Productive infection of Trichoplusia ni cells by the baculovirus Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) leads to expression of ?156 viral genes and results in dramatic cell remodeling. How the cell transcriptome responds to viral infection was unknown due to the lack of a reference genome and transcriptome for T. ni. We used an ?60-Gb RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data set from infected and uninfected T. ni cells to generate and annotate a de novo transcriptome assembly of approximately 70,322 T. ni unigenes (assembled transcripts), representing the 48-h infection cycle. Using differential gene expression analysis, we found that the majority of host transcripts were downregulated after 6 h postinfection (p.i.) and throughout the remainder of the infection. In contrast, 5.7% (4,028) of the T. ni unigenes were upregulated during the early period (0 to 6 h p.i.), followed by a decrease through the remainder of the infection cycle. Also, a small subset of genes related to metabolism and stress response showed a significant elevation of transcript levels at 18 and 24 h p.i. but a decrease thereafter. We also examined the responses of genes belonging to a number of specific pathways of interest, including stress responses, apoptosis, immunity, and protein trafficking. We identified specific pathway members that were upregulated during the early phase of the infection. Combined with the parallel analysis of AcMNPV expression, these results provide both a broad and a detailed view of how baculovirus infection impacts the host cell transcriptome to evade cellular defensive responses, to modify cellular biosynthetic pathways, and to remodel cell structure.
Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a climacteric fleshy fruit that undergoes dramatic changes during ripening, most noticeably a severe pulp softening. However, little is known regarding the genetics of the cell wall metabolism in papayas. The present work describes the identification and characterization of genes related to pulp softening. We used gene expression profiling to analyze the correlations and co-expression networks of cell wall-related genes, and the results suggest that papaya pulp softening is accomplished by the interactions of multiple glycoside hydrolases. The polygalacturonase cpPG1 appeared to play a central role in the network and was further studied. The transient expression of cpPG1 in papaya results in pulp softening and leaf necrosis in the absence of ethylene action and confirms its role in papaya fruit ripening.
Cytosine methylation at CG sites ((m)CG) plays critical roles in development, epigenetic inheritance, and genome stability in mammals and plants. In the dicot model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, methyltransferase 1 (MET1), a principal CG methylase, functions to maintain (m)CG during DNA replication, with its null mutation resulting in global hypomethylation and pleiotropic developmental defects. Null mutation of a critical CG methylase has not been characterized at a whole-genome level in other higher eukaryotes, leaving the generality of the Arabidopsis findings largely speculative. Rice is a model plant of monocots, to which many of our important crops belong. Here we have characterized a null mutant of OsMet1-2, the major CG methylase in rice. We found that seeds homozygous for OsMet1-2 gene mutation (OsMET1-2(-/-)), which directly segregated from normal heterozygote plants (OsMET1-2(+/-)), were seriously maldeveloped, and all germinated seedlings underwent swift necrotic death. Compared with wild type, genome-wide loss of (m)CG occurred in the mutant methylome, which was accompanied by a plethora of quantitative molecular phenotypes including dysregulated expression of diverse protein-coding genes, activation and repression of transposable elements, and altered small RNA profiles. Our results have revealed conservation but also distinct functional differences in CG methylases between rice and Arabidopsis.
Cassava is a major tropical food crop in the Euphorbiaceae family that has high carbohydrate production potential and adaptability to diverse environments. Here we present the draft genome sequences of a wild ancestor and a domesticated variety of cassava and comparative analyses with a partial inbred line. We identify 1,584 and 1,678 gene models specific to the wild and domesticated varieties, respectively, and discover high heterozygosity and millions of single-nucleotide variations. Our analyses reveal that genes involved in photosynthesis, starch accumulation and abiotic stresses have been positively selected, whereas those involved in cell wall biosynthesis and secondary metabolism, including cyanogenic glucoside formation, have been negatively selected in the cultivated varieties, reflecting the result of natural selection and domestication. Differences in microRNA genes and retrotransposon regulation could partly explain an increased carbon flux towards starch accumulation and reduced cyanogenic glucoside accumulation in domesticated cassava. These results may contribute to genetic improvement of cassava through better understanding of its biology.
