Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science
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PLOS Pathogens: Bifurcation of Arabidopsis NLR Immune Signaling via Ca2+-Dependent Protein Kinases (2013)

PLOS Pathogens: Bifurcation of Arabidopsis NLR Immune Signaling via Ca2+-Dependent Protein Kinases (2013) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it

Nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat (NLR) protein complexes sense infections and trigger robust immune responses in plants and humans. Activation of plant NLR resistance (R) proteins by pathogen effectors launches convergent immune responses, including programmed cell death (PCD), reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and transcriptional reprogramming with elusive mechanisms. Functional genomic and biochemical genetic screens identified six closely related Arabidopsis Ca2+-dependent protein kinases (CPKs) in mediating bifurcate immune responses activated by NLR proteins, RPS2 and RPM1. The dynamics of differential CPK1/2 activation by pathogen effectors controls the onset of cell death. Sustained CPK4/5/6/11 activation directly phosphorylates a specific subgroup of WRKY transcription factors, WRKY8/28/48, to synergistically regulate transcriptional reprogramming crucial for NLR-dependent restriction of pathogen growth, whereas CPK1/2/4/11 phosphorylate plasma membrane-resident NADPH oxidases for ROS production. Our studies delineate bifurcation of complex signaling mechanisms downstream of NLR immune sensors mediated by the myriad action of CPKs with distinct substrate specificity and subcellular dynamics.

 

Xiquan Gao, Xin Chen, Wenwei Lin, Sixue Chen, Dongping Lu, Yajie Niu, Lei Li, Cheng Cheng, Matthew McCormack, Jen Sheen, Libo Shan, Ping He


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Phytopathol.: Epidemiology: Past, Present, and Future Impacts on Understanding Disease Dynamics and Improving Plant Disease Management—A Summary of Focus Issue Articles (2017)

Epidemiology has made significant contributions to plant pathology by elucidating the general principles underlying the development of disease epidemics. This has resulted in a greatly improved theoretical and empirical understanding of the dynamics of disease epidemics in time and space, predictions of disease outbreaks or the need for disease control in real-time basis, and tactical and strategic solutions to disease problems. Availability of high-resolution experimental data at multiple temporal and spatial scales has now provided a platform to test and validate theories on the spread of diseases at a wide range of spatial scales ranging from the local to the landscape level. Relatively new approaches in plant disease epidemiology, ranging from network to information theory, coupled with the availability of large-scale datasets and the rapid development of computer technology, are leading to revolutionary thinking about epidemics that can result in considerable improvement of strategic and tactical decision making in the control and management of plant diseases. Methods that were previously restricted to topics such as population biology or evolution are now being employed in epidemiology to enable a better understanding of the forces that drive the development of plant disease epidemics in space and time. This Focus Issue of Phytopathology features research articles that address broad themes in epidemiology including social and political consequences of disease epidemics, decision theory and support, pathogen dispersal and disease spread, disease assessment and pathogen biology and disease resistance. It is important to emphasize that these articles are just a sample of the types of research projects that are relevant to epidemiology. Below, we provide a succinct summary of the articles that are published in this Focus Issue.
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Mol. Ecol.: Ancestral acquisitions, gene flow and multiple evolutionary trajectories of the type three secretion system and effectors in Xanthomonas plant pathogens (2017)

Deciphering the evolutionary history and transmission patterns of virulence determinants is necessary to understand the emergence of novel pathogens. The main virulence determinant of most pathogenic proteobacteria is the type three secretion system (T3SS). The Xanthomonas genus includes bacteria responsible for numerous epidemics in agroecosystems worldwide and represents a major threat to plant health. The main virulence factor of Xanthomonas is the Hrp2 family T3SS, however this system is not conserved in all strains and it has not been previously determined whether the distribution of T3SS in this bacterial genus has resulted from losses or independent acquisitions. Based on comparative genomics of 82 genome sequences representing the diversity of the genus, we have inferred three ancestral acquisitions of the Hrp2 cluster during Xanthomonas evolution followed by subsequent losses in some commensal strains and re-acquisition in some species. While mutation was the main force driving polymorphism at the gene level, inter-species homologous recombination of large fragments expanding through several genes shaped Hrp2 cluster polymorphism. Horizontal gene transfer of the entire Hrp2 cluster also occurred. A reduced core effectome composed of xopF1, xopM, avrBs2 and xopR was identified that may allow commensal strains overcoming plant basal immunity. In contrast, stepwise accumulation of numerous type 3 effector genes was shown in successful pathogens responsible for epidemics. Our data suggest that capacity to intimately interact with plants through T3SS would be an ancestral trait of xanthomonads. Since its acquisition T3SS has experienced a highly dynamic evolutionary history characterized by intense gene flux between species that may reflect its role in host adaptation.
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TiPS: A Conceptual Framework for Integrated Pest Management (2017)

