Experimental evidence for the ancestry of allotetraploid Trifolium repens and creation of synthetic forms with value for plant breeding.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: White clover (Trifolium repens) is a ubiquitous weed of the temperate world that through use of improved cultivars has also become the most important legume of grazed pastures world-wide. It has long been suspected to be allotetraploid, but the diploid ancestral species have remained elusive. Putative diploid ancestors were indicated by DNA sequence phylogeny to be T. pallescens and T. occidentale. Here, we use further DNA evidence as well as a combination of molecular cytogenetics (FISH and GISH) and experimental hybridization to test the hypothesis that white clover originated as a hybrid between T. pallescens and T. occidentale. RESULTS: T. pallescens plants were identified with chloroplast trnL intron DNA sequences identical to those of white clover. Similarly, T. occidentale plants with nuclear ITS sequences identical to white clover were also identified. Reciprocal GISH experiments, alternately using labeled genomic DNA probes from each of the putative ancestral species on the same white clover cells, showed that half of the chromosomes hybridized with each probe. F1 hybrids were generated by embryo rescue and these showed strong interspecific chromosome pairing and produced a significant frequency of unreduced gametes, indicating the likely mode of polyploidization. The F1 hybrids are inter-fertile with white clover and function as synthetic white clovers, a valuable new resource for the re-incorporation of ancestral genomes into modern white clover for future plant breeding. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence from DNA sequence analyses, molecular cytogenetics, interspecific hybridization and breeding experiments supports the hypothesis that a diploid alpine species (T. pallescens) hybridized with a diploid coastal species (T. occidentale) to generate tetraploid T. repens. The coming together of these two narrowly adapted species (one alpine and the other maritime), along with allotetraploidy, has led to a transgressive hybrid with a broad adaptive range.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Western clover (Trifolium occidentale) is a perennial herb with characteristics compatible for its development as an attractive model species for genomics studies relating to the forage legume, white clover (Trifolium repens). Its characteristics such as a small diploid genome, self-fertility and ancestral contribution of one of the genomes of T. repens, facilitates its use as a model for genetic analysis of plants transformed with legume or novel genes. RESULTS: In this study, a reproducible transformation protocol was established following screening of T. occidentale accessions originating from England, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. The protocol is based upon infection of cotyledonary explants dissected from mature seed with the Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain GV3101 carrying vectors which contain the bar selection marker gene. Transformation frequencies of up to 7.5% were achieved in 9 of the 17 accessions tested. Transformed plants were verified by PCR and expression of the gusA reporter gene, while integration of the T-DNA was confirmed by Southern blot hybridisation and segregation of progeny in the T1 generation. CONCLUSIONS: Development of this protocol provides a valuable contribution toward establishing T. occidentale as a model species for white clover. This presents opportunities for further improvement in white clover through the application of biotechnology.
Project description:BACKGROUND: White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is an allotetraploid species possessing two highly collinear ancestral sub-genomes. The apparent existence of highly similar homeolog copies for the majority of genes in white clover is problematic for the development of genome-based resources in the species. This is especially true for the development of genetic markers based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), since it is difficult to distinguish between homeolog-specific and allelic variants. Robust methods for categorising single nucleotide variants as allelic or homeolog-specific in large transcript datasets are required. We illustrate one potential approach in this study. RESULTS: We used 454-pyrosequencing sequencing to generate ~760,000 transcript sequences from an 8th generation white clover inbred line. These were assembled and partially annotated to yield a reference transcript set comprising 71,545 sequences. We subsequently performed Illumina sequencing on three further white clover samples, generating 14 million transcript reads from a mixed sample comprising 24 divergent white clover genotypes, and 50 million reads on two further eighth generation white clover inbred lines. Mapping these reads to the reference transcript set allowed us to develop a significant SNP resource for white clover, and to partition the SNPs from the inbred lines into categories reflecting allelic or homeolog-specific variation. The potential for using haplotype reconstruction and progenitor genome comparison to assign haplotypes to specific ancestral sub-genomes of white clover is demonstrated for sequences corresponding to genes encoding dehydration responsive element binding protein and acyl-coA oxidase. CONCLUSIONS: In total, 208,854 independent SNPs in 31,715 reference sequences were discovered, approximately three quarters of which were categorised as representing allelic or homeolog-specific variation using two inbred lines. This represents a significant resource for white clover genomics and genetics studies. We discuss the potential to extend the analysis to identify a "core set" of ancestrally derived homeolog specific variants in white clover.
