmee) increased but 1-chloro-2,4 dinitrobenzene (CDNB) decreased the GSH content in the guard cells. The guard cells of the ch1-1 mutants accumulated significantly less GSH than the WT plants. The guard cells of the ch1-1 mutants also showed higher sensitivity to ABA than the WT plants. The CDNB treatment increased but the GSHmee treatment decreased the ABA sensitivity of the guard cells without affecting ABA-induced ROS production. Dark and light treatments altered the GSH content and stomatal aperture of the guard cells of ch1-1 and WT plants, irrespective of CDNB and GSHmee. The ch1-1 mutant contained fewer guard cells and displayed poor growth, late flowering and stumpy weight loss compared with the WT plants. This study suggests that defective LHCs reduced the GSH content in the guard cells and increased sensitivity to ABA, resulting in stomatal closure.
  11. Khew CY, Teo CJ, Chan WS, Wong HL, Namasivayam P, Ho CL
    J. Plant Physiol., 2015 Jun 15;182:23-32.
    PMID: 26037695 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2015.05.003
    Brassinosteroid Insensitive 1 (BRI1)-Associated Kinase I (BAK1) has been reported to interact with BRI1 for brassinosteroid (BR) perception and signal transduction that regulate plant growth and development. The aim of this study is to investigate the functions of a rice OsBAK1 homologue, designated as OsI-BAK1, which is highly expressed after heading. Silencing of OsI-BAK1 in rice plants produced a high number of undeveloped green and unfilled grains compared to the untransformed plants. Histological analyses demonstrated that embryos were either absent or retarded in their development in these unfilled rice grains of OsI-BAK1 RNAi plants. Down regulation of OsI-BAK1 caused a reduction in cell number and enlargement in leaf bulliform cells. Furthermore, transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsI-BAK1 were demonstrated to have corrugated and twisted leaves probably due to increased cell number that caused abnormal bulliform cell structure which were enlarged and plugged deep into leaf epidermis. The current findings suggest that OsI-BAK1 may play an important role in the developmental processes of rice grain filling and leaf cell including the bulliform cells.
  12. Ebrahimi M, Abdullah SN, Abdul Aziz M, Namasivayam P
    J. Plant Physiol., 2016 Sep 01;202:107-20.
    PMID: 27513726 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2016.07.001
    CBF/DREB1 is a group of transcription factors that are mainly involved in abiotic stress tolerance in plants. They belong to the AP2/ERF superfamily of plant-specific transcription factors. A gene encoding a new member of this group was isolated from ripening oil palm fruit and designated as EgCBF3. The oil palm fruit demonstrates the characteristics of a climacteric fruit like tomato, in which ethylene has a major impact on the ripening process. A transgenic approach was used for functional characterization of the EgCBF3, using tomato as the model plant. The effects of ectopic expression of EgCBF3 were analyzed based on expression profiling of the ethylene biosynthesis-related genes, anti-freeze proteins (AFPs), abiotic stress tolerance and plant growth and development. The EgCBF3 tomatoes demonstrated altered phenotypes compared to the wild type tomatoes. Delayed leaf senescence and flowering, increased chlorophyll content and abnormal flowering were the consequences of overexpression of EgCBF3 in the transgenic tomatoes. The EgCBF3 tomatoes demonstrated enhanced abiotic stress tolerance under in vitro conditions. Further, transcript levels of ethylene biosynthesis-related genes, including three SlACSs and two SlACOs, were altered in the transgenic plants' leaves and roots compared to that in the wild type tomato plant. Among the eight AFPs studied in the wounded leaves of the EgCBF3 tomato plants, transcript levels of SlOSM-L, SlNP24, SlPR5L and SlTSRF1 decreased, while expression of the other four, SlCHI3, SlPR1, SlPR-P2 and SlLAP2, were up-regulated. These findings indicate the possible functions of EgCBF3 in plant growth and development as a regulator of ethylene biosynthesis-related and AFP genes, and as a stimulator of abiotic stress tolerance.
