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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Virus-Induced Alterations in Primary Metabolism Modulate Susceptibility to Tobacco rattle virus in Arabidopsis.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 11-01-2014
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During compatible virus infections, plants respond by reprogramming gene expression and metabolite accumulation. While gene expression studies are profuse, our knowledge of the metabolic changes that occur in the presence of the virus is limited. Here we combine gene expression and metabolite profiling in Arabidopsis thaliana infected with Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) in order to investigate the influence of primary metabolism on virus infection. Our results revealed that primary metabolism is reconfigured in many ways during TRV infection, as reflected by significant changes in the levels of sugars and amino acids. Multivariate data analysis revealed that these alterations were particularly conspicuous at the time points of maximal accumulation of TRV although infection time was the dominant source of variance during the process. Furthermore, TRV caused changes in lipid and fatty acid (FA) composition in infected leaves. We found that several Arabidopsis mutants deficient in branched-chain amino acid catabolism or fatty acid metabolism possessed altered susceptibility to TRV. Finally, we showed that increments in the putrescine content in TRV-infected plants correlated with enhanced tolerance to freezing stress in TRV-infected plants, and that impairment of putrescine biosynthesis promoted virus multiplication. Our results thus provide an interesting overview for a better understanding of the relationship between primary metabolism and virus infection.
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Evolution and functional implications of the tricarboxylic Acid cycle as revealed by phylogenetic analysis.
Genome Biol Evol
PUBLISHED: 10-03-2014
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The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, a crucial component of respiratory metabolism, is composed of a set of eight enzymes present in the mitochondrial matrix. However, most of the TCA cycle enzymes are encoded in the nucleus in higher eukaryotes. In addition, evidence has accumulated demonstrating that nuclear genes were acquired from the mitochondrial genome during the course of evolution. For this reason, we here analyzed the evolutionary history of all TCA cycle enzymes in attempt to better understand the origin of these nuclear-encoded proteins. Our results indicate that prior to endosymbiotic events the TCA cycle seemed to operate only as isolated steps in both the host (eubacterial cell) and mitochondria (alphaproteobacteria). The origin of isoforms present in different cell compartments might be associated either with gene-transfer events which did not result in proper targeting of the protein to mitochondrion or with duplication events. Further in silico analyses allow us to suggest new insights into the possible roles of TCA cycle enzymes in different tissues. Finally, we performed coexpression analysis using mitochondrial TCA cycle genes revealing close connections among these genes most likely related to the higher efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation in this specialized organelle. Moreover, these analyses allowed us to identify further candidate genes which might be used for metabolic engineering purposes given the importance of the TCA cycle during development and/or stress situations.
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Heterologous expression of AtPAP2 in transgenic potato influences carbon metabolism and tuber development.
FEBS Lett.
PUBLISHED: 08-27-2014
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Changes in carbon flow and sink/source activities can affect floral, architectural, and reproductive traits of plants. In potato, overexpression (OE) of the purple acid phosphatase 2 of Arabidopsis (AtPAP2) resulted in earlier flowering, faster growth rate, increased tubers and tuber starch content, and higher photosynthesis rate. There was a significant change in sucrose, glucose and fructose levels in leaves, phloem and sink biomass of the OE lines, consistent with an increased expression of sucrose transporter 1 (StSUT1). Furthermore, the expression levels and enzyme activity of sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS) were also significantly increased in the OE lines. These findings strongly suggest that higher carbon supply from the source and improved sink strength can improve potato tuber yield.
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Increased antioxidant capacity in tomato by ectopic expression of the strawberry D-galacturonate reductase gene.
Biotechnol J
PUBLISHED: 08-21-2014
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Increasing L-ascorbic acid (AsA, vitamin C) content in fruits is a common goal in current breeding programs due to its beneficial effect on human health. Attempts to increase AsA content by genetic engineering have resulted in variable success likely due to AsA's complex regulation. Here, we report the effect of ectopically expressing in tomato the D-galacturonate reductase (FaGalUR) gene from strawberry, involved in AsA biosynthesis, either under the control of the constitutive 35S or the tomato fruit-specific polygalucturonase (PG) promoters. Although transgenic lines showed a moderate increase on AsA content, complex changes in metabolites were found in transgenic fruits. Metabolomic analyses of ripe fruits identified a decrease in citrate, glutamate, asparagine, glucose, and fructose, accompanied by an increase of sucrose, galactinol, and chlorogenic acid. Significant metabolic changes also occurred in leaves of 35S-FaGalUR lines, which showed higher non-photochemical fluorescence quenching (NPQ), indicative of a higher constitutive photo-protective capacity. Overall, overexpression of FaGalUR increased total antioxidant capacity in fruits and the results suggest a tight control of AsA content, probably linked to a complex regulation of cellular redox state and metabolic adjustment.
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Metabolic control of redox and redox control of metabolism in plants.
Antioxid. Redox Signal.
PUBLISHED: 07-31-2014
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Reduction-oxidation (Redox) status operates as a major integrator of subcellular and extracellular metabolism and is simultaneously itself regulated by metabolic processes. Redox status not only dominates cellular metabolism due to the prominence of NAD(H) and NADP(H) couples in myriad metabolic reactions but also acts as an effective signal that informs the cell of the prevailing environmental conditions. After relay of this information, the cell is able to appropriately respond via a range of mechanisms, including directly affecting cellular functioning and reprogramming nuclear gene expression.
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Flux profiling of photosynthetic carbon metabolism in intact plants.
Nat Protoc
PUBLISHED: 07-03-2014
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Flux analysis has been carried out in plants for decades, but technical innovations are now enabling it to be carried out in photosynthetic tissues in a more precise fashion with respect to the number of metabolites measured. Here we describe a protocol, using gas chromatography (GC)- and liquid chromatography (LC)-mass spectrometry (MS), to resolve intracellular fluxes of the central carbon metabolism in illuminated intact Arabidopsis thaliana rosettes using the time course of the unlabeled fractions in 40 major constituents of the metabolome after switching to (13)CO2. We additionally simplify modeling assumptions, specifically to cope with the presence of multiple cellular compartments. We summarize all steps in this 8-10-week-long process, including setting up the chamber; harvesting; liquid extraction and subsequent handling of sample plant material to chemical derivatization procedures such as silylation and methoxymation (necessary for gas chromatography only); choosing instrumentation settings and evaluating the resultant chromatogram in terms of both unlabeled and labeled peaks. Furthermore, we describe how quantitative insights can be gained by estimating both benchmark and previously unknown fluxes from collected data sets.
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Water Balance, Hormone Homeostasis, and Sugar Signaling Are All Involved in Tomato Resistance to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-02-2014
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Vacuolar water movement is largely controlled by membrane channels called tonoplast-intrinsic aquaporins (TIP-AQPs). Some TIP-AQP genes, such as TIP2;2 and TIP1;1, are up-regulated upon exposure to biotic stress. Moreover, TIP1;1 transcript levels are higher in leaves of a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) line resistant to Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) than in those of a susceptible line with a similar genetic background. Virus-induced silencing of TIP1;1 in the tomato resistant line and the use of an Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) tip1;1 null mutant showed that resistance to TYLCV is severely compromised in the absence of TIP1:1. Constitutive expression of tomato TIP2;2 in transgenic TYLCV-susceptible tomato and Arabidopsis plants was correlated with increased TYLCV resistance, increased transpiration, decreased abscisic acid levels, and increased salicylic acid levels at the early stages of infection. We propose that TIP-AQPs affect the induction of leaf abscisic acid, which leads to increased levels of transpiration and gas exchange, as well as better salicylic acid signaling.
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Adjustments of embryonic photosynthetic activity modulate seed fitness in Arabidopsis thaliana.
New Phytol.
PUBLISHED: 06-27-2014
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In this work, we dissect the physiological role of the transient photosynthetic stage observed in developing seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana. By combining biochemical and biophysical approaches, we demonstrate that despite similar features of the photosynthetic apparatus, light absorption, chloroplast morphology and electron transport are modified in green developing seeds, as a possible response to the peculiar light environment experienced by them as a result of sunlight filtration by the pericarp. In particular, enhanced exposure to far-red light, which mainly excites photosystem I, largely enhances cyclic electron flow around this complex at the expenses of oxygen evolution. Using pharmacological, genetic and metabolic analyses, we show that both linear and cyclic electron flows are important during seed formation for proper germination timing. Linear flow provides specific metabolites related to oxygen and water stress responses. Cyclic electron flow possibly adjusts the ATP to NADPH ratio to cope with the specific energy demand of developing seeds. By providing a comprehensive scenario of the characteristics, function and consequences of embryonic photosynthesis on seed vigour, our data provide a rationale for the transient building up of a photosynthetic machinery in seeds.
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Consequences of induced brassinosteroid deficiency in Arabidopsis leaves.
BMC Plant Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-23-2014
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BackgroundThe identification of brassinosteroid (BR) deficient and BR insensitive mutants provided conclusive evidence that BR is a potent growth-promoting phytohormone. Arabidopsis mutants are characterized by a compact rosette structure, decreased plant height and reduced root system, delayed development, and reduced fertility. Cell expansion, cell division, and multiple developmental processes depend on BR. The molecular and physiological basis of BR action is diverse. The BR signalling pathway controls the activity of transcription factors, and numerous BR responsive genes have been identified. The analysis of dwarf mutants, however, may to some extent reveal phenotypic changes that are an effect of the altered morphology and physiology. This restriction holds particularly true for the analysis of established organs such as rosette leaves.ResultsIn this study, the mode of BR action was analysed in established leaves by means of two approaches. First, an inhibitor of BR biosynthesis (brassinazole) was applied to 21-day-old wild-type plants. Secondly, BR complementation of BR deficient plants, namely CPD (constitutive photomorphogenic dwarf)-antisense and cbb1 (cabbage1) mutant plants was stopped after 21 days. BR action in established leaves is associated with stimulated cell expansion, an increase in leaf index, starch accumulation, enhanced CO2 release by the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and increased biomass production. Cell number and protein content were barely affected.ConclusionPrevious analysis of BR promoted growth focused on genomic effects. However, the link between growth and changes in gene expression patterns barely provided clues to the physiological and metabolic basis of growth. Our study analysed comprehensive metabolic data sets of leaves with altered BR levels. The data suggest that BR promoted growth may depend on the increased provision and use of carbohydrates and energy. BR may stimulate both anabolic and catabolic pathways.
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Metabolomics-assisted refinement of the pathways of steroidal glycoalkaloid biosynthesis in the tomato clade.
