Rafflesia is a biologically enigmatic species that is very rare in occurrence and possesses an extraordinary morphology. This parasitic plant produces a gigantic flower up to one metre in diameter with no leaves, stem or roots. However, little is known about the floral biology of this species especially at the molecular level. In an effort to address this issue, we have generated and characterised the transcriptome of the Rafflesia cantleyi flower, and performed a comparison with the transcriptome of its floral bud to predict genes that are expressed and regulated during flower development. Approximately 40 million sequencing reads were generated and assembled de novo into 18,053 transcripts with an average length of 641 bp. Of these, more than 79% of the transcripts had significant matches to annotated sequences in the public protein database. A total of 11,756 and 7,891 transcripts were assigned to Gene Ontology categories and clusters of orthologous groups respectively. In addition, 6,019 transcripts could be mapped to 129 pathways in Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes Pathway database. Digital abundance analysis identified 52 transcripts with very high expression in the flower transcriptome of R. cantleyi. Subsequently, analysis of differential expression between developing flower and the floral bud revealed a set of 105 transcripts with potential role in flower development. Our work presents a deep transcriptome resource analysis for the developing flower of R. cantleyi. Genes potentially involved in the growth and development of the R. cantleyi flower were identified and provide insights into biological processes that occur during flower development.
Glucosinolates (GSLs) are plant secondary metabolites consisting of sulfur and nitrogen, commonly found in Brassicaceae crops, such as Arabidopsis thaliana. These compounds are known for their roles in plant defense mechanisms against pests and pathogens. 'Guilt-by-association' (GBA) approach predicts genes encoding proteins with similar function tend to share gene expression pattern generated from high throughput sequencing data. Recent studies have successfully identified GSL genes using GBA approach, followed by targeted verification of gene expression and metabolite data. Therefore, a GSL co-expression network was constructed using known GSL genes obtained from our in-house database, SuCComBase. DPClusO was used to identify subnetworks of the GSL co-expression network followed by Fisher's exact test leading to the discovery of a potential gene that encodes the ARIA-interacting double AP2-domain protein (ADAP) transcription factor (TF). Further functional analysis was performed using an effective gene silencing system known as CRES-T. By applying CRES-T, ADAP TF gene was fused to a plant-specific EAR-motif repressor domain (SRDX), which suppresses the expression of ADAP target genes. In this study, ADAP was proposed as a negative regulator in aliphatic GSL biosynthesis due to the over-expression of downstream aliphatic GSL genes (UGT74C1 and IPMI1) in ADAP-SRDX line. The significant over-expression of ADAP gene in the ADAP-SRDX line also suggests the behavior of the TF that negatively affects the expression of UGT74C1 and IPMI1 via a feedback mechanism in A. thaliana.
Plants maintain extensive growth flexibility under different environmental conditions, allowing them to continuously and rapidly adapt to alterations in their environment. A large portion of many plant genomes consists of transposable elements (TEs) that create new genetic variations within plant species. Different types of mutations may be created by TEs in plants. Many TEs can avoid the host's defense mechanisms and survive alterations in transposition activity, internal sequence and target site. Thus, plant genomes are expected to utilize a variety of mechanisms to tolerate TEs that are near or within genes. TEs affect the expression of not only nearby genes but also unlinked inserted genes. TEs can create new promoters, leading to novel expression patterns or alternative coding regions to generate alternate transcripts in plant species. TEs can also provide novel cis-acting regulatory elements that act as enhancers or inserts within original enhancers that are required for transcription. Thus, the regulation of plant gene expression is strongly managed by the insertion of TEs into nearby genes. TEs can also lead to chromatin modifications and thereby affect gene expression in plants. TEs are able to generate new genes and modify existing gene structures by duplicating, mobilizing and recombining gene fragments. They can also facilitate cellular functions by sharing their transposase-coding regions. Hence, TE insertions can not only act as simple mutagens but can also alter the elementary functions of the plant genome. Here, we review recent discoveries concerning the contribution of TEs to gene expression in plant genomes and discuss the different mechanisms by which TEs can affect plant gene expression and reduce host defense mechanisms.