  13. Wong GR, Mazumdar P, Lau SE, Harikrishna JA
    J. Plant Physiol., 2018 Dec;231:219-233.
    PMID: 30292098 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2018.09.018
    Genetic improvement is an important approach for crop improvement towards yield stability in stress-prone areas. Functional analysis of candidate stress response genes can provide key information to allow the selection and modification of improved crop varieties. In this study, the constitutive expression of a banana cDNA, MaRHD3 in Arabidopsis improved the ability of transgenic lines to adapt to drought conditions. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing MaRHD3 had roots with enhanced branching and more root hairs when challenged with drought stress. The MaRHD3 plants had higher biomass accumulation, higher relative water content, higher chlorophyll content and an increase in activity of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging enzymes; SOD, CAT, GR, POD and APX with reduced water loss rates compared to control plants. The analysis of oxidative damage indicated lower cell membrane damage in transgenic lines compared to control plants. These findings, together with data from higher expression of ABF-3 and higher ABA content of drought-stressed transgenic MaRHD3 expressing plants, support the involvement of the ABA signal pathway and ROS scavenging enzyme systems in MaRHD3 mediated drought tolerance.
  14. Brennan M, Paterson L, Baharudin AAA, Stanisz-Migal M, Hoebe PN
    J. Plant Physiol., 2019 Dec;243:153054.
    PMID: 31648109 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2019.153054
    Adhesion of the barley husk to the underlying caryopsis requires the development of a cuticular cementing layer on the caryopsis surface. Differences in adhesion quality among genotypes have previously been correlated with cementing layer composition, which is thought to influence caryopsis cuticle permeability, the hypothesised mechanism of adhesion mediation. It is not yet known whether differences in adhesion quality among genotypes are determined by changes in caryopsis cuticle permeability. We examined changes in candidate cementing layer biosynthetic and regulatory genes to investigate the genetic mechanisms behind husk adhesion quality. We used both commercially relevant UK malting cultivars and older European lines to ensure phenotypic diversity in adhesion quality. An ethylene responsive transcription factor (NUD) is required for the development of the cementing layer. To examine correlations between gene expression, cementing layer permeability and husk adhesion quality we also treated cultivars with ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) which breaks down to ethylene, and silver thiosulphate which inhibits ethylene reception, and measured caryopsis cuticle permeability. Differential adhesion qualities among genotypes are not determined by NUD expression during development of the cementing material alone, but could result from differences in biosynthetic gene expression during cementing layer development in response to longer-term NUD expression patterns. Altered caryopsis cuticle permeability does result in altered adhesion quality, but the correlation is not consistently positive or negative. Cuticle permeability is therefore not the mechanism that determines husk adhesion quality, but is likely a consequence of the required cuticular compositional changes that determine adhesion.
  15. Rahnamaie-Tajadod R, Goh HH, Mohd Noor N
    J. Plant Physiol., 2019 Sep;240:152994.
    PMID: 31226543 DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2019.152994
    Polygonum minus Huds. is a medicinal aromatic plant rich in terpenes, aldehydes, and phenolic compounds. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) is a plant signaling molecule commonly applied to elicit stress responses to produce plant secondary metabolites. In this study, the effects of exogenous MeJA treatment on the composition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in P. minus leaves were investigated by using a metabolomic approach. Time-course changes in the leaf composition of VOCs on days 1, 3, and 5 after MeJA treatment were analyzed through solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The VOCs found in MeJA-elicited leaves were similar to those found in mock-treated leaves but varied in quantity at different time points. We focused our analysis on the content and composition of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and green leaf volatiles (GLVs) within the leaf samples. Our results suggest that MeJA enhances the activity of biosynthetic pathways for aldehydes and terpenes in P. minus. Hence, the production of aromatic compounds in this medicinal herb can be increased by MeJA elicitation. Furthermore, the relationship between MeJA elicitation and terpene biosynthesis in P. minus was shown through SPME-GC-MS analysis of VOCs combined with transcriptomic analysis of MeJA-elicited P. minus leaves from our previous study.
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