TiPS: A Conceptual Framework for Integrated Pest Management (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
The concept of integrated pest management (IPM) has been accepted and incorporated in public policies and regulations in the European Union and elsewhere, but a holistic science of IPM has not yet been developed. Hence, current IPM programs may often be considerably less efficient than the sum of separately applied individual crop protection actions. Thus, there is a clear need to formulate general principles for synergistically combining traditional and novel IPM actions to improve efforts to optimize plant protection solutions. This paper addresses this need by presenting a conceptual framework for a modern science of IPM. The framework may assist attempts to realize the full potential of IPM and reduce risks of deficiencies in the implementation of new policies and regulations.
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BMC Genomics: Identification of new protein-coding genes with a potential role in the virulence of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas euvesicatoria (2017)

BMC Genomics: Identification of new protein-coding genes with a potential role in the virulence of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas euvesicatoria (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Bacteria of the genus Xanthomonas are economically important plant pathogens. Pathogenicity of Xanthomonas spp. depends on the type III-secretion system and additional virulence determinants. The number of sequenced Xanthomonas genomes increases rapidly, however, accurate annotation of these genomes is difficult, because it relies on gene prediction programs. In this study, we used a mass-spectrometry (MS)-based approach to identify the proteome of Xanthomonas euvesicatoria (Xe) strain 85–10 also known as X. campestris pv. vesicatoria, a well-studied member of plant-pathogenic Xanthomonadaceae. Using different culture conditions, MS-datasets were searched against a six-frame-translated genome database of Xe. In total, we identified 2588 proteins covering 55% of the Xe genome, including 764 hitherto hypothetical proteins. Our proteogenomic approach identified 30 new protein-coding genes and allowed correction of the N-termini of 50 protein-coding genes. For five novel and two N-terminally corrected genes the corresponding proteins were confirmed by immunoblot. Furthermore, our data indicate that two putative type VI-secretion systems encoded in Xe play no role in bacterial virulence which was experimentally confirmed. The discovery and re-annotation of numerous genes in the genome of Xe shows that also a well-annotated genome can be improved. Additionally, our proteogenomic analyses validates “hypothetical” proteins and will improve annotation of Xanthomonadaceae genomes, providing a solid basis for further studies.
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New Phytol.: The emerging science of linked plant–fungal invasions (2017)

New Phytol.: The emerging science of linked plant–fungal invasions (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Invasions of alien plants are typically studied as invasions of individual species, yet interactions between plants and symbiotic fungi (mutualists and potential pathogens) affect plant survival, physiological traits, and reproduction and hence invasion success. Studies show that plant–fungal associations are frequently key drivers of plant invasion success and impact, but clear conceptual frameworks and integration across studies are needed to move beyond a series of case studies towards a more predictive understanding. Here, we consider linked plant–fungal invasions from the perspective of plant and fungal origin, simplified to the least complex representations or ‘motifs’. By characterizing these interaction motifs, parallels in invasion processes between pathogen and mutualist fungi become clear, although the outcomes are often opposite in effect. These interaction motifs provide hypotheses for fungal-driven dynamics behind observed plant invasion trajectories. In some situations, the effects of plant–fungal interactions are inconsistent or negligible. Variability in when and where different interaction motifs matter may be driven by specificity in the plant–fungal interaction, the size of the effect of the symbiosis (negative to positive) on plants and the dependence (obligate to facultative) of the plantfungal interaction. Linked plant–fungal invasions can transform communities and ecosystem function, with potential for persistent legacies preventing ecosystem restoration
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BMC Genomics: Role of the type VI secretion systems during disease interactions of Erwinia amylovora with its plant host (2017)