Climate change-induced abiotic stress results in crop yield and production losses. These stresses result in changes at the physiological and molecular level that affect the development and growth of the plant. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is formed at high levels due to abiotic stress within different organelles, leading to cellular damage. Plants have evolved mechanisms to control the production and scavenging of ROS through enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidative processes. However, ROS has a dual function in abiotic stresses where, at high levels, they are toxic to cells while the same molecule can function as a signal transducer that activates a local and systemic plant defense response against stress. The effects, perception, signaling, and activation of ROS and their antioxidative responses are elaborated in this review. This review aims to provide a purview of processes involved in ROS homeostasis in plants and to identify genes that are triggered in response to abiotic-induced oxidative stress. This review articulates the importance of these genes and pathways in understanding the mechanism of resistance in plants and the importance of this information in breeding and genetically developing crops for resistance against abiotic stress in plants.
Control analysis is a powerful method to quantify the regulation of metabolic pathways. We have applied it to lipid biosynthesis for the first time by using model tissue culture systems from the important oil crops, olive ( Olea europaea L.) and oil palm ( Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). By the use of top-down control analysis, fatty acid biosynthesis has been shown to exert more control than lipid assembly under different experimental conditions. However, both parts of the lipid biosynthetic pathway are important, so that attempts to alter oil yield by manipulating the activity of a single enzyme step are very unlikely to produce significant increases.
Drought tolerance is an important quantitative trait with multipart phenotypes that are often further complicated by plant phenology. Different types of environmental stresses, such as high irradiance, high temperatures, nutrient deficiencies, and toxicities, may challenge crops simultaneously; therefore, breeding for drought tolerance is very complicated. Interdisciplinary researchers have been attempting to dissect and comprehend the mechanisms of plant tolerance to drought stress using various methods; however, the limited success of molecular breeding and physiological approaches suggests that we rethink our strategies. Recent genetic techniques and genomics tools coupled with advances in breeding methodologies and precise phenotyping will likely reveal candidate genes and metabolic pathways underlying drought tolerance in crops. The WRKY transcription factors are involved in different biological processes in plant development. This zinc (Zn) finger protein family, particularly members that respond to and mediate stress responses, is exclusively found in plants. A total of 89 WRKY genes in japonica and 97 WRKY genes in O. nivara (OnWRKY) have been identified and mapped onto individual chromosomes. To increase the drought tolerance of rice (Oryza sativa L.), research programs should address the problem using a multidisciplinary strategy, including the interaction of plant phenology and multiple stresses, and the combination of drought tolerance traits with different genetic and genomics approaches, such as microarrays, quantitative trait loci (QTLs), WRKY gene family members with roles in drought tolerance, and transgenic crops. This review discusses the newest advances in plant physiology for the exact phenotyping of plant responses to drought to update methods of analysing drought tolerance in rice. Finally, based on the physiological/morphological and molecular mechanisms found in resistant parent lines, a strategy is suggested to select a particular environment and adapt suitable germplasm to that environment.
As a semi-aquatic plant, rice requires water for proper growth, development, and orientation of physiological processes. Stress is induced at the cellular and molecular level when rice is exposed to drought or periods of low water availability. Plants have existing defense mechanisms in planta that respond to stress. In this review we examine the role played by miRNAs in the regulation and control of drought stress in rice through a summary of molecular studies conducted on miRNAs with emphasis on their contribution to drought regulatory networks in comparison to other plant systems. The interaction between miRNAs, target genes, transcription factors and their respective roles in drought-induced stresses is elaborated. The cross talk involved in controlling drought stress responses through the up and down regulation of targets encoding regulatory and functional proteins is highlighted. The information contained herein can further be explored to identify targets for crop improvement in the future.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are well known as major players in mammalian and plant genetic systems that act by regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. These tiny molecules can regulate target genes (mRNAs) through either cleavage or translational inhibition. Recently, the discovery of plant-derived miRNAs showing cross-kingdom abilities to regulate mammalian gene expression has prompted exciting discussions among researchers. After being acquired orally through the diet, plant miRNAs can survive in the digestive tract, enter the circulatory system, and regulate endogenous mRNAs. Here, we review current knowledge regarding the cross-kingdom mechanisms of plant miRNAs, related controversies, and potential applications of these miRNAs in dietary therapy, which will provide new insights for plant miRNA investigations related to health issues in humans.