J Integr Plant Biol
PUBLISHED: 06-14-2014
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Steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs) are nitrogen-containing secondary metabolites of the Solanum species, which are known to have large chemical and bioactive diversity in nature. While recent effort and development on LC/MS techniques for SGA profiling have elucidated the main pathways of SGA metabolism in tomato, the problem of peak annotation still remains due to the vast diversity of chemical structure and similar on overlapping of chemical formula. Here we provide a case study of peak classification and annotation approach by integration of species and tissue specificities of SGA accumulation for provision of comprehensive pathways of SGA biosynthesis. In order to elucidate natural diversity of SGA biosynthesis, a total of 169 putative SGAs found in eight tomato accessions (Solanum lycopersicum, S. pimpinellifolium, S. cheesmaniae, S. chmielewskii, S. neorickii, S. peruvianum, S. habrochaites, S. pennellii) and four tissue types were used for correlation analysis. The results obtained in this study contribute annotation and classification of SGAs as well as detecting putative novel biosynthetic branch points. As such this represents a novel strategy for peak annotation for plant secondary metabolites.
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Genome-Wide Association in Tomato Reveals 44 Candidate Loci for Fruit Metabolic Traits.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-03-2014
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Genome-wide association studies have been successful in identifying genes involved in polygenic traits and are valuable for crop improvement. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a major crop and is highly appreciated worldwide for its health value. We used a core collection of 163 tomato accessions composed of S. lycopersicum, S. lycopersicum var cerasiforme, and Solanum pimpinellifolium to map loci controlling variation in fruit metabolites. Fruits were phenotyped for a broad range of metabolites, including amino acids, sugars, and ascorbate. In parallel, the accessions were genotyped with 5,995 single-nucleotide polymorphism markers spread over the whole genome. Genome-wide association analysis was conducted on a large set of metabolic traits that were stable over 2 years using a multilocus mixed model as a general method for mapping complex traits in structured populations and applied to tomato. We detected a total of 44 loci that were significantly associated with a total of 19 traits, including sucrose, ascorbate, malate, and citrate levels. These results not only provide a list of candidate loci to be functionally validated but also a powerful analytical approach for finding genetic variants that can be directly used for crop improvement and deciphering the genetic architecture of complex traits.
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Lipoate-Protein Ligase and Octanoyltransferase Are Essential for Protein Lipoylation in Mitochondria of Arabidopsis.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-28-2014
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Prosthetic lipoyl groups are required for the function of several essential multienzyme complexes, such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), ?-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (KGDH), and the glycine cleavage system (glycine decarboxylase [GDC]). How these proteins are lipoylated has been extensively studied in prokaryotes and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), but little is known for plants. We earlier reported that mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis by ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase is not vital for protein lipoylation in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and does not play a significant role in roots. Here, we identify Arabidopsis lipoate-protein ligase (AtLPLA) as an essential mitochondrial enzyme that uses octanoyl-nucleoside monophosphate and possibly other donor substrates for the octanoylation of mitochondrial PDH-E2 and GDC H-protein; it shows no reactivity with bacterial and possibly plant KGDH-E2. The octanoate-activating enzyme is unknown, but we assume that it uses octanoyl moieties provided by mitochondrial ?-oxidation. AtLPLA is essential for the octanoylation of PDH-E2, whereas GDC H-protein can optionally also be octanoylated by octanoyltransferase (LIP2) using octanoyl chains provided by mitochondrial ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase to meet the high lipoate requirement of leaf mesophyll mitochondria. Similar to protein lipoylation in yeast, LIP2 likely also transfers octanoyl groups attached to the H-protein to KGDH-E2 but not to PDH-E2, which is exclusively octanoylated by LPLA. We suggest that LPLA and LIP2 together provide a basal protein lipoylation network to plants that is similar to that in other eukaryotes.
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Dissecting the subcellular compartmentation of proteins and metabolites in arabidopsis leaves using non-aqueous fractionation.
Mol. Cell Proteomics
PUBLISHED: 05-27-2014
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Non-aqueous fractionation is a technique for the enrichment of different subcellular compartments derived from lyophilized material. It was developed to study the subcellular distribution of metabolites. Here we analyzed the distribution of about 1,000 proteins and 70 metabolites, including 22 phosphorylated intermediates in wild-type Arabidopsis rosette leaves, using non-aqueous gradients divided into 12 fractions. Good separation of plastidial, cytosolic, and vacuolar metabolites and proteins was achieved, but cytosolic, mitochondrial, and peroxisomal proteins clustered together. There was considerable heterogeneity in the fractional distribution of transcription factors, ribosomal proteins, and subunits of the vacuolar-ATPase, indicating diverse compartmental location. Within the plastid, sub-organellar separation of thylakoids and stromal proteins was observed. Metabolites from the Calvin-Benson cycle, photorespiration, starch and sucrose synthesis, glycolysis, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle grouped with their associated proteins of the respective compartment. Non-aqueous fractionation thus proved to be a powerful method for the study of the organellar, and in some cases sub-organellar, distribution of proteins and their association with metabolites. It remains the technique of choice for the assignment of subcellular location to metabolites in intact plant tissues, and thus the technique of choice for doing combined metabolite-protein analysis on a single tissue sample.
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Decreased Nucleotide and Expression Diversity and Modified Coexpression Patterns Characterize Domestication in the Common Bean.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 05-21-2014
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Using RNA sequencing technology and de novo transcriptome assembly, we compared representative sets of wild and domesticated accessions of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) from Mesoamerica. RNA was extracted at the first true-leaf stage, and de novo assembly was used to develop a reference transcriptome; the final data set consists of ?190,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms from 27,243 contigs in expressed genomic regions. A drastic reduction in nucleotide diversity (?60%) is evident for the domesticated form, compared with the wild form, and almost 50% of the contigs that are polymorphic were brought to fixation by domestication. In parallel, the effects of domestication decreased the diversity of gene expression (18%). While the coexpression networks for the wild and domesticated accessions demonstrate similar seminal network properties, they show distinct community structures that are enriched for different molecular functions. After simulating the demographic dynamics during domestication, we found that 9% of the genes were actively selected during domestication. We also show that selection induced a further reduction in the diversity of gene expression (26%) and was associated with 5-fold enrichment of differentially expressed genes. While there is substantial evidence of positive selection associated with domestication, in a few cases, this selection has increased the nucleotide diversity in the domesticated pool at target loci associated with abiotic stress responses, flowering time, and morphology.
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Metabolic variation between japonica and indica rice cultivars as revealed by non-targeted metabolomics.
Sci Rep
PUBLISHED: 05-08-2014
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Seed metabolites are critically important both for plant development and human nutrition; however, the natural variation in their levels remains poorly characterized. Here we profiled 121 metabolites in mature seeds of a wide panel Oryza sativa japonica and indica cultivars, revealing correlations between the metabolic phenotype and geographic origin of the rice seeds. Moreover, japonica and indica subspecies differed significantly not only in the relative abundances of metabolites but also in their corresponding metabolic association networks. These findings provide important insights into metabolic adaptation in rice subgroups, bridging the gap between genome and phenome, and facilitating the identification of genetic control of metabolic properties that can serve as a basis for the future improvement of rice quality via metabolic engineering.
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Opportunities for improving leaf water use efficiency under climate change conditions.
Plant Sci.
PUBLISHED: 04-15-2014
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WUEi (intrinsic water use efficiency) is a complex (multi)-trait, that depends on several physiological processes, driving plant productivity and its relation with a changing environment. Climatic change predictions estimate increases in temperature and drought in the semi-arid regions, rendering improved water use efficiency is a mandatory objective to maintain the current global food supply. The aims of this review were (i) to identify through a meta-analysis the leaf traits mostly related to intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi, the ratio between A - net photosynthesis and gs - stomatal conductance), based on a newly compiled dataset covering more than 200 species/varieties and 106 genus of C3 plants (ii) to describe the main potential targets for WUEi improvement via biotechnological manipulations and (iii) to introduce emergent and innovative technologies including UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to scale up levels from leaf to whole plant water status. We confirmed that increases in gm/gs and Vcmax/gs ratios are systematically related with increases in WUEi maintained across species, habitats, and environmental conditions. Other emergent opportunities to improve WUEi are described such as the relationship between photosynthesis and respiration and their link with metabolomics. Finally, we outline our hypothesis that we are observing the advent of a "smart" agriculture, wherein new technologies, such as UAVs equipped with remote sensors will rapidly facilitate an efficient water use regulating the irrigation schedule and determination, under field conditions, of cultivars with improved water use efficiency. We, therefore, conclude that the multi-disciplinary challenge toward WUE has only just begun.
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Comparative analyses of C4 and C3 photosynthesis in developing leaves of maize and rice.
Nat. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 04-12-2014
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C4 and C3 photosynthesis differ in the efficiency with which they consume water and nitrogen. Engineering traits of the more efficient C4 photosynthesis into C3 crops could substantially increase crop yields in hot, arid conditions. To identify differences between C4 and C3 photosynthetic mechanisms, we profiled metabolites and gene expression in the developing leaves of Zea mays (maize), a C4 plant, and Oryza sativa (rice), a C3 plant, using a statistical method named the unified developmental model (UDM). Candidate cis-regulatory elements and transcription factors that might regulate photosynthesis were identified, together with differences between C4 and C3 nitrogen and carbon metabolism. The UDM algorithms could be applied to analyze and compare development in other species. These data sets together with community viewers to access and mine them provide a resource for photosynthetic research that will inform efforts to engineer improvements in carbon fixation in economically valuable grass crops.
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Reversal of senescence by N resupply to N-starved Arabidopsis thaliana: transcriptomic and metabolomic consequences.
J. Exp. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2014
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Leaf senescence is a developmentally controlled process, which is additionally modulated by a number of adverse environmental conditions. Nitrogen shortage is a well-known trigger of precocious senescence in many plant species including crops, generally limiting biomass and seed yield. However, leaf senescence induced by nitrogen starvation may be reversed when nitrogen is resupplied at the onset of senescence. Here, the transcriptomic, hormonal, and global metabolic rearrangements occurring during nitrogen resupply-induced reversal of senescence in Arabidopsis thaliana were analysed. The changes induced by senescence were essentially in keeping with those previously described; however, these could, by and large, be reversed. The data thus indicate that plants undergoing senescence retain the capacity to sense and respond to the availability of nitrogen nutrition. The combined data are discussed in the context of the reversibility of the senescence programme and the evolutionary benefit afforded thereby. Future prospects for understanding and manipulating this process in both Arabidopsis and crop plants are postulated.
