HighlightsAnthocyanin accumulation doubles the postharvest storage time of tomato fruitAnthocyanin enrichment reduces susceptibility of tomato fruit to Botrytis cinereaLonger shelf life is associated with high hydrophilic antioxidant capacity of fruitAnthocyanins perturb the dynamics of the ROS burst during infection by B. cinereaSummary
Shelf life is an important quality trait for many fruit, including tomatoes. We report that enrichment of anthocyanin, a natural pigment, in tomatoes can significantly extend shelf life. Processes late in ripening are suppressed by anthocyanin accumulation, and susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea, one of the most important postharvest pathogens, is reduced in purple tomato fruit. We show that reduced susceptibility to B. cinerea is dependent specifically on the accumulation of anthocyanins, which alter the spreading of the ROS burst during infection. The increased antioxidant capacity of purple fruit likely slows the processes of overripening. Enhancing the levels of natural antioxidants in tomato provides a novel strategy for extending shelf life by genetic engineering or conventional breeding.
Conifers have dominated forests for more than 200 million years and are of huge ecological and economic importance. Here we present the draft assembly of the 20-gigabase genome of Norway spruce (Picea abies), the first available for any gymnosperm. The number of well-supported genes (28,354) is similar to the >100 times smaller genome of Arabidopsis thaliana, and there is no evidence of a recent whole-genome duplication in the gymnosperm lineage. Instead, the large genome size seems to result from the slow and steady accumulation of a diverse set of long-terminal repeat transposable elements, possibly owing to the lack of an efficient elimination mechanism. Comparative sequencing of Pinus sylvestris, Abies sibirica, Juniperus communis, Taxus baccata and Gnetum gnemon reveals that the transposable element diversity is shared among extant conifers. Expression of 24-nucleotide small RNAs, previously implicated in transposable element silencing, is tissue-specific and much lower than in other plants. We further identify numerous long (>10,000 base pairs) introns, gene-like fragments, uncharacterized long non-coding RNAs and short RNAs. This opens up new genomic avenues for conifer forestry and breeding.
Genomics-based breeding of economically important crops such as banana, coffee, cotton, potato, tobacco and wheat is often hampered by genome size, polyploidy and high repeat content. We adapted the sequence-based Whole Genome Profiling (WGP™) technology to gain insight into the polyploidy of the model plant Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco). N. tabacum is assumed to originate from a hybridization event between Nicotiana sylvestris and Nicotiana tomentosiformis about 200,000 years ago. This resulted in tobacco having a haploid genome size of 4,500 million base pairs, about four times larger than the related tomato and potato genomes. In this study a physical map containing 9,750 contigs of bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) was constructed. The average contig size was 462 kbp, and the calculated genome coverage equaled the estimated tobacco genome size. We used a method for determination of the ancestral origin of the genome by annotation of WGP sequence tags. This assignment agreed with the ancestral annotation available from the tobacco genetic map and may be used to investigate the evolution of homoeologous genome segments after polyploidization. The map generated will be an essential scaffold for the tobacco genome. We propose the combination of WGP physical mapping technology with tag profiling of ancestral lines as a generally applicable method to elucidate the ancestral origin of genome segments of polyploid species. The physical mapping of genes and their origins will enable application of biotechnology to polyploid plants aimed at accelerating and increasing the precision of breeding for abiotic and biotic stress resistance.
HighlightsOryza spp. have evolved exceptional capabilities for tolerance to water submergence.The SUB1A gene is a key determinant of submergence tolerance and survival.Geographical and historical data suggest introgression of SUB1A-1 from wild into domesticated rice.A distinct mechanism for submergence survival is probably present in CC genome wild rice lacking SUB1A.Summary
Rice (Oryza sativa) varieties differ considerably in their tolerance to submergence, a trait that has been associated with the SUB1A gene. Recently, this gene was found in some wild rice species and landraces, which along with O. sativa, belong to the AA genome type group. On the basis of geographical and historical data, we hypothesize that SUB1A-1 from wild species may have been introgressed into domesticated rice. This introgression probably occurred in the Ganges Basin, with the subsequent spread of the SUB1A-1 to other areas of South Asia due to human migration. The lack of the SUB1A gene in diploid CC genome type wild rice showing submergence-tolerant traits suggests the presence of a different survival mechanism in this genetic group.