BMC Genomics: Role of the type VI secretion systems during disease interactions of Erwinia amylovora with its plant host (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Type VI secretion systems (T6SS) are widespread among Gram-negative bacteria and have a potential role as essential virulence factors or to maintain symbiotic interactions. Three T6SS gene clusters were identified in the genome of E. amylovora CFBP 1430, of which T6SS-1 and T6SS-3 represent complete T6SS machineries, while T6SS-2 is reduced in its gene content. To assess the contribution of T6SSs to virulence and potential transcriptomic changes of E. amylovora CFBP 1430, single and double mutants in two structural genes were generated for T6SS-1 and T6SS-3. Plant assays showed that mutants in T6SS-3 were slightly more virulent in apple shoots while inducing less disease symptoms on apple flowers, indicating that T6SSs have only a minor effect on virulence of E. amylovora CFBP 1430. The mutations led under in vitro conditions to the differential expression of type III secretion systems, iron acquisition, chemotaxis, flagellar, and fimbrial genes. Comparison of the in planta and in vitro transcriptome data sets revealed a common differential expression of three processes and a set of chemotaxis and motility genes. Additional experiments proved that T6SS mutants are impaired in their motility. These results suggest that the deletion of T6SSs alters metabolic and motility processes. Nevertheless, the difference in lesion development in apple shoots and flower necrosis of T6SS mutants was indicative that T6SSs influences the disease progression and the establishment of the pathogen on host plants.
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Nature Biotech.: 1,003 reference genomes of bacterial and archaeal isolates expand coverage of the tree of life

Nature Biotech.: 1,003 reference genomes of bacterial and archaeal isolates expand coverage of the tree of life | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
We present 1,003 reference genomes that were sequenced as part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) initiative, selected to maximize sequence coverage of phylogenetic space. These genomes double the number of existing type strains and expand their overall phylogenetic diversity by 25%. Comparative analyses with previously available finished and draft genomes reveal a 10.5% increase in novel protein families as a function of phylogenetic diversity. The GEBA genomes recruit 25 million previously unassigned metagenomic proteins from 4,650 samples, improving their phylogenetic and functional interpretation. We identify numerous biosynthetic clusters and experimentally validate a divergent phenazine cluster with potential new chemical structure and antimicrobial activity. This Resource is the largest single release of reference genomes to date. Bacterial and archaeal isolate sequence space is still far from saturated, and future endeavors in this direction will continue to be a valuable resource for scientific discovery.
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Nature Plants: MicroRNAs in crop improvement: fine-tuners for complex traits

Nature Plants: MicroRNAs in crop improvement: fine-tuners for  complex traits | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
One of the most common challenges for both conventional and modern crop improvement is that the appearance of one desir- able trait in a new crop variety is always balanced by the impairment of one or more other beneficial characteristics. The best way to overcome this problem is the flexible utilization of regulatory genes, especially genes that provide more efficient and precise regulation in a targeted manner. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a type of short non-coding RNA, are promising candidates in this area due to their role as master modulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level, targeting messenger RNAs for cleavage or directing translational inhibition in eukaryotes. We herein highlight the current understanding of the biological role of miRNAs in orchestrating distinct agriculturally important traits by summarizing recent functional analyses of 65 miRNAs in 9 major crops worldwide. The integration of current miRNA knowledge with conventional and modern crop improvement strategies is also discussed.
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A bacterial acetyltransferase triggers immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana independent of hypersensitive response

A bacterial acetyltransferase triggers immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana independent of hypersensitive response | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it

Type-III secreted effectors (T3Es) play critical roles during bacterial pathogenesis in plants. Plant recognition of certain T3Es can trigger defence, often accompanied by macroscopic cell death, termed the hypersensitive response (HR). Economically important species of kiwifruit are susceptible to Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa), the causal agent of kiwifruit bacterial canker. Although Psa is non-pathogenic in Arabidopsis thaliana, we observed that a T3E, HopZ5 that is unique to a global outbreak clade of Psa, triggers HR and defence in Arabidopsis accession Ct-1. Ws-2 and Col-0 accessions are unable to produce an HR in response to Pseudomonas-delivered HopZ5. While Ws-2 is susceptible to virulent bacterial strain Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 carrying HopZ5, Col-0 is resistant despite the lack of an HR. We show that HopZ5, like other members of the YopJ superfamily of acetyltransferases that it belongs to, autoacetylates lysine residues. Through comparisons to other family members, we identified an acetyltransferase catalytic activity and demonstrate its requirement for triggering defence in Arabidopsis and Nicotiana species. Collectively, data herein indicate that HopZ5 is a plasma membrane-localized acetyltransferase with autoacetylation activity required for avirulence.