Fruit ripening is the summation of changes rendering fleshy fruit tissues attractive and palatable to seed dispersing organisms. For example, sugar content is influenced by plastid numbers and photosynthetic activity in unripe fruit and later by starch and sugar catabolism during ripening. Tomato fruit are sinks of photosynthate, yet unripe green fruit contribute significantly to the sugars that ultimately accumulate in the ripe fruit. Plastid numbers and chlorophyll content are influenced by numerous environmental and genetic factors and are positively correlated with photosynthesis and photosynthate accumulation. GOLDEN2-LIKE (GLK) transcription factors regulate plastid and chlorophyll levels. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), like most plants, contains two GLKs (i.e., GLK1 and GLK2/UNIFORM). Mutant and transgene analysis demonstrated that these genes encode functionally similar peptides, though differential expression renders GLK1 more important in leaves, while GLK2 is predominant in fruit. A latitudinal gradient of GLK2 expression influences the typical uneven coloration of green and ripe wild-type fruit. Transcriptome profiling revealed a broader fruit gene expression gradient throughout development. The gradient influenced general ripening activities beyond plastid development and was consistent with the easily observed yet poorly studied ripening gradient present in tomato and many fleshy fruits.
Identifying the target genes of transcription factors is important for unraveling regulatory networks in all types of organisms. Our interest was precisely to uncover the spectrum of loci regulated by a widespread plant transcription factor involved in physiological adaptation to drought, a type of stress that plants have encountered since the colonization of land habitats 400 MYA. The regulator under study, named ASR1, is exclusive to the plant kingdom (albeit absent in Arabidopsis) and known to alleviate the stress caused by restricted water availability. As its target genes are still unknown despite the original cloning of Asr1 cDNA 20 years ago, we examined the tomato genome for specific loci interacting in vivo with this conspicuous protein.
Litchi is an evergreen woody tree widely cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions. Defective flowering is a major challenge for litchi production in time of climate change and global warming. Previous studies have shown that high temperature conditions encourage the growth of rudimentary leaves in panicles and suppress litchi flowering, while reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by methyl viologen dichloride hydrate (MV) promote flowering and abortion of rudimentary leaves. To understand the molecular function of the ROS-induced abortion of rudimentary leaves in litchi, we sequenced and de novo assembled the litchi transcriptome.
Microbe-associated molecular patterns, such as those present in bacterial flagellin, are powerful inducers of the innate immune response in plants. Successful pathogens deliver virulence proteins, termed effectors, into the plant cell where they can interfere with the immune response and promote disease. Engineering the plant immune system to enhance disease resistance requires a thorough understanding of its components.
The kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) is an economically and nutritionally important fruit crop with remarkably high vitamin C content. Here we report the draft genome sequence of a heterozygous kiwifruit, assembled from ~140-fold next-generation sequencing data. The assembled genome has a total length of 616.1 Mb and contains 39,040 genes. Comparative genomic analysis reveals that the kiwifruit has undergone an ancient hexaploidization event (?) shared by core eudicots and two more recent whole-genome duplication events. Both recent duplication events occurred after the divergence of kiwifruit from tomato and potato and have contributed to the neofunctionalization of genes involved in regulating important kiwifruit characteristics, such as fruit vitamin C, flavonoid and carotenoid metabolism. As the first sequenced species in the Ericales, the kiwifruit genome sequence provides a valuable resource not only for biological discovery and crop improvement but also for evolutionary and comparative genomics analysis, particularly in the asterid lineage.
Baculoviruses are important insect pathogens that have been developed as protein expression vectors in insect cells and as transduction vectors for mammalian cells. They have large double-stranded DNA genomes containing approximately 156 tightly spaced genes, and they present significant challenges for transcriptome analysis. In this study, we report the first comprehensive analysis of AcMNPV transcription over the course of infection in Trichoplusia ni cells, by a combination of strand-specific RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and deep sequencing of 5 capped transcription start sites and 3 polyadenylation sites. We identified four clusters of genes associated with distinctive patterns of mRNA accumulation through the AcMNPV infection cycle. A total of 218 transcription start sites (TSS) and 120 polyadenylation sites (PAS) were mapped. Only 29 TSS were associated with a canonical TATA box, and 14 initiated within or near the previously identified CAGT initiator motif. The majority of viral transcripts (126) initiated within the baculovirus late promoter motif (TAAG), and late transcripts initiated precisely at the second position of the motif. Analysis of 3 ends showed that 92 (77%) of the 3 PAS were located within 30 nucleotides (nt) downstream of a consensus termination signal (AAUAAA or AUUAAA). A conserved U-rich region was found approximately 2 to 10 nt downstream of the PAS for 58 transcripts. Twelve splicing events and an unexpectedly large number of antisense RNAs were identified, revealing new details of possible regulatory mechanisms controlling AcMNPV gene expression. Combined, these data provide an emerging global picture of the organization and regulation of AcMNPV transcription through the infection cycle.