Sexual recombination drives genetic diversity in eukaryotic genomes and fosters adaptation to novel environmental challenges. Although strictly asexual microorganisms are often considered as evolutionary dead ends, they comprise many devastating plant pathogens. Presently, it remains unknown how such asexual pathogens generate the genetic variation that is required for quick adaptation and evolution in the arms race with their hosts. Here we show that extensive chromosomal rearrangements in the strictly asexual plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae establish highly dynamic lineage-specific (LS) genomic regions that act as a source for genetic variation to mediate aggressiveness. We show that such LS regions are greatly enriched for in planta-expressed effector genes, encoding secreted proteins that enable host colonization. The LS regions occur at the flanks of chromosomal breakpoints and are enriched for retrotransposons and other repetitive sequence elements. Our results demonstrate that asexual pathogens may evolve by prompting chromosomal rearrangements, enabling rapid development of novel effector genes. Likely, chromosomal reshuffling can act as a general mechanism for adaptation in asexually propagating organisms.
HighlightsWe review the roles of the phytohormone auxin during lateral root formation in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.Different auxin ‘signalling modules’ act sequentially to control the various steps of lateral root formation from founder cell priming to initiation, patterning, and emergence.Auxin acts as a common integrator to many endogenous and environmental signals regulating lateral root formation.Summary
The developmental plasticity of the root system represents a key adaptive trait enabling plants to cope with abiotic stresses such as drought and is therefore important in the current context of global changes. Root branching through lateral root formation is an important component of the adaptability of the root system to its environment. Our understanding of the mechanisms controlling lateral root development has progressed tremendously in recent years through research in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). These studies have revealed that the phytohormone auxin acts as a common integrator to many endogenous and environmental signals regulating lateral root formation. Here, we review what has been learnt about the myriad roles of auxin during lateral root formation in Arabidopsis.
The tomato MADS-box transcription factor RIN acts as a master regulator of fruit ripening. Here, we identified MADS-box proteins that interact with RIN; we also provide evidence that these proteins act in the regulation of fruit ripening. We conducted a yeast two-hybrid screen of a cDNA library from ripening fruit, for genes encoding proteins that bind to RIN. The screen identified two MADS-box genes, FUL1 and FUL2 (previously called TDR4 and SlMBP7), both of which have high sequence similarity to Arabidopsis FRUITFULL. Expression analyses revealed that the FUL1 mRNA and FUL1 protein accumulate in a ripening-specific manner in tomato fruits and FUL2 mRNA and protein accumulate at the pre-ripening stage and throughout ripening. Biochemical analyses confirmed that FUL1 and FUL2 form heterodimers with RIN; this interaction required the FUL1 and FUL2 C-terminal domains. Also, the heterodimers bind to a typical target DNA motif for MADS-box proteins. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that FUL1 and FUL2 bind to genomic sites that were previously identified as RIN-target sites, such as the promoter regions of ACS2, ACS4 and RIN. These findings suggest that RIN forms complexes with FUL1 and FUL2 and these complexes regulate expression of ripening-related genes. In addition to the functional redundancy between FUL1 and FUL2, we also found they have potentially divergent roles in transcriptional regulation, including a difference in genomic target sites.
Rising demands for agricultural products will increase pressure to further intensify crop production, while negative environmental impacts have to be minimized. Ecological intensification entails the environmentally friendly replacement of anthropogenic inputs and/or enhancement of crop productivity, by including regulating and supporting ecosystem services management in agricultural practices. Effective ecological intensification requires an understanding of the relations between land use at different scales and the community composition of ecosystem service-providing organisms above and below ground, and the flow, stability, contribution to yield, and management costs of the multiple services delivered by these organisms. Research efforts and investments are particularly needed to reduce existing yield gaps by integrating context-appropriate bundles of ecosystem services into crop production systems.
Phytophthora infestans, the cause of potato late blight, is infamous for having triggered the Irish Great Famine in the 1840s. Until the late 1970s, P. infestans diversity outside of its Mexican center of origin was low, and one scenario held that a single strain, US-1, had dominated the global population for 150 years; this was later challenged based on DNA analysis of historical herbarium specimens. We have compared the genomes of 11 herbarium and 15 modern strains. We conclude that the nineteenth century epidemic was caused by a unique genotype, HERB-1, that persisted for over 50 years. HERB-1 is distinct from all examined modern strains, but it is a close relative of US-1, which replaced it outside of Mexico in the twentieth century. We propose that HERB-1 and US-1 emerged from a metapopulation that was established in the early 1800s outside of the species' center of diversity.
We present the coupled use of specifically localized fluorescent gene markers and image processing for automated quantitative analysis of cell growth and genetic activity across living plant tissues. We used fluorescent protein markers to identify cells, create seeds and boundaries for the automatic segmentation of cell geometries and ratiometrically measure gene expression cell by cell in Arabidopsis thaliana.
