Tissue and developmental atlas of Brachypodium distachyon
ABSTRACT: Due to its small and sequenced genome, short generation time, efficient transformation and increasing genetic resources, Brachypodium distachyon is an emerging model for grasses. Despite this, data capturing gene expression patterns across different organs and developmental stages is missing. We have generated a comprehensive gene expression atlas for Brachypodium, capturing 9 different organs and developmental stages
Project description:Due to its small and sequenced genome, short generation time, efficient transformation and increasing genetic resources, Brachypodium distachyon is an emerging model for grasses. Despite this, data capturing gene expression patterns across different organs and developmental stages is missing. We have generated a comprehensive gene expression atlas for Brachypodium, capturing 9 different organs and developmental stages
Project description:Due to climate change, the effect of temperature on crops has become a global concern. It has been reported that minor changes in temperature can cause large decreases in crop yield. While not a crop, the model Brachypodium distachyon can help to efficiently investigate ambient temperature responses of temperate grasses, which include wheat and barley. Here, we use different accessions to explore the effect of ambient temperature on Brachypodium phenology. We recorded leaf initiation, heading time, leaf and branch number at heading, seed set time, seed weight, seed size, seed dormancy, and seed germination at different temperatures. We found that warmer temperatures promote leaf initiation so that leaf number at heading is positively correlated to temperature. Heading time is not correlated to temperature but accessions show an optimal temperature at which heading is earliest. Cool temperatures prolong seed maturation which increases seed weight. The progeny seeds of plants grown at these cool ambient temperatures show stronger dormancy, while imbibition of seeds at low temperature improves germination. Among all developmental stages, it is the duration of seed maturation that is most sensitive to temperature. The results we found reveal that temperature responses in Brachypodium are highly conserved with temperate cereals, which makes Brachypodium a good model to explore temperature responsive pathways in temperate grasses.
Project description:While many aspects of plant cell wall polymer structure are known, their spatial and temporal distribution within the stem are not well understood. Here, we studied vascular system and fiber development, which has implication for both biofuel feedstock conversion efficiency and crop yield. The subject of this study, Brachypodium distachyon, has emerged as a grass model for food and energy crop research. Here, we conducted our investigation using B. distachyon by applying various histological approaches and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to the stem internode from three key developmental stages. While vascular bundle size and number did not change over time, the size of the interfascicular region increased dramatically, as did cell wall thickness. We also describe internal stem internode anatomy and demonstrate that lignin deposition continues after crystalline cellulose and xylan accumulation ceases. The vascular bundle anatomy of B. distachyon appears to be highly similar to domesticated grasses. While the arrangement of bundles within the stem is highly variable across grasses, B. distachyon appears to be a suitable model for the rind of large C4 grass crops. A better understanding of growth and various anatomical and cell wall features of B. distachyon will further our understanding of plant biomass accumulation processes.
Project description:MADS-box genes are important transcription factors for plant development, especially floral organogenesis. Brachypodium distachyon is a model for biofuel plants and temperate grasses such as wheat and barley, but a comprehensive analysis of MADS-box family proteins in Brachypodium is still missing. We report here a genome-wide analysis of the MADS-box gene family in Brachypodium distachyon. We identified 57 MADS-box genes and classified them into 32 MIKC(c)-type, 7 MIKC*-type, 9 M?, 7 M? and 2 M? MADS-box genes according to their phylogenetic relationships to the Arabidopsis and rice MADS-box genes. Detailed gene structure and motif distribution were then studied. Investigation of their chromosomal localizations revealed that Brachypodium MADS-box genes distributed evenly across five chromosomes. In addition, five pairs of type II MADS-box genes were found on synteny blocks derived from whole genome duplication blocks. We then performed a systematic expression analysis of Brachypodium MADS-box genes in various tissues, particular floral organs. Further detection under salt, drought, and low-temperature conditions showed that some MADS-box genes may also be involved in abiotic stress responses, including type I genes. Comparative studies of MADS-box genes among Brachypodium, rice and Arabidopsis showed that Brachypodium had fewer gene duplication events. Taken together, this work provides useful data for further functional studies of MADS-box genes in Brachypodium distachyon.