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Genome-enabled plant metabolomics.
J. Chromatogr. B Analyt. Technol. Biomed. Life Sci.
PUBLISHED: 03-31-2014
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The grand challenge currently facing metabolomics is that of comprehensitivity whilst next generation sequencing and advanced proteomics methods now allow almost complete and at least 50% coverage of their respective target molecules, metabolomics platforms at best offer coverage of just 10% of the small molecule complement of the cell. Here we discuss the use of genome sequence information as an enabling tool for peak identity and for translational metabolomics. Whilst we argue that genome information is not sufficient to compute the size of a species metabolome it is highly useful in predicting the occurrence of a wide range of common metabolites. Furthermore, we describe how via gene functional analysis in model species the identity of unknown metabolite peaks can be resolved. Taken together these examples suggest that genome sequence information is current (and likely will remain), a highly effective tool in peak elucidation in mass spectral metabolomics strategies.
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Analysis of metabolic alterations in Arabidopsis following changes in the carbon dioxide and oxygen partial pressures.
J Integr Plant Biol
PUBLISHED: 03-26-2014
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As sessile organisms, plants are subject to a multitude of environmental variations including several which directly affect their interaction with the atmosphere. Given the indiscriminant nature of Rubisco, the relative rates of photosynthesis and photorespiration are known to be responsive to changes in gas composition. However, comprehensive profiling methods have not yet been applied in order to characterize the wider consequences of these changes on primary metabolism in general. Moreover, although transcriptional profiling has revealed that a subset of photorespiratory enzymes are co-expressed, whether transcriptional responses play a role in short-term responses to atmospheric compositional changes remains unknown. To address these questions, plants Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) ecotype Columbia (Col-O) grown under normal air conditions were transferred to different CO2 and O2 concentrations and characterized at the physiological, molecular, and metabolic levels following this transition. The results reveal alterations in the components, which are directly involved in, or supporting, photorespiration, including transcripts and metabolite levels. The results further highlight that the majority of the regulation of these pathways is not mediated at the level of transcription and that the photorespiratory pathway is essential also in conditions in which flux through the pathway is minimized, yet suggest that flux through this pathway is not mediated at the level of transcription.
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The transcription factor AREB1 regulates primary metabolic pathways in tomato fruits.
J. Exp. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 03-22-2014
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Tomato fruit development is regulated both by the action of plant hormones and by tight genetic control. Recent studies suggest that abscisic acid (ABA) signalling may affect different aspects of fruit maturation. Previously, it was shown that SlAREB1, an ABA-regulated transcription factor involved in stress-induced responses, is expressed in seeds and in fruit tissues in tomato. Here, the role of SlAREB1 in regulating the expression of genes relevant for primary metabolic pathways and affecting the metabolic profile of the fruit was investigated using transgenic tomato lines. Metabolite profiling using gas chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF-MS) and non-targeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was performed on pericarp tissue from fruits harvested at three stages of fruit development. Principal component analysis of the data could distinguish the metabolite profiles of non-transgenic fruits from those that overexpress and down-regulate SlAREB1. Overexpression of SlAREB1 resulted in increased content of organic acids, hexoses, hexose-phosphates, and amino acids in immature green, mature green, and red ripe fruits, and these modifications correlated with the up-regulation of enzyme-encoding genes involved in primary carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. A non-targeted LC-MS analysis indicated that the composition of secondary metabolites is also affected in transgenic lines. In addition, gene expression data revealed that some genes associated with fruit ripening are also up-regulated in SlAREB1-overexpressing lines compared with wild-type and antisense lines. Taken together, the results suggest that SlAREB1 participates in the regulation of the metabolic programming that takes place during fruit ripening and that may explain part of the role of ABA in fruit development in tomato.
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Natural occurring epialleles determine vitamin E accumulation in tomato fruits.
Nat Commun
PUBLISHED: 03-18-2014
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Vitamin E (VTE) content is a low heritability nutritional trait for which the genetic determinants are poorly understood. Here, we focus on a previously detected major tomato VTE quantitative trait loci (QTL; mQTL(9-2-6)) and identify the causal gene as one encoding a 2-methyl-6-phytylquinol methyltransferase (namely VTE3(1)) that catalyses one of the final steps in the biosynthesis of ?- and ?-tocopherols, which are the main forms of VTE. By reverse genetic approaches, expression analyses, siRNA profiling and DNA methylation assays, we demonstrate that mQTL(9-2-6) is an expression QTL associated with differential methylation of a SINE retrotransposon located in the promoter region of VTE3(1). Promoter DNA methylation can be spontaneously reverted leading to different epialleles affecting VTE3(1) expression and VTE content in fruits. These findings indicate therefore that naturally occurring epialleles are responsible for regulation of a nutritionally important metabolic QTL and provide direct evidence of a role for epigenetics in the determination of agronomic traits.
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The genome of the stress-tolerant wild tomato species Solanum pennellii.
Nat. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2014
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Solanum pennellii is a wild tomato species endemic to Andean regions in South America, where it has evolved to thrive in arid habitats. Because of its extreme stress tolerance and unusual morphology, it is an important donor of germplasm for the cultivated tomato Solanum lycopersicum. Introgression lines (ILs) in which large genomic regions of S. lycopersicum are replaced with the corresponding segments from S. pennellii can show remarkably superior agronomic performance. Here we describe a high-quality genome assembly of the parents of the IL population. By anchoring the S. pennellii genome to the genetic map, we define candidate genes for stress tolerance and provide evidence that transposable elements had a role in the evolution of these traits. Our work paves a path toward further tomato improvement and for deciphering the mechanisms underlying the myriad other agronomic traits that can be improved with S. pennellii germplasm.
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Natural products from resurrection plants: potential for medical applications.
Biotechnol. Adv.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2014
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Resurrection species are a group of land plants that can tolerate extreme desiccation of their vegetative tissues during harsh drought stress, and still quickly - often within hours - regain normal physiological and metabolic functions following rehydration. At the molecular level, this desiccation tolerance is attributed to basal cellular mechanisms including the constitutive expression of stress-associated genes and high levels of protective metabolites present already in the absence of stress, as well as to transcriptome and metabolome reconfigurations rapidly occurring during the initial phases of drought stress. Parts of this response are conferred by unique metabolites, including a diverse array of sugars, phenolic compounds, and polyols, some of which accumulate to high concentrations within the plant cell. In addition to drought stress, these metabolites are proposed to contribute to the protection against other abiotic stresses and to an increased oxidative stress tolerance. Recently, extracts of resurrection species and particular secondary metabolites therein were reported to display biological activities of importance to medicine, with e.g. antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, and antiviral activities, rendering them possible candidates for the development of novel drug substances as well as for cosmetics. Herein, we provide an overview of the metabolite composition of resurrection species, summarize the latest reports related to the use of natural products from resurrection plants, and outline their potential for medical applications.
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Metabolic efficiency underpins performance trade-offs in growth of Arabidopsis thaliana.
Nat Commun
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2014
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Growth often involves a trade-off between the performance of contending tasks; metabolic plasticity can play an important role. Here we grow 97 Arabidopsis thaliana accessions in three conditions with a differing supply of carbon and nitrogen and identify a trade-off between two tasks required for rosette growth: increasing the physical size and increasing the protein concentration. We employ the Pareto performance frontier concept to rank accessions based on their multitask performance; only a few accessions achieve a good trade-off under all three growth conditions. We determine metabolic efficiency in each accession and condition by using metabolite levels and activities of enzymes involved in growth and protein synthesis. We demonstrate that accessions with high metabolic efficiency lie closer to the performance frontier and show increased metabolic plasticity. We illustrate how public domain data can be used to search for additional contending tasks, which may underlie the sub-optimality in some accessions.
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The essential role of sugar metabolism in the acclimation response of Arabidopsis thaliana to high light intensities.
J. Exp. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 02-12-2014
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Retrograde signals from chloroplasts are thought to control the expression of nuclear genes associated with plastidial processes such as acclimation to varying light conditions. Arabidopsis mutants altered in the day and night path of photoassimilate export from the chloroplasts served as tools to study the involvement of carbohydrates in high light (HL) acclimation. A double mutant impaired in the triose phosphate/phosphate translocator (TPT) and ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) (adg1-1/tpt-2) exhibits a HL-dependent depletion in endogenous carbohydrates combined with a severe growth and photosynthesis phenotype. The acclimation response of mutant and wild-type plants has been assessed in time series after transfer from low light (LL) to HL by analysing photosynthetic performance, carbohydrates, MgProtoIX (a chlorophyll precursor), and the ascorbate/glutathione redox system, combined with microarray-based transcriptomic and GC-MS-based metabolomic approaches. The data indicate that the accumulation of soluble carbohydrates (predominantly glucose) acts as a short-term response to HL exposure in both mutant and wild-type plants. Only if carbohydrates are depleted in the long term (e.g. after 2 d) is the acclimation response impaired, as observed in the adg1-1/tpt-2 double mutant. Furthermore, meta-analyses conducted with in-house and publicly available microarray data suggest that, in the long term, reactive oxygen species such as H?O? can replace carbohydrates as signals. Moreover, a cross-talk exists between genes associated with the regulation of starch and lipid metabolism. The involvement of genes responding to phytohormones in HL acclimation appears to be less likely. Various candidate genes involved in retrograde control of nuclear gene expression emerged from the analyses of global gene expression.
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Analysis of short-term metabolic alterations in Arabidopsis following changes in the prevailing environmental conditions.
Mol Plant
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2014
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Although a considerable increase in our knowledge concerning the importance of metabolic adjustments to unfavorable growth conditions has been recently provided, relatively little is known about the adjustments which occur in response to fluctuation in environmental factors. Evaluating the metabolic adjustments occurring under changing environmental conditions thus offers a good opportunity to increase our current understanding of the crosstalk between the major pathways which are affected by such conditions. To this end, plants growing under normal conditions were transferred to different light and temperature conditions which were anticipated to affect (amongst other processes) the rates of photosynthesis and photorespiration and characterized at the physiological, molecular, and metabolic levels following this transition. Our results revealed similar behavior in response to both treatments and imply a tight connectivity of photorespiration with the major pathways of plant metabolism. They further highlight that the majority of the regulation of these pathways is not mediated at the level of transcription but that leaf metabolism is rather pre-poised to adapt to changes in these input parameters.
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Suppression of NDA-type alternative mitochondrial NAD(P)H dehydrogenases in arabidopsis thaliana modifies growth and metabolism, but not high light stimulation of mitochondrial electron transport.
