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in category plant biology
2,271 results found. For more information, click each entry to expand.
1,442 downloads plant biology
Abstract Background: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) has rapidly become a valuable model as a result of the availability of a high quality reference genome, extensive genetic resources, and efficient gene transfer methodology. A high-throughput method to obtain transgenic lines sooner than standard methods has the potential to greatly advance gene function studies. Results: The goal of this study was to optimize our current gene transfer (transformation) method for tomato by investigating medium components that would result in a decreased time for recovery of transgenic lines. The methodology reported here is based on infection of 6-day-old cotyledon explants from Solanum lycopersicum cultivar M82 in vitro-grown seedlings with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain LBA4404 containing the binary vector pBI121. This vector contains the β-glucuronidase reporter gene and the neomycin phosphotransferase II selectable marker gene that confers resistance to kanamycin. Modification of our standard plant regeneration medium by the addition of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) at concentrations of either 0.05 mg/l or 0.1 mg/l greatly decreased the time for recovery of transgenic lines by 6 weeks as compared to our standard medium that contains zeatin alone. Moreover, addition of 1 mg/l IAA to the root induction medium resulted in faster root development. We observed 50% and 54% transformation efficiency when plant regeneration medium containing 0.05 mg/l and 0.1 mg/l IAA, respectively, was used for transformation experiments. Transgenic lines recovered with the optimized method were similar in development to our standard method. No negative effects were observed as a result of the addition of IAA to the medium. Conclusions: The results showed that addition of IAA at concentrations of either 0.05 or 0.1 mg/l to the plant regeneration medium reduced the total time for recovery of stable transgenic lines by 6 weeks. The ability to recover transgenic lines in a shorter time results in higher throughput for the introduction of gene constructs and has the potential to decrease the time needed to complete investigations of gene function. The ability to recover transgenic lines for each gene construct in a shorter time saves labor and resource expenses because culture maintenance is also reduced.
1,427 downloads plant biology
Crop diseases reduce wheat yields by ~25% globally and thus pose a major threat to global food security. Genetic resistance can reduce crop losses in the field and can be selected for through the use of molecular markers. However, genetic resistance often breaks down following changes in pathogen virulence, as experienced with the wheat yellow (stripe) rust fungus Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (PST). This highlights the need to (i) identify genes that alone or in combination provide broad-spectrum resistance and (ii) increase our understanding of the underlying molecular mode of action. Here we report the isolation and characterisation of three major yellow rust resistance genes (Yr7, Yr5, and YrSP) from hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum), each having a distinct and unique recognition specificity. We show that Yr5, which remains effective to a broad range of PST isolates worldwide, is allelic to YrSP and paralogous to Yr7, both of which have been overcome by multiple PST isolates. All three Yr genes belong to a complex resistance gene cluster on chromosome 2B encoding nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat proteins (NLRs) with a non-canonical N-terminal zinc-finger BED domain that is distinct from those found in non-NLR wheat proteins. We developed and tested diagnostic markers to accelerate haplotype analysis and for marker-assisted selection to enable the stacking of the non-allelic Yr genes. Our results provide evidence that the BED-NLR gene architecture can provide effective field-based resistance to important fungal diseases such as wheat yellow rust.
1,419 downloads plant biology
Background: Wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the most important crops worldwide. Given a growing global population coupled with increasingly challenging climate and cultivation conditions, facilitating wheat breeding by fine-tuning important traits such as stress resistance, yield and plant architecture is of great importance. Since they are involved in virtually all aspects of plant development and stress responses, prime candidates for improving these traits are MIKC-type (type II) MADS-box genes. Results: We present a detailed overview of number, phylogeny, and expression of 201 wheat MIKC-type MADS-box genes, which can be assigned to 15 subfamilies. Homoeolog retention is significantly above the average genome-wide retention rate for wheat genes, indicating that many MIKC-type homoeologs are functionally important and not redundant. Gene expression is generally in agreement with the expected subfamily-specific expression pattern, indicating broad conservation of function of MIKC-type genes during wheat evolution. We find the extensive expansion of some MIKC-type subfamilies to be correlated with their chromosomal location and propose a link between MADS-box gene duplications and the adaptability of wheat. A number of MIKC-type genes encode for truncated proteins that lack either the DNA-binding or protein-protein interaction domain and occasionally show novel expression patterns, possibly pointing towards neofunctionalization. Conclusions: Conserved and neofunctionalized MIKC-type genes may have played an important role in the adaptation of wheat to a diversity of conditions, hence contributing to its importance as a global staple food. Therefore, we propose that MIKC-type MADS-box genes are especially well suited for targeted breeding approaches and phenotypic fine tuning.