Project description:The genetic transformation of monocot grasses is a resource intensive process, the quality and efficiency of which is dependent in part upon the method of DNA introduction, as well as the ability to effectively separate transformed from wildtype tissue. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Brachypodium has relied mainly on Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain AGL1. Currently the antibiotic hygromycin B has been the selective agent of choice for robust identification of transgenic calli in Brachypodium distachyon and Brachypodium sylvaticum but few other chemicals have been shown to work as well for selection of transgenic Brachypodium cells in tissue culture. This study demonstrates that Agrobacterium rhizogenes strain 18r12v and paromomycin selection can be successfully used for the efficient generation of transgenic B. distachyon and B. sylvaticum. Additionally we observed that the transformation rates were similar to or higher than those obtained with A. tumefaciens strain AGL1 and hygromycin selection. The A. rhizogenes strain 18r12v harboring the pARS1 binary vector and paromomycin selection is an effective means of generating transgenic Brachypodium plants. This novel approach will facilitate the transgenic complementation of T-DNA knockout mutants of B. distachyon which were created using hygromycin selection, as well as aid the implementation of more complex genome manipulation strategies which require multiple rounds of transformation.
Project description:Eukaryotic genomes are pervasively transcribed and only a small portion of the transcribed sequences belongs to protein coding genes. High-throughput sequencing technology contributed to consolidate this perspective, allowing the identification of numerous noncoding RNAs with key roles in biological processes. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcripts longer than 200?nt with limited phylogenetic conservation, expressed at low levels and characterized by tissue/organ specific expression profiles. Although a large set of lncRNAs has been identified, the functional roles of lncRNAs are only beginning to be recognized and the molecular mechanism of lncRNA-mediated gene regulation remains largely unexplored, particularly in plants where their annotation and characterization are still incomplete. Using public and proprietary poly-(A)+ RNA-seq data as well as a collection of full length ESTs from several organs, developmental stages and stress conditions in three Brachypodium distachyon inbred lines, we describe the identification and the main features of thousands lncRNAs. Here we provide a genome-wide characterization of lncRNAs, highlighting their intraspecies conservation and describing their expression patterns among several organs/tissues and stress conditions. This work represents a fundamental resource to deepen our knowledge on long noncoding RNAs in C3 cereals, allowing the Brachypodium community to exploit these results in future research programs.
Project description:Transcriptomic analyses are particularly powerful in research when they are based on detailed underlying knowledge of developmental processes, morphological/anatomical features and biochemical/metabolic processes. Our work is based on our detailed knowledge of grain development and provides an invaluable resource for both Brachypodium grain development specifically and for comparative analyses to other species, including cereal crops. Grain development includes several transition points in addition to being preceded and succeeded by the fundamental developmental switches of fertilization and germination. Such complex process requires a larger sets of genes expressed in a highly-controlled manner. We have selected eight stages of developmental in Brachypodium distachyon encompassing these transitions and conducted comprehensive transcriptomic analyses to generate a valuable resource of the developmental transitions and the distinctive biological processes that are activated and/or repressed during grain development and germination. Comparison of the data generated in this project to other grasses, including the important crop species, and beyond will also shed light on the conservation and/or diversification in gene expression and function in an evolutionary context. Brachypodium distachyon grains (Bd-21 accession) were germinated on moist filter paper after stratification at 4°C for 48h. Five-day old seedlings were transferred to 9cm square pots with a 2:2:1 multipurpose compost: vermiculite: sand mix and grown under controlled environment conditions with a 18h photoperiod at 20°-22°C and light intensity of 180-200 umol/m/s. Tissue samples were collected from eight distinct developmental stages; pre-anthesis ovaries, young grains (1-3 DAA), middle length grains (3-8 DAA), full length grains (8-15 DAA), mature grains (15-20 DAA), mature grains without embryo, germinating grains and seedlings at 3-4 days after germination (Fig.1). Tissues were frozen in liquid nitrogen immediately after collection and were kept at -80°C until further analyses. Total RNA was isolated from frozen tissue samples using the Spectrum Plant Total RNA Kit (Sigma-Aldrich) following the manufacturer’s instructions. Three biological replicates were used for each stage of development. The RNA samples were treated with DNase I (New England Biolabs) in order to eliminate DNA contamination and their concentration was determined using a NanoDrop spectrophotometer (Thermo Fisher Scientific).