Plant Cell Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-30-2014
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The plant respiratory chain contains several pathways which bypass the energy-conserving electron transport complexes I, III and IV. These energy bypasses, including type II NAD(P)H dehydrogenases and the alternative oxidase (AOX), may have a role in redox stabilization and regulation, but current evidence is inconclusive. Using RNA interference, we generated Arabidopsis thaliana plants simultaneously suppressing the type II NAD(P)H dehydrogenase genes NDA1 and NDA2. Leaf mitochondria contained substantially reduced levels of both proteins. In sterile culture in the light, the transgenic lines displayed a slow growth phenotype, which was more severe when the complex I inhibitor rotenone was present. Slower growth was also observed in soil. In rosette leaves, a higher NAD(P)H/NAD(P)? ratio and elevated levels of lactate relative to sugars and citric acid cycle metabolites were observed. However, photosynthetic performance was unaffected and microarray analyses indicated few transcriptional changes. A high light treatment increased AOX1a mRNA levels, in vivo AOX and cytochrome oxidase activities, and levels of citric acid cycle intermediates and hexoses in all genotypes. However, NDA-suppressing plants deviated from the wild type merely by having higher levels of several amino acids. These results suggest that NDA suppression restricts citric acid cycle reactions, inducing a shift towards increased levels of fermentation products, but do not support a direct association between photosynthesis and NDA proteins.
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The life of plant mitochondrial complex I.
Mitochondrion
PUBLISHED: 01-28-2014
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The mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase complex (complex I) of the respiratory chain has several remarkable features in plants: (i) particularly many of its subunits are encoded by the mitochondrial genome, (ii) its mitochondrial transcripts undergo extensive maturation processes (e.g. RNA editing, trans-splicing), (iii) its assembly follows unique routes, (iv) it includes an additional functional domain which contains carbonic anhydrases and (v) it is, indirectly, involved in photosynthesis. Comprising about 50 distinct protein subunits, complex I of plants is very large. However, an even larger number of proteins are required to synthesize these subunits and assemble the enzyme complex. This review aims to follow the complete "life cycle" of plant complex I from various molecular perspectives. We provide arguments that complex I represents an ideal model system for studying the interplay of respiration and photosynthesis, the cooperation of mitochondria and the nucleus during organelle biogenesis and the evolution of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system.
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Reduction of the cytosolic phosphoglucomutase in Arabidopsis reveals impact on plant growth, seed and root development, and carbohydrate partitioning.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Phosphoglucomutase (PGM) catalyses the interconversion of glucose 1-phosphate (G1P) and glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) and exists as plastidial (pPGM) and cytosolic (cPGM) isoforms. The plastidial isoform is essential for transitory starch synthesis in chloroplasts of leaves, whereas the cytosolic counterpart is essential for glucose phosphate partitioning and, therefore, for syntheses of sucrose and cell wall components. In Arabidopsis two cytosolic isoforms (PGM2 and PGM3) exist. Both PGM2 and PGM3 are redundant in function as single mutants reveal only small or no alterations compared to wild type with respect to plant primary metabolism. So far, there are no reports of Arabidopsis plants lacking the entire cPGM or total PGM activity, respectively. Therefore, amiRNA transgenic plants were generated and used for analyses of various parameters such as growth, development, and starch metabolism. The lack of the entire cPGM activity resulted in a strongly reduced growth revealed by decreased rosette fresh weight, shorter roots, and reduced seed production compared to wild type. By contrast content of starch, sucrose, maltose and cell wall components were significantly increased. The lack of both cPGM and pPGM activities in Arabidopsis resulted in dwarf growth, prematurely die off, and inability to develop a functional inflorescence. The combined results are discussed in comparison to potato, the only described mutant with lack of total PGM activity.
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2-Oxoglutarate: linking TCA cycle function with amino acid, glucosinolate, flavonoid, alkaloid, and gibberellin biosynthesis.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediate 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG) is used as an obligatory substrate in a range of oxidative reactions catalyzed by 2-OG-dependent dioxygenases. These enzymes are widespread in nature being involved in several important biochemical processes. We have recently demonstrated that tomato plants in which the TCA cycle enzyme 2-OG dehydrogenase (2-ODD) was antisense inhibited were characterized by early senescence and modified fruit ripening associated with differences in the levels of bioactive gibberellin (GA). Accordingly, there is now compelling evidence that the TCA cycle plays an important role in modulating the rate of flux from 2-OG to amino acid metabolism. Here we discuss recent advances in the biochemistry and molecular biology of 2-OG metabolism occurring in different biological systems indicating the importance of 2-OG and 2-OG dependent dioxygenases not only in glucosinolate, flavonoid and alkaloid metabolism but also in GA and amino acid metabolism. We additionally summarize recent findings regarding the impact of modification of 2-OG metabolism on biosynthetic pathways involving 2-ODDs.
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An update on source-to-sink carbon partitioning in tomato.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Plant growth and carbon metabolism are closely associated since carbohydrate in the form of sucrose generated by photosynthesis, provides the primary source of building blocks and energy for the production and maintenance of biomass. Regulation of carbon partitioning between source and sink tissues is important because it has a vast influence on both plant growth and development. The regulation of carbon partitioning at the whole plant level is directly linked to the cellular pathways of assimilate transport and the metabolism and allocation of sugars, mainly sucrose and hexoses in source leaves, and sink organs such as roots and fruit. By using tomato plant as a model, this review documents and discusses our current understanding of source-sink interactions from molecular to physiological perspectives focusing on those that regulate the growth and development of both vegetative and reproductive organs. It furthermore discusses the impact that environmental conditions play in maintenance of this balance in an attempt to address the link between physiological and ecological aspects of growth.
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The role of photosynthesis and amino acid metabolism in the energy status during seed development.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Seeds are the major organs responsible for the evolutionary upkeep of angiosperm plants. Seeds accumulate significant amounts of storage compounds used as nutrients and energy reserves during the initial stages of seed germination. The accumulation of storage compounds requires significant amounts of energy, the generation of which can be limited due to reduced penetration of oxygen and light particularly into the inner parts of seeds. In this review, we discuss the adjustment of seed metabolism to limited energy production resulting from the suboptimal penetration of oxygen into the seed tissues. We also discuss the role of photosynthesis during seed development and its contribution to the energy status of developing seeds. Finally, we describe the contribution of amino acid metabolism to the seed energy status, focusing on the Asp-family pathway that leads to the synthesis and catabolism of Lys, Thr, Met, and Ile.
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In high-light-acclimated coffee plants the metabolic machinery is adjusted to avoid oxidative stress rather than to benefit from extra light enhancement in photosynthetic yield.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Coffee (Coffea arabica L.) has been traditionally considered as shade-demanding, although it performs well without shade and even out-yields shaded coffee. Here we investigated how coffee plants adjust their metabolic machinery to varying light supply and whether these adjustments are supported by a reprogramming of the primary and secondary metabolism. We demonstrate that coffee plants are able to adjust its metabolic machinery to high light conditions through marked increases in its antioxidant capacity associated with enhanced consumption of reducing equivalents. Photorespiration and alternative pathways are suggested to be key players in reductant-consumption under high light conditions. We also demonstrate that both primary and secondary metabolism undergo extensive reprogramming under high light supply, including depression of the levels of intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle that were accompanied by an up-regulation of a range of amino acids, sugars and sugar alcohols, polyamines and flavonoids such as kaempferol and quercetin derivatives. When taken together, the entire dataset is consistent with these metabolic alterations being primarily associated with oxidative stress avoidance rather than representing adjustments in order to facilitate the plants from utilizing the additional light to improve their photosynthetic performance.
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Lignin, mitochondrial family, and photorespiratory transporter classification as case studies in using co-expression, co-response, and protein locations to aid in identifying transport functions.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Whole genome sequencing and the relative ease of transcript profiling have facilitated the collection and data warehousing of immense quantities of expression data. However, a substantial proportion of genes are not yet functionally annotated a problem which is particularly acute for transport proteins. In Arabidopsis, for example, only a minor fraction of the estimated 700 intracellular transporters have been identified at the molecular genetic level. Furthermore it is only within the last couple of years that critical genes such as those encoding the final transport step required for the long distance transport of sucrose and the first transporter of the core photorespiratory pathway have been identified. Here we will describe how transcriptional coordination between genes of known function and non-annotated genes allows the identification of putative transporters on the premise that such co-expressed genes tend to be functionally related. We will additionally extend this to include the expansion of this approach to include phenotypic information from other levels of cellular organization such as proteomic and metabolomic data and provide case studies wherein this approach has successfully been used to fill knowledge gaps in important metabolic pathways and physiological processes.
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Double knock-out mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana grown under normal conditions reveal that the plastidial phosphorylase isozyme (PHS1) participates in transitory starch metabolism.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-03-2013
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Activity of the plastidial phosphorylase isozyme (PHS1) is elevated in leaves of two starch-related single knock-out mutants lacking either the cytosolic transglucosidase, DPE2 or the plastidial maltose transporter, MEX. In both mutants metabolism of starch-derived maltose is impaired but inhibition is effective at different subcellular sites. Two constitutive double knock-out mutants deficient in PHS1 (dpe2-1 x phs1a and mex1 x phs1b) were generated and grown under continuous illumination or in a light-dark regime. Both double mutants are compromised in growth and, compared to the single knock-out plants, possess less average leaf starch when grown in a light-dark regime. Starch and chlorophyll contents decline with leaf age. As revealed by transmission electron microscopy, mesophyll cells of both double mutants gradually degrade chloroplasts but degradation is not observed in plants grown under continuous illumination. The two double mutants possess similar but not identical phenotypes. When grown in a light-dark regime, mesophyll chloroplasts of dpe2-1 x phs1a contain a single starch granule per chloroplast but under continuous illumination, more granules are formed. The other double mutant forms several granules under either growth conditions. In continuous light, growth of both double mutants is similar to that of the parental single knock-out lines. Metabolite profiles and oligoglucan patterns differ largely in the two double mutants. Thus, in plants grown under normal conditions, PHS1 is involved in starch metabolism in the dark, and indirectly prevents induction of chloroplast disintegration.
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The essential role of the phosphorylated pathway of serine biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.