"Compounds from the library of active compounds in Arabidopsis (LATCA) were screened for the ability to perturb developmental responses to sucrose in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. This screen found that sulfonamides, which inhibit folate biosynthesis in plants, restrict hypocotyl elongation in a sugar-dependent fashion."
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera), one of the most important fruit species in the Classical Mediterranean world, is thought to have been domesticated first in South-Western Asia, during the Neolithic. However, the domestication process remains largely unknown. Crucial unanswered questions concern the duration of the process (rapid or slow?) and the related geographical area (single or multiple-origins?). Seeds from domesticated grapevine and from its wild ancestor are reported to differ according to shape. Our work aims, first, to confirm this difference and secondly to identify the extent of domestication in the grapes cultivated by Romans in Southern France during the period 50 BCE–500 CE. We had the opportunity to analyze uncharred waterlogged grape pips from 17 archaeological sites. Based on an extended reference sample of modern wild grapevines and cultivars our work shows that both subspecies can be discriminated using simple measurements. The elongation gradient of the pip’s body and stalk may be regarded as an indicator of the strength of the selection pressures undergone by domesticated grapes. Grapevines cultivated during the Roman period included a mix of morphotypes comprising wild, intermediate and moderately selected domesticated forms. Our data point to a relative shift towards more selected types during the Roman period. Domestication of the grapevine appears to have been a slow process. This could result from the recurrent incorporation into cultivation of plants originating from sexual reproduction, when grape cultivation essentially relies on vegetative propagation.
There is now compelling evidence of a reduction of pollinator richness and density at a global scale. In this opinion article, we argue that such pollinator decline intensifies pollen limitation and reduces plant reproductive success, threatening natural populations of extinction. We use genetic architecture and selection experiments on floral traits and evaluate the potential for plant reproductive strategies to adapt rapidly to new pollination environments. We propose that plant reproductive strategies could adapt to the current pollinator decline by decreasing or increasing their reliance to pollinators, for example, increasing autonomous selfing or reinforcing interactions with pollinators. We further discuss if and how adaptation of plant reproductive strategies can buffer the demographic consequences of pollinator decline, and possibly rescue plant populations from extinction.
Dehydration leads to different physiological and biochemical responses in plants. We analyzed the lipid composition and the expression of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis in the desiccation-tolerant plant Craterostigma plantagineum. A comparative approach was carried out with Lindernia brevidens (desiccation tolerant), and two desiccation-sensitive species, L. subracemosa and A. thaliana. In C. plantagineum the total lipid content remained constant while the lipid composition underwent major changes during desiccation. The most prominent change was the removal of monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) from the thylakoids. Analysis of molecular species composition revealed that around 50% of 36:x (number of carbons in the acyl chains: number of double bonds) MGDG was hydrolyzed and diacylglycerol (DAG) used for phospholipid synthesis, while another MGDG fraction was converted into digalactosyldiacylglycerol via the DGD1/DGD2 pathway and subsequently into oligogalactolipids by SFR2. 36:x-DAG was also employed for the synthesis of triacylglycerol. Phosphatidic acid (PA) increased in C. plantagineum, L. brevidens, and L. subracemosa, in agreement with a role of PA as an intermediate of lipid turnover and of phospholipase D in signalling during desiccation. 34:x-DAG, presumably derived from de novo assembly, was converted into phosphatidylinositol (PI) in C. plantagineum and L. brevidens, but not in desiccation-sensitive plants, suggesting that PI is involved in acquisition of desiccation tolerance. The accumulation of oligogalactolipids and PI in the chloroplast and extraplastidial membranes, respectively, increases the concentration of hydroxyl groups and enhances the ratio of bilayer to nonbilayer forming lipids, thus contributing to protein and membrane stabilization.
The RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway is of central importance to the initiation and maintenance of transcriptional gene silencing in plants. DNA methylation is directed to target sequences in a mechanism that involves the production of small RNAs by RNA Polymerase IV and by long non-coding RNAs by RNA Polymerase V. DNA methylation then leads to the recruitment of histone modifying enzymes followed by the establishment of a silenced chromatin state. Recently MORC6, a member of the Microrchidia (MORC) family of adenosine triphosphatases (ATPases), has been shown to be involved in transcriptional gene silencing. However reports differed regarding whether MORC6 was involved in RdDM itself or acting downstream of DNA methylation to enable the formation of higher order chromatin structure. In this work we demonstrate that MORC6 is required for efficient RdDM at some target loci and using a GFP reporter system we observe that morc6 mutants give rise to a stochastic silencing phenotype. By using cell sorting to separate silenced and unsilenced cells, we show that release of silencing at this locus does not occur in the absence of a loss of DNA methylation. Thus our data supports a view that MORC6 can influence RdDM and that it is not only acting downstream of DNA methylation. Therefore for some loci, efficient initiation or maintenance of DNA methylation may depend on the ability to form higher order chromatin structure.
