Indispensable Roles of Plastids in Arabidopsis thaliana Embryogenesis.
ABSTRACT: The plastid is an organelle vital to all photosynthetic and some non-photosynthetic eukaryotes. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a number of nuclear genes encoding plastid proteins have been found to be necessary for embryo development. However, the exact roles of plastids in this process remain largely unknown. Here we use publicly available datasets to obtain insights into the relevance of plastid activities to A. thaliana embryogenesis. By searching the SeedGenes database (http://www.seedgenes.org) and recent literature, we found that, of the 339 non-redundant genes required for proper embryo formation, 108 genes likely encode plastid-targeted proteins. Nineteen of these genes are necessary for development of preglobular embryos and/or their conversion to globular embryos, of which 13 genes encode proteins involved in non-photosynthetic metabolism. By contrast, among 38 genes which are dispensable for globular embryo formation but necessary for further development, only one codes for a protein involved in metabolism. Products of 21 of the 38 genes play roles in plastid gene expression and maintenance. Examination of RNA profiles of embryos at distinct growth stages obtained in laser-capture microdissection coupled with DNA microarray experiments revealed that most of the identified genes are expressed throughout embryo morphogenesis and maturation. These findings suggest that metabolic activities are required at preglobular and throughout all stages of embryo development, whereas plastid gene expression becomes necessary during and/or after the globular stage to sustain various activities of the organelle including photosynthetic electron transport.
Project description:Nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) is a trimeric transcription factor composed of three distinct subunits called NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC. In Arabidopsis thaliana, NF-Y subunits are known to play roles in many processes, such as gametogenesis, embryogenesis, seed development, drought resistance, ABA signaling, flowering time, primary root elongation, Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress response and blue light responses. Here, we report that the closely related NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 genes control early embryogenesis. Detailed GUS and in situ analyses showed that NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 are expressed in vegetative and reproductive tissues with the highest expression being during embryo development from the globular to the torpedo embryo stage. Plants from the nf-ya3 and nf-ya8 single mutants do not display any obvious phenotypic alteration, whereas nf-ya3 nf-ya8 double mutants are embryo lethal. Morphological analyses showed that the nf-ya3 nf-ya8 embryos fail to undergo to the heart stage and develop into abnormal globular embryos with both proembryo and suspensor characterized by a disordered cell cluster with an irregular shape, suggesting defects in embryo development. The suppression of both NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 gene expression by RNAi experiments resulted in defective embryos that phenocopied the nf-ya3 nf-ya8 double mutants, whereas complementation experiments partially rescued the abnormal globular nf-ya3 nf-ya8 embryos, confirming that NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 are required in early embryogenesis. Finally, the lack of GFP expression of the auxin responsive DR5rev::GFP marker line in double mutant embryos suggested that mutations in both NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 affect auxin response in early developing embryos. Our findings indicate that NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 are functionally redundant genes required in early embryogenesis of Arabidopsis thaliana.
Project description:In higher plants, embryo development originated from fertilized egg cell is the first step of the life cycle. The chloroplast participates in many essential metabolic pathways, and its function is highly associated with embryo development. However, the mechanisms and relevant genetic components by which the chloroplast functions in embryogenesis are largely uncharacterized. In this paper, we describe the Arabidopsis EMB1990 gene, encoding a plastid-targeted YlmG protein which is required for chloroplast biogenesis and embryo development. Loss of the EMB1990/YLMG1-1 resulted in albino seeds containing abortive embryos, and the morphological development of homozygous emb1990 embryos was disrupted after the globular stage. Our results showed that EMB1990/YLMG1-1 was expressed in the primordia and adaxial region of cotyledon during embryogenesis, and the encoded protein was targeted to the chloroplast. TEM observation of cellular ultrastructure showed that chloroplast biogenesis was impaired in emb1990 embryo cells. Expression of certain plastid genes was also affected in the loss-of-function mutants, including genes encoding core protein complex subunits located in the thylakoid membrane. Moreover, the tissue-specific genes of embryo development were misexpressed in emb1990 mutant, including genes known to delineate cell fate decisions in the SAM (shoot apical meristem), cotyledon and hypophysis. Taken together, we propose that the nuclear-encoded YLMG1-1 is targeted to the chloroplast and required for normal plastid gene expression. Hence, YLMG1-1 plays a critical role in Arabidopsis embryogenesis through participating in chloroplast biogenesis.