Project description:Tillage controls perennial weeds, such as Elymus repens, partly because it fragments their underground storage organs. However, tillage is difficult to combine with a growing crop, which limits its application. The aim of this study was to evaluate how soil vertical cutting with minimum soil disturbance and mowing affect the growth and competitive ability of E. repens in a grass-clover crop. A tractor-drawn prototype with vertical disks was used to fragment E. repens rhizomes with minimal soil and crop disturbance. In experiments performed in 2014 and 2015 at a field site close to Uppsala, Sweden, the rhizomes were fragmented before crop sowing (ERF), during crop growth (LRF), or both (ERF+LRF). Fragmentation was combined with repeated mowing (yes/no) and four companion crop treatments (none, Italian ryegrass, white clover, and grass/clover mixture). The results showed that in the grass-clover crop, rhizome fragmentation reduced E. repens rhizome biomass production and increased Italian ryegrass shoot biomass. ERF and LRF both reduced E. repens rhizome biomass by about 38% compared with the control, while ERF+LRF reduced it by 63%. Italian ryegrass shoot biomass was increased by 78% by ERF, 170% by LRF and 200% by ERF+LRF. Repeated mowing throughout the experiment reduced E. repens rhizome biomass by about 75%. Combining repeated mowing with rhizome fragmentation did not significantly increase the control effect compared to mowing alone. We concluded that rhizome fragmentation using vertical disks can be used both before sowing and during crop growth to enhance the controlling effect of grass-clover crops on E. repens.
Project description:Allotetraploid white clover (Trifolium repens L.), a cool-season perennial legume used extensively as forage for livestock, is an important target for marker-assisted breeding. A genetic linkage map of white clover was constructed using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers based on sequences from several Trifolieae species, including white clover, red clover (T. pratense L.), Medicago truncatula (Gaertn.) and soybean (Glycine max L.). An F(1) population consisting of 179 individuals, from a cross between two highly heterozygous genotypes, GA43 and Southern Regional Virus Resistant, was used for genetic mapping. A total of 1,571 SSR markers were screened for amplification and polymorphism using DNA from two parents and 14 F(1)s of the mapping population. The map consists of 415 loci amplified from 343 SSR primer pairs, including 83 from white clover, 181 from red clover, 77 from M. truncatula, and two from soybean. Linkage groups for all eight homoeologous chromosome pairs of allotetraploid white clover were detected. Map length was estimated at 1,877 cM with 87% genome coverage. Map density was approximately 5 cM per locus. Segregation distortion was detected in six segments of the genome (homoeologous groups A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and D1). A comparison of map locations of markers originating from white clover, red clover, and alfalfa (M. sativa L.) revealed putative macro-colinearity between the three Trifolieae species. This map can be used to link quantitative trait loci with SSR markers, and accelerate the improvement of white clover by marker-assisted selection and breeding.