1,409 downloads plant biology
Khaoula Belhaj, Liliana M. Cano, David C. Prince, Ariane Kemen, Kentaro Yoshida, Yasin F. Dagdas, Graham J. Etherington, Henk-jan Schoonbeek, H. Peter van Esse, Jonathan DG Jones, Sophien Kamoun, Sebastian Schornack
The oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes potato late blight, and as a potato and tomato specialist pathogen, is seemingly poorly adapted to infect plants outside the Solanaceae. Here, we report the unexpected finding that P. infestans can infect Arabidopsis thaliana when another oomycete pathogen, Albugo laibachii, has colonized the host plant. The behaviour and speed of P. infestans infection in Arabidopsis pre-infected with A. laibachii resemble P. infestans infection of susceptible potato plants. Transcriptional profiling of P. infestans genes during infection revealed a significant overlap in the sets of secreted-protein genes that are induced in P. infestans upon colonisation of potato and susceptible Arabidopsis, suggesting major similarities in P. infestans gene expression dynamics on the two plant species. Furthermore, we found haustoria of A. laibachii and P. infestans within in the same Arabidopsis cells. This Arabidopsis - A. laibachii - P. infestans tripartite interaction opens up various possibilities to dissect the molecular mechanisms of P. infestans infection and the processes occurring in co-infected Arabidopsis cells.
1,405 downloads plant biology
Background: Plants demonstrate dynamic growth phenotypes that are determined by genetic and environmental factors. Phenotypic analysis of growth features over time is a key approach to understand how plants interact with environmental change as well as respond to different treatments. Although the importance of measuring dynamic growth traits is widely recognised, available open software tools are limited in terms of batch processing of image datasets, multiple trait analysis, software usability and cross-referencing results between experiments, making automated phenotypic analysis problematic. Results: Here, we present Leaf-GP (Growth Phenotypes), an easy-to-use and open software application that can be executed on different platforms. To facilitate diverse scientific user communities, we provide three versions of the software, including a graphic user interface (GUI) for personal computer (PC) users, a command-line interface for high-performance computer (HPC) users, and an interactive Jupyter Notebook (also known as the iPython Notebook) for computational biologists and computer scientists. The software is capable of extracting multiple growth traits automatically from large image datasets. We have utilised it in Arabidopsis thaliana and wheat (Triticum aestivum) growth studies at the Norwich Research Park (NRP, UK). By quantifying growth phenotypes over time, we are able to identify diverse plant growth patterns based on a variety of key growth-related phenotypes under varied experimental conditions. As Leaf-GP has been evaluated with noisy image series acquired by different imaging devices and still produced reliable biologically relevant outputs, we believe that our automated analysis workflow and customised computer vision based feature extraction algorithms can facilitate a broader plant research community for their growth and development studies. Furthermore, because we implemented Leaf-GP based on open Python-based computer vision, image analysis and machine learning libraries, our software can not only contribute to biological research, but also exhibit how to utilise existing open numeric and scientific libraries (including Scikit-image, OpenCV, SciPy and Scikit-learn) to build sound plant phenomics analytic solutions, efficiently and effectively. Conclusions: Leaf-GP is a comprehensive software application that provides three approaches to quantify multiple growth phenotypes from large image series. We demonstrate its usefulness and high accuracy based on two biological applications: (1) the quantification of growth traits for Arabidopsis genotypes under two temperature conditions; and (2) measuring wheat growth in the glasshouse over time. The software is easy-to-use and cross-platform, which can be executed on Mac OS, Windows and high-performance computing clusters (HPC), with open Python-based scientific libraries preinstalled. We share our modulated source code and executables (.exe for Windows; .app for Mac) together with this paper to serve the plant research community. The software, source code and experimental results are freely available at https://github.com/Crop-Phenomics-Group/Leaf-GP/releases.
