Project description:Weed presence early in the life cycle of maize (typically, from emergence through the 8 to 12 leaf growth stage) can reduce crop growth and yield and is known as the critical weed-free period (CWFP). Even if weeds are removed during or just after the CWFP, crop growth and yield often are not recoverable. We compared transcriptome responses of field-grown hybrid maize at V8 in two consecutive years among plants grown under weed-free and two weed-stressed conditions (weeds removed at V4 or present through V8) using RNAseq analysis techniques. Compared with weed-free plant responses, physiological differences at V8 were identified in all weed-stressed plants and were most often associated with altered photosynthetic processes, hormone signaling, nitrogen use and transport, and biotic stress responses. Even when weeds were removed at V4 and tissues sampled at V8, carbon: nitrogen supply imbalance, salicylic acid signals, and growth responses differed between the weed-stressed and weed-free plants. These underlying processes and a small number of developmentally important genes are potential targets for decreasing the maize response to weed pressure. Expression differences of several novel, long noncoding RNAs resulting from exposure of maize to weeds during the CWFP were also observed and could open new avenues for investigation into the function of these transcription units.
Project description:Exposure of plants to low temperature in the light may induce photoinhibitory stress symptoms, including oxidative damage. However, it is also known that light is a critical factor for the development of frost hardiness in cold tolerant plants. In the present work the effects of light during the cold acclimation period were studied in chilling-sensitive maize plants. Before exposure to chilling temperature at 5°C, plants were cold acclimated at non-lethal temperature (15°C) under different light conditions. Although exposure to relatively high light intensities during cold acclimation caused various stress symptoms, it also enhanced the effectiveness of acclimation processes to a subsequent severe cold stress. It seems that the photoinhibition induced by low temperature is a necessary evil for cold acclimation processes in plants. Greater accumulations of soluble sugars were also detected during hardening at relatively high light intensity. Certain stress responses were light-dependent not only in the leaves, but also in the roots. The comparison of the gene expression profiles based on a microarray study demonstrated that the light intensity is at least as important a factor as the temperature during the cold acclimation period. Differentially expressed genes were mainly involved in most of assimilation and metabolic pathways, namely photosynthetic light capture via the modification of chlorophyll biosynthesis and the dark reactions, carboxylic acid metabolism, cellular amino acid, porphyrin or glutathione metabolic processes, ribosome biogenesis and translation. Results revealed complex regulation mechanisms and interactions between cold and light signalling processes.
Project description:Purpose: This study is designed to identify genes and processes that are differentially regulated in corn when it is grown with or without weeds through the entire critical weed free period (to V8) or when weeds were removed early in the critical weed free period (at V4) and the plants were allowed to recover until V8. Methods: Corn was grown as described above in field plots near Brookings SD in 2007 and 2008 and RNA was extracted from the top-most leaf tips from four plants per treatment plot. Unidirectional cDNA illumina sequencing libraries were constructed for each sample (pooled leaf tips from the given plot), and were sequenced (some samples were paired end sequenced and some were single end sequenced - all 100 bases for PE and SE reads), quality trimmed, and analyzed using the Tuxedo suite of programs for SE reads of the forward read libraries for each sample. Results: We identified a small number of genes that were differentially expressed in both years. More importantly, gene set enrichment analysis of the data determined that weeds, when present through the critical weed free period impacted phytochrome signaling, defense responses, photosynthetic processes, oxidative stress responses, and various hormone signaling processes. When weeds were removed at V4 and the plants allowed to recover until V8, the weeds still imprinted impacts on phytochrome signaling, oxidative stress, and defense responses. Thus, it appears that weeds presence through the early portion of the critical weed free period, even after removal, induced processes that reduce corn growth and yield that lasted at least through V8. Conclusions: This study represents the first investigation of the impact of the lasting effects of weeds during the early critical weed free period on the transcriptome of corn, and provides additional data on the impact of weeds through the critical weed free period that augments and confirms much of what was observed in similar microarray studies. Overall design: Experimental Design: Samples all collected at the same developmental stage (V8) from three treatments (control, weedy, and weeds removed followed by recovery), in each of two years (2007 and 2008), with two to three biological replicates of each treatment in each year.
Project description:The exposure of plants to non-lethal low temperatures may increase their tolerance to a subsequent severe chilling stress. To some extent, this is also true for cold-sensitive species, including maize. In the present work, based on our previous microarray experiment, the differentially expressed genes with phenylpropanoid pathways in the focus were further investigated in relation to changes in certain phenolic compounds and other plant growth regulators. Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) was mainly activated under limited light conditions. However, light-induced anthocyanin accumulation occurred both in the leaves and roots. Chilling stress induced the accumulation of salicylic acid (SA), but this accumulation was moderated in the cold-acclimated plants. Acclimation also reduced the accumulation of jasmonic acid (JA) in the leaves, which was rather induced in the roots. The level of abscisic acid (ABA) is mainly related to the level of the stress, and less indicated the level of the acclimation. The highest glutathione (GSH) amount was observed during the recovery period in the leaves of plants that were cold acclimated at growth light, while their precursors started to accumulate GSH even during the chilling. In conclusion, different light conditions during the cold acclimation period differentially affected certain stress-related mechanisms in young maize plants and changes were also light-dependent in the root, not only in the leaves.
