Plant cells contain a diverse repertoire of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that coordinate a network of post-transcriptional regulation. RBPs govern diverse developmental processes by modulating the gene expression of specific transcripts. Recent gene annotation and RNA sequencing clearly showed that heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)-like proteins which form a family of RBPs, are also expressed in higher plants and serve specific plant functions. In addition to their involvement in post-transcriptional regulation from mRNA capping to translation, they are also involved in telomere regulation, gene silencing and regulation in chloroplast. Here, we review the involvement of plant hnRNP-like proteins in post-transcription regulation of RNA processes and their functional roles in control of plant developmental processes especially plant-specific functions including flowering, chloroplastic-specific mRNA regulation, long-distance phloem transportation and plant responses to environmental stresses.
Oil palm protoplasts are suitable as a starting material for the production of oil palm plants with new traits using approaches such as somatic hybridization, but attempts to regenerate viable plants from protoplasts have failed thus far. Here we demonstrate, for the first time, the regeneration of viable plants from protoplasts isolated from cell suspension cultures. We achieved a protoplast yield of 1.14×10(6) per gram fresh weight with a viability of 82% by incubating the callus in a digestion solution comprising 2% cellulase, 1% pectinase, 0.5% cellulase onuzuka R10, 0.1% pectolyase Y23, 3% KCl, 0.5% CaCl2 and 3.6% mannitol. The regeneration of protoplasts into viable plants required media optimization, the inclusion of plant growth regulators and the correct culture technique. Microcalli derived from protoplasts were obtained by establishing agarose bead cultures using Y3A medium supplemented with 10μM naphthalene acetic acid, 2μM 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 2μM indole-3-butyric acid, 2μM gibberellic acid and 2μM 2-γ-dimethylallylaminopurine. Small plantlets were regenerated from microcalli by somatic embryogenesis after successive subculturing steps in medium with limiting amounts of growth regulators supplemented with 200mg/l ascorbic acid.
The mRNA differential display method was used to identify and isolate cDNAs corresponding to transcripts that accumulate during the period of lipid synthesis, 12-20 weeks after anthesis (WAA) in the kernel of Elaeis guineensis, var. Tenera. We successfully isolated two cDNA clones, KT7 (312 bp) and KT8 (266 bp). Interestingly, both clones show 79% nucleotide sequence identity to each other. This suggests that both clones encode the isoforms of the same protein. We screened the kernel (15 WAA) cDNA library and isolated the clone pKT7 (587 bp) using KT7 as probe, and isolated another isoform with KT8 probe, which designated as pKT9 (900 bp). Clone pKT9 has 93% nucleotide identity to KT8 and only 46% to pKT7 in their 3'-untranslated region. All three clones displayed significant amino acid sequence identity to seed storage protein glutelin from monocotyledon and globulin from dicotyledon plants. The coding sequence of KT8 (106 bp) shows 76 and 97% identity to pKT9 and pKT7, respectively. Therefore, we suggest that clones KT8 and pKT7 are members of the same subfamily (A), while pKT9 belongs to another subfamily (B) of glutelin multigene families. Southern analysis shows that there are at least four members for the subfamily B. Northern analysis shows that these three members of the glutelin family are co-ordinately expressed and developmentally regulated during the development of the kernel. The transcripts begin to accumulate at 12 WAA, increase in 15 WAA and show a significant reduction at 17 WAA.
The differential display method was used to isolate cDNAs corresponding to transcripts that accumulate during the period of lipid synthesis, 12-20 weeks after anthesis (WAA) in the mesocarp of two oil palms, Elaeis oleifera and Elaeis guineensis, Tenera. DNA-free total RNA from mesocarp and kernel of E. guineensis, Tenera and E. oleifera (15 WAA) were used to obtain differential gene expression patterns between these tissues from the two species. In this report, we describe the isolation and characterization of a specific cDNA clone, MO1 (434 bp) which was shown to be mesocarp-specific as well as species-specific for E. oleifera Sequencing of this fragment showed homology to the enzyme sesquiterpene synthase. Its longer cDNA clone, pMO1 (1072 bp), isolated from a 15-week E. oleifera mesocarp cDNA library confirmed that it encodes for sesquiterpene synthase. The complete sequence of 1976 bp was obtained using 5'RACE method. Northern hybridization showed that MO1 and pMO1 mRNA transcripts are highly expressed only in the mesocarp of E. oleifera from 5 to 20 WAA. No expression was detected in the kernel (12-17 WAA) and vegetative tissues of both species nor in the mesocarp of E. guineensis. This is the first communication to document on the isolation and characterisation of a mesocarp-and species-specific cDNA clone from oil palm.
Existing Elaeis guineensis cultivars lack sufficient genetic diversity due to extensive breeding. Harnessing variation in wild crop relatives is necessary to expand the breadth of agronomically valuable traits. Using RAD sequencing, we examine the natural diversity of wild American oil palm populations (Elaeis oleifera), a sister species of the cultivated Elaeis guineensis oil palm. We genotyped 192 wild E. oleifera palms collected from seven Latin American countries along with four cultivated E. guineensis palms. Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia palms are panmictic and genetically similar. Genomic patterns of diversity suggest that these populations likely originated from the Amazon Basin. Despite evidence of a genetic bottleneck and high inbreeding observed in these populations, there is considerable genetic and phenotypic variation for agronomically valuable traits. Genome-wide association revealed several candidate genes associated with fatty acid composition along with vegetative and yield-related traits. These observations provide valuable insight into the geographic distribution of diversity, phenotypic variation and its genetic architecture that will guide choices of wild genotypes for crop improvement.
