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Laos - Switzerland gives US$6.3m to boost agro-biodiversity

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) handed over US$6.3 million in support of the Lao government's Agro-Biodiversity Initiative (TABI) in Vientiane on Friday. The SDC has increased its efforts to ...

Via Luigi Guarino
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Newton's journal reveals seeds of plant biology

Newton's journal reveals seeds of plant biology | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Sir Isaac Newton's interest in botany extended well beyond the fabled apple falling from a tree - he also appears to have understood how water moves from roots to leaves over 200 years before botanists did.

Via Mariaschnee
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Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Farmers are constantly spraying pesticides on their crops to combat an array of viral, bacterial, and fungal invaders. Scientists have been trying to get around these chemicals for years by genetically engineering hardy plants resilient to the array of diseases caused by microbial beasties. Most attempts so far confer protection against a single disease, but now researchers have developed a rice plant that fights multiple pathogens at once—without loss to the crop yield—by hooking up a tunable amplifier to the plant’s immune system.

Via Loïc Lepiniec
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Towards mastering CRISPR-induced gene knock-in in plants: survey of key features and focus on the model Physcomitrella patens

Towards mastering CRISPR-induced gene knock-in in plants: survey of key features and focus on the model Physcomitrella patens | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Beyond its predominant role in human and animal therapy, the CRISPR-Cas9 system has also become an essential tool for plant research and plant breeding. Agronomic applications rely on the mastery of gene inactivation and gene modification. However, if the knock-out of genes by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ)-mediated repair of the targeted double-strand breaks (DSBs) induced by the CRISPR-Cas9 system is rather well mastered, the knock-in of genes by homology-driven repair or end-joining remains difficult to perform efficiently in higher plants. In this review, we describe the different approaches that can be tested to improve the efficiency of CRISPR–induced gene modification in plants, which include the use of optimal transformation and regeneration protocols, the design of appropriate guide RNAs and donor templates and the choice of nucleases and means of delivery. We also present what can be done to orient DNA repair pathways in the target cells, and we show how the moss Physcomitrella patens can be used as a model plant to better understand what DNA repair mechanisms are involved, and how this knowledge could eventually be used to define more performant strategies of CRISPR-induced gene knock-in.
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Quantitative Proteomics Analysis of Developmental Reprogramming in Protoplasts of the Moss Physcomitrella patens | Plant and Cell Physiology | Oxford Academic

Quantitative Proteomics Analysis of Developmental Reprogramming in Protoplasts of the Moss Physcomitrella patens | Plant and Cell Physiology | Oxford Academic | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
The moss Physcomitrella patens is a model system for studying Plant developmental processes. To better understand the biochemical and physiological changes involved in developmental reprogramming, we conducted a quantitative proteomics analysis for protonemata, protoplasts made therefrom and protoplasts regenerated for 2 d. Using an iTRAQ peptide labeling strategy and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), >3,000 peptides and 1,000 proteins were quantified. Of these, 162 proteins were identified as having differential abundances during developmental reprogramming. These proteins were involved in various biological functions, such as defense, energy production, translation, metabolism, protein destination and storage, transcription, transport, cell growth/division, cell structure and signal transduction. Of these, the proteins involved in energy production and translation increased in abundance, while many of the metabolism and defense proteins decreased in abundance. In addition, most of the cell growth/division, protein stability and cell structure proteins were also down-regulated. This is the first report on the metabolic changes involved in developmental reprogramming in protoplasts. The significance of metabolic networks in developmental programming is beginning to emerge. Our study suggested that stress signals, energy metabolism and ribosomal proteins are pivotal components during developmental programming.
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Rapid breeding of parthenocarpic tomato plants using CRISPR/Cas9