Project description:Supernumerary chromosomal segments (SCSs) represent additional chromosomal material that, unlike B chromosomes, is attached to the standard chromosome complement. The Prospero autumnale complex (Hyacinthaceae) is polymorphic for euchromatic large terminal SCSs located on the short arm of chromosome 1 in diploid cytotypes AA and B?B?, and tetraploid AAB?B? and B?B?B?B?, in addition to on the short arm of chromosome 4 in polyploid B?B?B?B? and B?B?B?B?B?B? cytotypes. The genomic composition and evolutionary relationships among these SCSs have been assessed using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) with 5S and 35S ribosomal DNAs (rDNAs), satellite DNA PaB6, and a vertebrate-type telomeric repeat TTAGGG. Neither of the rDNA repeats were detected in SCSs, but most contained PaB6 and telomeric repeats, although these never spanned whole SCSs. Genomic in situ hybridisation (GISH) using A, B?, and B? diploid genomic parental DNAs as probes revealed the consistently higher genomic affinity of SCSs in diploid hybrid B?B? and allopolyploids AAB?B? and B?B?B?B? to genomic DNA of the B? diploid cytotype. GISH results suggest a possible early origin of SCSs, especially that on chromosome 1, as by-products of the extensive genome restructuring within a putative ancestral P. autumnale B? genome, predating the complex diversification at the diploid level and perhaps linked to B-chromosome evolution.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Trifolium repens (white clover) is a valuable component of pastures due to its ability to fix nitrogen. Productivity of T. repens is sometimes threatened by insect pests, and it has been suggested that phenylpropanoid-derived isoflavonoids such as formononetin can protect white clover from insect damage. The aim of this study was to isolate and functionally characterize an isoflavone synthase (IFS2_12) from T. repens by expressing it in Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), a plant which does not naturally produce isoflavonoids. METHODS: To induce anthocyanin production and increase isoflavonoid precursors in tobacco, the tomato R2R3 MYB transcription factor ANT1 was expressed in tobacco (Nt-ANT1 plants). IFS2_12 was heterologously expressed in tobacco both transiently and stably, and isoflavonoids in leaf extracts were analysed by liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS(n)). As a positive control, a double construct of soybean IFS and alfalfa chalcone isomerase (IFS/CHI), which had been previously shown to induce isoflavonoid production in tobacco, was also expressed. Stable transformants expressing IFS2_12, soybean/alfalfa IFS/CHI and ANT1 were crossed and the resulting plants were analysed for isoflavonoid production. KEY RESULTS: Leaves of tobacco plants expressing ANT1 had a range of phenotypes from mainly green to uniformly bronze coloured. Both transient and stable expression of the IFS2_12 or IFS/CHI constructs resulted in the production of the isoflavonoid genistein and its conjugates. The highest levels (up to 19·2 mg g(-1) d. wt) accumulated in a progeny of a cross between a purple ANT1 and a IFS/ CHI transformant, while the second highest concentration was found in a plant derived from a selfed IFS2-12 transformant. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that the gene IFS2_12 isolated from T. repens encodes an isoflavone synthase. This study paves the way for engineering white clover plants with higher levels of isoflavonoids than naturally found in this species for sufficient insect protection.
Project description:BACKGROUND: White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is a temperate forage legume with an allotetraploid genome (2n=4×=32) estimated at 1093 Mb. Several linkage maps of various sizes, marker sources and completeness are available, however, no integrated map and marker set has explored consistency of linkage analysis among unrelated mapping populations. Such integrative analysis requires tools for homoeologue matching among populations. Development of these tools provides for a consistent framework map of the white clover genome, and facilitates in silico alignment with the model forage legume, Medicago truncatula. RESULTS: This is the first report of integration of independent linkage maps in white clover, and adds to the literature on methyl filtered GeneThresher®-derived microsatellite (simple sequence repeat; SSR) markers for linkage mapping. Gene-targeted SSR markers were discovered in a GeneThresher® (TrGT) methyl-filtered database of 364,539 sequences, which yielded 15,647 SSR arrays. Primers were designed for 4,038 arrays and of these, 465 TrGT-SSR markers were used for parental consensus genetic linkage analysis in an F1 mapping population (MP2). This was merged with an EST-SSR consensus genetic map of an independent population (MP1), using markers to match homoeologues and develop a multi-population integrated map of the white clover genome. This integrated map (IM) includes 1109 loci based on 804 SSRs over 1274 cM, covering 97% of the genome at a moderate density of one locus per 1.2 cM. Eighteen candidate genes and one morphological marker were also placed on the IM. Despite being derived from disparate populations and marker sources, the component maps and the derived IM had consistent representations of the white clover genome for marker order and genetic length. In silico analysis at an E-value threshold of 1e-20 revealed substantial co-linearity with the Medicago truncatula genome, and indicates a translocation between T. repens groups 2 and 6 relative to M. truncatula. CONCLUSIONS: This integrated genetic linkage analysis provides a consistent and comprehensive linkage analysis of the white clover genome, with alignment to a model forage legume. Associated marker locus information, particularly the homoeologue-specific markers, offers a new resource for forage legume research to enable genetic analysis and improvement of this forage and grassland species.