1,403 downloads plant biology
In plants, one of the most important regulative small molecules is indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) known as auxin. Its dynamic redistribution plays an essential role in virtually every aspect of plant life, ranging from cell shape and division to organogenesis and responses to light and gravity,. So far, the spatial and temporal distribution of auxin at cellular resolution could not be determined directly. Instead it has been inferred from visualisation of irreversible processes involving the endogenous auxin response machinery-. This detection system failed to record transient changes. Here we report on a genetically encoded biosensor for quantitative in vivo visualisation of auxin distributions. The sensor is based on the E. coli tryptophan repressor (TrpR) whose binding pocket was engineered for specific IAA binding and coupled to fluorescent proteins to employ FRET as readout. This sensor, unlike previous systems, enables direct monitoring of the fast uptake and clearance of auxin by individual cells in the plant as well as the graded spatial distribution along the root axis and its perturbation by transport inhibitors. Thus, our auxin sensor enables mapping of auxin concentrations at (sub)cellular resolution and their changes in time and space during plant life. : #ref-1 : #ref-2 : #ref-3 : #ref-7 : #ref-8
1,377 downloads plant biology
Phytophthora infestans (Phy. infestans) is a devastating pathogen of tomato and potato. It readily overcomes resistance genes and applied agrochemicals. Fungal endophytes provide a largely unexplored avenue of control against Phy. infestans. Not only do endophytes produce a wide array of bioactive metabolites, they may also directly compete with and defeat pathogens in planta. Twelve isolates of fungal endophytes from different plant species were tested in vitro for their production of metabolites with anti-Phy. infestans activity. Four well-performing isolates were evaluated for their ability to suppress nine isolates of Phy. infestans on agar medium and in planta. Two endophytes reliably inhibited all Phy. infestans isolates on agar medium, of which Phoma eupatorii isolate 8082 was the most promising. It nearly abolished infection by Phy. infestans in planta. Here we present a biocontrol agent, which can inhibit a broad-spectrum of Phy. infestans isolates. Such broadly acting inhibition is ideal, because it allows for effective control of genetically diverse pathogen isolates and may slow the adaptation by Phy. infestans.
1,375 downloads plant biology
Background. The evolution of gene body methylation (gbM), its origins and its functional consequences are poorly understood. By pairing the largest collection of transcriptomes (>1000) and methylomes (77) across Viridiplantae we provide novel insights into the evolution of gbM and its relationship to CHROMOMETHYLASE (CMT) proteins. Results. CMTs are evolutionary conserved DNA methyltransferases in Viridiplantae. Duplication events gave rise to what are now referred to as CMT1, 2 and 3. Independent losses of CMT1, 2 and 3 in eudicots, CMT2 and ZMET in monocots and monocots/commelinids, variation in copy number and non-neutral evolution suggests overlapping or fluid functional evolution of this gene family. DNA methylation within genes is widespread and is found in all major taxonomic groups of Viridiplantae investigated. Genes enriched with methylated CGs (mCG) were also identified in species sister to angiosperms. The proportion of genes and DNA methylation patterns associated with gbM are restricted to angiosperms with a functional CMT3 or ortholog. However, mCG-enriched genes in the gymnosperm Pinus taeda shared some similarities with gbM genes in Amborella trichopoda. Additionally, gymnosperms and ferns share a CMT homolog closely related to CMT2 and 3. Hence, the dependency of gbM on a CMT most likely extends to all angiosperms and possibly gymnosperms and ferns. Conclusions. The resulting gene family phylogeny of CMT transcripts from the most diverse sampling of plants to date redefines our understanding of CMT evolution and its evolutionary consequences on DNA methylation. Future, functional tests of homologous and paralogous CMTs will uncover novel roles and consequences to the epigenome.