Project description:It is generally accepted that a single primary endosymbiosis in the Plantae (red, green (including land plants), and glaucophyte algae) common ancestor gave rise to the ancestral photosynthetic organelle (plastid). Plastid establishment necessitated many steps, including the transfer and activation of endosymbiont genes that were relocated to the nuclear genome of the 'host' followed by import of the encoded proteins into the organelle. These innovations are, however, highly complex and could not have driven the initial formation of the endosymbiosis. We postulate that the re-targeting of existing host solute transporters to the plastid fore-runner was critical for the early success of the primary endosymbiosis, allowing the host to harvest endosymbiont primary production.We tested this model of transporter evolution by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the plastid permeome in Arabidopsis thaliana. Of 137 well-annotated transporter proteins that were initially considered, 83 that are broadly distributed in Plantae were submitted to phylogenetic analysis. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that 58% of Arabidopsis transporters, including all carbohydrate transporters, are of host origin, whereas only 12% arose from the cyanobacterial endosymbiont. Four transporter genes are derived from a Chlamydia-like source, suggesting that establishment of the primary plastid likely involved contributions from at least two prokaryotic sources.Our results indicate that the existing plastid solute transport system shared by Plantae is derived primarily from host genes. Important contributions also came from the cyanobacterial endosymbiont and Chlamydia-like bacteria likely co-resident in the first algae.
Project description:Embryogenesis is a critical stage during the plant life cycle in which a unicellular zygote develops into a multicellular organism. Co-ordinated gene expression is thus necessary for proper embryo development. Polycomb and Trithorax group genes are members of evolutionarily conserved machinery that maintains the correct expression patterns of key developmental regulators by repressing and activating gene transcription. TRAUCO (TRO), a gene homologous to the Trithorax group of genes that can functionally complement a BRE2P yeast mutant, has been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana. It is demonstrated that TRO is a nuclear gene product expressed during embryogenesis, and loss of TRO function leads to impaired early embryo development. Embryos that arrested at the globular stage in the tro-1 mutant allele were fully rescued by a TRO expression clone, a demonstration that the tro-1 mutation is a true loss-of-function in TRO. Our data have established that TRO is the first trithorax-group gene homologue in plants that is required for early embryogenesis.
Project description:Plastid and mitochondrial RNAs in vascular plants are subjected to cytidine-to-uridine editing. The model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) has two nuclear-encoded plastid-targeted organelle RNA recognition motif (ORRM) proteins: ORRM1 and ORRM6. In the orrm1 mutant, 21 plastid RNA editing sites were affected but none are essential to photosynthesis. In the orrm6 mutants, two plastid RNA editing sites were affected: psbF-C77 and accD-C794. Because psbF encodes the ? subunit of cytochrome b559 in photosystem II, which is essential to photosynthesis, the orrm6 mutants were much smaller than the wild type. In addition, the orrm6 mutants had pale green leaves and reduced photosynthetic efficiency. To investigate the functional relationship between ORRM1 and ORRM6, we generated orrm1 orrm6 double homozygous mutants. Morphological and physiological analyses showed that the orrm1 orrm6 double mutants had a smaller plant size, reduced chlorophyll contents, and decreased photosynthetic efficiency, similar to the orrm6 single mutants. Although the orrm1 orrm6 double mutants adopted the phenotype of the orrm6 single mutants, the total number of plastid RNA editing sites affected in the orrm1 orrm6 double mutants was the sum of the sites affected in the orrm1 and orrm6 single mutants. These data suggest that ORRM1 and ORRM6 are in charge of distinct sets of plastid RNA editing sites and that simultaneous mutations in ORRM1 and ORRM6 genes do not cause additional reduction in editing extent at other plastid RNA editing sites.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Proper development of plastids in embryo and seedling tissues is critical for plant development. During germination, plastids develop to perform many critical functions that are necessary to establish the seedling for further growth. A growing body of work has demonstrated that components of the plastid transcription and translation machinery must be present and functional to establish the organelle upon germination. RESULTS: We have identified Arabidopsis thaliana mutants in a gene that encodes a plastid-targeted elongation factor G (SCO1) that is essential for plastid development during embryogenesis since two T-DNA insertion mutations in the coding sequence (sco1-2 and sco1-3) result in an embryo-lethal phenotype. In addition, a point mutation allele (sco1-1) and an allele with a T-DNA insertion in the promoter (sco1-4) of SCO1 display conditional seedling-lethal phenotypes. Seedlings of these alleles exhibit cotyledon and hypocotyl albinism due to improper chloroplast development, and normally die shortly after germination. However, when germinated on media supplemented with sucrose, the mutant plants can produce photosynthetically-active green leaves from the apical meristem. CONCLUSION: The developmental stage-specific phenotype of the conditional-lethal sco1 alleles reveals differences in chloroplast formation during seedling germination compared to chloroplast differentiation in cells derived from the shoot apical meristem. Our identification of embryo-lethal mutant alleles in the Arabidopsis elongation factor G indicates that SCO1 is essential for plant growth, consistent with its predicted role in chloroplast protein translation.