Project description:In order to provide useful genomic information for agronomical plants, we have established a database, the Kazusa Marker DataBase (http://marker.kazusa.or.jp). This database includes information on DNA markers, e.g., SSR and SNP markers, genetic linkage maps, and physical maps, that were developed at the Kazusa DNA Research Institute. Keyword searches for the markers, sequence data used for marker development, and experimental conditions are also available through this database. Currently, 10 plant species have been targeted: tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), pepper (Capsicum annuum), strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa), radish (Raphanus sativus), Lotus japonicus, soybean (Glycine max), peanut (Arachis hypogaea), red clover (Trifolium pratense), white clover (Trifolium repens), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). In addition, the number of plant species registered in this database will be increased as our research progresses. The Kazusa Marker DataBase will be a useful tool for both basic and applied sciences, such as genomics, genetics, and molecular breeding in crops.
Project description:Some species of clover are reported to have beneficial effects in human diseases. However, little is known about the activity of the forage plant Trifolium repens, or white clover, which has been recently found to exert a hepatoprotective action. Scientific interest is increasingly focused on identifying new drugs, especially natural products and their derivatives, to treat human diseases including cancer. We analyzed the anticancer effects of T. repens in several cancer cell lines. The phytochemical components of T. repens were first extracted in a methanol solution and then separated into four fractions by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography. The effects of the total extract and each fraction on cancer cell proliferation were analyzed by MTT assay and Western blotting. T. repens and, more robustly, its isoflavonoid-rich fraction showed high cytotoxic effects in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) K562 cells, with IC50 values of 1.67 and 0.092 mg/mL, respectively. The block of cell growth was associated with a total inhibition of BCR-ABL/STAT5 and activation of the p38 signaling pathways. In contrast, these strongly cytotoxic effects did not occur in normal cells. Our findings suggest that the development of novel compounds derived from phytochemical molecules contained in Trifolium might lead to the identification of new therapeutic agents active against CML.
Project description:Plant pathogens and insect herbivores are prone to share hosts under natural conditions. Consequently, pathogen-induced changes in the host plant can affect herbivory, and vice versa. Even though plant viruses are ubiquitous in the field, little is known about plant-mediated interactions between viruses and non-vectoring herbivores. We investigated the effects of virus infection on subsequent infestation by a non-vectoring herbivore in a natural genotype of Trifolium repens (white clover). We tested whether infection with White clover mosaic virus (WClMV) alters (1) the effects of fungus gnat feeding on plant growth, (2) the attractiveness of white clover for adult fungus gnat females, and (3) the volatile emission of white clover plants. We observed only marginal effects of WClMV infection on the interaction between fungus gnat larvae and white clover. However, adult fungus gnat females clearly preferred non-infected over WClMV-infected plants. Non-infected and virus-infected plants could easily be discriminated based on their volatile blends, suggesting that the preference of fungus gnats for non-infected plants may be mediated by virus-induced changes in volatile emissions. The compound ?-caryophyllene was exclusively detected in the headspace of virus-infected plants and may hence be particularly important for the preference of fungus gnat females. Our results demonstrate that WClMV infection can decrease the attractiveness of white clover plants for fungus gnat females. This suggests that virus infections may contribute to protecting their hosts by decreasing herbivore infestation rates. Consequently, it is conceivable that viruses play a more beneficial role in plant-herbivore interactions than generally thought.