Rapid breeding of parthenocarpic tomato plants using CRISPR/Cas9 | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Parthenocarpy in horticultural crop plants is an important trait with agricultural value for various industrial purposes as well as direct eating quality. Here, we demonstrate a breeding strategy to generate parthenocarpic tomato plants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We optimized the CRISPR/Cas9 system to introduce somatic mutations effectively into SlIAA9—a key gene controlling parthenocarpy—with mutation rates of up to 100% in the T0 generation. Furthermore, analysis of off-target mutations using deep sequencing indicated that our customized gRNAs induced no additional mutations in the host genome. Regenerated mutants exhibited morphological changes in leaf shape and seedless fruit—a characteristic of parthenocarpic tomato. And the segregated next generation (T1) also showed a severe phenotype associated with the homozygous mutated genome. The system developed here could be applied to produce parthenocarpic tomato in a wide variety of cultivars, as well as other major horticultural crops, using this precise and rapid breeding technique.
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Crossing kingdoms: Using decellularized plants as perfusable tissue engineering scaffolds

Crossing kingdoms: Using decellularized plants as perfusable tissue engineering scaffolds | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Despite significant advances in the fabrication of bioengineered scaffolds for tissue engineering, delivery of nutrients in complex engineered human tissues remains a challenge. By taking advantage of the similarities in the vascular structure of plant and animal tissues, we developed decellularized plant tissue as a prevascularized scaffold for tissue engineering applications. Perfusion-based decellularization was modified for different plant species, providing different geometries of scaffolding. After decellularization, plant scaffolds remained patent and able to transport microparticles. Plant scaffolds were recellularized with human endothelial cells that colonized the inner surfaces of plant vasculature. Human mesenchymal stem cells and human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes adhered to the outer surfaces of plant scaffolds. Cardiomyocytes demonstrated contractile function and calcium handling capabilities over the course of 21 days. These data demonstrate the potential of decellularized plants as scaffolds for tissue engineering, which could ultimately provide a cost-efficient, “green” technology for regenerating large volume vascularized tissue mass.
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Fluorescent bioinspired protein labeling with betalamic acid. Derivatization and characterization of novel protein-betaxanthins

Fluorescent bioinspired protein labeling with betalamic acid. Derivatization and characterization of novel protein-betaxanthins | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Betaxanthins are the water-soluble pigments that bestow yellow coloration to fruits, flowers and roots of plants of the Caryophyllales order and present autofluorescence after excitation with blue light. In this work, the semi-synthesis of betaxanthins derived from macromolecules is achieved for the first time by exploiting the reactivity of amine groups belonging to proteins. The synthesis of protein-betaxanthins is demonstrated by spectrophotometry and HPLC-ESI-TOF-MS mass analysis. The derivatization with betalamic acid was in a ratio 1:1 and yielded protein-betaxanthins yellow in color that exhibited fluorescent properties with a maximum excitation wavelength of 476 nm and a maximum emission wavelength of 551 nm. Moreover, staining can be started from purified betalamic acid or directly from raw red beet root extracts. The novel bioinspired labeling reaction allowed protein detection in conventional fluorescence scanning and imaging systems and opens a new perspective for betalamic acid derived molecules as fluorescent probes with multiple biological applications.
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The evolutionary origin of plant and animal microRNAs

The evolutionary origin of plant and animal microRNAs | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
miRNAs are crucial regulators of normal development in plants and animals, but their origins remain obscure.
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De-Problematizing ‘GMOs’: Suggestions for Communicating about Genetic Engineering

De-Problematizing ‘GMOs’: Suggestions for Communicating about Genetic Engineering | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
The public debates concerning genetic engineering (GE) involve many non-scientific issues. The ensuing complexity is one reason why biotechnologists are reluctant to become involved. By sharing our personal experiences in science communication and suggesting ways to de-problematize GE, we aim to inspire our colleagues to engage with the public.
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A phenol-enriched cuticle is ancestral to lignin evolution in land plants

A phenol-enriched cuticle is ancestral to lignin evolution in land plants | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
The phenolic polymer lignin is thought to have contributed to adaptation of early land plants to terrestrial environments.
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Sexual reproduction, sporophyte development and molecular variation in the model moss Physcomitrella patens: introducing the ecotype Reute

