Plant Science & Landscape Architecture Research Works

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    High throughput sequencing reveals novel and abiotic stress-regulated microRNAs in the inflorescences of rice
    (Springer Nature, 2012-08-03) Barrera-Figueroaroa, Blanca E; Gao, Lei; Wu, Zhigang; Zhou, Xuefeng; Zhu, Jianhua; Jin, Hailing; Liu, Renyi; Zhu, Jian-Kang
    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules that play important regulatory roles in plant development and stress responses. Identification of stress-regulated miRNAs is crucial for understanding how plants respond to environmental stimuli. Abiotic stresses are one of the major factors that limit crop growth and yield. Whereas abiotic stress-regulated miRNAs have been identified in vegetative tissues in several plants, they are not well studied in reproductive tissues such as inflorescences. We used Illumina deep sequencing technology to sequence four small RNA libraries that were constructed from the inflorescences of rice plants that were grown under control condition and drought, cold, or salt stress. We identified 227 miRNAs that belong to 127 families, including 70 miRNAs that are not present in the miRBase. We validated 62 miRNAs (including 10 novel miRNAs) using published small RNA expression data in DCL1, DCL3, and RDR2 RNAi lines and confirmed 210 targets from 86 miRNAs using published degradome data. By comparing the expression levels of miRNAs, we identified 18, 15, and 10 miRNAs that were regulated by drought, cold and salt stress conditions, respectively. In addition, we identified 80 candidate miRNAs that originated from transposable elements or repeats, especially miniature inverted-repeat elements (MITEs). We discovered novel miRNAs and stress-regulated miRNAs that may play critical roles in stress response in rice inflorescences. Transposable elements or repeats, especially MITEs, are rich sources for miRNA origination.
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    Elucidating the evolutionary history and expression patterns of nucleoside phosphorylase paralogs (vegetative storage proteins) in Populusand the plant kingdom
    (Springer Nature, 2013-08-19) Pettengill, Emily A; Pettengill, James B; Coleman, Gary D
    Nucleoside phosphorylases (NPs) have been extensively investigated in human and bacterial systems for their role in metabolic nucleotide salvaging and links to oncogenesis. In plants, NP-like proteins have not been comprehensively studied, likely because there is no evidence of a metabolic function in nucleoside salvage. However, in the forest trees genus Populus a family of NP-like proteins function as an important ecophysiological adaptation for inter- and intra-seasonal nitrogen storage and cycling. We conducted phylogenetic analyses to determine the distribution and evolution of NP-like proteins in plants. These analyses revealed two major clusters of NP-like proteins in plants. Group I proteins were encoded by genes across a wide range of plant taxa while proteins encoded by Group II genes were dominated by species belonging to the order Malpighiales and included the Populus Bark Storage Protein (BSP) and WIN4-like proteins. Additionally, we evaluated the NP-like genes in Populus by examining the transcript abundance of the 13 NP-like genes found in the Populus genome in various tissues of plants exposed to long-day (LD) and short-day (SD) photoperiods. We found that all 13 of the Populus NP-like genes belonging to either Group I or II are expressed in various tissues in both LD and SD conditions. Tests of natural selection and expression evolution analysis of the Populus genes suggests that divergence in gene expression may have occurred recently during the evolution of Populus, which supports the adaptive maintenance models. Lastly, in silico analysis of cis-regulatory elements in the promoters of the 13 NP-like genes in Populus revealed common regulatory elements known to be involved in light regulation, stress/pathogenesis and phytohormone responses. In Populus, the evolution of the NP-like protein and gene family has been shaped by duplication events and natural selection. Expression data suggest that previously uncharacterized NP-like proteins may function in nutrient sensing and/or signaling. These proteins are members of Group I NP-like proteins, which are widely distributed in many plant taxa. We conclude that NP-like proteins may function in plants, although this function is undefined.