Phytophthora lateralis is a fungus-like (oomycete) pathogen of trees in the family Cupressaceae, including Chamaecyparis lawsoniana(Lawson cypress or Port Orford cedar). Known in North America since the 1920s, presumably having been accidentally introduced from its assumed East Asian centre of origin, until recently, this pathogen has not been identified causing disease in Europe except for a few isolated outbreaks. However, since 2010 there have been several reports of infection of C. lawsoniana by P. lateralis in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. We sequenced the genomes of four isolates of P. lateralis from two sites in Northern Ireland in 2011. Comparison with the closely related tree and shrub pathogen P. ramorum (cause of ramorum disease of larch and other species in the UK) shows that P. lateralis shares 91.47% nucleotide sequence identity over the core conserved compartments of the genome. The genomes of the four Northern Ireland isolates are almost identical but we identified several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that distinguish between isolates, thereby presenting potential molecular markers of use for tracking routes of spread and in epidemiological studies. Our data reveal very low rates of heterozygosity (compared with P. ramorum), consistent with inbreeding within this P. lateralis population.
Trans-acting small interfering RNAs (tasiRNAs) are a major class of small RNAs performing essential biological functions in plants. The first reported tasiRNA pathway, that of miR173-TAS1/2, produces tasiRNAs regulating a set of pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) genes and has been characterized only in Arabidopsis thaliana to date. Here, we demonstrate that the microRNA (miRNA)-transacting small interfering RNA gene (TAS)-pentatricopeptide repeat-containing gene (PPR)-small interfering RNA pathway is a highly dynamic and widespread feature of eudicots. Nine eudicot plants, representing six different plant families, have evolved similar tasiRNA pathways to initiate phased small interfering RNA (phasiRNA) production from PPR genes. The PPR phasiRNA production is triggered by different 22-nucleotide miRNAs, including miR7122, miR1509, and fve-PPRtri1/2, and through distinct mechanistic strategies exploiting miRNA direct targeting or indirect targeting through TAS-like genes (TASL), one-hit or two-hit, or even two layers of tasiRNA–TASL interactions. Intriguingly, although those miRNA triggers display high sequence divergence caused by the occurrence of frequent point mutations and splicing shifts, their corresponding MIRNA genes show pronounced identity to the Arabidopsis MIR173, implying a common origin of this group of miRNAs (super-miR7122). Further analyses reveal that super-miR7122 may have evolved from a newly defined miR4376 superfamily, which probably originated from the widely conserved miR390. The elucidation of this evolutionary path expands our understanding of the course of miRNA evolution, especially for relatively conserved miRNA families.
The juxtaposition of newly formed primordia in the root and shoot differs greatly, but their formation in both contexts depends on local accumulation of the signaling molecule auxin. Whether the spacing of lateral roots along the main root and the arrangement of leaf primordia at the plant apex are controlled by related underlying mechanisms has remained unclear.
Here, we show that, in Arabidopsis thaliana, three transcriptional regulators implicated in phyllotaxis, PLETHORA3 (PLT3), PLT5, and PLT7, are expressed in incipient lateral root primordia where they are required for primordium development and lateral root emergence. Furthermore, all three PLT proteins prevent the formation of primordia close to one another, because, in their absence, successive lateral root primordia are frequently grouped in close longitudinal or radial clusters. The triple plt mutant phenotype is rescued by PLT-vYFP fusion proteins, which are expressed in the shoot meristem as well as the root, but not by expression of PLT7 in the shoot alone. Expression of all three PLT genes requires auxin response factors ARF7 and ARF19, and the reintroduction of PLT activity suffices to rescue lateral root formation in arf7,arf19.
In animals and plants, pathogen recognition triggers the local activation of intracellular signaling that is prerequisite for mounting systemic defenses in the whole organism. We identified that Arabidopsis thaliana isoform CPK5 of the plant calcium-dependent protein kinase family becomes rapidly biochemically activated in response to pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) stimulation. CPK5 signaling resulted in enhanced salicylic acid–mediated resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pst DC3000, differential plant defense gene expression, and synthesis of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Using selected reaction monitoring MS, we identified the plant NADPH oxidase, respiratory burst oxidase homolog D (RBOHD), as an in vivo phosphorylation target of CPK5. Remarkably, CPK5-dependent in vivo phosphorylation of RBOHD occurs on both PAMP- and ROS stimulation. Furthermore, rapid CPK5-dependent biochemical and transcriptional activation of defense reactions at distal sites is compromised in cpk5 and rbohd mutants. Our data not only identify CPK5 as a key regulator of innate immune responses in plants but also support a model of ROS-mediated cell-to-cell communication, where a self-propagating mutual activation circuit consisting of the protein kinase, CPK5, and the NADPH oxidase RBOHD facilitates rapid signal propagation as a prerequisite for defense response activation at distal sites within the plant.