Plant Signal Behav
PUBLISHED: 12-03-2013
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In plants, 3 different pathways of serine biosynthesis have been described: the Glycolate pathway, which is associated with photorespiration, and 2 non-photorespiratory pathways, the Glycerate and the Phosphorylated pathways. The Phosphorylated Pathway of Serine Biosynthesis (PPSB) has been known since the 1950s, but has been studied relatively little, probably because it was considered of minor significance as compared with the Glycolate pathway. In the associated study (1), we described for the first time in plants the in vivo functional characterization of the PPSB, by targeting the phosphoserine phosphatase (PSP1), the last enzyme of the pathway. Following a gain- and loss-of-function approach in Arabidopsis, we provided genetic and molecular evidence for the essential role of PSP1 for embryo and pollen development, and for proper root growth. A metabolomics study indicated that the PPSB affects glycolysis, the Krebs cycle, and the biosynthesis of several amino acids, which suggests that this pathway is an important link connecting metabolism and development. The mechanisms underlying the essential functions of PSP1 are discussed.
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Conserved changes in the dynamics of metabolic processes during fruit development and ripening across species.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 11-15-2013
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Computational analyses of molecular phenotypes traditionally aim at identifying biochemical components that exhibit differential expression under various scenarios (e.g., environmental and internal perturbations) in a single species. High-throughput metabolomics technologies allow quantification of (relative) metabolite levels across developmental stages in different tissues, organs, and species. Novel methods for analyzing the resulting multiple data tables could reveal preserved dynamics of metabolic processes across species. The problem we address in this study is twofold: (i) we derive a single data table, referred to as a compromise, which captures information common to the investigated set of multiple tables containing data on different fruit development and ripening stages in three climacteric (i.e., peach and two tomato cultivars, Ailsa Craig and M82) and two non-climacteric (i.e., strawberry, pepper) fruits; in addition, we demonstrate the power of the method to discern similarities and differences between multiple tables by analyzing publically available metabolomics data from three tomato ripening mutants together with two tomato cultivars, and (ii) identify the conserved dynamics of metabolic processes, reflected in the data profiles of the corresponding metabolites which contribute most to the determined compromise. Our analysis is based on an extension to principle component analysis, called STATIS, in combination with pathway over-enrichment analysis. Based on publically available metabolic profiles for the investigated species, we demonstrate that STATIS can be used to identify the metabolic processes whose behavior is similarly affected during the fruit development and ripening. These findings ultimately provide insights in the pathways which are essential during fruit development and ripening across species.
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Ethylene is involved in strawberry fruit ripening in an organ-specific manner.
J. Exp. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 10-05-2013
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The fruit of the strawberry Fragaria×ananassa has traditionally been classified as non-climacteric because its ripening process is not governed by ethylene. However, previous studies have reported the timely endogenous production of minor amounts of ethylene by the fruit as well as the differential expression of genes of the ethylene synthesis, reception, and signalling pathways during fruit development. Mining of the Fragaria vesca genome allowed for the identification of the two main ethylene biosynthetic genes, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase and ACC oxidase. Their expression pattern during fruit ripening was found to be stage and organ (achene or receptacle) specific. Strawberry plants with altered sensitivity to ethylene could be employed to unravel the role of ethylene in the ripening process of the strawberry fruit. To this end, independent lines of transgenic strawberry plants were generated that overexpress the Arabidopsis etr1-1 mutant ethylene receptor, which is a dominant negative allele, causing diminished sensitivity to ethylene. Genes involved in ethylene perception as well as in its related downstream processes, such as flavonoid biosynthesis, pectin metabolism, and volatile biosynthesis, were differently expressed in two transgenic tissues, the achene and the receptacle. The different transcriptional responsiveness of the achene and the receptacle to ethylene was also revealed by the metabolic profiling of the primary metabolites in these two organs. The free amino acid content was higher in the transgenic lines compared with the control in the mature achene, while glucose and fructose, and citric and malic acids were at lower levels. In the receptacle, the most conspicuous change in the transgenic lines was the depletion of the tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates at the white stage of development, most probably as a consequence of diminished respiration. The results are discussed in the context of the importance of ethylene during strawberry fruit ripening.
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Metabolic analysis of kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) berries from extreme genotypes reveals hallmarks for fruit starch metabolism.
J. Exp. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 09-21-2013
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Tomato, melon, grape, peach, and strawberry primarily accumulate soluble sugars during fruit development. In contrast, kiwifruit (Actinidia Lindl. spp.) and banana store a large amount of starch that is released as soluble sugars only after the fruit has reached maturity. By integrating metabolites measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, enzyme activities measured by a robot-based platform, and transcript data sets during fruit development of Actinidia deliciosa genotypes contrasting in starch concentration and size, this study identified the metabolic changes occurring during kiwifruit development, including the metabolic hallmarks of starch accumulation and turnover. At cell division, a rise in glucose (Glc) concentration was associated with neutral invertase (NI) activity, and the decline of both Glc and NI activity defined the transition to the cell expansion and starch accumulation phase. The high transcript levels of ?-amylase 9 (BAM9) during cell division, prior to net starch accumulation, and the correlation between sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activity and sucrose suggest the occurrence of sucrose cycling and starch turnover. ADP-Glc pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) is identified as a key enzyme for starch accumulation in kiwifruit berries, as high-starch genotypes had 2- to 5-fold higher AGPase activity, which was maintained over a longer period of time and was also associated with enhanced and extended transcription of the AGPase large subunit 4 (APL4). The data also revealed that SPS and galactinol might affect kiwifruit starch accumulation, and suggest that phloem unloading into kiwifruit is symplastic. These results are relevant to the genetic improvement of quality traits such as sweetness and sugar/acid balance in a range of fruit species.
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Functional characterization of the plastidial 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase family in Arabidopsis.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 09-20-2013
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This work contributes to unraveling the role of the phosphorylated pathway of serine (Ser) biosynthesis in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) by functionally characterizing genes coding for the first enzyme of this pathway, 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PGDH). We identified two Arabidopsis plastid-localized PGDH genes (3-PGDH and EMBRYO SAC DEVELOPMENT ARREST9 [EDA9]) with a high percentage of amino acid identity with a previously identified PGDH. All three genes displayed a different expression pattern indicating that they are not functionally redundant. pgdh and 3-pgdh mutants presented no drastic visual phenotypes, but eda9 displayed delayed embryo development, leading to aborted embryos that could be classified as early curled cotyledons. The embryo-lethal phenotype of eda9 was complemented with an EDA9 complementary DNA under the control of a 35S promoter (Pro-35S:EDA9). However, this construct, which is poorly expressed in the anther tapetum, did not complement mutant fertility. Microspore development in eda9.1eda9.1 Pro-35S:EDA9 was arrested at the polarized stage. Pollen from these lines lacked tryphine in the interstices of the exine layer, displayed shrunken and collapsed forms, and were unable to germinate when cultured in vitro. A metabolomic analysis of PGDH mutant and overexpressing plants revealed that all three PGDH family genes can regulate Ser homeostasis, with PGDH being quantitatively the most important in the process of Ser biosynthesis at the whole-plant level. By contrast, the essential role of EDA9 could be related to its expression in very specific cell types. We demonstrate the crucial role of EDA9 in embryo and pollen development, suggesting that the phosphorylated pathway of Ser biosynthesis is an important link connecting primary metabolism with development.
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Suppression of the External Mitochondrial NADPH Dehydrogenase, NDB1, in Arabidopsis thaliana Affects Central Metabolism and Vegetative Growth.
Mol Plant
PUBLISHED: 08-12-2013
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Ca(2+)-dependent oxidation of cytosolic NADPH is mediated by NDB1, which is an external type II NADPH dehydrogenase in the plant mitochondrial electron transport chain. Using RNA interference, the NDB1 transcript was suppressed by 80% in Arabidopsis thaliana plants, and external Ca(2+)-dependent NADPH dehydrogenase activity became undetectable in isolated mitochondria. This was linked to a decreased level of NADP(+) in rosettes of the transgenic lines. Sterile-grown transgenic seedlings displayed decreased growth specifically on glucose, and respiratory metabolism of (14)C-glucose was increased. On soil, NDB1-suppressing plants had a decreased vegetative biomass, but leaf maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II and CO2 assimilation rates, as well as total respiration, were similar to the wild-type. The in vivo alternative oxidase activity and capacity were also similar in all genotypes. Metabolic profiling revealed decreased levels of sugars, citric acid cycle intermediates, and amino acids in the transgenic lines. The NDB1-suppression induced transcriptomic changes associated with protein synthesis and glucosinolate and jasmonate metabolism. The transcriptomic changes also overlapped with changes observed in a mutant lacking ABAINSENSITIVE4 and in A. thaliana overexpressing stress tolerance genes from rice. The results thus indicate that A. thaliana NDB1 modulates NADP(H) reduction levels, which in turn affect central metabolism and growth, and interact with defense signaling.
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Mercator: a fast and simple web server for genome scale functional annotation of plant sequence data.
Plant Cell Environ.
PUBLISHED: 08-01-2013
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Next-generation technologies generate an overwhelming amount of gene sequence data. Efficient annotation tools are required to make these data amenable to functional genomics analyses. The Mercator pipeline automatically assigns functional terms to protein or nucleotide sequences. It uses the MapMan BIN ontology, which is tailored for functional annotation of plant omics data. The classification procedure performs parallel sequence searches against reference databases, compiles the results and computes the most likely MapMan BINs for each query. In the current version, the pipeline relies on manually curated reference classifications originating from the three reference organisms (Arabidopsis, Chlamydomonas, rice), various other plant species that have a reviewed SwissProt annotation, and more than 2000 protein domain and family profiles at InterPro, CDD and KOG. Functional annotations predicted by Mercator achieve accuracies above 90% when benchmarked against manual annotation. In addition to mapping files for direct use in the visualization software MapMan, Mercator provides graphical overview charts, detailed annotation information in a convenient web browser interface and a MapMan-to-GO translation table to export results as GO terms. Mercator is available free of charge via http://mapman.gabipd.org/web/guest/app/Mercator.