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Nature: Improved maize reference genome with single-molecule technologies

Nature: Improved maize reference genome with single-molecule technologies | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Complete and accurate reference genomes and annotations provide fundamental tools for characterization of genetic and functional variation. These resources facilitate the determination of biological processes and support translation of research findings into improved and sustainable agricultural technologies. Many reference genomes for crop plants have been generated over the past decade, but these genomes are often fragmented and missing complex repeat regions. Here we report the assembly and annotation of a reference genome of maize, a genetic and agricultural model species, using single-molecule real-time sequencing and high-resolution optical mapping. Relative to the previous reference genome, our assembly features a 52-fold increase in contig length and notable improvements in the assembly of intergenic spaces and centromeres. Characterization of the repetitive portion of the genome revealed more than 130,000 intact transposable elements, allowing us to identify transposable element lineage expansions that are unique to maize. Gene annotations were updated using 111,000 full-length transcripts obtained by single-molecule real-time sequencing. In addition, comparative optical mapping of two other inbred maize lines revealed a prevalence of deletions in regions of low gene density and maize lineage-specific genes.
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Plant Cell: Direct and Indirect Visualization of Bacterial Effector Delivery into Diverse Plant Cell Types During Infection (2017)

Plant Cell: Direct and Indirect Visualization of Bacterial Effector Delivery into Diverse Plant Cell Types During Infection (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
To cause disease, diverse pathogens deliver effector proteins into host cells. Pathogen effectors can inhibit defense responses, alter host physiology, and represent important cellular probes to investigate plant biology. However, effector function and localization have primarily been investigated after overexpression in planta. Visualizing effector delivery during infection is challenging due to the plant cell wall, autofluorescence, and low effector abundance. Here, we utilized a GFP strand system to directly visualize bacterial effectors delivered into plant cells through the Type III secretion system. GFP is a beta barrel that can be divided into 11 strands. We generated transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants expressing GFP1-10 (strands 1 to 10). Multiple bacterial effectors tagged with the complementary strand 11 epitope retained their biological function in Arabidopsis and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Infection of plants expressing GFP1-10 with bacteria delivering GFP11-tagged effectors enabled direct effector detection in planta. We investigated the temporal and spatial delivery of GFP11-tagged effectors during infection with the foliar pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and the vascular pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. Thus, the GFP strand system can be broadly used to investigate effector biology in planta.
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Nature Genetics: High-quality de novo assembly of the apple genome and methylome dynamics of early fruit development

Using the latest sequencing and optical mapping technologies, we have produced a high-quality de novo assembly of the apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) genome. Repeat sequences, which represented over half of the assembly, provided an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the uncharacterized regions of a tree genome; we identified a new hyper-repetitive retrotransposon sequence that was over-represented in heterochromatic regions and estimated that a major burst of different transposable elements (TEs) occurred 21 million years ago. Notably, the timing of this TE burst coincided with the uplift of the Tian Shan mountains, which is thought to be the center of the location where the apple originated, suggesting that TEs and associated processes may have contributed to the diversification of the apple ancestor and possibly to its divergence from pear. Finally, genome-wide DNA methylation data suggest that epigenetic marks may contribute to agronomically relevant aspects, such as apple fruit development.
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Laboratoire d'Innovation Territorial (LIT) Ouest Territoires d'Elevage

LIT Ouest Territoires d’Elevage, L’élevage à vivre ensemble.
Un consortium d’acteurs des 3 régions Bretagne, Normandie et Pays de la Loire, et des filières agricoles et agroalimentaires du Grand Ouest (GO) de la France se sont saisis de cette opportunité pour travailler à la construction du Laboratoire d’Innovation Territorial « Ouest Territoires d’Élevage ». Il comporte: 3 coopératives polyvalentes et multi-espèces animales de l’Ouest : Agrial, Terrena et Triskalia, le pôle de compétitivité Valorial, les 3 Chambres Régionales d’Agriculture de Bretagne, de Normandie et des Pays de la Loire, les 3 instituts techniques agricoles (ITAs) du domaine animal :Ifip pour le porc, Itavi pour la volaille, Idele pour les ruminants, et des acteurs de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur agronomique et vétérinaire implantés dans l’Ouest :Inra, Irstea , Agrocampus Ouest, Oniris. Le LIT Ouest Territoires d’Elevage porte sur le développement d’élevages répondant mieux aux attentes des consommateurs, des citoyens et des politiques en matière de conditions d’élevage, plus spécifiquement en matière d’amélioration du bien-être des animaux d’élevage et de moindre recours aux médicaments en élevage.
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Plant J: A computational approach for inferring the cell wall properties that govern guard cell dynamics (2017)

