The coleopteran insect western corn rootworm (WCR, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) is a devastating crop pest in North America and Europe. Although crop plants that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins can limit insect infestation, some insect populations have evolved to be resistance to Bt proteins. Here we describe an insecticidal protein, designated IPD072Aa, that is isolated from Pseudomonas chlororaphis. Transgenic corn plants expressing IPD072Aa show protection from WCR insect injury under field conditions. IPD072Aa leaves several lepidopteran and hemipteran insect species unaffected, but is effective in killing WCR larvae that are resistant to Bt proteins produced by currently available transgenic corn. IPD072Aa can be used to protect corn crops against WCR.
Cellulose synthase is a large, multisubunit machine that “swims” along the plant cell membrane as it spins out cellulose fibers. Kumar et al. show that the cellulose synthase complex is heavily modified through S-acylation. Subsets of the acylation sites were required for the complex to integrate into the plasma membrane. A single functional complex could bear as many as 100 modification sites, potentially changing its biophysical characteristics and helping it to associate with the membrane.
Wall-associated kinases comprise a sub-family of receptor-like kinases that function in plant growth and stress responses. Previous studies have shown that the rice wall-associated kinase, OsWAK25, interacts with a diverse set of proteins associated with both biotic and abiotic stress responses. Here, we show that wounding and BTH treatments induce OsWAK25 transcript expression in rice. We generated OsWAK25 overexpression lines and show that these lines exhibit a lesion mimic phenotype and enhanced expression of rice NH1 (NPR1 homolog 1), OsPAL2 , PBZ1 and PR10 . Furthermore, these lines show resistance to the hemibiotrophic pathogens, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae ( Xoo ) and Magnaporthe oryzae , yet display increased susceptibility to necrotrophic fungal pathogens, Rhizoctonia solani and Cochliobolus miyabeanus .
Plant genomes, and eukaryotic genomes in general, are typically repetitive, polyploid and heterozygous, which complicates genome assembly. The short read lengths of early Sanger and current next-generation sequencing platforms hinder assembly through complex repeat regions, and many draft and reference genomes are fragmented, lacking skewed GC and repetitive intergenic sequences, which are gaining importance due to projects like the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE). Here we report the whole-genome sequencing and assembly of the desiccation-tolerant grass Oropetium thomaeum. Using only single-molecule real-time sequencing, which generates long (>16 kilobases) reads with random errors, we assembled 99% (244 megabases) of the Oropetium genome into 625 contigs with an N50 length of 2.4 megabases. Oropetium is an example of a ‘near-complete’ draft genome which includes gapless coverage over gene space as well as intergenic sequences such as centromeres, telomeres, transposable elements and rRNA clusters that are typically unassembled in draft genomes. Oropetium has 28,466 protein-coding genes and 43% repeat sequences, yet with 30% more compact euchromatic regions it is the smallest known grass genome. The Oropetium genome demonstrates the utility of single-molecule real-time sequencing for assembling high-quality plant and other eukaryotic genomes, and serves as a valuable resource for the plant comparative genomics community.
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Small RNAs (sRNAs) expressed in plants that target the Dicer-like (DCLs) genes of a fungal pathogen are shown to effectively silence the fungal DCLs and reduce pathogenicity after being taken up, demonstrating fungus–plant sRNA trafficking and a new approach for fungus control.
A general strategy to construct small molecule biosensors in eukaryotes | A new method for developing biosensors from ligand binding domains that have concentration-dependent and selective responses to small molecules in yeast, mammalian cells and plants.
Seagrasses colonized the sea on at least three independent occasions to form the basis of one of the most productive and widespread coastal ecosystems on the planet. Here we report the genome of Zostera marina (L.), the first, to our knowledge, marine angiosperm to be fully sequenced. This reveals unique insights into the genomic losses and gains involved in achieving the structural and physiological adaptations required for its marine lifestyle, arguably the most severe habitat shift ever accomplished by flowering plants. Key angiosperm innovations that were lost include the entire repertoire of stomatal genes, genes involved in the synthesis of terpenoids and ethylene signalling, and genes for ultraviolet protection and phytochromes for far-red sensing. Seagrasses have also regained functions enabling them to adjust to full salinity. Their cell walls contain all of the polysaccharides typical of land plants, but also contain polyanionic, low-methylated pectins and sulfated galactans, a feature shared with the cell walls of all macroalgae and that is important for ion homoeostasis, nutrient uptake and O2/CO2 exchange through leaf epidermal cells. The Z. marina genome resource will markedly advance a wide range of functional ecological studies from adaptation of marine ecosystems under climate warming, to unravelling the mechanisms of osmoregulation under high salinities that may further inform our understanding of the evolution of salt tolerance in crop plants.
Herman Höfte's insight:
A fantastic resource to study the adaptation of plant cell walls to extreme salinity !
The endodermis in roots acts as a selectivity filter for nutrient and water transport essential for growth and development. This selectivity is enabled by the formation of lignin-based Casparian strips. Casparian strip formation is initiated by the localization of the Casparian strip domain proteins (CASPs) in the plasma membrane, at the site where the Casparian strip will form. Localized CASPs recruit Peroxidase 64 (PER64), a Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homolog F, and Enhanced Suberin 1 (ESB1), a dirigent-like protein, to assemble the lignin polymerization machinery. However, the factors that control both expression of the genes encoding this biosynthetic machinery and its localization to the Casparian strip formation site remain unknown. Here, we identify the transcription factor, MYB36, essential for Casparian strip formation. MYB36 directly and positively regulates the expression of the Casparian strip genes CASP1, PER64, and ESB1. Casparian strips are absent in plants lacking a functional MYB36 and are replaced by ectopic lignin-like material in the corners of endodermal cells. The barrier function of Casparian strips in these plants is also disrupted. Significantly, ectopic expression of MYB36 in the cortex is sufficient to reprogram these cells to start expressing CASP1–GFP, correctly localize the CASP1–GFP protein to form a Casparian strip domain, and deposit a Casparian strip-like structure in the cell wall at this location. These results demonstrate that MYB36 is controlling expression of the machinery required to locally polymerize lignin in a fine band in the cell wall for the formation of the Casparian strip.
Another example of a cell wall polysaccharide hydrolase that acts as a virulence factor and is recognized as a PAMP together with the xylanase from Trichoderma (Ron and Avni Plant Cell 2004) and a polygalacturonase from Botrytis (Zhang et al. Plant Physiol. 2014). It will be interesting to see why these cell wall degrading enzymes are so important for virulence !
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