Sexual reproduction, sporophyte development and molecular variation in the model moss Physcomitrella patens: introducing the ecotype Reute | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Rich ecotype collections are used for several plant models to unravel the molecular causes of phenotypic differences and to investigate effects of environmental adaption and acclimation. For the model moss Physcomitrella patens, collections of accessions are available and have been used e.g. for phylogenetic and taxonomic studies, but few have been investigated further for phenotypic differences. Here, we focus on the Reute accession and provide expression profiling and comparative developmental data for several stages of sporophyte development, as well as information on genetic variation via genomic sequencing. We analysed cross-technology and –laboratory data to define a confident set of 15 mature sporophyte specific genes. We find that the standard laboratory strain Gransden produces fewer sporophytes than Reute or Villersexel, although gametangia develop with the same time course and do not show evident morphological differences. Reute exhibits less genetic variation relative to Gransden than Villersexel, yet we found variation between Gransden and Reute in the expression profiles of several genes, as well as variation hotspots and genes that appear to evolve under positive Darwinian selection. We analyzed expression differences between the ecotypes for selected candidate genes in the GRAS transcription factor family, the chalcone synthase family, and genes involved in cell wall modification that are potentially related to phenotypic differences. We confirm that Reute is a P. patens ecotype and suggest its use for reverse genetic studies that involve progression through the life cycle and multiple generations.

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Transgenic papaya: a useful platform for oral vaccines

Transgenic papaya: a useful platform for oral vaccines | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Transgenic papaya callus lines expressing the components of the S3Pvac vaccine constitute a stable platform to produce an oral vaccine against cysticercosis caused byTaenia soliumorT. crassiceps.

The development of effective delivery systems to cope with the reduced immunogenicity of new subunit vaccines is a priority in vaccinology. Herein, experimental evidence supporting a papaya-based platform to produce needle-free, recombinant, highly immunogenic vaccines is shown. Papaya (Carica papaya) callus lines were previously engineered by particle bombardment to express the three protective peptides of the S3Pvac anti-cysticercosis vaccine (KETc7, KETc12, KETc1). Calli were propagated in vitro, and a stable integration and expression of the target genes has been maintained, as confirmed by PCR, qRT-PCR, and HPLC. These results point papaya calli as a suitable platform for long-term transgenic expression of the vaccine peptides. The previously demonstrated protective immunogenic efficacy of S3Pvac-papaya orally administered to mice is herein confirmed in a wider dose-range and formulated with different delivery vehicles, adequate for oral vaccination. This protection is accompanied by an increase in anti-S3Pvac antibody titers and a delayed hypersensitivity response against the vaccine. A significant increase in CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocyte proliferation was induced in vitro by each vaccine peptide in mice immunized with the lowest dose of S3Pvac papaya (0.56 ng of the three peptides in 0.1 µg of papaya callus total protein per mouse). In pigs, the obliged intermediate host for Taenia solium, S3Pvac papaya was also immunogenic when orally administered in a two-log dose range. Vaccinated pigs significantly increased anti-vaccine antibodies and mononuclear cell proliferation. Overall, the oral immunogenicity of this stable S3Pvac-papaya vaccine in mice and pigs, not requiring additional adjuvants, supports the interest in papaya callus as a useful platform for plant-based vaccines.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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mlo-based resistance: An apparently universal “weapon” to defeat powdery mildew disease | Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

mlo-based resistance: An apparently universal “weapon” to defeat powdery mildew disease | Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Loss-of-function mutations of the appropriate Mildew resistance locus o (Mlo) gene(s) are an apparently reliable “weapon” to protect plants from infection by powdery mildew fungi, as they confer durable broad-spectrum resistance. Originally detected as a natural mutation in an Ethiopian barley landrace, this so-called mlo-based resistance has been successfully employed in European barley agriculture for more than four decades. More recently, mlo-mediated resistance was discovered to be inducible in virtually every plant species of economical or scientific relevance. By now, mlo resistance has been found (as natural mutants) or generated (by induced mutagenesis, gene silencing, and targeted or non-targeted gene knock-out) in a broad range of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plant species. Here, we review features of mlo resistance in barley, discuss approaches to identify the appropriate Mlo gene targets to induce mlo-based resistance, and consider the issue of pleiotropic effects often associated with mlo-mediated immunity, which can harm plant yield and quality. We portray mlo-based resistance as an apparently universal and effective “weapon” to defeat powdery mildew disease in a multitude of plant species.

