Oil palm tissues are rich in polyphenols, polysaccharides and secondary metabolites; these can co-precipitate with RNA, causing problems for downstream applications. We compared two different methods (one conventional and a kit-based method - Easy-Blue(TM) Total RNA Extraction Kit) to isolate total RNA from leaves, roots and shoot apical meristems of tissue culture derived truncated leaf syndrome somaclonal oil palm seedlings. The quality and quantity of total RNA were compared through spectrophotometry and formaldehyde gel electrophoresis. The specificity and applicability of the protocols were evaluated for downstream applications, including cDNA synthesis and RT-PCR analysis. We found that the conventional method gave higher yields of RNA but took longer, and it was contaminated with genomic DNA. This method required extra genomic DNA removal steps that further reduced the RNA yield. The kit-based method, on the other hand, produced good yields as well as well as good quality RNA, within a very short period of time from a small amount of starting material. Moreover, the RNA from the kit-based method was more suitable for synthesizing cDNA and RT-PCR amplification than the conventional method. Therefore, we conclude that the Easy-BlueTM Total RNA Extraction Kit method is suitable and superior for isolation of total RNA from oil palm leaf, root and shoot apical meristem.
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.
The present study deals with the cytological investigations on the meristematic root cells of carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus Linn.) grown in vivo and in vitro. Cellular parameters including the mitotic index (MI), chromosome count, ploidy level (nuclear DNA content), mean cell and nuclear areas, and cell doubling time (Cdt) were determined from the 2 mm root tip segments of this species. The MI value decreased when cells were transferred from in vivo to in vitro conditions, perhaps due to early adaptations of the cells to the in vitro environment. The mean chromosome number was generally stable (2n = 2x = 30) throughout the 6-month culture period, indicating no occurrence of early somaclonal variation. Following the transfer to the in vitro environment, a significant increase was recorded for mean cell and nuclear areas, from 26.59 ± 0.09 μm² to 35.66 ± 0.10 μm² and 142.90 ± 0.59 μm² to 165.05 ± 0.58 μm², respectively. However, the mean cell and nuclear areas of in vitro grown D. caryophyllus were unstable and fluctuated throughout the tissue culture period, possibly due to organogenesis or rhizogenesis. Ploidy level analysis revealed that D. caryophyllus root cells contained high percentage of polyploid cells when grown in vivo and maintained high throughout the 6-month culture period.
The WRKY family of transcription factors orchestrate the reprogrammed expression of the complex network of defense genes at various biotic and abiotic stresses. Within the last 96 million years, three rounds of Musa polyploidization events had occurred from selective pressure causing duplication of MusaWRKYs with new activities. Here, we identified a total of 153 WRKY transcription factors available from the DH Pahang genome. Based on their phylogenetic relationship, the MusaWRKYs available with complete gene sequence were classified into the seven common WRKY sub-groups. Synteny analyses data revealed paralogous relationships, with 17 MusaWRKY gene pairs originating from the duplication events that had occurred within the Musa lineage. We also found 15 other MusaWRKY gene pairs originating from much older duplication events that had occurred along Arecales and Poales lineage of commelinids. Based on the synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates, the fate of duplicated MusaWRKY genes was predicted to have undergone sub-functionalization in which the duplicated gene copies retain a subset of the ancestral gene function. Also, to understand the regulatory roles of MusaWRKY during a biotic stress, Illumina sequencing was performed on resistant and susceptible cultivars during the infection of root lesion nematode, Pratylenchus coffeae. The differential WRKY gene expression analysis in nematode resistant and susceptible cultivars during challenged and unchallenged conditions had distinguished: 1) MusaWRKYs participating in general banana defense mechanism against P.coffeae common to both susceptible and resistant cultivars, 2) MusaWRKYs that may aid in the pathogen survival as suppressors of plant triggered immunity, 3) MusaWRKYs that may aid in the host defense as activators of plant triggered immunity and 4) cultivar specific MusaWRKY regulation. Mainly, MusaWRKY52, -69 and -92 are found to be P.coffeae specific and can act as activators or repressors in a defense pathway. Overall, this preliminary study in Musa provides the basis for understanding the evolution and regulatory mechanism of MusaWRKY during nematode stress.
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.
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.