Drought stress is the main abiotic factor affecting rice production. Rain-fed upland rice which is grown on unbounded fields and totally dependent on rainfall for moisture is more prone to drought stress compared to rice from other ecosystems. However, upland rice has adapted to this limited water condition, thus are more drought tolerant than rice from other ecosystems. We performed the first transcriptome sequencing of drought tolerant indica upland rice cultivar Kuku Belang to identify differentially expressed genes related to drought tolerance mechanism. Raw reads for non-treated and PEG-treated Oryza sativa subspecies indica cv. Kuku Belang were deposited in the NCBI SRA database with accession number SRP074520 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sra?term=SRP074520).
A high leaf vein density is both an essential feature of C4 photosynthesis and a foundation trait to C4 evolution, ensuring the optimal proportion and proximity of mesophyll and bundle sheath cells for permitting the rapid exchange of photosynthates. Two rice mutant populations, a deletion mutant library with a cv. IR64 background (12,470 lines) and a T-DNA insertion mutant library with a cv. Tainung 67 background (10,830 lines), were screened for increases in vein density. A high throughput method with handheld microscopes was developed and its accuracy was supported by more rigorous microscopy analysis. Eight lines with significantly increased leaf vein densities were identified to be used as genetic stock for the global C4 Rice Consortium. The candidate population was shown to include both shared and independent mutations and so more than one gene controlled the high vein density phenotype. The high vein density trait was found to be linked to a narrow leaf width trait but the linkage was incomplete. The more genetically robust narrow leaf width trait was proposed to be used as a reliable phenotypic marker for finding high vein density variants in rice in future screens.
Heavy ion beam, which has emerged as a new mutagen in the mutation breeding of crops and ornamental plants, is expected to result in the induction of novel mutations. This study investigates the morphological and biochemical responses of Oryza sativa toward different doses of carbon ion beam irradiation.
KEY MESSAGE: TAAAAT and a novel motif, GCTTCA found in the oil palm stearoyl-ACP desaturase (SAD1) promoter are involved in regulating mesocarp-specific expression. Two key fatty acid biosynthetic genes, stearoyl-ACP desaturase (SAD1), and acyl-carrier protein (ACP3) in Elaeis guineensis (oil palm) showed high level of expression during the period of oil synthesis in the mesocarp [12-19 weeks after anthesis (w.a.a.)] and kernel (12-15 w.a.a.). Both genes are expressed in spear leaves at much lower levels and the expression increased by 1.5-fold to 2.5-fold following treatments with ethylene and abscisic acid (ABA). Both SAD1 and ACP3 promoters contain phytohormone-responsive, light-responsive, abiotic factors/wounding-responsive, endosperm specificity and fruit maturation/ripening regulatory motifs. The activities of the full length and six 5' deletion fragments of the SAD1 promoter were analyzed in transiently transformed oil palm tissues by quantitative β-glucuronidase (GUS) fluorometric assay. The highest SAD1 promoter activity was observed in the mesocarp followed by kernel and the least in the leaves. GUS activity in the D3 deletion construct (- 486 to + 108) was the highest, while the D2 (- 535 to + 108) gave the lowest suggesting the presence of negative cis-acting regulatory element(s) in the deleted - 535 to - 486 (49 bp). It was found that the 49-bp region binds to the nuclear protein extract from mesocarp but not from leaves in electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Further fine-tuned analysis of this 49-bp region using truncated DNA led to the identification of GCTTCA as a novel motif in the SAD1 promoter. Interestingly, another known fruit ripening-related motif, LECPLEACS2 (TAAAAT) was found to be required for effective binding of the novel motif to the mesocarp nuclear protein extract.
The oil biosynthesis pathway must be tightly controlled to maximize oil yield. Oil palm accumulates exceptionally high oil content in its mesocarp, suggesting the existence of a unique fruit-specific fatty acid metabolism transcriptional network. We report the complex fruit-specific network of transcription factors responsible for modulation of oil biosynthesis genes in oil palm mesocarp. Transcriptional activation of EgWRI1-1 encoding a key master regulator that activates expression of oil biosynthesis genes, is activated by three ABA-responsive transcription factors, EgNF-YA3, EgNF-YC2 and EgABI5. Overexpression of EgWRI1-1 and its activators in Arabidopsis accelerated flowering, increased seed size and oil content, and altered expression levels of oil biosynthesis genes. Protein-protein interaction experiments demonstrated that EgNF-YA3 interacts directly with EgWRI1-1, forming a transcription complex with EgNF-YC2 and EgABI5 to modulate transcription of oil biosynthesis pathway genes. Furthermore, EgABI5 acts downstream of EgWRKY40, a repressor that interacts with EgWRKY2 to inhibit the transcription of oil biosynthesis genes. We showed that expression of these activators and repressors in oil biosynthesis can be induced by phytohormones coordinating fruit development in oil palm. We propose a model highlighting a hormone signaling network coordinating fruit development and fatty acid biosynthesis.
Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is an economically important fruit. However, the marketability of mango is affected by the perishable nature and short shelf-life of the fruit. Therefore, a better understanding of the mango ripening process is of great importance towards extending its postharvest shelf life. Proteomics is a powerful tool that can be used to elucidate the complex ripening process at the cellular and molecular levels. This study utilized 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-GE) coupled with MALDI-TOF/TOF to identify differentially abundant proteins during the ripening process of the two varieties of tropical mango, Mangifera indica cv. 'Chokanan' and Mangifera indica cv 'Golden Phoenix'. The comparative analysis between the ripe and unripe stages of mango fruit mesocarp revealed that the differentially abundant proteins identified could be grouped into the three categories namely, ethylene synthesis and aromatic volatiles, cell wall degradation and stress-response proteins. There was an additional category for differential proteins identified from the 'Chokanan' variety namely, energy and carbohydrate metabolism. However, of all the differential proteins identified, only methionine gamma-lyase was found in both 'Chokanan' and 'Golden Phoenix' varieties. Six differential proteins were selected from each variety for validation by analysing their respective transcript expression using reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). The results revealed that two genes namely, glutathione S-transferase (GST) and alpha-1,4 glucan phosphorylase (AGP) were found to express in concordant with protein abundant. The findings will provide an insight into the fruit ripening process of different varieties of mango fruits, which is important for postharvest management.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) is one of the most popular and oldest spices in the world with culinary uses and various pharmacological properties. In order to satisfy the growing worldwide demand for black pepper, improved productivity of pepper is highly desirable. A primary constraint in black pepper production is the non-synchronous nature of flower development and non-uniform fruit ripening within a spike. The uneven ripening of pepper berries results in a high labour requirement for selective harvesting contributes to low productivity and affects the quality of the pepper products. In Malaysia, there are a few recommended varieties for black pepper planting, each having some limitations in addition to the useful characteristics. Therefore, a comparative study of different black pepper varieties will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms regulates fruit development and ripening. Plant hormones are known to influence the fruit development process and their roles in black pepper flower and fruit development were inferred based on the probe-based gene expression analysis and the quantification of the multiple plant hormones using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). In this study, jasmonic acid and salicylic acid were found to play roles in flowering and fruit setting, whereas auxin, gibberellin and cytokinins are important for fruit growth. Abscisic acid has positive role in fruit maturation and ripening in the development process. Distinct pattern of plant hormones related gene expression profiles with the hormones accumulation profiles suggested a complex network of regulation is involved in the signaling process and crosstalk between plant hormones was another layer of regulation in the black pepper fruit development mechanisms. The current study provides clues to help in elucidating the timing of the action of each specific plant hormone during fruit development and ripening which could be applied to enhance our ability to control the ripening process, leading to improving procedures for the production and post-harvest handling of pepper fruits.
Banana (Musa spp.), which is one of the world's most popular and most traded fruits, is highly susceptible to pests and diseases. Pseudocercospora musae, responsible for Sigatoka leaf spot disease, is a principal fungal pathogen of Musa spp., resulting in serious economic damage to cultivars in the Cavendish subgroup. The aim of this study was to characterize genetic components of the early immune response to P. musae in Musa acuminata subsp. burmannicoides, var. Calcutta 4, a resistant wild diploid. Leaf RNA samples were extracted from Calcutta 4 three days after inoculation with fungal conidiospores, with paired-end sequencing conducted in inoculated and non-inoculated controls using lllumina HiSeq 4000 technology. Following mapping to the reference M. acuminata ssp. malaccensis var. Pahang genome, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified and expression representation analyzed on the basis of gene ontology enrichment, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes orthology and MapMan pathway analysis. Sequence data mapped to 29,757 gene transcript models in the reference Musa genome. A total of 1073 DEGs were identified in pathogen-inoculated cDNA libraries, in comparison to non-inoculated controls, with 32% overexpressed. GO enrichment analysis revealed common assignment to terms that included chitin binding, chitinase activity, pattern binding, oxidoreductase activity and transcription factor (TF) activity. Allocation to KEGG pathways revealed DEGs associated with environmental information processing, signaling, biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and metabolism of terpenoids and polyketides. With 144 up-regulated DEGs potentially involved in biotic stress response pathways, including genes involved in cell wall reinforcement, PTI responses, TF regulation, phytohormone signaling and secondary metabolism, data demonstrated diverse early-stage defense responses to P. musae. With increased understanding of the defense responses occurring during the incompatible interaction in resistant Calcutta 4, these data are appropriate for the development of effective disease management approaches based on genetic improvement through introgression of candidate genes in superior cultivars.