Via Christophe Jacquet, Agriculture Nouvelle
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Plant biology: An immunity boost combats crop disease : Nature

Plant biology: An immunity boost combats crop disease : Nature | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Xu and colleagues provide insight into how features of the 5′ region of the TBF1 mRNA mediate its translational control. In this region, there are two previously identified10 short upstream open reading frames (uORFs), sequences that encode short peptides and precede the start of the open reading frame (ORF) that encodes TBF1. The authors identified another feature of interest in this 5′ region — a short adenine-rich nucleotide sequence located just before the two uORFs (Fig. 1). Adenine is a nucleotide known as a purine, and because purines are often designated by the letter 'R', the authors named this sequence the R-motif. They found that, in the absence of pathogen challenge, the uORFs strongly inhibit the ability of the ribosome protein-synthesis machinery to translate the TBF1-encoding ORF located downstream in the mRNA. The R-motif adds to this translational control. When plants were treated with elf18, the authors found that this repression of TBF1 synthesis was rapidly and transiently reversed.

Via Francis Martin
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Ultrastructural study on the interaction between Physcomitrella patens and Botrytis cinerea - Yan - Plant Pathology - Wiley Online Library

Ultrastructural study on the interaction between Physcomitrella patens and Botrytis cinerea - Yan - Plant Pathology - Wiley Online Library | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Little is known about the interactions of bryophytes with their pathogens compared with those of flowering plants. We used the moss Physcomitrella patens and fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea to investigate their interaction at the ultrastructural level. Infection behaviors of B. cinerea in moss tissues were observed during 1–7 d after inoculation. Some appressoria directly penetrated P. patens cytoplasm through leaf cell walls, and others entered the intercellular spaces of leaves and infected cytoplasm. Infection hyphae were observed in sclerenchyma cells of P. patens stems for the first time. Our results demonstrated that the ratio of hyphae-inoculated leaf cells to leaf numbers could be used to quantify the disease development process at 24 h after inoculation. Our ultrastructural studies revealed two responses of P. patens to B. cinerea inoculation: reinforcement of cell walls, including papillae formation; and cell death. This was the first observation of papillae for P. patens–B. cinerea interaction at the ultrastructural level. Papillae in P. Patens had a similar ultrastructure to those of higher plants, and may be involved in the defense response to B. cinerea infection. Thus papillae formation is likely an evolutionarily conserved defense mechanism from the early land colonization by plants. Cell death during the P. patens–B. cinerea interaction had some features of programmed cell death, with hydrogen peroxide produced in cytoplasm membranes, suggesting something like hypersensitive response. These ultrastructural studies suggested that P. patens could be a useful system for studying phytopathogens and to provide theoretical bases for defense mechanisms in evolutionary development.
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Golden Genes: The Movie

The frozen, bodiless genes of millions of plants, animals and humans are stored in biobanks around the world. They rekindle dreams of old: re-creating extinct species, ending world hunger, human life without illness or disease. But biobanks do more than
Via Luigi Guarino
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A study of allelic diversity underlying flowering-time adaptation in maize landraces : Nature Genetics : Nature Research

A study of allelic diversity underlying flowering-time adaptation in maize landraces : Nature Genetics : Nature Research | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Landraces (traditional varieties) of domesticated species preserve useful genetic variation, yet they remain untapped due to the genetic linkage between the few useful alleles and hundreds of undesirable alleles1. We integrated two approaches to characterize the diversity of 4,471 maize landraces. First, we mapped genomic regions controlling latitudinal and altitudinal adaptation and identified 1,498 genes. Second, we used F-one association mapping (FOAM) to map the genes that control flowering time, across 22 environments, and identified 1,005 genes. In total, we found that 61.4% of the single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with altitude were also associated with flowering time. More than half of the SNPs associated with altitude were within large structural variants (inversions, centromeres and pericentromeric regions). The combined mapping results indicate that although floral regulatory network genes contribute substantially to field variation, over 90% of the contributing genes probably have indirect effects. Our dual strategy can be used to harness the landrace diversity of plants and animals.
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I Have a Dream: Organic Movements Include Gene Manipulation to Improve Sustainable Farming