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DELLA-interacting SWI3C core subunit of switch/sucrose nonfermenting chromatin remodeling complex modulates gibberellin responses and hormonal cross talk in Arabidopsis.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-26-2013
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Switch (SWI)/Sucrose Nonfermenting (SNF)-type chromatin-remodeling complexes (CRCs) are involved in regulation of transcription, DNA replication and repair, and cell cycle. Mutations of conserved subunits of plant CRCs severely impair growth and development; however, the underlying causes of these phenotypes are largely unknown. Here, we show that inactivation of SWI3C, the core component of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) SWI/SNF CRCs, interferes with normal functioning of several plant hormone pathways and alters transcriptional regulation of key genes of gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis. The resulting reduction of GA4 causes severe inhibition of hypocotyl and root elongation, which can be rescued by exogenous GA treatment. In addition, the swi3c mutation inhibits DELLA-dependent transcriptional activation of GIBBERELLIN-INSENSITIVE DWARF1 (GID1) GA receptor genes. Down-regulation of GID1a in parallel with the DELLA repressor gene REPRESSOR OF GA1-3 1 in swi3c indicates that lack of SWI3C also leads to defects in GA signaling. Together with the recent demonstration of function of SWI/SNF ATPase BRAHMA in the GA pathway, these results reveal a critical role of SWI/SNF CRC in the regulation of GA biosynthesis and signaling. Moreover, we demonstrate that SWI3C is capable of in vitro binding to, and shows in vivo bimolecular fluorescence complementation interaction in cell nuclei with, the DELLA proteins RGA-LIKE2 and RGA-LIKE3, which affect transcriptional activation of GID1 and GA3ox (GIBBERELLIN 3-OXIDASE) genes controlling GA perception and biosynthesis, respectively. Furthermore, we show that SWI3C also interacts with the O-GlcNAc (O-linked N-acetylglucosamine) transferase SPINDLY required for proper functioning of DELLAs and acts hypostatically to (SPINDLY) in the GA response pathway. These findings suggest that DELLA-mediated effects in GA signaling as well as their role as a hub in hormonal cross talk may be, at least in part, dependent on their direct physical interaction with complexes responsible for modulation of chromatin structure.
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Systems analysis of metabolic phenotypes: what have we learnt?
Trends Plant Sci.
PUBLISHED: 06-30-2013
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Flux is one of the most informative measures of metabolic behavior. Its estimation requires integration of experimental and modeling approaches and, thus, is at the heart of metabolic systems biology. In this review, we argue that flux analysis and modeling of a range of plant systems points to the importance of the supply of metabolic inputs and demand for metabolic end-products as key drivers of metabolic behavior. This has implications for metabolic engineering, and the use of in silico models will be important to help design more effective engineering strategies. We also consider the importance of cell type-specific metabolism and the challenges of characterizing metabolism at this resolution. A combination of new measurement technologies and modeling approaches is bringing us closer to integrating metabolic behavior with whole-plant physiology and growth.
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Resolution by recombination: breaking up Solanum pennellii introgressions.
Trends Plant Sci.
PUBLISHED: 06-27-2013
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Quantitative trait locus (QTL) genetics retains an important role in the study of biological and agronomic processes; however, its genetic resolution is often comparatively low. Community-based strategies are thus required to address this issue. Here we detail such a strategy wherein the widely used Solanum pennellii introgression lines (ILs) in the genetic background of the cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are broken up into molecular marker-defined sublines as a community resource for map-based cloning.
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Comparative transcriptomics reveals patterns of selection in domesticated and wild tomato.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 06-26-2013
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Although applied over extremely short timescales, artificial selection has dramatically altered the form, physiology, and life history of cultivated plants. We have used RNAseq to define both gene sequence and expression divergence between cultivated tomato and five related wild species. Based on sequence differences, we detect footprints of positive selection in over 50 genes. We also document thousands of shifts in gene-expression level, many of which resulted from changes in selection pressure. These rapidly evolving genes are commonly associated with environmental response and stress tolerance. The importance of environmental inputs during evolution of gene expression is further highlighted by large-scale alteration of the light response coexpression network between wild and cultivated accessions. Human manipulation of the genome has heavily impacted the tomato transcriptome through directed admixture and by indirectly favoring nonsynonymous over synonymous substitutions. Taken together, our results shed light on the pervasive effects artificial and natural selection have had on the transcriptomes of tomato and its wild relatives.
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Deciphering the metabolic pathways influencing heat and cold responses during post-harvest physiology of peach fruit.
Plant Cell Environ.
PUBLISHED: 06-25-2013
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Peaches are highly perishable and deteriorate quickly at ambient temperature. Cold storage is commonly used to prevent fruit decay; however, it affects fruit quality causing physiological disorders collectively termed chilling injury (CI). To prevent or ameliorate CI, heat treatment is often applied prior to cold storage. In the present work, metabolic profiling was performed to determine the metabolic dynamics associated with the induction of acquired CI tolerance in response to heat shock. Dixiland peach fruits exposed to 39?°C, cold stored, or after a combined treatment of heat and cold, were compared with fruits ripening at 20?°C. Dramatic changes in the levels of compatible solutes such as galactinol and raffinose were observed, while amino acid precursors of the phenylpropanoid pathway were also modified due to the stress treatments, as was the polyamine putrescine. The observed responses towards temperature stress in peaches are composed of both common and specific response mechanisms to heat and cold, but also of more general adaptive responses that confer strategic advantages in adverse conditions such as biotic stresses. The identification of such key metabolites, which prime the fruit to cope with different stress situations, will likely greatly accelerate the design and the improvement of plant breeding programs.
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Salt-responsive ERF1 regulates reactive oxygen species-dependent signaling during the initial response to salt stress in rice.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 06-25-2013
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Early detection of salt stress is vital for plant survival and growth. Still, the molecular processes controlling early salt stress perception and signaling are not fully understood. Here, we identified salt-responsive ERF1 (SERF1), a rice (Oryza sativa) transcription factor (TF) gene that shows a root-specific induction upon salt and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) treatment. Loss of SERF1 impairs the salt-inducible expression of genes encoding members of a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade and salt tolerance-mediating TFs. Furthermore, we show that SERF1-dependent genes are H2O2 responsive and demonstrate that SERF1 binds to the promoters of MAPK kinase kinase6 (MAP3K6), MAPK5, dehydration-responsive element bindinG2A (DREB2A), and zinc finger protein179 (ZFP179) in vitro and in vivo. SERF1 also directly induces its own gene expression. In addition, SERF1 is a phosphorylation target of MAPK5, resulting in enhanced transcriptional activity of SERF1 toward its direct target genes. In agreement, plants deficient for SERF1 are more sensitive to salt stress compared with the wild type, while constitutive overexpression of SERF1 improves salinity tolerance. We propose that SERF1 amplifies the reactive oxygen species-activated MAPK cascade signal during the initial phase of salt stress and translates the salt-induced signal into an appropriate expressional response resulting in salt tolerance.
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Arabidopsis BPM proteins function as substrate adaptors to a cullin3-based E3 ligase to affect fatty acid metabolism in plants.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 06-21-2013
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Regulation of transcriptional processes is a critical mechanism that enables efficient coordination of the synthesis of required proteins in response to environmental and cellular changes. Transcription factors require accurate activity regulation because they play a critical role as key mediators assuring specific expression of target genes. In this work, we show that cullin3-based E3 ligases have the potential to interact with a broad range of ethylene response factor (ERF)/APETALA2 (AP2) transcription factors, mediated by Math-BTB/POZ (for Meprin and TRAF [tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor] homolog)-Broad complex, Tramtrack, Bric-a-brac/Pox virus and Zinc finger) proteins. The assembly with an E3 ligase causes degradation of their substrates via the 26S proteasome, as demonstrated for the wrinkled1 ERF/AP2 protein. Furthermore, loss of Math-BTB/POZ proteins widely affects plant development and causes altered fatty acid contents in mutant seeds. Overall, this work demonstrates a link between fatty acid metabolism and E3 ligase activities in plants and establishes CUL3-based E3 ligases as key regulators in transcriptional processes that involve ERF/AP2 family members.
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The phosphorylated pathway of serine biosynthesis is essential both for male gametophyte and embryo development and for root growth in Arabidopsis.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 06-14-2013
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This study characterizes the phosphorylated pathway of Ser biosynthesis (PPSB) in Arabidopsis thaliana by targeting phosphoserine phosphatase (PSP1), the last enzyme of the pathway. Lack of PSP1 activity delayed embryo development, leading to aborted embryos that could be classified as early curled cotyledons. The embryo-lethal phenotype of psp1 mutants could be complemented with PSP1 cDNA under the control of Pro35S (Pro35S:PSP1). However, this construct, which was poorly expressed in the anther tapetum, did not complement mutant fertility. Microspore development in psp1.1/psp1.1 Pro35S:PSP1 arrested at the polarized stage. The tapetum from these lines displayed delayed and irregular development. The expression of PSP1 in the tapetum at critical stages of microspore development suggests that PSP1 activity in this cell layer is essential in pollen development. In addition to embryo death and male sterility, conditional psp1 mutants displayed a short-root phenotype, which was reverted in the presence of Ser. A metabolomic study demonstrated that the PPSB plays a crucial role in plant metabolism by affecting glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and the biosynthesis of amino acids. We provide evidence of the crucial role of the PPSB in embryo, pollen, and root development and suggest that this pathway is an important link connecting primary metabolism with development.
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TIME FOR COFFEE is an essential component in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Plant J.
PUBLISHED: 06-12-2013
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Plants often respond to environmental changes by reprogramming metabolic and stress-associated pathways. Homeostatic integration of signaling is a central requirement for ensuring metabolic stability in living organisms. Under diurnal conditions, properly timed rhythmic metabolism provides fitness benefits to plants. TIME FOR COFFEE (TIC) is a circadian regulator known to be involved in clock resetting at dawn. Here we explored the mechanism of influence of TIC in plant growth and development, as initiated by a microarray analysis. This global profiling showed that a loss of TIC function causes a major reprogramming of gene expression that predicts numerous developmental, metabolic, and stress-related phenotypes. This led us to demonstrate that this mutant exhibits late flowering, a plastochron defect, and diverse anatomical phenotypes. We further observed a starch-excess phenotype and altered soluble carbohydrate levels. tic exhibited hypersensitivity to oxidative stress and abscisic acid, and this was associated with a striking resistance to drought. These phenotypes were connected to an increase in total glutathione levels that correlated with a readjustment of amino acids and polyamine pools. By comparatively analyzing our transcriptomic and metabolomic data, we concluded that TIC is a central element in plant homeostasis that integrates and coordinates developmental, metabolic, and environmental signals.