Project description:Chloroplast formation is associated with embryo development and seedling growth. However, the relationship between chloroplast differentiation and embryo development remains unclear. Five FtsHi genes that encode proteins with high similarity to FtsH proteins, but lack Zn2+-binding motifs, are present in the Arabidopsis genome. In this study, we showed that T-DNA insertion mutations in the Arabidopsis FtsHi4 gene resulted in embryo arrest at the globular-to-heart-shaped transition stage. Transmission electron microscopic analyses revealed abnormal plastid differentiation with a severe defect in thylakoid formation in the mutant embryos. Immunocytological studies demonstrated that FtsHi4 localized in chloroplasts as a thylakoid membrane-associated protein, supporting its essential role in thylakoid membrane formation. We further showed that FtsHi4 forms protein complexes, and that there was a significant reduction in the accumulation of D2 and PsbO (two photosystem II proteins) in mutant ovules. The role of FtsHi4 in chloroplast development was confirmed using an RNA-interfering approach. Additionally, mutations in other FtsHi genes including FtsHi1, FtsHi2, and FtsHi5 caused phenotypic abnormalities similar to ftshi4 with respect to plastid differentiation during embryogenesis. Taken together, our data suggest that FtsHi4, together with FtsHi1, FtsHi2, and FtsHi5 are essential for chloroplast development in Arabidopsis.
Project description:The higher plants of today array a large number of small chloroplasts in their photosynthetic cells. This array of small chloroplasts results from organelle division via prokaryotic binary fission in a eukaryotic plant cell environment. Functional abnormalities of the tightly coordinated biochemical event of chloroplast division lead to abnormal chloroplast development in plants. Here, we described an abnormal chloroplast phenotype in an ethylene insensitive ethylene response1-1 (etr1-1) of Arabidopsis thaliana. Extensive transgenic and genetic analyses revealed that this organelle abnormality was not linked to etr1-1 or ethylene signaling, but linked to a second mutation in ACCUMULATION AND REPLICATION3 (ARC3), which was further verified by genetic complementation analysis. Despite the normal expression of other plastid division-related genes, the loss of ARC3 caused the enlargement of chloroplasts as well as the diminution of a photosynthetic protein Rubisco in etr1-1. Our study has suggested that the increased size of the abnormal chloroplasts may not be able to fully compensate for the loss of a greater array of small chloroplasts in higher plants.
Project description:The genome annotation for the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana does not include the primary transcripts from which MIRNAs are processed. Here we present and analyze the raw mRNA sequencing data from wild type and serrate-1 globular stage embryos of A. thaliana, ecotype Columbia. Because SERRATE is required for pri-miRNA processing, these precursors accumulate in serrate-1 mutants, facilitating their detection using standard RNA-Seq protocols. We first use the mapping of the RNA-Seq reads to the reference genome to annotate the potential primary transcripts of MIRNAs expressed in the embryo. We then quantify these pri-miRNAs in wild type and serrate-1 mutants. Finally, we use differential expression analysis to determine which are up-regulated in serrate-1 compared to wild type, to select the best candidates for bona fide pri-miRNAs expressed in the globular stage embryos. In addition, we analyze a previously published RNA-Seq dataset of wild type and dicer-like 1 mutant embryos at the globular stage . Our data are interpreted and discussed in a separate article .
Project description:The integration of foreign genetic information is central to the evolution of eukaryotes, as has been demonstrated for the origin of the Calvin cycle and of the heme and carotenoid biosynthesis pathways in algae and plants. For photosynthetic lineages, this coordination involved three genomes of divergent phylogenetic origins (the nucleus, plastid, and mitochondrion). Major hurdles overcome by the ancestor of these lineages were harnessing the oxygen-evolving organelle, optimizing the use of light, and stabilizing the partnership between the plastid endosymbiont and host through retargeting of proteins to the nascent organelle. Here we used protein similarity networks that can disentangle reticulate gene histories to explore how these significant challenges were met. We discovered a previously hidden component of algal and plant nuclear genomes that originated from the plastid endosymbiont: symbiogenetic genes (S genes). These composite proteins, exclusive to photosynthetic eukaryotes, encode a cyanobacterium-derived domain fused to one of cyanobacterial or another prokaryotic origin and have emerged multiple, independent times during evolution. Transcriptome data demonstrate the existence and expression of S genes across a wide swath of algae and plants, and functional data indicate their involvement in tolerance to oxidative stress, phototropism, and adaptation to nitrogen limitation. Our research demonstrates the "recycling" of genetic information by photosynthetic eukaryotes to generate novel composite genes, many of which function in plastid maintenance.