Plant J: A computational approach for inferring the cell wall properties that govern guard cell dynamics (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Guard cells dynamically adjust their shape in order to regulate photosynthetic gas exchange, respiration rates and defend against pathogen entry. Cell shape changes are determined by the interplay of cell wall material properties and turgor pressure. To investigate this relationship between turgor pressure, cell wall properties and cell shape, we focused on kidney-shaped stomata and developed a biomechanical model of a guard cell pair. Treating the cell wall as a composite of the pectin-rich cell wall matrix embedded with cellulose microfibrils, we show that strong, circumferentially oriented fibres are critical for opening. We find that the opening dynamics are dictated by the mechanical stress response of the cell wall matrix, and as the turgor rises, the pectinaceous matrix stiffens. We validate these predictions with stomatal opening experiments in selected Arabidopsis cell wall mutants. Thus, using a computational framework that combines a 3D biomechanical model with parameter optimization, we demonstrate how to exploit subtle shape changes to infer cell wall material properties. Our findings reveal that proper stomatal dynamics are built on two key properties of the cell wall, namely anisotropy in the form of hoop reinforcement and strain stiffening.
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Nat. Genet.: A gene encoding maize caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase confers quantitative resistance to multiple pathogens (2017)

Alleles that confer multiple disease resistance (MDR) are valuable in crop improvement, although the molecular mechanisms underlying their functions remain largely unknown. A quantitative trait locus, qMdr9.02, associated with resistance to three important foliar maize diseases—southern leaf blight, gray leaf spot and northern leaf blight—has been identified on maize chromosome 9. Through fine-mapping, association analysis, expression analysis, insertional mutagenesis and transgenic validation, we demonstrate that ZmCCoAOMT2, which encodes a caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase associated with the phenylpropanoid pathway and lignin production, is the gene within qMdr9.02 conferring quantitative resistance to both southern leaf blight and gray leaf spot. We suggest that resistance might be caused by allelic variation at the level of both gene expression and amino acid sequence, thus resulting in differences in levels of lignin and other metabolites of the phenylpropanoid pathway and regulation of programmed cell death.
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Plant Cell: Direct and Indirect Visualization of Bacterial Effector Delivery into Diverse Plant Cell Types during Infection (2017)

Plant Cell: Direct and Indirect Visualization of Bacterial Effector Delivery into Diverse Plant Cell Types during Infection (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it

To cause disease, diverse pathogens deliver effector proteins into host cells. Pathogen effectors can inhibit defense responses, alter host physiology, and represent important cellular probes to investigate plant biology. However, effector function and localization have primarily been investigated after overexpression in planta. Visualizing effector delivery during infection is challenging due to the plant cell wall, autofluorescence, and low effector abundance. Here, we used a GFP strand system to directly visualize bacterial effectors delivered into plant cells through the type III secretion system. GFP is a beta barrel that can be divided into 11 strands. We generated transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants expressing GFP1-10 (strands 1 to 10). Multiple bacterial effectors tagged with the complementary strand 11 epitope retained their biological function in Arabidopsis and tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum ). Infection of plants expressing GFP1-10 with bacteria delivering GFP11-tagged effectors enabled direct effector detection in planta. We investigated the temporal and spatial delivery of GFP11-tagged effectors during infection with the foliar pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and the vascular pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum . Thus, the GFP strand system can be broadly used to investigate effector biology in planta.