I Have a Dream: Organic Movements Include Gene Manipulation to Improve Sustainable Farming | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Abstract: Several papers in a Special Issue of Sustainability have recently discussed various aspects to evaluate whether organic farming and gene manipulation are compatible. A special emphasis was given to new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs). These new approaches allow the most predictable genetic alterations of crop plants in ways that the genetically modified plant is identical to a plant generated by conventional breeding. The articles of the Special Issue present the arguments pro and contra the inclusion of the plants generated by NPBTs in organic farming. Organic movements have not yet made a final decision whether some of these techniques should be accepted or banned. In my view these novel genetically manipulated (GM) crops could be used in such a way as to respect the requirements for genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs) formulated by the International Federation of Organic Movements (IFOAM). Reviewing the potential benefits of disease-resistant potatoes and bananas, it seems possible that these crops support organic farming. To this end, I propose specific requirements that the organic movements should proactively formulate as their standards to accept specific GM crops.
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Frontiers | Adaptation Mechanisms in the Evolution of Moss Defenses to Microbes | Plant Microbe Interactions

Frontiers | Adaptation Mechanisms in the Evolution of Moss Defenses to Microbes | Plant Microbe Interactions | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Bryophytes, including mosses, liverworts and hornworts are early land plants that have evolved key adaptation mechanisms to cope with abiotic stresses and microorganisms. Microbial symbioses facilitated plant colonization of land by enhancing nutrient uptake leading to improved plant growth and fitness. In addition, early land plants acquired novel defense mechanisms to protect plant tissues from pre-existing microbial pathogens. Due to its evolutionary stage linking unicellular green algae to vascular plants, the non-vascular moss Physcomitrella patens is an interesting organism to explore the adaptation mechanisms developed in the evolution of plant defenses to microbes. Cellular and biochemical approaches, gene expression profiles, and functional analysis of genes by targeted gene disruption have revealed that several defense mechanisms against microbial pathogens are conserved between mosses and flowering plants. P. patens perceives pathogen associated molecular patterns by plasma membrane receptor(s) and transduces the signal through a MAP kinase (MAPK) cascade leading to the activation of cell wall associated defenses and expression of genes that encode proteins with different roles in plant resistance. After pathogen assault, P. patens also activates the production of ROS, induces a HR-like reaction and increases levels of some hormones. Furthermore, alternative metabolic pathways are present in P. patens leading to the production of a distinct metabolic scenario than flowering plants that could contribute to defense. P. patens has acquired genes by horizontal transfer from prokaryotes and fungi, and some of them could represent adaptive benefits for resistance to biotic stress. In this review, the current knowledge related to the evolution of plant defense responses against pathogens will be discussed, focusing on the latest advances made in the model plant P. patens.
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A phenol-enriched cuticle is ancestral to lignin evolution in land plants

A phenol-enriched cuticle is ancestral to lignin evolution in land plants | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Lignin, one of the most abundant biopolymers on Earth, derives from the plant phenolic metabolism. It appeared upon terrestrialization and is thought critical for plant colonization of land. Early diverging land plants do not form lignin, but already have elements of its biosynthetic machinery. Here we delete in a moss the P450 oxygenase that defines the entry point in angiosperm lignin metabolism, and find that its pre-lignin pathway is essential for development. This pathway does not involve biochemical regulation via shikimate coupling, but instead is coupled with ascorbate catabolism, and controls the synthesis of the moss cuticle, which prevents desiccation and organ fusion. These cuticles share common features with lignin, cutin and suberin, and may represent the extant representative of a common ancestor. Our results demonstrate a critical role for the ancestral phenolic metabolism in moss erect growth and cuticle permeability, consistent with importance in plant adaptation to terrestrial conditions.
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Metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in dark tobacco varieties

Metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in dark tobacco varieties | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

In this study, we investigate the metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in two dark tobacco crops (Narrow Leaf Madole and KY171) and evaluate the effects on physiological features of plant photosynthesis. Arabidopsis PAP1 (production of anthocyanin pigment 1) gene (AtPAP1) encodes a R2R3-type MYB transcript factor that is a master component of regulatory complexes controlling anthocyanin biosynthesis. AtPAP1 was introduced to Narrow Leaf Madole and KY171 plants. Multiple transgenic plants developed red/purple pigmentation in different tissues. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that the expression levels of six pathway genes were increased two- to eight-fold in AtPAP1 transgenic plants compared with vector control plants. Dihydroflavonol reductase and anthocyanidin synthase genes that were not expressed in wild-type plants were activated. Spectrophotometric measurement showed that the amount of anthocyanins in AtPAP1 transgenic plants were 400–800 µg g−1 fresh weight (FW). High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed that one main anthocyanin molecule accounted for approximately 98% of the total anthocyanins. Tandem MS/MS analysis using HPLC coupled to electrospray ionization and quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry identified the main anthocyanin as cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside, an important medicinal anthocyanin. Analysis of photosynthesis rate, chlorophylls and carotenoids contents showed no differences between red/purple transgenic and control plants, indicating that this metabolic engineering did not alter photosynthetic physiological traits. This study shows that AtPAP1 is of significance for metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in crop plants for value-added traits.

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Provitamin A biofortification of crop plants: a gold rush with many miners - Giuliano (2017) - Trends Biotechnol

Provitamin A biofortification of crop plants: a gold rush with many miners - Giuliano (2017) - Trends Biotechnol | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Carotenoids are synthesized de novo by plants, where they play fundamental physiological roles as photosynthetic pigments and precursors for signaling molecules. They are also essential components of a healthy diet, as dietary antioxidants and vitamin A precursors. 


Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in developing countries, which has prompted a series of efforts toward the biofortification of plant-derived foods with provitamin A carotenoids (mainly β-carotene), giving rise to ‘golden’ crops. 


Since the ‘golden rice’ exploit, a number of biofortified crops have been generated, using transgenic approaches as well as conventional breeding. Bioavailability studies have demonstrated the efficacy of several ‘golden’ crops in maintaining vitamin A status. 


This review presents the state of the art and the areas that need further experimentation. 


http://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2017.02.001



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PnLRR-RLK27, a novel leucine-rich repeats receptor-like protein kinase from the Antarctic moss Pohlia nutans, positively regulates salinity and oxidation-stress tolerance

PnLRR-RLK27, a novel leucine-rich repeats receptor-like protein kinase from the Antarctic moss Pohlia nutans, positively regulates salinity and oxidation-stress tolerance | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Leucine-rich repeats receptor-like kinases (LRR-RLKs) play important roles in plant growth and development as well as stress responses. Here, 56 LRR-RLK genes were identified in the Antarctic moss Pohlia nutans transcriptome, which were further classified into 11 subgroups based on their extracellular domain. Of them, PnLRR-RLK27 belongs to the LRR II subgroup and its expression was significantly induced by abiotic stresses. Subcellular localization analysis showed that PnLRR-RLK27 was a plasma membrane protein. The overexpression of PnLRR-RLK27 in Physcomitrella significantly enhanced the salinity and ABA tolerance in their gametophyte growth. Similarly, PnLRR-RLK27 heterologous expression in Arabidopsis increased the salinity and ABA tolerance in their seed germination and early root growth as well as the tolerance to oxidative stress. PnLRR-RLK27 overproduction in these transgenic plants increased the expression of salt stress/ABA-related genes. Furthermore, PnLRR-RLK27 increased the activities of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers and reduced the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and ROS. Taken together, these results suggested that PnLRR-RLK27 as a signaling regulator confer abiotic stress response associated with the regulation of the stress- and ABA-mediated signaling network.
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Combining genetic and evolutionary engineering to establish C4 metabolism in C3 plants 