Ripening of tomato fruits is triggered by the plant hormone ethylene, but its effect is restricted by an unknown developmental cue to mature fruits containing viable seeds. To determine whether this cue involves epigenetic remodeling, we expose tomatoes to the methyltransferase inhibitor 5-azacytidine and find that they ripen prematurely. We performed whole-genome bisulfite sequencing on fruit in four stages of development, from immature to ripe. We identified 52,095 differentially methylated regions (representing 1% of the genome) in the 90% of the genome covered by our analysis. Furthermore, binding sites for RIN, one of the main ripening transcription factors, are frequently localized in the demethylated regions of the promoters of numerous ripening genes, and binding occurs in concert with demethylation. Our data show that the epigenome is not static during development and may have been selected to ensure the fidelity of developmental processes such as ripening. Crop-improvement strategies could benefit by taking into account not only DNA sequence variation among plant lines, but also the information encoded in the epigenome.
Grafting has been extensively used to enhance the performance of horticultural crops. Since Charles Darwin coined the term "graft hybrid" meaning that asexual combination of different plant species may generate products that are genetically distinct, highly discrepant opinions exist supporting or against the concept. Recent studies have documented that grafting enables exchanges of both RNA and DNA molecules between the grafting partners, thus providing a molecular basis for grafting-induced genetic variation. DNA methylation is known as prone to alterations as a result of perturbation of internal and external conditions. Given characteristics of grafting, it is interesting to test whether the process may cause an alteration of this epigenetic marker in the grafted organismal products.
Cultivated watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus] is an important agriculture crop world-wide. The fruit of watermelon undergoes distinct stages of development with dramatic changes in its size, color, sweetness, texture and aroma. In order to better understand the genetic and molecular basis of these changes and significantly expand the watermelon transcript catalog, we have selected four critical stages of watermelon fruit development and used Roche/454 next-generation sequencing technology to generate a large expressed sequence tag (EST) dataset and a comprehensive transcriptome profile for watermelon fruit flesh tissues.
A method is described for the detection of certain nucleotide modifications adjacent to the 5 7-methyl guanosine cap of mRNAs from individual genes. The method quantitatively measures the relative abundance of 2-O-methyl and N(6),2-O-dimethyladenosine, two of the most common modifications. In order to identify and quantitatify the amounts of N(6),2-O-dimethyladenosine, a novel method for the synthesis of modified adenosine phosphoramidites was developed. This method is a one step synthesis and the product can directly be used for the production of N(6),2-O-dimethyladenosine containing RNA oligonucleotides. The nature of the cap-adjacent nucleotides were shown to be characteristic for mRNAs from individual genes transcribed in liver and testis.
Ethylene regulates many aspects of the plant life cycle, including seed germination, root initiation, flower development, fruit ripening, senescence, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. It thus plays a key role in responses to the environment that have a direct bearing on a plants fitness for adaptation and reproduction. In recent years, there have been major advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating ethylene synthesis and action. Screening for mutants of the triple response phenotype of etiolated Arabidopsis seedlings, together with map-based cloning and candidate gene characterization of natural mutants from other plant species, has led to the identification of many new genes for ethylene biosynthesis, signal transduction, and response pathways. The simple chemical nature of ethylene contrasts with its regulatory complexity. This is illustrated by the multiplicity of genes encoding the key ethylene biosynthesis enzymes 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase and ACC oxidase, multiple ethylene receptors and signal transduction components, and the complexity of regulatory steps involving signalling relays and control of mRNA and protein synthesis and turnover. In addition, there are extensive interactions with other hormones. This review integrates knowledge from the model plant Arabidopsis and other plant species and focuses on key aspects of recent research on regulatory networks controlling ethylene synthesis and its role in flower development and fruit ripening.
Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus, is an important cucurbit crop grown throughout the world. Here we report a high-quality draft genome sequence of the east Asia watermelon cultivar 97103 (2n = 2× = 22) containing 23,440 predicted protein-coding genes. Comparative genomics analysis provided an evolutionary scenario for the origin of the 11 watermelon chromosomes derived from a 7-chromosome paleohexaploid eudicot ancestor. Resequencing of 20 watermelon accessions representing three different C. lanatus subspecies produced numerous haplotypes and identified the extent of genetic diversity and population structure of watermelon germplasm. Genomic regions that were preferentially selected during domestication were identified. Many disease-resistance genes were also found to be lost during domestication. In addition, integrative genomic and transcriptomic analyses yielded important insights into aspects of phloem-based vascular signaling in common between watermelon and cucumber and identified genes crucial to valuable fruit-quality traits, including sugar accumulation and citrulline metabolism.
Plant virus technology, in particular virus-induced gene silencing, is a widely used reverse- and forward-genetics tool in plant functional genomics. However the potential of virus technology to express genes to induce phenotypes or to complement mutants in order to understand the function of plant genes is not well documented. Here we exploit Potato virus X as a tool for virus-induced gene complementation (VIGC). Using VIGC in tomato, we demonstrated that ectopic viral expression of LeMADS-RIN, which encodes a MADS-box transcription factor (TF), resulted in functional complementation of the non-ripening rin mutant phenotype and caused fruits to ripen. Comparative gene expression analysis indicated that LeMADS-RIN up-regulated expression of the SBP-box (SQUAMOSA promoter binding protein-like) gene LeSPL-CNR, but down-regulated the expression of LeHB-1, an HD-Zip homeobox TF gene. Our data support the hypothesis that a transcriptional network may exist among key TFs in the modulation of fruit ripening in tomato.
Deep sequencing is a powerful tool for novel small RNA discovery. Illumina small RNA sequencing library preparation requires a pre-adenylated 3 end adapter containing a 5,5-adenyl pyrophosphoryl moiety. In the absence of ATP, this adapter can be ligated to the 3 hydroxyl group of small RNA, while RNA self-ligation and concatenation are repressed. Pre-adenylated adapters are one of the most essential and costly components required for library preparation, and few are commercially available.
Impaired root development caused by aluminum (Al) toxicity is a major cause of grain yield reduction in crops cultivated on acid soils, which are widespread worldwide. In sorghum, the major Al-tolerance locus, Alt(SB) , is due to the function of SbMATE, which is an Al-activated root citrate transporter. Here we performed a molecular and physiological characterization of various Alt(SB) donors and near-isogenic lines harboring various Alt(SB) alleles. We observed a partial transfer of Al tolerance from the parents to the near-isogenic lines that was consistent across donor alleles, emphasizing the occurrence of strong genetic background effects related to Alt(SB) . This reduction in tolerance was variable, with a 20% reduction being observed when highly Al-tolerant lines were the Alt(SB) donors, and a reduction as great as 70% when other Alt(SB) alleles were introgressed. This reduction in Al tolerance was closely correlated with a reduction in SbMATE expression in near-isogenic lines, suggesting incomplete transfer of loci acting in trans on SbMATE. Nevertheless, Alt(SB) alleles from the highly Al-tolerant sources SC283 and SC566 were found to retain high SbMATE expression, presumably via elements present within or near the Alt(SB) locus, resulting in significant transfer of the Al-tolerance phenotype to the derived near-isogenic lines. Allelic effects could not be explained by coding region polymorphisms, although occasional mutations may affect Al tolerance. Finally, we report on the extensive occurrence of alternative splicing for SbMATE, which may be an important component regulating SbMATE expression in sorghum by means of the nonsense-mediated RNA decay pathway.
We previously showed that the N6-methyladenosine (m(6)A) mRNA methylase is essential during Arabidopsis thaliana embryonic development. We also demonstrated that this modification is present at varying levels in all mature tissues. However, the requirement for the m(6)A in the mature plant was not tested. Here we show that a 90% reduction in m(6)A levels during later growth stages gives rise to plants with altered growth patterns and reduced apical dominance. The flowers of these plants commonly show defects in their floral organ number, size, and identity. The global analysis of gene expression from reduced m(6)A plants show that a significant number of down-regulated genes are involved in transport, or targeted transport, and most of the up-regulated genes are involved in stress and stimulus response processes. An analysis of m(6)A distribution in fragmented mRNA suggests that the m(6)A is predominantly positioned toward the 3 end of transcripts in a region 100-150?bp before the poly(A) tail. In addition to the analysis of the phenotypic changes in the low methylation Arabidopsis plants we will review the latest advances in the field of mRNA internal methylation.
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