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New Phytol.: A functional imaging study of germinating oilseed rape seed (2017)

New Phytol.: A functional imaging study of germinating oilseed rape seed (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Germination, the process whereby a dry, quiescent seed springs to life, has been a focus of plant biologist for many years, yet the early events following water uptake, during which metabolism of the embryo is restarted, remain enigmatic. Here, the nature of the cues required for this restarting in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) seed has been investigated. A holistic in vivo approach was designed to display the link between the entry and allocation of water, metabolic events and structural changes occurring during germination. For this, we combined functional magnetic resonance imaging with Fourier transform infrared microscopy, fluorescence-based respiration mapping, computer-aided seed modeling and biochemical tools. We uncovered an endospermal lipid gap, which channels water to the radicle tip, from whence it is distributed via embryonic vasculature toward cotyledon tissues. The resumption of respiration is initiated first in the endosperm, only later spreading to the embryo. Sugar metabolism and lipid utilization are linked to the spatiotemporal sequence of tissue rehydration. Together, this imaging study provides insights into the spatial aspects of key events in oilseed rape seeds leading to germination. It demonstrates how seed architecture predetermines the pattern of water intake, which sets the stage for the orchestrated restart of life.
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Front. Microb.: Complete Genome Sequencing and Targeted Mutagenesis Reveal Virulence Contributions of Tal2 and Tal4b of Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa ICMP11055 in Bacterial Leaf Streak of Wh...

Front. Microb.: Complete Genome Sequencing and Targeted Mutagenesis Reveal Virulence Contributions of Tal2 and Tal4b of Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa ICMP11055 in Bacterial Leaf Streak of Wh... | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Bacterial leaf streak caused by Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa (Xtu) is an important disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) worldwide. Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) play determinative roles in many of the plant diseases caused by the different species and pathovars of Xanthomonas, but their role in these diseases has not been characterized. ICMP11055 is a highly virulent Xtu strain from Iran. The aim of this study was to better understand genetic diversity of Xtu and to assess the role of TALEs in bacterial leaf streak of wheat by comparing the genome of this strain to the recently completely sequenced genome of a U.S. Xtu strain, and to several other draft X. translucens genomes, and by carrying out mutational analyses of the TALE (tal) genes the Iranian strain might harbor. The ICMP11055 genome, including its repeat-rich tal genes, was completely sequenced using single molecule, real-time technology (Pacific Biosciences). It consists of a single circular chromosome of 4,561,583 bp, containing 3,953 genes. Whole genome alignment with the genome of the US Xtu strain XT4699 showed two major re-arrangements, nine genomic regions unique to ICMP11055, and one region unique to XT4699. ICMP110055 harbors 26 non-TALE type III effector genes and seven tal genes, compared to 25 and eight for XT4699. The tal genes occur singly or in pairs across five scattered loci. Four are identical to tal genes in XT4699. In addition to common repeat-variable diresidues (RVDs), the tal genes of ICMP11055, like those of XT4699, encode several RVDs rarely observed in Xanthomonas, including KG, NF, Y*, YD, and YK. Insertion and deletion mutagenesis of ICMP11055 tal genes followed by genetic complementation analysis in wheat cv. Chinese Spring revealed that Tal2 and Tal4b of ICMP11055 each contribute individually to the extent of disease caused by this strain. A largely conserved ortholog of tal2 is present in XT4699, but for tal4b, only a gene with partial, fragmented RVD sequence similarity can be found. Our results lay the foundation for identification of important host genes activated by Xtu TALEs, as targets for the development of disease resistant varieties.
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BMC Genomics: Xanthomonas adaptation to common bean is associated with horizontal transfers of genes encoding TAL effectors (2017)

BMC Genomics: Xanthomonas adaptation to common bean is associated with horizontal transfers of genes encoding TAL effectors (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Common bacterial blight is a devastating bacterial disease of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) caused by Xanthomonas citri pv. fuscans and Xanthomonas phaseoli pv. phaseoli. These phylogenetically distant strains are able to cause similar symptoms on common bean, suggesting that they have acquired common genetic determinants of adaptation to common bean. Transcription Activator-Like (TAL) effectors are bacterial type III effectors that are able to induce the expression of host genes to promote infection or resistance. Their capacity to bind to a specific host DNA sequence suggests that they are potential candidates for host adaption. To study the diversity of tal genes from Xanthomonas strains responsible for common bacterial blight of bean, whole genome sequences of 17 strains representing the diversity of X. citri pv. fuscans and X. phaseoli pv. phaseoli were obtained by single molecule real time sequencing. Analysis of these genomes revealed the existence of four tal genes named tal23A, tal20F, tal18G and tal18H, respectively. While tal20F and tal18G were chromosomic, tal23A and tal18H were carried on plasmids and shared between phylogenetically distant strains, therefore suggesting recent horizontal transfers of these genes between X. citri pv. fuscans and X. phaseoli pv. phaseoli strains. Strikingly, tal23A was present in all strains studied, suggesting that it played an important role in adaptation to common bean. In silico predictions of TAL effectors targets in the common bean genome suggested that TAL effectors shared by X. citri pv. fuscans and X. phaseoli pv. phaseoli strains target the promoters of genes of similar functions. This could be a trace of convergent evolution among TAL effectors from different phylogenetic groups, and comforts the hypothesis that TAL effectors have been implied in the adaptation to common bean. Altogether, our results favour a model where plasmidic TAL effectors are able to contribute to host adaptation by being horizontally transferred between distant lineages.
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Science: Wild emmer genome architecture and diversity elucidate wheat evolution and domestication