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Evolution of a complex locus for terpene biosynthesis in solanum.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2013
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Functional gene clusters, containing two or more genes encoding different enzymes for the same pathway, are sometimes observed in plant genomes, most often when the genes specify the synthesis of specialized defensive metabolites. Here, we show that a cluster of genes in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum; Solanaceae) contains genes for terpene synthases (TPSs) that specify the synthesis of monoterpenes and diterpenes from cis-prenyl diphosphates, substrates that are synthesized by enzymes encoded by cis-prenyl transferase (CPT) genes also located within the same cluster. The monoterpene synthase genes in the cluster likely evolved from a diterpene synthase gene in the cluster by duplication and divergence. In the orthologous cluster in Solanum habrochaites, a new sesquiterpene synthase gene was created by a duplication event of a monoterpene synthase followed by a localized gene conversion event directed by a diterpene synthase gene. The TPS genes in the Solanum cluster encoding cis-prenyl diphosphate-utilizing enzymes are closely related to a tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum; Solanaceae) diterpene synthase encoding Z-abienol synthase (Nt-ABS). Nt-ABS uses the substrate copal-8-ol diphosphate, which is made from the all-trans geranylgeranyl diphosphate by copal-8-ol diphosphate synthase (Nt-CPS2). The Solanum gene cluster also contains an ortholog of Nt-CPS2, but it appears to encode a nonfunctional protein. Thus, the Solanum functional gene cluster evolved by duplication and divergence of TPS genes, together with alterations in substrate specificity to utilize cis-prenyl diphosphates and through the acquisition of CPT genes.
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Plastic, fantastic! Phenotypic variance in the transcriptional landscape of the grape berry.
Genome Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-07-2013
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Evaluation of the common grapevine Vitis vinifera across multiple harvests and field locations provides important insights into crop transcriptional plasticity under diverse agricultural regimes.Please see related Research: http://genomebiology.com/2013/14/6/R54.
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Comprehensive dissection of spatiotemporal metabolic shifts in primary, secondary, and lipid metabolism during developmental senescence in arabidopsis.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-21-2013
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Developmental senescence is a coordinated physiological process in plants and is critical for nutrient redistribution from senescing leaves to newly formed sink organs, including young leaves and developing seeds. Progress has been made concerning the genes involved and the regulatory networks controlling senescence. The resulting complex metabolome changes during senescence have not been investigated in detail yet. Therefore, we conducted a comprehensive profiling of metabolites, including pigments, lipids, sugars, amino acids, organic acids, nutrient ions, and secondary metabolites, and determined approximately 260 metabolites at distinct stages in leaves and siliques during senescence in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). This provided an extensive catalog of metabolites and their spatiotemporal cobehavior with progressing senescence. Comparison with silique data provides clues to source-sink relations. Furthermore, we analyzed the metabolite distribution within single leaves along the basipetal sink-source transition trajectory during senescence. Ceramides, lysolipids, aromatic amino acids, branched chain amino acids, and stress-induced amino acids accumulated, and an imbalance of asparagine/aspartate, glutamate/glutamine, and nutrient ions in the tip region of leaves was detected. Furthermore, the spatiotemporal distribution of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates was already changed in the presenescent leaves, and glucosinolates, raffinose, and galactinol accumulated in the base region of leaves with preceding senescence. These results are discussed in the context of current models of the metabolic shifts occurring during developmental and environmentally induced senescence. As senescence processes are correlated to crop yield, the metabolome data and the approach provided here can serve as a blueprint for the analysis of traits and conditions linking crop yield and senescence.
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Diurnal changes of polysome loading track sucrose content in the rosette of wild-type arabidopsis and the starchless pgm mutant.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-14-2013
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Growth is driven by newly fixed carbon in the light, but at night it depends on reserves, like starch, that are laid down in the light. Unless plants coordinate their growth with diurnal changes in the carbon supply, they will experience acute carbon starvation during the night. Protein synthesis represents a major component of cellular growth. Polysome loading was investigated during the diurnal cycle, an extended night, and low CO2 in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Columbia (Col-0) and in the starchless phosphoglucomutase (pgm) mutant. In Col-0, polysome loading was 60% to 70% in the light, 40% to 45% for much of the night, and less than 20% in an extended night, while in pgm, it fell to less than 25% early in the night. Quantification of ribosomal RNA species using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that polysome loading remained high for much of the night in the cytosol, was strongly light dependent in the plastid, and was always high in mitochondria. The rosette sucrose content correlated with overall and with cytosolic polysome loading. Ribosome abundance did not show significant diurnal changes. However, compared with Col-0, pgm had decreased and increased abundance of plastidic and mitochondrial ribosomes, respectively. Incorporation of label from (13)CO2 into protein confirmed that protein synthesis continues at a diminished rate in the dark. Modeling revealed that a decrease in polysome loading at night is required to balance protein synthesis with the availability of carbon from starch breakdown. Costs are also reduced by using amino acids that accumulated in the previous light period. These results uncover a tight coordination of protein synthesis with the momentary supply of carbon.
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MULTIPASS, a rice R2R3-type MYB transcription factor, regulates adaptive growth by integrating multiple hormonal pathways.
Plant J.
PUBLISHED: 05-12-2013
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Growth regulation is an important aspect of plant adaptation during environmental perturbations. Here, the role of MULTIPASS (OsMPS), an R2R3-type MYB transcription factor of rice, was explored. OsMPS is induced by salt stress and expressed in vegetative and reproductive tissues. Over-expression of OsMPS reduces growth under non-stress conditions, while knockdown plants display increased biomass. OsMPS expression is induced by abscisic acid and cytokinin, but is repressed by auxin, gibberellin and brassinolide. Growth retardation caused by OsMPS over-expression is partially restored by auxin application. Expression profiling revealed that OsMPS negatively regulates the expression of EXPANSIN (EXP) and cell-wall biosynthesis as well as phytohormone signaling genes. Furthermore, the expression of OsMPS-dependent genes is regulated by auxin, cytokinin and abscisic acid. Moreover, we show that OsMPS is a direct upstream regulator of OsEXPA4, OsEXPA8, OsEXPB2, OsEXPB3, OsEXPB6 and the endoglucanase genes OsGLU5 and OsGLU14. The multiple responses of OsMPS and its target genes to various hormones suggest an integrative function of OsMPS in the cross-talk between phytohormones and the environment to regulate adaptive growth.
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Integration of genome-scale modeling and transcript profiling reveals metabolic pathways underlying light and temperature acclimation in Arabidopsis.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 04-23-2013
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Understanding metabolic acclimation of plants to challenging environmental conditions is essential for dissecting the role of metabolic pathways in growth and survival. As stresses involve simultaneous physiological alterations across all levels of cellular organization, a comprehensive characterization of the role of metabolic pathways in acclimation necessitates integration of genome-scale models with high-throughput data. Here, we present an integrative optimization-based approach, which, by coupling a plant metabolic network model and transcriptomics data, can predict the metabolic pathways affected in a single, carefully controlled experiment. Moreover, we propose three optimization-based indices that characterize different aspects of metabolic pathway behavior in the context of the entire metabolic network. We demonstrate that the proposed approach and indices facilitate quantitative comparisons and characterization of the plant metabolic response under eight different light and/or temperature conditions. The predictions of the metabolic functions involved in metabolic acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana to the changing conditions are in line with experimental evidence and result in a hypothesis about the role of homocysteine-to-Cys interconversion and Asn biosynthesis. The approach can also be used to reveal the role of particular metabolic pathways in other scenarios, while taking into consideration the entirety of characterized plant metabolism.
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Comparative metabolic profiling of Haberlea rhodopensis, Thellungiella halophyla, and Arabidopsis thaliana exposed to low temperature.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Haberlea rhodopensis is a resurrection species with extreme resistance to drought stress and desiccation but also with ability to withstand low temperatures and freezing stress. In order to identify biochemical strategies which contribute to Haberleas remarkable stress tolerance, the metabolic reconfiguration of H. rhodopensis during low temperature (4°C) and subsequent return to optimal temperatures (21°C) was investigated and compared with that of the stress tolerant Thellungiella halophyla and the stress sensitive Arabidopsis thaliana. Metabolic analysis by GC-MS revealed intrinsic differences in the metabolite levels of the three species even at 21°C. H. rhodopensis had significantly more raffinose, melibiose, trehalose, rhamnose, myo-inositol, sorbitol, galactinol, erythronate, threonate, 2-oxoglutarate, citrate, and glycerol than the other two species. A. thaliana had the highest levels of putrescine and fumarate, while T. halophila had much higher levels of several amino acids, including alanine, asparagine, beta-alanine, histidine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, serine, threonine, and valine. In addition, the three species responded differently to the low temperature treatment and the subsequent recovery, especially with regard to the sugar metabolism. Chilling induced accumulation of maltose in H. rhodopensis and raffinose in A. thaliana but the raffinose levels in low temperature exposed Arabidopsis were still much lower than these in unstressed Haberlea. While all species accumulated sucrose during chilling, that accumulation was transient in H. rhodopensis and A. thaliana but sustained in T. halophila after the return to optimal temperature. Thus, Haberleas metabolome appeared primed for chilling stress but the low temperature acclimation induced additional stress-protective mechanisms. A diverse array of sugars, organic acids, and polyols constitute Haberleas main metabolic defence mechanisms against chilling, while accumulation of amino acids and amino acid derivatives contribute to the low temperature acclimation in Arabidopsis and Thellungiella. Collectively, these results show inherent differences in the metabolomes under the ambient temperature and the strategies to respond to low temperature in the three species.
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Pyrophosphate levels strongly influence ascorbate and starch content in tomato fruit.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Ascorbate (vitamin C) deficiency leads to low immunity, scurvy, and other human diseases and is therefore a global health problem. Given that plants are major ascorbate sources for humans, biofortification of this vitamin in our foodstuffs is of considerable importance. Ascorbate is synthetized by a number of alternative pathways: (i) from the glycolytic intermediates D-glucose-6P (the key intermediates are GDP-D-mannose and L-galactose), (ii) from the breakdown of the cell wall polymer pectin which uses the methyl ester of D-galacturonic acid as precursor, and (iii) from myo-inositol as precursor via myo-inositol oxygenase. We report here the engineering of fruit-specific overexpression of a bacterial pyrophosphatase, which hydrolyzes the inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi) to orthophosphate (Pi). This strategy resulted in increased vitamin C levels up to 2.5-fold in ripe fruit as well as increasing in the major sugars, sucrose, and glucose, yet decreasing the level of starch. When considered together, these finding indicate an intimate linkage between ascorbate and sugar biosynthesis in plants. Moreover, the combined data reveal the importance of PPi metabolism in tomato fruit metabolism and development.
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Molecular regulation of fruit ripening.
