Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is being developed as a bioenergy crop for many temperate regions of the world. One way to increase biomass yields is to move southern adapted lowland cultivars to more northern latitudes. However, many southerly adapted switchgrass germplasm can suffer significant winter kill in northerly climes.
Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1) is the prototype of the genus Chlorovirus (family Phycodnaviridae) that infects the unicellular, eukaryotic green alga Chlorella variabilis NC64A. The 331-kb PBCV-1 genome contains 416 major open reading frames. A mRNA-seq approach was used to analyze PBCV-1 transcriptomes at 6 progressive times during the first hour of infection. The alignment of 17 million reads to the PBCV-1 genome allowed the construction of single-base transcriptome maps. Significant transcription was detected for a subset of 50 viral genes as soon as 7 min after infection. By 20 min post infection (p.i.), transcripts were detected for most PBCV-1 genes and transcript levels continued to increase globally up to 60 min p.i., at which time 41% or the poly (A+)-containing RNAs in the infected cells mapped to the PBCV-1 genome. For some viral genes, the number of transcripts in the latter time points (20 to 60 min p.i.) was much higher than that of the most highly expressed host genes. RNA-seq data revealed putative polyadenylation signal sequences in PBCV-1 genes that were identical to the polyadenylation signal AAUAAA of green algae. Several transcripts have an RNA fragment excised. However, the frequency of excision and the resulting putative shortened protein products suggest that most of these excision events have no functional role but are probably the result of the activity of misled splicesomes.
The PBCV-1/Chlorella variabilis NC64A system is a model for studies on interactions between viruses and algae. Here we present the first global analyses of algal host transcripts during the early stages of infection, prior to virus replication. During the course of the experiment stretching over 1 hour, about a third of the host genes displayed significant changes in normalized mRNA abundance that either increased or decreased compared to uninfected levels. The population of genes with significant transcriptional changes gradually increased until stabilizing at 40 minutes post infection. Functional categories including cytoplasmic ribosomal proteins, jasmonic acid biosynthesis and anaphase promoting complex/cyclosomes had a significant excess in upregulated genes, whereas spliceosomal snRNP complexes and the shikimate pathway had significantly more down-regulated genes, suggesting that these pathways were activated or shut-down in response to the virus infection. Lastly, we examined the expression of C. varibilis RNA polymerase subunits, as PBCV-1 transcription depends on host RNA polymerases. Two subunits were up-regulated, RPB10 and RPC34, suggesting that they may function to support virus transcription. These results highlight genes and pathways, as well as overall trends, for further refinement of our understanding of the changes that take place during the early stages of viral infection.
With growing industrial interest in algae plus their critical roles in aquatic systems, the need to understand the effects of algal pathogens is increasing. We examined a model algal host-virus system, Chlorella variabilis NC64A and virus, PBCV-1. C. variabilis encodes 375 homologs to genes involved in RNA silencing and in response to virus infection in higher plants. Illumina RNA-Seq data showed that 325 of these homologs were expressed in healthy and early PBCV-1 infected (?60min) cells. For each of the RNA silencing genes to which homologs were found, mRNA transcripts were detected in healthy and infected cells. C. variabilis, like higher plants, may employ certain RNA silencing pathways to defend itself against virus infection. To our knowledge this is the first examination of RNA silencing genes in algae beyond core proteins, and the first analysis of their transcription during virus infection.
The molecular mechanisms of genome reprogramming during transcriptional responses to stress are associated with specific chromatin modifications. Available data, however, describe histone modifications only at individual plant genes induced by stress. We have no knowledge of chromatin modifications taking place at genes whose transcription has been down-regulated or on the genome-wide chromatin modification patterns that occur during the plants response to dehydration stress.
