Rice blast disease, which is caused by the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, is a recurring problem in all rice-growing regions of the world. The use of resistance (R) genes in rice improvement breeding programmes has been considered to be one of the best options for crop protection and blast management. Alternatively, quantitative resistance conferred by quantitative trait loci (QTLs) is also a valuable resource for the improvement of rice disease resistance. In the past, intensive efforts have been made to identify major R-genes as well as QTLs for blast disease using molecular techniques. A review of bibliographic references shows over 100 blast resistance genes and a larger number of QTLs (∼500) that were mapped to the rice genome. Of the blast resistance genes, identified in different genotypes of rice, ∼22 have been cloned and characterized at the molecular level. In this review, we have summarized the reported rice blast resistance genes and QTLs for utilization in future molecular breeding programmes to introgress high-degree resistance or to pyramid R-genes in commercial cultivars that are susceptible to M. oryzae. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of the significant studies in order to update our understanding of the molecular progress on rice and M. oryzae. This information will assist rice breeders to improve the resistance to rice blast using marker-assisted selection which continues to be a priority for rice-breeding programmes.
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.
Mantled fruits as a result of somaclonal variation are often observed from the oil palm plantlets regenerated via tissue culture. The mantling of fruits with finger-like and thick outer coating phenotypes significantly reduces the seed size and oil content, posing a threat to oil palm planters, and may jeopardize the economic growth of countries that depend particularly on oil palm plantation. The molecular aspects of the occurrence of somaclonal variations are yet to be known, possibly due to gene repression such as DNA methylation, histone methylation and histone deacetylation. Histone deacetylases (HDACs), involved in eukaryotic gene regulation by catalyzing the acetyl groups are removal from lysine residues on histone, hence transcriptionally repress gene expression. This paper described the total protein polymorphism profiles of somaclonal variants of oil palm and the effects of histone deacetylation on this phenomenon. Parallel to the different phenotypes, the protein polymorphism profiles of the mantled samples (leaves, fruits, and florets) and the phenotypically normal samples were proven to be different. Higher HDAC activity was found in mantled leaf samples than in the phenotypically normal leaf samples, leading to a preliminary conclusion that histone deacetylation suppressed gene expression and contributed to the development of somaclonal variants.
In this study, we report the molecular characterization of clone Eg707 isolated from cell suspension culture of the oil palm. The deduced polypeptide of clone Eg707 is highly similar to an unknown protein from Arabidopsis thaliana. The presence of an Ald-Xan-dh-C2 superfamily domain in the deduced protein sequence suggested that Eg707 protein might be involved in abscisic acid biosynthesis. Eg707 might be present as a single copy gene in the oil palm genome. This gene is highly expressed in tissue cultured materials compared to vegetative and reproductive tissues, suggesting a role of this gene during oil palm somatic embryogenesis or at the early stages of embryo development. Expression analysis of Eg707 by RNA in situ hybridization showed that Eg707 transcripts were present throughout somatic embryo development starting from proembryo formation at the embryogenic callus stages till the maturing embryo stages. Since proembryo formation within the embryogenic callus is one of the first key factors in oil palm somatic embryo development, it is suggested that Eg707 could be used as a reliable molecular marker for detecting early stage of oil palm somatic embryogenesis.
The fundamental trait in selective breeding of oil palm (Eleais guineensis Jacq.) is the shell thickness surrounding the kernel. The monogenic shell thickness is inversely correlated to mesocarp thickness, where the crude palm oil accumulates. Commercial thin-shelled tenera derived from thick-shelled dura × shell-less pisifera generally contain 30% higher oil per bunch. Two mutations, sh MPOB (M1) and sh AVROS (M2) in the SHELL gene - a type II MADS-box transcription factor mainly present in AVROS and Nigerian origins, were reported to be responsible for different fruit forms. In this study, we have tested 1,339 samples maintained in Sime Darby Plantation using both mutations. Five genotype-phenotype discrepancies and eight controls were then re-tested with all five reported mutations (sh AVROS , sh MPOB , sh MPOB2 , sh MPOB3 and sh MPOB4 ) within the same gene. The integration of genotypic data, pedigree records and shell formation model further explained the haploinsufficiency effect on the SHELL gene with different number of functional copies. Some rare mutations were also identified, suggesting a need to further confirm the existence of cis-compound mutations in the gene. With this, the prediction accuracy of fruit forms can be further improved, especially in introgressive hybrids of oil palm. Understanding causative variant segregation is extremely important, even for monogenic traits such as shell thickness in oil palm.