A cross between IR64 (high-yielding but drought-susceptible) and Aday Sel (drought-tolerant) rice cultivars yielded a stable line with enhanced grain yield under drought screening field trials at International Rice Research Institute. The major effect qDTY4.1 drought tolerance and yield QTL was detected in the IR77298-14-1-2-10 Backcrossed Inbred Line (BIL) and its IR87705-7-15-B Near Isogenic Line (NIL) with 93.9% genetic similarity to IR64. Although rice yield is extremely susceptible to water stress at reproductive stage, currently, there is only one report on the detection of drought-responsive microRNAs in inflorescence tissue of a Japonica rice line. In this study, more drought-responsive microRNAs were identified in the inflorescence tissues of IR64, IR77298-14-1-2-10 and IR87705-7-15-B via next-generation sequencing. Among the 32 families of inflorescence-specific non-conserved microRNAs that were identified, 22 families were up-regulated in IR87705-7-15-B. Overall 9 conserved and 34 non-conserved microRNA families were found as drought-responsive in rice inflorescence with 5 conserved and 30 non-conserved families induced in the IR87705-7-15-B. The observation of more drought-responsive non-conserved microRNAs may imply their prominence over conserved microRNAs in drought response mechanisms of rice inflorescence. Gene Ontology annotation analysis on the target genes of drought-responsive microRNAs identified in IR87705-7-15-B revealed over-representation of biological processes including development, signalling and response to stimulus. Particularly, four inflorescence-specific microRNAs viz. osa-miR5485, osa-miR5487, osa-miR5492 and osa-miR5517, and two non-inflorescence specific microRNAs viz. osa-miR169d and osa-miR169f.2 target genes that are involved in flower or embryonic development. Among them, osa-miR169d, osa-miR5492 and osa-miR5517 are related to flowering time control. It is also worth mentioning that osa-miR2118 and osa-miR2275, which are implicated in the biosynthesis of rice inflorescence-specific small interfering RNAs, were induced in IR87705-7-15-B but repressed in IR77298-14-1-2-10. Further, gene search within qDTY4.1 QTL region had identified multiple copies of NBS-LRR resistance genes (potential target of osa-miR2118), subtilisins and genes implicated in stomatal movement, ABA metabolism and cuticular wax biosynthesis.
Physiological responses to stress are controlled by expression of a large number of genes, many of which are regulated by microRNAs. Since most banana cultivars are salt-sensitive, improved understanding of genetic regulation of salt induced stress responses in banana can support future crop management and improvement in the face of increasing soil salinity related to irrigation and climate change. In this study we focused on determining miRNA and their targets that respond to NaCl exposure and used transcriptome sequencing of RNA and small RNA from control and NaCl-treated banana roots to assemble a cultivar-specific reference transcriptome and identify orthologous and Musa-specific miRNA responding to salinity. We observed that, banana roots responded to salinity stress with changes in expression for a large number of genes (9.5% of 31,390 expressed unigenes) and reduction in levels of many miRNA, including several novel miRNA and banana-specific miRNA-target pairs. Banana roots expressed a unique set of orthologous and Musa-specific miRNAs of which 59 respond to salt stress in a dose-dependent manner. Gene expression patterns of miRNA compared with those of their predicted mRNA targets indicated that a majority of the differentially expressed miRNAs were down-regulated in response to increased salinity, allowing increased expression of targets involved in diverse biological processes including stress signaling, stress defence, transport, cellular homeostasis, metabolism and other stress-related functions. This study may contribute to the understanding of gene regulation and abiotic stress response of roots and the high-throughput sequencing data sets generated may serve as important resources related to salt tolerance traits for functional genomic studies and genetic improvement in banana.
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.
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.
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.
KEY MESSAGE: The oil palm EgPAL1 gene promoter and its regulatory region were functional as a promoter in the heterologous system of Arabidopsis according to the cis-acting elements present in that region. The promoter was developmentally regulated, vascular tissue specific and responsive to water stress agents. Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL, EC 22.214.171.124) is the key enzyme of the phenylpropanoid pathway which plays important roles in plant development and adaptation. To date, there is no report on the study of PAL from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), an economically important oil crop. In this study, the 5' regulatory sequence of a highly divergent oil palm PAL gene (EgPAL1) was isolated and fused with GUS in Arabidopsis to create two transgenic plants carrying the minimal promoter with (2302 bp) and without its regulatory elements (139 bp). The regulatory sequence contained cis-acting elements known to be important for plant development and stress response including the AC-II element for lignin biosynthesis and several stress responsive elements. The promoter and its regulatory region were fully functional in Arabidopsis. Its activities were characterised by two common fundamental features of PAL which are responsive to plant internal developmental programme and external factors. The promoter was developmentally regulated in certain organs; highly active in young organs but less active or inactive in mature organs. The presence of the AC elements and global activity of the EgPAL1 promoter in all organs resembled the property of lignin-related genes. The existence of the MBS element and enhancement of the promoter activity by PEG reflected the behaviour of drought-responsive genes. Our findings provide a platform for evaluating oil palm gene promoters in the heterologous system of Arabidopsis and give insights into the activities of EgPAL1 promoter in oil palm.