trans-10, cis-12 Conjugated linoleic acid (t10c12 CLA) reduces triglyceride levels in adipocytes. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and inflammation were recently demonstrated to be involved in the emerging pathways regulating this response. This study further investigated the role of AMPK and inflammation by testing the following hypotheses: (1) a moderate activation of AMPK and an inflammatory response are sufficient to reduce triglycerides, and (2) strong activation of AMPK is also sufficient. Experiments were performed by adding compounds that affect these pathways and by measuring their effects in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. A comparison of four AMPK activators (metformin, phenformin, TNF-? and t10c12 CLA) found a correlation between AMPK activity and triglyceride reduction. This correlation appeared to be modulated by the level of cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 mRNA produced. Inhibitors of the prostaglandin (PG) biosynthetic pathway interfered with t10c12 CLAs ability to reduce triglycerides. A combination of metformin and PGH2, or phenformin alone, efficiently reduced triglyceride levels in adipocytes. Microarray analysis indicated that the transcriptional responses to phenformin or t10c12 CLA were very similar, suggesting similar pathways were activated. 3T3-L1 fibroblasts were found to weakly induce the integrated stress response (ISR) in response to phenformin or t10c12 CLA and to respond robustly as they differentiated into adipocytes. This indicated that both chemicals required adipocytes at the same stage of differentiation to be competent for this response. These results support the above hypotheses and suggest compounds that moderately activate AMPK and increase PG levels or robustly activate AMPK in adipocytes may be beneficial for reducing adiposity.
Plants respond to environmental stresses by altering transcription of genes involved in the response. The chromatin modifier ATX1 regulates expression of a large number of genes; consequently, factors that affect ATX1 activity would also influence expression from ATX1-regulated genes. Here, we demonstrate that dehydration is such a factor implicating ATX1 in the plants response to drought. In addition, we report that a hitherto unknown Arabidopsis gene, At3g10550, encodes a phosphoinositide 3-phosphatase related to the animal myotubularins (AtMTM1). Myotubularin activities in plants have not been described and herein, we identify an overlapping set of genes co-regulated by ATX1 and AtMTM under drought conditions. We propose that these shared genes represent the ultimate targets of partially overlapping branches of the pathways of the nuclear ATX1 and the cytoplasmic AtMTM1. Our analyses offer first genome-wide insights into the relationship of an epigenetic factor and a lipid phosphatase from the other end of a shared drought responding pathway in Arabidopsis.
Trans-10, cis-12 (t10c12) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduces lipid levels in adipocytes, but the mechanisms involved are still emerging. The hypotheses of this study were that t10c12 CLA treatment activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and that the effectiveness of a low dose of t10c12 CLA would be increased when combined with an AMPK activator. We demonstrated t10c12 CLA, directly or indirectly, activated AMPK and increased the amount of phosphorylated acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Compound C, a potent inhibitor of AMPK, attenuated the phosphorylation of ACC, integrated stress response (ISR), inflammatory response, reduction in key lipogenic transcription factors, and triglyceride (TG) reduction that otherwise occurred in t10c12 CLA-treated adipocytes. Treatment of adipocytes or mice with a low dose of t10c12 CLA in conjunction with the AMPK activator metformin resulted in more TG loss than treatment with the individual chemicals. Additionally, although an inflammatory response was required for robust TG reduction, the combination of t10c12 CLA with AMPK activators had a similar TG loss with a reduced inflammatory response. A microarray analysis of the transcriptional response to either t10c12 CLA, metformin, or the combination, indicated the responses were very similar, with a correlation coefficient of 0.91 or better for genes in the ISR or lipid-related pathways. Altogether, these results support our hypotheses that t10c12 CLA activates AMPK, directly or indirectly, and that metformin increases the effectiveness of t10c12 CLA in reducing TG amounts in adipocytes.
Myotubularin and myotubularin-related proteins are evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotes. Defects in their function result in muscular dystrophy, neuronal diseases and leukemia in humans. In contrast to the animal lineage, where genes encoding both active and inactive myotubularins (phosphoinositide 3-phosphatases) have appeared and proliferated in the basal metazoan group, myotubularin genes are not found in the unicellular relatives of green plants. However, they are present in land plants encoding proteins highly similar to the active metazoan enzymes. Despite their remarkable structural conservation, plant and animal myotubularins have significantly diverged in their functions. While loss of myotubularin function causes severe disease phenotypes in humans it is not essential for the cellular homeostasis under normal conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana. Instead, myotubularin deficiency is associated with altered tolerance to dehydration stress. The two Arabidopsis genes AtMTM1 and AtMTM2 have originated from a segmental chromosomal duplication and encode catalytically active enzymes. However, only AtMTM1 is involved in elevating the cellular level of phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate in response to dehydration stress, and the two myotubularins differentially affect the Arabidopsis dehydration stress-responding transcriptome. AtMTM1 and AtMTM2 display different localization patterns in the cell, consistent with the idea that they associate with different membranes to perform specific functions. A single amino acid mutation in AtMTM2 (L250W) results in a dramatic loss of subcellular localization. Mutations in this region are linked to disease conditions in humans.
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