Science: Wild emmer genome architecture and diversity elucidate wheat evolution and domestication | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Wheat (Triticum spp.) is one of the founder crops that likely drove the Neolithic transition to sedentary agrarian societies in the Fertile Crescent more than 10,000 years ago. Identifying genetic modifications underlying wheat’s domestication requires knowledge about the genome of its allo-tetraploid progenitor, wild emmer (T. turgidum ssp. dicoccoides). We report a 10.1-gigabase assembly of the 14 chromosomes of wild tetraploid wheat, as well as analyses of gene content, genome architecture, and genetic diversity. With this fully assembled polyploid wheat genome, we identified the causal mutations in Brittle Rachis 1 (TtBtr1) genes controlling shattering, a key domestication trait. A study of genomic diversity among wild and domesticated accessions revealed genomic regions bearing the signature of selection under domestication. This reference assembly will serve as a resource for accelerating the genome-assisted improvement of modern wheat varieties.
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UpSetR: An R Package for the Visualization of Intersecting Sets and their Properties - Bioinformatics

UpSetR: An R Package for the Visualization of Intersecting Sets and their Properties - Bioinformatics | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Motivation: Venn and Euler diagrams are a popular yet inadequate solution for quantitative visualization of set intersections. A scalable alternative to Venn and Euler diagrams for visualizing intersecting sets and their properties is needed.
Results: We developed UpSetR, an open source R package that employs a scalable matrix-based visualization to show intersections of sets, their size, and other properties.
Availability: UpSetR is available at
https://github.com/hms-dbmi/UpSetR/
and released under the MIT License. A Shiny app is available at
https://gehlenborglab.shinyapps.io/upsetr/

Via Ronny Kellner
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Plant Methods: A multiplex PCR for rapid identification of Brassica species in the triangle of U

Plant Methods: A multiplex PCR for rapid identification of Brassica species in the triangle of U | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Within the Brassicaceae, six species from the genus Brassica are widely cultivated throughout the world as oilseed, condiment, fodder or vegetable crops. The genetic relationships among the six Brassica species are described by U’s triangle model. Extensive shared traits and diverse morphotypes among Brassica species make identification and classification based on phenotypic data alone challenging and unreliable, especially when dealing with large germplasm collections. Consequently, a major issue for genebank collections is ensuring the correct identification of species. Molecular genotyping based on simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker sequencing or the Illumina Infinium Brassica napus 60K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array has been used to identify species and assess genetic diversity of Brassica collections. However, these methods are technically challenging, expensive and time-consuming, making them unsuitable for routine or rapid screening of Brassica accessions for germplasm management. A cheaper, faster and simpler method for Brassica species identification is described here. A multiplex polymerase chain reaction (MPCR) consisting of new and existing primers specific to the Brassica A, B and C genomes was able to reliably distinguish all six Brassica species in the triangle of U with 16 control samples of known species identity. Further validation against 120 Brassica accessions previously genotyped showed that the MPCR is highly accurate and comparable to more advanced techniques such as SSR marker sequencing or the Illumina Infinium B. napus 60K SNP array. In addition, the MPCR was sensitive enough to detect seed contaminations in pooled seed samples of Brassica accessions. A cheap and fast multiplex PCR assay for identification of Brassica species in the triangle of U was developed and validated in this study. The MPCR assay can be readily implemented in any basic molecular laboratory and should prove useful for the management of Brassica germplasm collections in genebanks.
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Trends Ecol. Evol.: Integrating Biogeography with Contemporary Niche Theory (2017)