Weedy crop relatives are among the world's most problematic agricultural weeds, and their ability to rapidly evolve can be enhanced by gene flow from both domesticated crop varieties and wild crop progenitor species. In this study, we examined the role of modern commercial crop cultivars, traditional landraces, and wild relatives in the recent emergence and proliferation of weedy rice in East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. This region of Malaysia is separated from the Asian continent by the South China Sea, and weedy rice has become a major problem there more recently than on the Malaysian peninsular mainland. Using 24 polymorphic SSR loci and genotype data from the awn-length domestication gene An-1, we assessed the genetic diversity, population structure and potential origins of East Malaysian weeds; 564 weedy, cultivated and wild rice accessions were analyzed from samples collected in East Malaysia, Peninsular Malaysia and neighboring countries. While there is considerable evidence for contributions of Peninsular Malaysian weed ecotypes to East Malaysian populations, we find that local crop cultivars and/or landraces from neighboring countries are also likely contributors to the weedy rice infestations. These findings highlight the implications of genetic admixture from different cultivar source populations in the spread of weedy crop relatives and the urgent need for preventive measurements to maintain sustainable crop yields.
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.
A large number of rice agronomic traits are complex, multi factorial and polygenic. As the mechanisms and genes determining grain size and yield are largely unknown, the identification of regulatory genes related to grain development remains a preeminent approach in rice genetic studies and breeding programs. Genes regulating cell proliferation and expansion in spikelet hulls and participating in endosperm development are the main controllers of rice kernel elongation and grain size. We review here and discuss recent findings on genes controlling rice grain size and the mechanisms, epialleles, epigenomic variation, and assessment of controlling genes using genome-editing tools relating to kernel elongation.
Proteomics technologies were first applied in the oil palm research back in 2008. Since proteins are the gene products that are directly correspond to phenotypic traits, proteomic tools hold a strong advantage above other molecular tools to comprehend the biological and molecular mechanisms in the oil palm system. These emerging technologies have been used as non-overlapping tools to link genome-wide transcriptomics and metabolomics-based studies to enhance the oil palm yield and quality through sustainable plant breeding. Many efforts have also been made using the proteomics technologies to address the oil palm's Ganoderma disease; the cause and management. At present, the high-throughput screening technologies are being applied to identify potential biomarkers involved in metabolism and cellular development through determination of protein expression changes that correlate with oil production and disease. This review highlights key elements in proteomics pipeline, challenges and some examples of their implementations in plant studies in the context of oil palm in particular. We foresee that the proteomics technologies will play more significant role to address diverse issues related to the oil palm in the effort to improve the oil crop.
Carnivorous plants capture and digest insects for nutrients, allowing them to survive in soil deprived of nitrogenous nutrients. Plants from the genus Nepenthes produce unique pitchers containing secretory glands, which secrete enzymes into the digestive fluid. We performed RNA-seq analysis on the pitcher tissues and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis on the pitcher fluids of Nepenthes × ventrata to study protein expression in this carnivory organ during early days of pitcher opening. This transcriptome provides a sequence database for pitcher fluid protein identification. A total of 32 proteins of diverse functions were successfully identified in which 19 proteins can be quantified based on label-free quantitative proteomics (SWATH-MS) analysis while 16 proteins were not reported previously. Our findings show that certain proteins in the pitcher fluid were continuously secreted or replenished after pitcher opening, even without any prey or chitin induction. We also discovered a new aspartic proteinase, Nep6, secreted into pitcher fluid. This is the first SWATH-MS analysis of protein expression in Nepenthes pitcher fluid using a species-specific reference transcriptome. Taken together, our study using a gel-free shotgun proteomics informed by transcriptomics (PIT) approach showed the dynamics of endogenous protein secretion in the digestive organ of N. × ventrata and provides insights on protein regulation during early pitcher opening prior to prey capture.
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.