Weedy rice (Oryza spp.) is a major nuisance to rice farmers from all over the world. Although the emergence of weedy rice in East Malaysia on the island of Borneo is very recent, the threat to rice yield has reached an alarming stage. Using 47,027 genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS)-derived SNPs and candidate gene analysis of the plant architecture domestication gene TAC1, we assessed the genetic variations and evolutionary origin of weedy rice in East Malaysia. Our findings revealed two major evolutionary paths for genetically distinct weedy rice types. Whilst the cultivar-like weedy rice are very likely to be the weedy descendant of local coexisting cultivars, the wild-like weedy rice appeared to have arisen through two possible routes: (i) accidental introduction from Peninsular Malaysia weedy rice populations, and (ii) weedy descendants of coexisting cultivars. The outcome of our genetic analyses supports the notion that Sabah cultivars and Peninsular Malaysia weedy rice are the potential progenitors of Sabah weedy rice. Similar TAC1 haplotypes were shared between Malaysian cultivated and weedy rice populations, which further supported the findings of our GBS-SNP analyses. These different strains of weedy rice have convergently evolved shared traits, such as seeds shattering and open tillers. A comparison with our previous simple-sequence repeat-based population genetic analyses highlights the strength of genome-wide SNPs, including detection of admixtures and low-level introgression events. These findings could inform better strategic management for controlling the spread of weedy rice in the region.
Genetic erosion of crops has been determined way back in the 1940s and accelerated some twenty years later by the inception of the Green Revolution. Claims that the revolution was a complete triumph remain specious, especially since the massive production boost in the global big three grain crops; wheat, maize, and rice that happened back then is unlikely to recur under current climate irregularities. Presently, one of the leading strategies for sustainable agriculture is by unlocking the genetic potential of underutilized crops. The primary focus has been on a suite of ancient cereals and pseudo-cereals which are riding on the gluten-free trend, including, among others, grain amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, and millets. Each of these crops has demonstrated tolerance to various stress factors such as drought and heat. Apart from being the centuries-old staple in their native homes, these crops have also been traditionally used as forage for livestock. This review summarizes what lies in the past and present for these underutilized cereals, particularly concerning their potential role and significance in a rapidly changing world, and provides compelling insights into how they could one day be on par with the current big three in feeding a booming population.
The diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT) (diacylglycerol:acyl-CoA acyltransferase, EC 220.127.116.11) are a key group of enzymes that catalyse the final and usually the most important rate-limiting step of triacylglycerol biosynthesis in plants and other organisms. Genes encoding four distinct functional families of DGAT enzymes have been characterised in the genome of the African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. The contrasting features of the various isoforms within the four families of DGAT genes, namely DGAT1, DGAT2, DGAT3 and WS/DGAT are presented both in the oil palm itself and, for comparative purposes, in 12 other oil crop or model/related plants, namely Arabidopsis thaliana, Brachypodium distachyon, Brassica napus, Elaeis oleifera, Glycine max, Gossypium hirsutum, Helianthus annuus, Musa acuminata, Oryza sativa, Phoenix dactylifera, Sorghum bicolor, and Zea mays. The oil palm genome contains respectively three, two, two and two distinctly expressed functional copies of the DGAT1, DGAT2, DGAT3 and WS/DGAT genes. Phylogenetic analyses of the four DGAT families showed that the E. guineensis genes tend to cluster with sequences from P. dactylifera and M. acuminata rather than with other members of the Commelinid monocots group, such as the Poales which include the major cereal crops such as rice and maize. Comparison of the predicted DGAT protein sequences with other animal and plant DGATs was consistent with the E. guineensis DGAT1 being ER located with its active site facing the lumen while DGAT2, although also ER located, had a predicted cytosol-facing active site. In contrast, DGAT3 and some (but not all) WS/DGAT in E. guineensis are predicted to be soluble, cytosolic enzymes. Evaluation of E. guineensis DGAT gene expression in different tissues and developmental stages suggests that the four DGAT groups have distinctive physiological roles and are particularly prominent in developmental processes relating to reproduction, such as flowering, and in fruit/seed formation especially in the mesocarp and endosperm tissues.
Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon Schrank) is a potential source of new genetic diversity for the improvement of hexaploid bread wheat. Emmer wheat was crossed and backcrossed to bread wheat and 480 doubled haploids (DHs) were produced from BC1F1 plants with hexaploid appearance derived from 19 crossses. These DHs were screened under well-watered conditions (E1) in 2013 to identify high-yielding materials with similar phenology. One-hundred and eighty seven DH lines selected on this basis, 4 commercial bread wheat cultivars and 9 bread wheat parents were then evaluated in extensive field experiments under two contrasting moisture regimes in north-western NSW in 2014 and 2015. A significant range in the water-use-efficiency of grain production (WUEGrain) was observed among the emmer derivatives. Of these, 8 hexaploid lines developed from 8 different emmer wheat parents had significantly improved intrinsic water-use-efficiency (WUEintr) and instantaneous water-use-efficiency (WUEi) compared to their bread wheat recurrent parents. Accurate and large scale field-based phenotyping was effective in identifying emmer wheat derived lines with superior performance to their hexaploid bread wheat recurrent parents under moisture stress.