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    Proteomic analysis of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm cells grown under physiologically relevant fluid shear stress conditions
    (Springer Nature, 2014-04-30) Islam, Nazrul; Kim, Yonghyun; Ross, Julia M; Marten, Mark R
    The biofilm forming bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for maladies ranging from severe skin infection to major diseases such as bacteremia, endocarditis and osteomyelitis. A flow displacement system was used to grow S. aureus biofilms in four physiologically relevant fluid shear rates (50, 100, 500 and 1000 s-1) to identify proteins that are associated with biofilm. Global protein expressions from the membrane and cytosolic fractions of S. aureus biofilm cells grown under the above shear rate conditions are reported. Sixteen proteins in the membrane-enriched fraction and eight proteins in the cytosolic fraction showed significantly altered expression (p < 0.05) under increasing fluid shear. These 24 proteins were identified using nano-LC-ESI-MS/MS. They were found to be associated with various metabolic functions such as glycolysis / TCA pathways, protein synthesis and stress tolerance. Increased fluid shear stress did not influence the expression of two important surface binding proteins: fibronectin-binding and collagen-binding proteins. The reported data suggest that while the general metabolic function of the sessile bacteria is minimal under high fluid shear stress conditions, they seem to retain the binding capacity to initiate new infections.
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    Directed plant cell-wall accumulation of iron: embedding co-catalyst for efficient biomass conversion
    (Springer Nature, 2016-10-21) Lin, Chien-Yuan; Jakes, Joseph E.; Donohoe, Bryon S.; Ciesielski, Peter N.; Yang, Haibing; Gleber, Sophie-Charlotte; Vogt, Stefan; Ding, Shi-You; Peer, Wendy A.; Murphy, Angus S.; McCann, Maureen C.; Himmel, Michael E.; Tucker, Melvin P.; Wei, Hui
    Plant lignocellulosic biomass is an abundant, renewable feedstock for the production of biobased fuels and chemicals. Previously, we showed that iron can act as a co-catalyst to improve the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass. However, directly adding iron catalysts into biomass prior to pretreatment is diffusion limited, and increases the cost of biorefinery operations. Recently, we developed a new strategy for expressing iron-storage protein ferritin intracellularly to accumulate iron as a catalyst for the downstream deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass. In this study, we extend this approach by fusing the heterologous ferritin gene with a signal peptide for secretion into Arabidopsis cell walls (referred to here as FerEX). The transgenic Arabidopsis plants. FerEX. accumulated iron under both normal and iron-fertilized growth conditions; under the latter (iron-fertilized) condition, FerEX transgenic plants showed an increase in plant height and dry weight by 12 and 18 %, respectively, compared with the empty vector control plants. The SDS- and native-PAGE separation of cell-wall protein extracts followed by Western blot analyses confirmed the extracellular expression of ferritin in FerEX plants. Meanwhile, Perls' Prussian blue staining and X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) maps revealed iron depositions in both the secondary and compound middle lamellae cell-wall layers, as well as in some of the corner compound middle lamella in FerEX. Remarkably, their harvested biomasses showed enhanced pretreatability and digestibility, releasing, respectively, 21 % more glucose and 34 % more xylose than the empty vector control plants. These values are significantly higher than those of our recently obtained ferritin intracellularly expressed plants. This study demonstrated that extracellular expression of ferritin in Arabidopsis can produce plants with increased growth and iron accumulation, and reduced thermal and enzymatic recalcitrance. The results are attributed to the intimate colocation of the iron co-catalyst and the cellulose and hemicellulose within the plant cell-wall region, supporting the genetic modification strategy for incorporating conversion catalysts into energy crops prior to harvesting or processing at the biorefinery.
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    Plant genome editing with TALEN and CRISPR
    (Springer Nature, 2017-04-24) Malzahn, Aimee; Lowder, Levi; Qi, Yiping
    Genome editing promises giant leaps forward in advancing biotechnology, agriculture, and basic research. The process relies on the use of sequence specific nucleases (SSNs) to make DNA double stranded breaks at user defined genomic loci, which are subsequently repaired by two main DNA repair pathways: non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homology directed repair (HDR). NHEJ can result in frameshift mutations that often create genetic knockouts. These knockout lines are useful for functional and reverse genetic studies but also have applications in agriculture. HDR has a variety of applications as it can be used for gene replacement, gene stacking, and for creating various fusion proteins. In recent years, transcription activator-like effector nucleases and clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR associated protein 9 or CRISPR from Prevotella and Francisella 1 have emerged as the preferred SSNs for research purposes. Here, we review their applications in plant research, discuss current limitations, and predict future research directions in plant genome editing.