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.
An endogenous rhythm synchronized to dawn cannot time photosynthesis-linked genes to peak consistently at noon since the interval between sunrise and noon changes seasonally. In this study, a solar clock model that circumvents this limitation is proposed using two daily timing references synchronized to noon and midnight. Other rhythmic genes that are not directly linked to photosynthesis, and which peak at other times, also find an adaptive advantage in entrainment to the solar rhythm.
In the last decade, the view of circadian oscillators has expanded from transcriptional feedback to incorporate post-transcriptional, post-translational, metabolic processes and ionic signalling. In plants and animals, there are circadian oscillations in the concentration of cytosolic free Ca2+ ([Ca2+]cyt), though their purpose has not been fully characterized. We investigated whether circadian oscillations of [Ca2+]cyt regulate the circadian oscillator of Arabidopsis thaliana. We report that in Arabidopsis, [Ca2+]cyt circadian oscillations can regulate circadian clock function through the Ca2+-dependent action of CALMODULIN-LIKE24 (CML24). Genetic analyses demonstrate a linkage between CML24 and the circadian oscillator, through pathways involving the circadian oscillator gene TIMING OF CAB2 EXPRESSION1 (TOC1).
Abiotic stress reduces plant growth and crop productivity. However, the mechanism underlying posttranscriptional regulations of stress response remains elusive. Herein, we report the posttranscriptional mechanism of nucleocytoplasmic RNA transport of stress-responsive transcripts mediated by EgRBP42, a heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein-like RNA-binding protein from oil palm, which could be necessary for rapid protein translation to confer abiotic stress tolerance in plants. Transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing EgRBP42 showed early flowering through alteration of gene expression of flowering regulators and exhibited tolerance towards heat, cold, drought, flood, and salinity stresses with enhanced poststress recovery response by increasing the expression of its target stress-responsive genes. EgRBP42 harbours nucleocytoplasmic shuttling activity mediated by the nuclear localization signal and the M9-like domain of EgRBP42 and interacts directly with regulators in the nucleus, membrane, and the cytoplasm. EgRBP42 regulates the nucleocytoplasmic RNA transport of target stress-responsive transcripts through direct binding to their AG-rich motifs. Additionally, EgRBP42 transcript and protein induction by environmental stimuli are regulated at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Taken together, the posttranscriptional regulation of RNA transport mediated by EgRBP42 may change the stress-responsive protein profiles under abiotic stress conditions leading to a better adaptation of plants to environmental changes.
KEY MESSAGE: Morphological and transcriptomic evidences provide us strong support for the function of ANAC019 in reproductive development under drought stress. Plants are sensitive to drought conditions, particularly at the reproductive stage. Several studies have reported drought effects on crop reproductive development, but the molecular mechanism underlying drought response during reproduction is still unclear. A recent study showed that drought induces in Arabidopsis inflorescence increased expression of many genes, including ANAC019. However, the function of ANAC019 in drought response during reproductive development has not been characterized. Here, we report an investigation of the ANAC019 function in the response to drought during reproduction. ANAC019 is preferentially expressed in the inflorescence compared with the leaf, suggesting possible roles in regulating both stress response and flower development. The anac019 mutant was more sensitive to drought than WT plant, and exhibited a delay in recovery of floral organ development under prolonged drought stress. Moreover, many fewer genes were differentially expressed in the anac019 inflorescence under drought than that of WT, suggesting that the mutant was impaired in drought-induced gene expression. The genes affected by ANAC019 were associated with stress and hormone responses as well as floral development. In particular, the expression levels of several key drought-induced genes, DREB2A, DREB2B, ARF2, MYB21 and MYB24, were dramatically reduced in the absence of ANAC019, suggesting that ANAC019 is an upstream regulator these genes for drought response and flower development. These results provide strong support for the potential function of ANAC019 in reproductive development under drought stress.
Parasitic plants are known to discard photosynthesis thus leading to the deletion or loss of the plastid genes. Despite plastid genome reduction in non-photosynthetic plants, some nucleus-encoded proteins are transported back to the plastid to carry out specific functions. In this work, we study such proteins in Rafflesia cantleyi, a member of the holoparasitic genus well-known for producing the largest single flower in the world. Our analyses of three transcriptome datasets, two holoparasites (R. cantleyi and Phelipanche aegyptiaca) and one photosynthetic plant (Arabidopsis thaliana), suggest that holoparasites, such as R. cantleyi, retain some common plastid associated processes such as biosynthesis of amino acids and lipids, but are missing photosynthesis components that can be extensions of these pathways. The reconstruction of two selected biosynthetic pathways involving plastids correlates the trend of plastid retention to pathway complexity - transcriptome evidence for R. cantleyi suggests alternate mechanisms in regulating the plastidial heme and terpenoid backbone biosynthesis pathways. The evolution to holoparasitism from autotrophy trends towards devolving the plastid genes to the nuclear genome despite the functional sites remaining in the plastid, or maintaining non-photosynthetic processes in the plastid, before the eventual loss of the plastid and any site dependent functions.
Saline-alkali soil has become an important environmental problem for crop productivity. One of the most effective approaches is to cultivate new stress-tolerant plants through genetic engineering. Through RNA-seq analysis and RT-PCR validation, a novel bZIP transcription factor ChbZIP1, which is significantly upregulated at alkali conditions, was obtained from alkaliphilic microalgae Chlorella sp. BLD. Overexpression of ChbZIP1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Arabidopsis increased their alkali resistance, indicating ChbZIP1 may play important roles in alkali stress response. Through subcellular localization and transcriptional activation activity analyses, we found that ChbZIP1 is a nuclear-localized bZIP TF with transactivation activity to bind with the motif of G-box 2 (TGACGT). Functional analysis found that genes such as GPX1, DOX1, CAT2, and EMB, which contained G-box 2 and were associated with oxidative stress, were significantly upregulated in Arabidopsis with ChbZIP1 overexpression. The antioxidant ability was also enhanced in transgenic Arabidopsis. These results indicate that ChbZIP1 might mediate plant adaptation to alkali stress through the active oxygen detoxification pathway. Thus, ChbZIP1 may contribute to genetically improving plants' tolerance to alkali stress.
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.