Phytocystatin, a type of protease inhibitor (PI), plays major roles in plant defense mechanisms and has been reported to show antipathogenic properties and plant stress tolerance. Recombinant plant PIs are gaining popularity as potential candidates in engineering of crop protection and in synthesizing medicine. It is therefore crucial to identify PI from novel sources like Curcuma longa as it is more effective in combating against pathogens due to its novelty. In this study, a novel cDNA fragment encoding phytocystatin was isolated using degenerate PCR primers, designed from consensus regions of phytocystatin from other plant species. A full-length cDNA of the phytocystatin gene, designated CypCl, was acquired using 5'/3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends method and it has been deposited in NCBI database (accession number KF545954.1). It has a 687 bp long open reading frame (ORF) which encodes 228 amino acids. BLAST result indicated that CypCl is similar to cystatin protease inhibitor from Cucumis sativus with 74% max identity. Sequence analysis showed that CypCl contains most of the motifs found in a cystatin, including a G residue, LARFAV-, QxVxG sequence, PW dipeptide, and SNSL sequence at C-terminal extension. Phylogenetic studies also showed that CypCl is related to phytocystatin from Elaeis guineensis.
This study aimed to investigate the changes in the proteome of bitter gourd prior to and after subjecting to boiling and microwaving. A comparative analysis of the proteome profiles of raw and thermally treated bitter gourds was performed using 2D-DIGE. The protein content and number of protein spots in raw sample was higher when compared to the cooked samples. Qualitative analysis revealed that 103 (boiled sample) and 110 (microwaved sample) protein spots were up regulated whereas 120 (boiled sample) and 107 (microwaved sample) protein spots were down regulated. Ten protein spots with the highest significant fold change in the cooked samples were involved in carbohydrate/energy metabolisms and stress responses. Small heat shock proteins, superoxide dismutase, quinone oxidoreductase, UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase and phosphoglycerate kinase play a role in heat-stress-mediated protection of bitter gourd. This study suggests that appropriate heat treatment (cooking methods) can lead to induction of selected proteins in bitter gourd.
Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in soil after oxygen. It is not an essential element for plant growth and formation but plays an important role in increasing plant tolerance towards different kinds of abiotic and biotic stresses. The molecular mechanism of Si absorption and accumulation may differ between plants, such as monocotyledons and dicotyledons. Silicon absorption and accumulation in mangrove plants are affected indirectly by some proteins rich in serine and proline amino acids. The expression level of the genes responsible for Si absorption varies in different parts of plants. In this study, Si is mainly observed in the epidermal roots' cell walls of mangrove plants compared to other parts. The present work was carried out to discover further information on Si stress responsive genes in Rhizophora apiculata, using the suppression subtractive hybridization technique. To construct the cDNA library, two-month-old seedlings were exposed to 0.5, 1, and 1.5 mM SiO2 for 15 hrs and for 1 to 6 days resulting in a total of 360 high quality ESTs gained. Further examination by RT-PCR and real-time qRT-PCR showed the expression of a candidate gene of serine-rich protein.
Many of the plant leucine rich repeat receptor-like kinases (LRR-RLKs) have been found to regulate signaling during plant defense processes. In this study, we selected and sequenced an LRR-RLK gene, designated as Oryza rufipogon receptor-like protein kinase 1 (OrufRPK1), located within yield QTL yld1.1 from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon (accession IRGC105491). A 2055 bp coding region and two exons were identified. Southern blotting determined OrufRPK1 to be a single copy gene. Sequence comparison with cultivated rice orthologs (OsI219RPK1, OsI9311RPK1 and OsJNipponRPK1, respectively derived from O. sativa ssp. indica cv. MR219, O. sativa ssp. indica cv. 9311 and O. sativa ssp. japonica cv. Nipponbare) revealed the presence of 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with five non-synonymous substitutions, and 23 insertion/deletion sites. The biological role of the OrufRPK1 as a defense related LRR-RLK is proposed on the basis of cDNA sequence characterization, domain subfamily classification, structural prediction of extra cellular domains, cluster analysis and comparative gene expression.