1,370 downloads plant biology
Abstract The ubiquity and importance of short duplex RNAs, termed microRNA (miRNA), for normal development in higher eukaryotes are becoming increasingly clear. We had previously shown that reduction-of-function mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana DCL1 (DICER-LIKE1) gene, affecting the nucleus-localized protein that produces 19-25 nucleotides long miRNA species from longer double stranded RNA precursors, cause a delay in flowering by prolonging the period of juvenile organ development. Here we show that DCL1 transcription is increased at the critical phase of juvenile to reproductive developmental transition, and that DCL1 protein is localized in meristematic cells of the shoot, inflorescence and flowering meristem. DCL1 protein is also expressed in the ovule funiculus, ovule integuments, and in early but not late embryo. Genetic analysis revealed that DCL1 exerts its effect along the same pathway that involves the floral pathway integrator gene LEAFY. Results are most consistent with the idea that DCL1 protein is required in the shoot apical meristem to prevent uncontrolled proliferation of meristematic cells. The expression of DCL1 protein in the early embryo may be either via the transmission of DCL1 mRNA through the female gametophyte, as suggested from the sporophytic maternal effect of dcl1-8 on early embryo development, or from DCL1 mRNA synthesized in early embryo cells off the maternally transmitted allele. The requirement of an active maternally transmitted allele of DCL1 for normal early embryo development, and the presence of DCL1 protein in the early embryo, together suggest that the synthesis of miRNA in early embryo cells is critical for development, but does not rule out potential maternal contribution of miRNA or its precursor molecules into the embryo. (Manuscript was prepared on February 2, 2007, and has been unaltered since)
1,364 downloads plant biology
Plant cells are surrounded by walls, which must often meet opposing functional requirements during plant growth and defense. The cells meet them by modifying wall structure and composition in a tightly controlled and adaptive manner. The modifications seem to be mediated by a dedicated cell wall integrity (CWI) maintenance mechanism. Currently the mode of action of the mechanism is not understood and it is unclear how its activity is coordinated with established plant defense signaling. We investigated responses to induced cell wall damage (CWD) impairing CWI and the underlying mechanism in Arabidopsis thaliana. Interestingly inhibitor- and enzyme-derived CWD induced similar, turgor-sensitive stress responses. Genetic analysis showed that the receptor-like kinase (RLK) FEI2 and the mechano-sensitive, plasma membrane-localized Ca2+- channel MCA1 function downstream of the THE1 RLK in CWD perception. Phenotypic clustering with 27 genotypes identified a core group of RLKs and ion channels, required for activation of CWD responses. By contrast, the responses were repressed by pattern-triggered immune (PTI) signaling components including PEPR1 and 2, the receptors for the immune signaling peptide AtPep1. Interestingly AtPep1 application repressed CWD-induced phytohormone accumulation in a PEPR1/2-dependent manner. These results suggest that PTI suppresses CWD-induced defense responses through elicitor peptide-mediated signaling during defense response activation. If PTI is impaired, the suppression of CWD-induced responses is alleviated, thus compensating for defective PTI.
1,354 downloads plant biology
The first layer of plant immunity is activated by cell surface receptor-like kinases (RLKs) and proteins (RLPs) that detect infectious pathogens. Constitutive interaction with the RLK SUPPRESSOR OF BIR1 (SOBIR1) contributes to RLP stability and kinase activity. As RLK activation requires transphosphorylation with a second associated RLK, it remains elusive how RLPs initiate downstream signaling. To address this, we investigated functioning of Cf RLPs that mediate immunity of tomato against Cladosporium fulvum. We employed live-cell imaging and co-immunoprecipitation in tomato and Nicotiana benthamiana to investigate the requirement of associated kinases for Cf activity and ligand-induced subcellular trafficking of Cf-4. Upon elicitation with the matching effector ligands Avr4 and Avr9, BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1) associates with Cf-4 and Cf-9. Furthermore, Cf-4 that interacts with SOBIR1 at the plasma membrane, is recruited to late endosomes after elicitation. Significantly, BAK1 is required for Avr4-triggered endocytosis, effector-triggered defenses in Cf-4 plants and resistance of tomato against C. fulvum. Our observations indicate that RLP-mediated immune signaling and endocytosis require ligand-induced recruitment of BAK1, reminiscent of BAK1 interaction and subcellular fate of the FLAGELLIN SENSING 2 RLK. This reveals that diverse classes of cell surface immune receptors share common requirements for signaling initiation and endocytosis.