Rafflesia is a unique plant species existing as a single flower and produces the largest flower in the world. While Rafflesia buds take up to 21 months to develop, its flowers bloom and wither within about a week. In this study, transcriptome analysis was carried out to shed light on the molecular mechanism of senescence in Rafflesia. A total of 53.3 million high quality reads were obtained from two Rafflesia cantleyi flower developmental stages and assembled to generate 64,152 unigenes. Analysis of this dataset showed that 5,166 unigenes were differentially expressed, in which 1,073 unigenes were identified as genes involved in flower senescence. Results revealed that as the flowers progress to senescence, more genes related to flower senescence were significantly over-represented compared to those related to plant growth and development. Senescence of the R. cantleyi flower activates senescence-associated genes in the transcription activity (members of the transcription factor families MYB, bHLH, NAC, and WRKY), nutrient remobilization (autophagy-related protein and transporter genes), and redox regulation (CATALASE). Most of the senescence-related genes were found to be differentially regulated, perhaps for the fine-tuning of various responses in the senescing R. cantleyi flower. Additionally, pathway analysis showed the activation of genes such as ETHYLENE RECEPTOR, ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE 2, ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE 3, and ETHYLENE-RESPONSIVE TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR, indicating the possible involvement of the ethylene hormone response pathway in the regulation of R. cantleyi senescence. Our results provide a model of the molecular mechanism underlying R. cantleyi flower senescence, and contribute essential information towards further understanding the biology of the Rafflesiaceae family.
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.
The mantled floral phenotype of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) affects somatic embryogenesis-derived individuals and is morphologically similar to mutants defective in the B-class MADS-box genes. This somaclonal variation has been previously demonstrated to be associated to a significant deficit in genome-wide DNA methylation. In order to elucidate the possible role of DNA methylation in the transcriptional regulation of EgDEF1, the APETALA3 ortholog of oil palm, we studied this epigenetic mark within the gene in parallel with transcript accumulation in both normal and mantled developing inflorescences. We also examined the methylation and expression of two neighboring retrotransposons that might interfere with EgDEF1 regulation. We show that the EgDEF1 gene is essentially unmethylated and that its methylation pattern does not change with the floral phenotype whereas expression is dramatically different, ruling out a direct implication of DNA methylation in the regulation of this gene. Also, we find that both the gypsy element inserted within an intron of the EgDEF1 gene and the copia element located upstream from the promoter are heavily methylated and show little or no expression. Interestingly, we identify a shorter, alternative transcript produced by EgDEF1 and characterize its accumulation with respect to its full-length counterpart. We demonstrate that, depending on the floral phenotype, the respective proportions of these two transcripts change differently during inflorescence development. We discuss the possible phenotypical consequences of this alternative splicing and the new questions it raises in the search for the molecular mechanisms underlying the mantled phenotype in the oil palm.
Tubers of safed musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum) were immersed in three different concentrations of gibberellic acid (GA3) or humic acid (HA) prior to planting. The highest concentration of GA3 (20 mg L(-1)) and all concentrations of HA (5, 10, and 15%) appeared to hasten tuber sprouting and promote uniform sprouting pattern. The use of 20 mg L(-1) GA3 or 15% HA successfully improved sprouting and mean sprouting time. Safed musli growth and development was improved through the increase in the number of leaves, total leaf area, leaf area index, and total fibrous root length. This directly influenced the number of new tubers formed. The use of 20 mg L(-1) GA3 or 15% HA gave similar response with nonsignificant difference among them. However, due to the cost of production, the result from this study suggests that 15% HA should be used to obtain improved sprouting percentage, homogeneous stand establishment, efficient plant growth and development, and increased yield of safed musli.