The evolution of diverse organ shapes — such as intricate petals and leaves — has long fascinated biologists. A fundamental question is whether organs share an underlying developmental framework that has evolved under different selective pressures to form unique structures. This is indeed the case according to a recent study that modelled petal growth and compared it to le…
SummaryWhile the existence of environmental reservoirs of human pathogens is well established, less is known about the role of nonagricultural environments in emergence, evolution, and spread of crop pathogens.Here, we analyzed phylogeny, virulence genes, host range, and aggressiveness of Pseudomonas syringae strains closely related to the tomato pathogen P. syringae pv. tomato (Pto), including strains isolated from snowpack and streams.The population of Pto relatives in nonagricultural environments was estimated to be large and its diversity to be higher than that of the population of Pto and its relatives on crops. Ancestors of environmental strains, Pto, and other genetically monomorphic crop pathogens were inferred to have frequently recombined, suggesting an epidemic population structure for P. syringae. Some environmental strains have repertoires of type III-secreted effectors very similar to Pto, are almost as aggressive on tomato as Pto, but have a wider host range than typical Pto strains.We conclude that crop pathogens may have evolved through a small number of evolutionary events from a population of less aggressive ancestors with a wider host range present in nonagricultural environments.
The PLAnt co-EXpression database (PLANEX) is a new internet-based database for plant gene analysis. PLANEX (http://planex.plantbioinformatics.org) contains publicly available GeneChip data obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). PLANEX is a genome-wide co-expression database, which allows for the functional identification of genes from a wide variety of experimental designs. It can be used for the characterization of genes for functional identification and analysis of a gene's dependency among other genes. Gene co-expression databases have been developed for other species, but gene co-expression information for plants is currently limited.
Description: We constructed PLANEX as a list of co-expressed genes and functional annotations for Arabidopsis thaliana, Glycine max, Hordeum vulgare, Oryza sativa, Solanum lycopersicum, Triticum aestivum, Vitis vinifera and Zea mays. PLANEX reports Pearson's correlation coefficients (PCCs; r-values) that distribute from a gene of interest for a given microarray platform set corresponding to a particular organism. To support PCCs, PLANEX performs an enrichment test of Gene Ontology terms and Cohen's Kappa value to compare functional similarity for all genes in the co-expression database. PLANEX draws a cluster network with co-expressed genes, which is estimated using the k-mean method. To construct PLANEX, a variety of datasets were interpreted by the IBM supercomputer Advanced Interactive eXecutive (AIX) in a supercomputing center.
PLANEX provides a correlation database, a cluster network and an interpretation of enrichment test results for eight plant species. A typical co-expressed gene generates lists of co-expression data that contain hundreds of genes of interest for enrichment analysis. Also, co-expressed genes can be identified and cataloged in terms of comparative genomics by using the 'Co-expression gene compare' feature. This type of analysis will help interpret experimental data and determine whether there is a common term among genes of interest.
"TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED1-CYCLOIDEA-PCF) transcription factors participate in plant developmental processes associated with cell proliferation and growth. Most members of class I, one of the two classes that compose the family, have a conserved Cys at position 20 of the TCP DNA binding and dimerization domain. We show that Arabidopsis thaliana class I proteins with Cys20 are sensitive to redox conditions.."
"There are several examples of transcription factors whose activity is modified by redox agents in plants. The best studied case is perhaps the NPR1-TGA system (Després et al., 2003; Mou et al., 2003; Lindermayr et al., 2010)."
peptides are interchangeable between precursor proteins. However, emerging evidence shows that different transit peptides contain different motifs specifying their preference for certain plastid types or ages. In this opinion article, we propose a ‘multi-selection and multi-order’ (M&M) model for transit peptide design, describing each transit peptide as an assembly of motifs for interacting with selected translocon components. These interactions determine the preference of the precursor for a particular plastid type or age. Furthermore, the order of the motifs varies among transit peptides, explaining why no consensus sequences have been identified through linear sequence comparison of all transit peptides as one group.