1,351 downloads plant biology
Andreas Keymer, Priya Pimprikar, Vera Wewer, Claudia Huber, Mathias Brands, Simone L. Bucerius, Pierre-Marc Delaux, Verena Klingl, Edda von Röpenack-Lahaye, Trevor L. Wang, Wolfgang Eisenreich, Peter Dörmann, Martin Parniske, Caroline Gutjahr
Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) symbioses contribute to global carbon cycles as plant hosts divert up to 20% of photosynthate to the obligate biotrophic fungi. Previous studies suggested carbohydrates as the only form of carbon transferred to the fungi. However, de novo fatty acid (FA) synthesis has not been observed in AM fungi in absence of the plant. In a forward genetic approach, we identified two Lotus japonicus mutants defective in AM-specific paralogs of lipid biosynthesis genes (KASI and GPAT6). These mutants perturb fungal development and accumulation of emblematic fungal 16:1ω5 FAs. Using isotopolog profiling we demonstrate that 13C patterns of fungal FAs recapitulate those of wild-type hosts, indicating cross-kingdom lipid transfer from plants to fungi. This transfer of labelled FAs was not observed for the AM-specific lipid biosynthesis mutants. Thus, growth and development of beneficial AM fungi is not only fueled by sugars but depends on lipid transfer from plant hosts.
1,349 downloads plant biology
Adrian Wolny, Lorenzo Cerrone, Athul Vijayan, Rachele Tofanelli, Amaya Vilches Barro, Marion Louveaux, Christian Wenzl, Susanne Steigleder, Constantin Pape, Alberto Bailoni, Salva Duran-Nebreda, George Bassel, Jan U. Lohmann, Fred A. Hamprecht, Kay Schneitz, Alexis Maizel, Anna Kreshuk
Quantitative analysis of plant and animal morphogenesis requires accurate segmentation of individual cells in volumetric images of growing organs. In the last years, deep learning has provided robust automated algorithms that approach human performance, with applications to bio image analysis now starting to emerge. Here, we present PlantSeg, a pipeline for volumetric segmentation of plant tissues into cells. PlantSeg employs a convolutional neural network to predict cell boundaries and graph partitioning to segment cells based on the neural network predictions. PlantSeg was trained on fixed and live plant organs imaged with confocal and light sheet microscopes. PlantSeg delivers accurate results and generalizes well across different tissues, scales, and acquisition settings. We present results of PlantSeg applications in diverse developmental contexts. PlantSeg is free and open-source, with both a command line and a user-friendly graphical interface.
1,344 downloads plant biology
Plant plasma membrane localized pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) detect extracellular pathogen-associated molecules. PRRs such as Arabidopsis EFR and rice XA21 are taxonomically restricted and are absent from most plant genomes. Here we show that rice plants expressing EFR or the chimeric receptor EFR::XA21, containing the EFR ectodomain and the XA21 intracellular domain, sense both Escherichia coli- and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo)-derived elf18 peptides at sub-nanomolar concentrations. Treatment of EFR and EFR::XA21 rice leaf tissue with elf18 leads to MAP kinase activation, reactive oxygen production and defense gene expression. Although expression of EFR does not lead to robust enhanced resistance to fully virulent Xoo isolates, it does lead to quantitatively enhanced resistance to weakly virulent Xoo isolates. EFR interacts with OsSERK2 and the XA21 binding protein 24 (XB24), two key components of the rice XA21-mediated immune response. Rice-EFR plants silenced for OsSERK2, or overexpressing rice XB24 are compromised in elf18-induced reactive oxygen production and defense gene expression indicating that these proteins are also important for EFR-mediated signaling in transgenic rice. Taken together, our results demonstrate the potential feasibility of enhancing disease resistance in rice and possibly other monocotyledonous crop species by expression of dicotyledonous PRRs. Our results also suggest that Arabidopsis EFR utilizes at least a subset of the known endogenous rice XA21 signaling components.