Gynura procumbens (Lour.) Merr. is a traditionally used medicinal plant to decrease cholesterol level, reduce high blood pressure, control diabetics, and for treatment of cancer. In our present study, a proteomic approach was applied to study the proteome of the plant that had never analyzed before. We have identified 92 abundantly expressed proteins from the leaves of G. procumbens (Lour.) Merr. Amongst the identified proteins was miraculin, a taste-masking agent with high commercial value. Miraculin made up ∼0.1% of the total protein extracted; the finding of miraculin gave a great commercial value to G. procumbens (Lour.) Merr. as miraculin's natural source is limited while the production of recombinant miraculin faced challenges of not being able to exhibit the taste-masking effect as in the natural miraculin. We believe the discovery of miraculin in G. procumbens (Lour.) Merr., provides commercial feasibility of miraculin in view of the availability of G. procumbens (Lour.) Merr. that grow wildly and easily in tropical climate.
Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg, a member of the family Euphorbiaceae, is the sole natural resource exploited for commercial production of high-quality natural rubber. The properties of natural rubber latex are almost irreplaceable by synthetic counterparts for many industrial applications. A paucity of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of rubber biosynthesis in high yield traits still persists. Here we report the comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the widely planted H. brasiliensis clone, RRIM 600. The genome was assembled based on ~155-fold combined coverage with Illumina and PacBio sequence data and has a total length of 1.55 Gb with 72.5% comprising repetitive DNA sequences. A total of 84,440 high-confidence protein-coding genes were predicted. Comparative genomic analysis revealed strong synteny between H. brasiliensis and other Euphorbiaceae genomes. Our data suggest that H. brasiliensis's capacity to produce high levels of latex can be attributed to the expansion of rubber biosynthesis-related genes in its genome and the high expression of these genes in latex. Using cap analysis gene expression data, we illustrate the tissue-specific transcription profiles of rubber biosynthesis-related genes, revealing alternative means of transcriptional regulation. Our study adds to the understanding of H. brasiliensis biology and provides valuable genomic resources for future agronomic-related improvement of the rubber tree.
When a phenotype of interest is associated with an external/internal covariate, covariate inclusion in quantitative trait loci (QTL) analyses can diminish residual variation and subsequently enhance the ability of QTL detection. In the in vitro synthesis of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2AP), the main fragrance compound in rice, the thermal processing during the Maillard-type reaction between proline and carbohydrate reduction produces a roasted, popcorn-like aroma. Hence, for the first time, we included the proline amino acid, an important precursor of 2AP, as a covariate in our QTL mapping analyses to precisely explore the genetic factors affecting natural variation for rice scent. Consequently, two QTLs were traced on chromosomes 4 and 8. They explained from 20% to 49% of the total aroma phenotypic variance. Additionally, by saturating the interval harboring the major QTL using gene-based primers, a putative allele of fgr (major genetic determinant of fragrance) was mapped in the QTL on the 8th chromosome in the interval RM223-SCU015RM (1.63 cM). These loci supported previous studies of different accessions. Such QTLs can be widely used by breeders in crop improvement programs and for further fine mapping. Moreover, no previous studies and findings were found on simultaneous assessment of the relationship among 2AP, proline and fragrance QTLs. Therefore, our findings can help further our understanding of the metabolomic and genetic basis of 2AP biosynthesis in aromatic rice.
Production of vanillin by bioengineering has gained popularity due to consumer demand toward vanillin produced by biological systems. Natural vanillin from vanilla beans is very expensive to produce compared to its synthetic counterpart. Current bioengineering works mainly involve microbial biotechnology. Therefore, alternative means to the current approaches are constantly being explored. This work describes the use of vanillin synthase (VpVAN), to bioconvert ferulic acid to vanillin in a plant system. The VpVAN enzyme had been shown to directly convert ferulic acid and its glucoside into vanillin and its glucoside, respectively. As the ferulic acid precursor and vanillin were found to be the intermediates in the phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway of Capsicum species, this work serves as a proof-of-concept for vanillin production using Capsicum frutescens (C. frutescens or hot chili pepper). The cells of C. frutescens were genetically transformed with a codon optimized VpVAN gene via biolistics. Transformed explants were selected and regenerated into callus. Successful integration of the gene cassette into the plant genome was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to quantify the phenolic compounds detected in the callus tissues. The vanillin content of transformed calli was 0.057% compared to 0.0003% in untransformed calli.