Project description:Transcriptomic responses of plants to weed presence gives insight on the physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in the stress response. This study evaluated transcriptomic and morphological responses of two teosinte (Zea mays ssp parviglumis) (an ancestor of domesticated maize) lines (Ames 21812 and Ames 21789) to weed presence and absence during two growing seasons. Responses were compared after 6 weeks of growth in Aurora, South Dakota, USA. Plant heights between treatments were similar in Ames 21812, whereas branch number decreased when weeds were present. Ames 21789 was 45% shorter in weedy vs weed-free plots, but branch numbers were similar between treatments. Season-long biomass was reduced in response to weed stress in both lines. Common down-regulated subnetworks in weed-stressed plants were related to light, photosynthesis, and carbon cycles. Several unique response networks (e.g. aging, response to chitin) and gene sets were present in each line. Comparing transcriptomic responses of maize (determined in an adjacent study) and teosinte lines indicated three common gene ontologies up-regulated when weed-stressed: jasmonic acid response/signaling, UDP-glucosyl and glucuronyltransferases, and quercetin glucosyltransferase (3-O and 7-O). Overall, morphologic and transcriptomic differences suggest a greater varietal (rather than a conserved) response to weed stress, and implies multiple responses are possible. These findings offer insights into opportunities to define and manipulate gene expression of several different pathways of modern maize varieties to improve performance under weedy conditions.
Project description:The mechanistic interconnectivity between circadian regulation and the genotoxic stress response remains poorly understood. Here we show that the expression of Period 2 (Per2), a circadian regulator, is directly regulated by p53 binding to a response element in the Per2 promoter. This p53 response element is evolutionarily conserved and overlaps with the E-Box element critical for BMAL1/CLOCK binding and its transcriptional activation of Per2 expression. Our studies reveal that p53 blocks BMAL1/CLOCK binding to the Per2 promoter, leading to repression of Per2 expression. In the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), p53 expression and its binding to the Per2 promoter are under circadian control. Per2 expression in the SCN is altered by p53 deficiency or stabilization of p53 by Nutlin-3. Behaviourally, p53?/? mice have a shorter period length that lacks stability, and they exhibit impaired photo-entrainment to a light pulse under a free-running state. Our studies demonstrate that p53 modulates mouse circadian behaviour.
Project description:Crops are often subjected to periods of drought stress during their life cycle. However, how stress response mechanisms contribute to the crosstalk between stress signaling pathways and developmental signaling pathways is still unknown. We built a gene co-expression network from a spatio-temporal transcriptomic map of the drought stress response in maize (Zea mays), profiled from three tissues and four developmental stages and characterized hub genes associated with duplication events, selection, and regulatory networks. Co-expression analysis grouped drought-response genes into ten modules, covering 844 highly connected genes (hub genes). Of these, 15.4% hub genes had diverged by whole-genome duplication events and 2.5% might then have been selected during natural domestication and artificial improvement processes, successively. We identified key transcription factor hubs in a transcriptional regulatory network, which may function as a crosstalk mechanism between drought stress and developmental signalling pathways in maize. Understanding the evolutionary biases that have evolved to enhance drought adaptation lays the foundation for further dissection of crosstalk between stress signalling pathways and developmental signalling pathways in maize, towards molecular design of new cultivars with desirable yield and greater stress tolerance.
Project description:Early childhood is a critical period for development, and early life stress may increase the risk of gastrointestinal diseases including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In rodents, neonatal maternal separation (NMS) induces bowel dysfunctions that resemble IBS. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we show that NMS induces expansion of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and their differentiation toward secretory lineages including enterochromaffin (EC) and Paneth cells, leading to EC hyperplasia, increased serotonin production, and visceral hyperalgesia. This is reversed by inhibition of nerve growth factor (NGF)-mediated tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) signalling, and treatment with NGF recapitulates the intestinal phenotype of NMS mice in vivo and in mouse intestinal organoids in vitro. Mechanistically, NGF transactivates Wnt/?-catenin signalling. NGF and serotonin are positively correlated in the sera of diarrhea-predominant IBS patients. Together, our findings provide mechanistic insights into early life stress-induced intestinal changes that may translate into treatments for gastrointestinal diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Earlier studies were focused on the genetics of temperate and tropical maize under drought. We identified genetic loci and their association with functional mechanisms in 240 accessions of subtropical maize using a high-density marker set under water stress. RESULTS: Out of 61 significant SNPs (11 were false-discovery-rate-corrected associations), identified across agronomic traits, models, and locations by subjecting the accessions to water stress at flowering stage, 48% were associated with drought-tolerant genes. Maize gene models revealed that SNPs mapped for agronomic traits were in fact associated with number of functional traits as follows: stomatal closure, 28; flowering, 15; root development, 5; detoxification, 4; and reduced water potential, 2. Interactions of these SNPS through the functional traits could lead to drought tolerance. The SNPs associated with ABA-dependent signalling pathways played a major role in the plant's response to stress by regulating a series of functions including flowering, root development, auxin metabolism, guard cell functions, and scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS). ABA signalling genes regulate flowering through epigenetic changes in stress-responsive genes. ROS generated by ABA signalling are reduced by the interplay between ethylene, ABA, and detoxification signalling transductions. Integration of ABA-signalling genes with auxin-inducible genes regulates root development which in turn, maintains the water balance by regulating electrochemical gradient in plant. CONCLUSIONS: Several genes are directly or indirectly involved in the functioning of agronomic traits related to water stress. Genes involved in these crucial biological functions interacted significantly in order to maintain the primary as well as exclusive functions related to coping with water stress. SNPs associated with drought-tolerant genes involved in strategic biological functions will be useful to understand the mechanisms of drought tolerance in subtropical maize.