1,339 downloads plant biology
Richard J. Hickman, Marcel C. Van Verk, Anja J.H. Van Dijken, Marciel Pereira Mendes, Irene A. Vos, Lotte Caarls, Merel Steenbergen, Ivo Van Der Nagel, Gert Jan Wesselink, Aleksey Jironkin, Adam Talbot, Johanna Rhodes, Michel de Vries, Robert. C. Schuurink, Katherine Denby, Corné M.J. Pieterse, Saskia C.M. Van Wees
The phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) is a critical regulator of plant growth and defense. To significantly advance our understanding of the architecture and dynamics of the JA gene regulatory network, we performed high-resolution RNA-Seq time series analyses of methyl JA-treated Arabidopsis thaliana. Computational analysis unraveled in detail the chronology of events that occur during the early and later phases of the JA response. Several transcription factors, including ERF16 and bHLH27, were uncovered as early components of the JA gene regulatory network with a role in pathogen and insect resistance. Moreover, analysis of subnetworks surrounding the JA-induced transcription factors ORA47, RAP2.6L, and ANAC055 provided novel insights into their regulatory role of defined JA network modules. Collectively, our work illuminates the complexity of the JA gene regulatory network, pinpoints to novel regulators, and provides a valuable resource for future studies on the function of JA signaling components in plant defense and development.
1,337 downloads plant biology
Background CRISPR/Cas has recently become a widely used genome editing tool in various organisms, including plants. Applying CRISPR/Cas often requires delivering multiple expression units into plant and hence there is a need for a quick and easy cloning procedure. The modular cloning (MoClo), based on the Golden Gate (GG) method, has enabled development of cloning systems with standardised genetic parts, e.g. promoters, coding sequences or terminators, that can be easily interchanged and assembled into expression units, which in their own turn can be further assembled into higher order multigene constructs. Results Here we present an expanded cloning toolkit that contains ninety-nine modules encoding a variety of CRISPR/Cas-based nucleases and their corresponding guide RNA backbones. Among other components, the toolkit includes a number of promoters that allow expression of CRISPR/Cas nucleases (or any other coding sequences) and their guide RNAs in monocots and dicots. As part of the toolkit, we present a set of modules that enable quick and facile assembly of tRNA-sgRNA polycistronic units without a PCR step involved. We also demonstrate that our tRNA-sgRNA system is functional in wheat protoplasts. Conclusions We believe the presented CRISPR/Cas toolkit is a great resource that will contribute towards wider adoption of the CRISPR/Cas genome editing technology and modular cloning by researchers across the plant science community.
1,336 downloads plant biology
Deepanksha Arora, Nikolaj B. Abel, Chen Liu, Petra Van Damme, Klaas Yperman, Lam Dai Vu, Jie Wang, Anna Tornkvist, Francis Impens, Barbara Korbei, Dominique Eeckhout, Jelle Van Leene, Alain Goossens, Geert De Jaeger, Thomas Ott, Panagiotis Moschou, Daniel Van Damme
Proximity-dependent biotin labelling (PDL) uses a promiscuous biotin ligase (PBL) or a peroxidase fused to a protein of interest. This enables covalent biotin labelling of proteins and allows subsequent capture and identification of interacting and neighbouring proteins without the need for the protein complex to remain intact. To date, only few papers report on the use of PDL in plants. Here we present the results of a systematic study applying a variety of PDL approaches in several plant systems using various conditions and bait proteins. We show that TurboID is the most promiscuous variant in several plant model systems and establish protocols which combine Mass Spectrometry-based analysis with harsh extraction and washing conditions. We demonstrate the applicability of TurboID in capturing membrane-associated protein interactomes using Lotus japonicus symbiotically active receptor kinases as test-case. We further benchmark the efficiency of various PBLs in comparison with one-step affinity purification approaches. We identified both known as well as novel interactors of the endocytic TPLATE complex. We furthermore present a straightforward strategy to identify both non-biotinylated as well as biotinylated peptides in a single experimental setup. Finally, we provide initial evidence that our approach has the potential to infer structural information of protein complexes.