Front Plant Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Fruit ripening is a highly coordinated developmental process that coincides with seed maturation. The ripening process is regulated by thousands of genes that control progressive softening and/or lignification of pericarp layers, accumulation of sugars, acids, pigments, and release of volatiles. Key to crop improvement is a deeper understanding of the processes underlying fruit ripening. In tomato, mutations blocking the transition to ripe fruits have provided insights into the role of ethylene and its associated molecular networks involved in the control of ripening. However, the role of other plant hormones is still poorly understood. In this review, we describe how plant hormones, transcription factors, and epigenetic changes are intimately related to provide a tight control of the ripening process. Recent findings from comparative genomics and system biology approaches are discussed.
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Catabolism of branched chain amino acids supports respiration but not volatile synthesis in tomato fruits.
Mol Plant
PUBLISHED: 12-22-2011
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The branched-chain amino acid transaminases (BCATs) have a crucial role in metabolism of the branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These enzymes catalyze the last step of synthesis and the initial step of degradation of these amino acids. Although the biosynthetic pathways of branched chain amino acids in plants have been extensively investigated and a number of genes have been characterized, their catabolism in plants is not yet completely understood. We previously characterized the branched chain amino acid transaminase gene family in tomato, revealing both the subcellular localization and kinetic properties of the enzymes encoded by six genes. Here, we examined possible functions of the enzymes during fruit development. We further characterized transgenic plants differing in the expression of branched chain amino acid transaminases 1 and 3, evaluating the rates of respiration in fruits deficient in BCAT1 and the levels of volatiles in lines overexpressing either BCAT1 or BCAT3. We quantitatively tested, via precursor and isotope feeding experiments, the importance of the branched chain amino acids and their corresponding keto acids in the formation of fruit volatiles. Our results not only demonstrate for the first time the importance of branched chain amino acids in fruit respiration, but also reveal that keto acids, rather than amino acids, are the likely precursors for the branched chain flavor volatiles.
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Metabolic and phenotypic responses of greenhouse-grown maize hybrids to experimentally controlled drought stress.
Mol Plant
PUBLISHED: 12-15-2011
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Adaptation to abiotic stresses like drought is an important acquirement of agriculturally relevant crops like maize. Development of enhanced drought tolerance in crops grown in climatic zones where drought is a very dominant stress factor therefore plays an essential role in plant breeding. Previous studies demonstrated that corn yield potential and enhanced stress tolerance are associated traits. In this study, we analyzed six different maize hybrids for their ability to deal with drought stress in a greenhouse experiment. We were able to combine data from morphophysiological parameters measured under well-watered conditions and under water restriction with metabolic data from different organs. These different organs possessed distinct metabolite compositions, with the leaf blade displaying the most considerable metabolome changes following water deficiency. Whilst we could show a general increase in metabolite levels under drought stress, including changes in amino acids, sugars, sugar alcohols, and intermediates of the TCA cycle, these changes were not differential between maize hybrids that had previously been designated based on field trial data as either drought-tolerant or susceptible. The fact that data described here resulted from a greenhouse experiment with rather different growth conditions compared to natural ones in the field may explain why tolerance groups could not be confirmed in this study. We were, however, able to highlight several metabolites that displayed conserved responses to drought as well as metabolites whose levels correlated well with certain physiological traits.
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Sucrose efflux mediated by SWEET proteins as a key step for phloem transport.
Science
PUBLISHED: 12-08-2011
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Plants transport fixed carbon predominantly as sucrose, which is produced in mesophyll cells and imported into phloem cells for translocation throughout the plant. It is not known how sucrose migrates from sites of synthesis in the mesophyll to the phloem, or which cells mediate efflux into the apoplasm as a prerequisite for phloem loading by the SUT sucrose-H(+) (proton) cotransporters. Using optical sucrose sensors, we identified a subfamily of SWEET sucrose efflux transporters. AtSWEET11 and 12 localize to the plasma membrane of the phloem. Mutant plants carrying insertions in AtSWEET11 and 12 are defective in phloem loading, thus revealing a two-step mechanism of SWEET-mediated export from parenchyma cells feeding H(+)-coupled import into the sieve element-companion cell complex. We discuss how restriction of intercellular transport to the interface of adjacent phloem cells may be an effective mechanism to limit the availability of photosynthetic carbon in the leaf apoplasm in order to prevent pathogen infections.
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Multiple strategies to prevent oxidative stress in Arabidopsis plants lacking the malate valve enzyme NADP-malate dehydrogenase.
J. Exp. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 12-03-2011
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The nuclear-encoded chloroplast NADP-dependent malate dehydrogenase (NADP-MDH) is a key enzyme controlling the malate valve, to allow the indirect export of reducing equivalents. Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. T-DNA insertion mutants of NADP-MDH were used to assess the role of the light-activated NADP-MDH in a typical C(3) plant. Surprisingly, even when exposed to high-light conditions in short days, nadp-mdh knockout mutants were phenotypically indistinguishable from the wild type. The photosynthetic performance and typical antioxidative systems, such as the Beck-Halliwell-Asada pathway, were barely affected in the mutants in response to high-light treatment. The reactive oxygen species levels remained low, indicating the apparent absence of oxidative stress, in the mutants. Further analysis revealed a novel combination of compensatory mechanisms in order to maintain redox homeostasis in the nadp-mdh plants under high-light conditions, particularly an increase in the NTRC/2-Cys peroxiredoxin (Prx) system in chloroplasts. There were indications of adjustments in extra-chloroplastic components of photorespiration and proline levels, which all could dissipate excess reducing equivalents, sustain photosynthesis, and prevent photoinhibition in nadp-mdh knockout plants. Such metabolic flexibility suggests that the malate valve acts in concert with other NADPH-consuming reactions to maintain a balanced redox state during photosynthesis under high-light stress in wild-type plants.
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Transcriptional and metabolic programs following exposure of plants to UV-B irradiation.
Plant Signal Behav
PUBLISHED: 11-25-2011
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In order to adapt to environmental changes of light species and intensity, higher plants furnish complicate signaling systems such as the UVR/COP/HY5 cascade which links several diverse classes of photoreceptors. In addition UV-B light provokes accelerated production of UV-B protectants such as flavonoids and vitamins. Following intensive research efforts, genes in the UV-B signaling cascade have been characterized via forward genetics approaches following mutant screens relying on sensitivity to UV-B irradiation. However detailed processes of the linkage between light signaling and the upregulation of metabolite accumulation remain unclear. Here we review both the light signal cascades and metabolite pathways responding to UV-B exposure. Finally we generate co-expression network analysis using published data in order to find novel candidate genes which link light signaling and transcriptional regulation to metabolic biosynthesis in attempt to describe how these processes are interlinked.
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Tissue- and cell-type specific transcriptome profiling of expanding tomato fruit provides insights into metabolic and regulatory specialization and cuticle formation.
Plant Cell
PUBLISHED: 11-01-2011
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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is the primary model for the study of fleshy fruits, and research in this species has elucidated many aspects of fruit physiology, development, and metabolism. However, most of these studies have involved homogenization of the fruit pericarp, with its many constituent cell types. Here, we describe the coupling of pyrosequencing technology with laser capture microdissection to characterize the transcriptomes of the five principal tissues of the pericarp from tomato fruits (outer and inner epidermal layers, collenchyma, parenchyma, and vascular tissues) at their maximal growth phase. A total of 20,976 high-quality expressed unigenes were identified, of which more than half were ubiquitous in their expression, while others were cell type specific or showed distinct expression patterns in specific tissues. The data provide new insights into the spatial distribution of many classes of regulatory and structural genes, including those involved in energy metabolism, source-sink relationships, secondary metabolite production, cell wall biology, and cuticle biogenesis. Finally, patterns of similar gene expression between tissues led to the characterization of a cuticle on the inner surface of the pericarp, demonstrating the utility of this approach as a platform for biological discovery.
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Combined transcription factor profiling, microarray analysis and metabolite profiling reveals the transcriptional control of metabolic shifts occurring during tomato fruit development.
Plant J.
PUBLISHED: 10-25-2011
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Maturation of fleshy fruits such as tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is subject to tight genetic control. Here we describe the development of a quantitative real-time PCR platform that allows accurate quantification of the expression level of approximately 1000 tomato transcription factors. In addition to utilizing this novel approach, we performed cDNA microarray analysis and metabolite profiling of primary and secondary metabolites using GC-MS and LC-MS, respectively. We applied these platforms to pericarp material harvested throughout fruit development, studying both wild-type Solanum lycopersicum cv. Ailsa Craig and the hp1 mutant. This mutant is functionally deficient in the tomato homologue of the negative regulator of the light signal transduction gene DDB1 from Arabidopsis, and is furthermore characterized by dramatically increased pigment and phenolic contents. We choose this particular mutant as it had previously been shown to have dramatic alterations in the content of several important fruit metabolites but relatively little impact on other ripening phenotypes. The combined dataset was mined in order to identify metabolites that were under the control of these transcription factors, and, where possible, the respective transcriptional regulation underlying this control. The results are discussed in terms of both programmed fruit ripening and development and the transcriptional and metabolic shifts that occur in parallel during these processes.
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Metabolic profiling during peach fruit development and ripening reveals the metabolic networks that underpin each developmental stage.
Plant Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 10-20-2011
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Fruit from rosaceous species collectively display a great variety of flavors and textures as well as a generally high content of nutritionally beneficial metabolites. However, relatively little analysis of metabolic networks in rosaceous fruit has been reported. Among rosaceous species, peach (Prunus persica) has stone fruits composed of a juicy mesocarp and lignified endocarp. Here, peach mesocarp metabolic networks were studied across development using metabolomics and analysis of key regulatory enzymes. Principal component analysis of peach metabolic composition revealed clear metabolic shifts from early through late development stages and subsequently during postharvest ripening. Early developmental stages were characterized by a substantial decrease in protein abundance and high levels of bioactive polyphenols and amino acids, which are substrates for the phenylpropanoid and lignin pathways during stone hardening. Sucrose levels showed a large increase during development, reflecting translocation from the leaf, while the importance of galactinol and raffinose is also inferred. Our study further suggests that posttranscriptional mechanisms are key for metabolic regulation at early stages. In contrast to early developmental stages, a decrease in amino acid levels is coupled to an induction of transcripts encoding amino acid and organic acid catabolic enzymes during ripening. These data are consistent with the mobilization of amino acids to support respiration. In addition, sucrose cycling, suggested by the parallel increase of transcripts encoding sucrose degradative and synthetic enzymes, appears to operate during postharvest ripening. When taken together, these data highlight singular metabolic programs for peach development and may allow the identification of key factors related to agronomic traits of this important crop species.
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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.