Project description:Root systems are dynamic and adaptable organs that play critical roles in plant development. However, how roots grow and accumulate biomass during plant life cycle and in relation to shoot growth phenology remains understudied. A comprehensive time-dependent root morphological analysis integrated with molecular signatures is then required to advance our understanding of root growth and development. Here we studied Brachypodium distachyon rooting process by monitoring root morphology, biomass production, and C/N ratios during developmental stages. To provide insight into gene regulation that accompanies root growth, we generated comprehensive transcript profiles of Brachypodium whole-root system at four developmental stages. Our data analysis revealed that multiple biological processes including trehalose metabolism and various families of transcription factors (TFs) were differentially expressed in root system during plant development. In particular, the AUX/IAA, ERFs, WRKY, NAC, and MADS TF family members were upregulated as plant entered the booting/heading stage, while ARFs and GRFs were downregulated suggesting these TF families as important factors involved in specific phases of rooting, and possibly in regulation of transition to plant reproductive stages. We identified several Brachypodium candidate root biomass-promoting genes and cis-regulatory elements for further functional validations and root growth improvements in grasses.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Little is known about the potential of Brachypodium distachyon as a model for low temperature stress responses in Pooideae. The ice recrystallization inhibition protein (IRIP) genes, fructosyltransferase (FST) genes, and many C-repeat binding factor (CBF) genes are Pooideae specific and important in low temperature responses. Here we used comparative analyses to study conservation and evolution of these gene families in B. distachyon to better understand its potential as a model species for agriculturally important temperate grasses. RESULTS:Brachypodium distachyon contains cold responsive IRIP genes which have evolved through Brachypodium specific gene family expansions. A large cold responsive CBF3 subfamily was identified in B. distachyon, while CBF4 homologs are absent from the genome. No B. distachyon FST gene homologs encode typical core Pooideae FST-motifs and low temperature induced fructan accumulation was dramatically different in B. distachyon compared to core Pooideae species. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that B. distachyon can serve as an interesting model for specific molecular mechanisms involved in low temperature responses in core Pooideae species. However, the evolutionary history of key genes involved in low temperature responses has been different in Brachypodium and core Pooideae species. These differences limit the use of B. distachyon as a model for holistic studies relevant for agricultural core Pooideae species.
Project description:Grain development and its evolution in grasses remains poorly understood, despite cereals being our most important source of food. The grain, for which many grass species have been domesticated, is a single-seeded fruit with prominent and persistent endosperm. Brachypodium distachyon, a small wild grass, is being posited as a new model system for the temperate small grain cereals, but little is known about its endosperm development and how this compares with that of the domesticated cereals. A cellular and molecular map of domains within the developing Brachypodium endosperm is constructed. This provides the first detailed description of grain development in Brachypodium for the reference strain, Bd21, that will be useful for future genetic and comparative studies. Development of Brachypodium grains is compared with that of wheat. Notably, the aleurone is not regionally differentiated as in wheat, suggesting that the modified aleurone region may be a feature of only a subset of cereals. Also, the central endosperm and the nucellar epidermis contain unusually prominent cell walls that may act as a storage material. The composition of these cell walls is more closely related to those of barley and oats than to those of wheat. Therefore, although endosperm development is broadly similar to that of temperate small grain cereals, there are significant differences that may reflect its phylogenetic position between the Triticeae and rice.