There is no consensus on when biotic interactions impact the range limits of species. Starting from MacArthur’s use of invasibility to understand how biotic interactions influence coexistence, here we examine how biotic interactions shape species distributions. Range limits emerge from how birth, death, and movement rates vary with the environment. We clarify some basic issues revolving around niche definitions, illustrated with simple resource–consumer theory. We then highlight two different avenues for linking community theory and range theory; the first based on calculating the effects of biotic interactions on range limits across scales and landscape configurations, and the second based on aggregate measures of diffuse interactions and network strength. We conclude with suggestions for a future research agenda.
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Comparative Genomics of the Ectomycorrhizal Sister Species Rhizopogon vinicolor and Rhizopogon vesiculosus (Basidiomycota: Boletales) Reveals a Divergence of the Mating Type B Locus

Comparative Genomics of the Ectomycorrhizal Sister Species Rhizopogon vinicolor and Rhizopogon vesiculosus (Basidiomycota: Boletales) Reveals a Divergence of the Mating Type B Locus | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
Divergence of breeding system plays an important role in fungal speciation. Ectomycorrhizal fungi, however, pose a challenge for the study of reproductive biology because most cannot be mated under laboratory conditions. To overcome this barrier, we sequenced the draft genomes of the ectomycorrhizal sister species Rhizopogon vinicolor Smith and Zeller and R. vesiculosus Smith and Zeller (Basidiomycota, Boletales)—the first genomes available for Basidiomycota truffles—and characterized gene content and organization surrounding their mating type loci. Both species possess a pair of homeodomain transcription factor homologs at the mating type A -locus as well as pheromone receptor and pheromone precursor homologs at the mating type B -locus. Comparison of Rhizopogon genomes with genomes from Boletales, Agaricales, and Polyporales revealed synteny of the A -locus region within Boletales, but several genomic rearrangements across orders. Our findings suggest correlation between gene content at the B -locus region and breeding system in Boletales with tetrapolar species possessing more diverse gene content than bipolar species. Rhizopogon vinicolor possesses a greater number of B -locus pheromone receptor and precursor genes than R. vesiculosus , as well as a pair of isoprenyl cysteine methyltransferase genes flanking the B -locus compared to a single copy in R. vesiculosus . Examination of dikaryotic single nucleotide polymorphisms within genomes revealed greater heterozygosity in R. vinicolor , consistent with increased rates of outcrossing. Both species possess the components of a heterothallic breeding system with R. vinicolor possessing a B -locus region structure consistent with tetrapolar Boletales and R. vesiculosus possessing a B -locus region structure intermediate between bipolar and tetrapolar Boletales.

Via Francis Martin
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Plant Cell: The Sequences of 1,504 Mutants in the Model Rice Variety Kitaake Facilitate Rapid Functional Genomic Studies (2017)

Plant Cell: The Sequences of 1,504 Mutants in the Model Rice Variety Kitaake Facilitate Rapid Functional Genomic Studies (2017) | Microbes, plant immunity, and crop science | Scoop.it
The availability of a whole-genome sequenced mutant population and the cataloging of mutations of each line at a single-nucleotide resolution facilitate functional genomic analysis. To this end, we generated and sequenced a fast-neutron-induced mutant population in the model rice cultivar Kitaake (Oryza sativa L. ssp. japonica), which completes its life cycle in 9 weeks. We sequenced 1,504 mutant lines at 45-fold coverage and identified 91,513 mutations affecting 32,307 genes, i.e., 58% of all rice genes. We detected an average of 61 mutations per line. Mutation types include single base substitutions, deletions, insertions, inversions, translocations, and tandem duplications. We observed a high proportion of loss-of-function mutations. We identified an inversion affecting a single gene as the causative mutation for the short-grain phenotype in one mutant line. This result reveals the usefulness of the resource for efficient, cost-effective identification of genes conferring specific phenotypes. To facilitate public access to this genetic resource, we established an open access database called KitBase that provides access to sequence data and seed stocks. This population complements other available mutant collections and gene-editing technologies. This work demonstrates how inexpensive next-generation sequencing can be applied to generate a high-density catalog of mutations.
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, July 14, 6:16 AM
fast moving genomics tools for rice!