1,332 downloads plant biology
Stomata are morphological structures of plants that have been receiving constant attention. These pores are responsible for the interaction between the internal plant system and the environment, working on different processes such as photosynthesis process and transpiration stream. As evaluated before, understanding the pore mechanism play a key role to explore the evolution and behavior of plants. Although the study of stomata in dicots species of plants have advanced, there is little information about stomata of cereal grasses. In addition, automated detection of these structures have been presented on the literature, but some gaps are still uncovered. This fact is motivated by high morphological variation of stomata and the presence of noise from the image acquisition step. Herein, we propose a new methodology of an automatic stomata classification and detection system in microscope images for maize cultivars. In our experiments, we have achieved an approximated accuracy of 97.1% in the identification of stomata regions using classifiers based on deep learning features.
1,331 downloads plant biology
Transcriptome analysis by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has become an indispensable core research tool in modern plant biology. Virtually all RNA-seq studies provide a snapshot of the steady-state transcriptome, which contains valuable information about RNA populations at a given time, but lacks information about the dynamics of RNA synthesis and degradation. Only a few specialized sequencing techniques, such as global run-on sequencing (GRO-seq), have been applied in plants and provide information about RNA synthesis rates. Here, we demonstrate that RNA labeling with a modified, non-toxic uridine analog, 5-ethynyl uridine (5-EU), in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings provides insight into the dynamic nature of a plant transcriptome. Pulse-labeling with 5-EU allowed the detection and analysis of nascent and unstable RNAs, of RNA processing intermediates generated by splicing, and of chloroplast RNAs. We also conducted pulse-chase experiments with 5-EU, which allowed us to determine RNA stabilities without the need for chemical inhibition of transcription using compounds such as actinomycin and cordycepin. Genome-wide analysis of RNA stabilities by 5-EU pulse-chase experiments revealed that this inhibitor-free RNA stability measurement results in RNA half-lives much shorter than those reported after chemical inhibition of transcription. In summary, our results show that the Arabidopsis nascent transcriptome contains unstable RNAs and RNA processing intermediates, and suggest that half-lives of plant RNAs are largely overestimated. Our results lay the ground for an easy and affordable nascent transcriptome analysis and inhibitor-free analysis of RNA stabilities in plants.
1,327 downloads plant biology
Herbicide resistance is a major trait of genetically modified (GM) crops. Currently, resistance to phosphinothricin (also known as glufosinate) is the second most widespread genetically engineered herbicide-resistance trait in crops after glyphosate resistance. Resistance to phosphinothricin in plants is achieved by transgenic expression of the bialaphos resistance (BAR) or phosphinothricin acetyltransferase (PAT) genes, which were initially isolated from the natural herbicide bialaphos-producing soil bacteria Streptomyces hygroscopicus and S. viridochromogenes, respectively. Mechanistically, BAR and PAT encode phosphinothricin acetyltransferase, which transfers an acetyl group from acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) to the α-NH2 group of phosphinothricin, resulting in herbicide inactivation. Although early in vitro enzyme assays showed that recombinant BAR and PAT exhibit substrate preference toward phosphinothricin over the 20 proteinogenic amino acids, whether transgenic expression of BAR and PAT affects plant endogenous metabolism in vivo was not known. Combining metabolomics, plant genetics, and biochemical approaches, we show that transgenic BAR indeed converts two plant endogenous amino acids, aminoadipate and tryptophan, to their respective N-acetylated products in several plant species examined. We report the crystal structures of BAR, and further delineate structural basis for its substrate selectivity and catalytic mechanism. Through structure-guided protein engineering, we generated several BAR variants that display significantly reduced nonspecific activities compared to its wild-type counterpart. Our results demonstrate that transgenic expression of enzymes as a common strategy in modern biotechnology may render unintended metabolic consequences arisen from enzyme promiscuity. Understanding of such phenomena at the mechanistic level will facilitate better design of maximally insulated systems featuring heterologously expressed enzymes.
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