Combining genetic and evolutionary engineering to establish C4 metabolism in C3 plants  | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
To feed a world population projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, the productivity of major crops must be increased by at least 50%. One potential route to boost the productivity of cereals is to equip them genetically with the ‘supercharged’ C4 type of photosynthesis; however, the necessary genetic modifications are not sufficiently understood for the corresponding genetic engineering programme. In this opinion paper, we discuss a strategy to solve this problem by developing a new paradigm for plant breeding. We propose combining the bioengineering of well-understood traits with subsequent evolutionary engineering, i.e. mutagenesis and artificial selection. An existing mathematical model of C3–C4 evolution is used to choose the most promising path towards this goal. Based on biomathematical simulations, we engineer Arabidopsis thaliana plants that express the central carbon-fixing enzyme Rubisco only in bundle sheath cells (Ru-BSC plants), the localization characteristic for C4 plants. This modification will initially be deleterious, forcing the Ru-BSC plants into a fitness valley from where previously inaccessible adaptive steps towards C4 photosynthesis become accessible through fitness-enhancing mutations. Mutagenized Ru-BSC plants are then screened for improved photosynthesis, and are expected to respond to imposed artificial selection pressures by evolving towards C4 anatomy and biochemistry.Empty description
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Rothamsted Research is granted permission by Defra to carry out field trial with GM wheat plants - Rothamsted (2017) 

Rothamsted Research is granted permission by Defra to carry out field trial with GM wheat plants - Rothamsted (2017)  | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Rothamsted Research... submitted an application... for permission to carry out GM field trials on the Rothamsted Farm between 2017 and 2019. The risk assessment was reviewed by the independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), and a 48-day public consultation was carried out... ACRE is satisfied that all scientific issues raised by the public with respect to this application have been addressed... Scientists... developed wheat plants that can carry out photosynthesis more efficiently i.e. convert light energy into plant biomass more efficiently. This trait has the potential to result in higher yielding plants. The purpose of the proposed trial is to evaluate the performance of the engineered plants in the field. 


Ensuring food security is a major challenge given the projected need to increase world food production by... 70% by 2050. Wheat is one of the major grain crops worldwide and provides approximately one-fifth of the total calories consumed globally. However, wheat yields have reached a plateau in recent years and predictions are that yield gains will not reach the level required to feed the 9 billion population... Traditional breeding and agronomic approaches have maximised light capture and allocation to the grain. A promising but as yet-unexploited route to increase wheat yields is to improve the efficiency by which energy in the form of light is converted to wheat biomass... 

“The efficiency of the process of photosynthesis integrated over the season is the major determinant of crop yield. However, to date photosynthesis has not been used to select for high yielding crops in conventional breeding programmes and represents an unexploited opportunity. But there is now evidence that improving the efficiency of photosynthesis by genetic modification is one of the promising approaches to achieve higher wheat yield potential... In this project we have genetically modified wheat plants to increase the efficiency of the conversion of energy from sunlight into biomass. We have shown that these plants carry out photosynthesis more efficiently in glasshouse conditions”... 

During the field trial, we will measure the photosynthetic efficiency of the plants in the field and we will determine total aboveground plant biomass and grain yield on an area basis at full maturity. We will also measure the number of wheat ears on an area basis and the grain number and weight per ear. From these data we will estimate the harvest index, which is the proportion of biomass allocated to the grain”...  

“This trial will be a significant step forward as we will be able to assess in ‘real environmental conditions’ the potential of these plants to produce more using the same resources and land area as their non-GM counterparts. These field trials are the only way to assess the viability of a solution that can bring economic benefits to farmers, returns to the UK tax payer from the long-term investment in this research, benefits to the UK economy as a whole and the environment in general”...  


http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news-views/rothamsted-research-granted-permission-defra-carry-out-field-trial-with-gm-wheat-plants



Via Alexander J. Stein
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