Allium cepa assay was carried out in this study to evaluate genotoxic effects of raw and treated water samples from Perak River in Perak state, Malaysia. Samples were collected from three surface water treatment plants along the river, namely WTPP, WTPS, and WTPK. Initially, triplicates of equal size Allium cepa (onions) bulbs, 25-30 mm in diameter and average weight of 20 g, were set up in distilled water for 24 h at 20 ± 2 °C and protected from direct sunlight, to let the roots to grow. After germination of roots (0.5-1.0 cm in length), bulbs were transferred to collected water samples each for a 96-h period of exposure. The root physical deformations were observed. Genotoxicity quantification was based on mitotic index and genotoxicity level. Statistical analysis using cross-correlation function for replicates from treated water showed that root length has inverse correlation with mitotic indices (r = - 0.969) and frequencies of cell aberrations (r = - 0.976) at lag 1. Mitotic indices and cell aberrations of replicates from raw water have shown positive correlation at lag 1 (r = 0.946). Genotoxicity levels obtained were 23.4 ± 1.98 (WTPP), 26.68 ± 0.34 (WTPS), and 30.4 ± 1.13 (WTPK) for treated water and 17.8 ± 0.18 (WTPP), 37.15 ± 0.17 (WTPS), and 47.2 ± 0.48 (WTPK) for raw water. The observed cell aberrations were adherence, chromosome delay, C-metaphase, chromosome loss, chromosome bridge, chromosome breaks, binucleated cell, mini cell, and lobulated nuclei. The morphogenetic deformations obtained were likely due to genotoxic substances presence in collected water samples. Thus, water treatment in Malaysia does not remove genotoxic compounds.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) have been implicated as regulatory proteins involved in the post-transcriptional processes of gene expression in plants under various stress conditions. In this study, we report the cloning and characterization of a gene, designated as EgRBP42, encoding a member of the plant heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)-like RBP family from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). EgRBP42 consists of two N-terminal RNA recognition motifs and a glycine-rich domain at the C-terminus. The upstream region of EgRBP42 has multiple light-responsive, stress-responsive regulatory elements and regulatory elements associated with flower development. Real-time RT-PCR analysis of EgRBP42 showed that EgRBP42 was expressed in oil palm tissues tested, including leaf, shoot apical meristem, root, female inflorescence, male inflorescence and mesocarp with the lowest transcript level in the roots. EgRBP42 protein interacted with transcripts associated with transcription, translation and stress responses using pull-down assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The accumulation of EgRBP42 and its interacting transcripts were induced by abiotic stresses, including salinity, drought, submergence, cold and heat stresses in leaf discs. Collectively, the data suggested that EgRBP42 is a RBP, which responds to various abiotic stresses and could be advantageous for oil palm under stress conditions. Key message EgRBP42 may be involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of stress-related genes important for plant stress response and adaptation.
The possibility of controlling Fusarium wilt--caused by Fusarium oxysporum sp. cubensec (race 4)--was investigated by genetic engineering of banana plants for constitutive expression of rice thaumatin-like protein (tlp) gene. Transgene was introduced to cauliflower-like bodies' cluster, induced from meristemic parts of male inflorescences, using particle bombardment with plasmid carrying a rice tlp gene driving by the CaMV 35S promoter. Hygromycin B was used as the selection reagent. The presence and integration of rice tlp gene in genomic DNA confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analyses. RT-PCR revealed the expression of transgene in leaf and root tissues in transformants. Bioassay of transgenic banana plants challenged with Fusarium wilt pathogen showed that expression of TLP enhanced resistance to F. oxysporum sp. cubensec (race 4) compared to control plants.
Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) plays a major role in plant growth, development and adaptation. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the enzyme is encoded by four genes, namely PAL1, PAL2, PAL3, and PAL4 with PAL1 and PAL2 being closely related phylogenetically and functionally. PAL1 promoter activities are associated with plant development and are inducible by various stress agents. However, PAL2 promoter activities have not been functionally analysed. Here, we show that the PAL2 promoter activities are associated with the structural development of a plant and its organs. This function was inducible in an organ-specific manner by the avirulent strain of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (JL1065). The PAL2 promoter was active throughout the course of the plant development particularly in the root, rosette leaf, and inflorescence stem that provide the plant with structural support. In aerial organs, the levels of PAL2 promoter activities were negatively correlated with relative positions of the organs to the rosette leaves. The promoter was inducible in the root following an inoculation by JL1065 in the leaf suggesting PAL2 to be part of an induced defence system. Our results demonstrate how the PAL2 promoter activities are being coordinated and synchronised for the structural development of the plant and its organs based on the developmental programme. Under certain stress conditions the activity may be induced in favour of certain organs.
We have characterized an oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) constitutive promoter that is derived from a translationally control tumor protein (TCTP) gene. The TCTP promoter was fused transcriptionally with the gusA reporter gene and transferred to monocot and dicot systems in order to study its regulatory role in a transient expression study. It was found that the 5' region of TCTP was capable of driving the gusA expression in all the oil palm tissues tested, including immature embryo, embryogenic callus, embryoid, young leaflet from mature palm, green leaf, mesocarp and stem. It could also be used in dicot systems as it was also capable of driving gusA expression in tobacco leaves. The results indicate that the TCTP promoter could be used for the production of recombinant proteins that require constitutive expression in the plant system.