Constitutive Expression of Aechmea fasciata SPL14 (AfSPL14) Accelerates Flowering and Changes the Plant Architecture in Arabidopsis.
ABSTRACT: Variations in flowering time and plant architecture have a crucial impact on crop biomass and yield, as well as the aesthetic value of ornamental plants. Aechmea fasciata, a member of the Bromeliaceae family, is a bromeliad variety that is commonly cultivated worldwide. Here, we report the characterization of AfSPL14, a squamosa promoter binding protein-like gene in A. fasciata. AfSPL14 was predominantly expressed in the young vegetative organs of adult plants. The expression of AfSPL14 could be upregulated within 1 h by exogenous ethephon treatment. The constitutive expression of AfSPL14 in Arabidopsis thaliana caused early flowering and variations in plant architecture, including smaller rosette leaves and thicker and increased numbers of main inflorescences. Our findings suggest that AfSPL14 may help facilitate the molecular breeding of A. fasciata, other ornamental and edible bromeliads (e.g., pineapple), and even cereal crops.
Project description:The Bromeliaceae family is one of the most morphologically diverse families with a pantropical distribution. To schedule an appropriate flowering time for bromeliads, ethylene is commonly used to initiate flower development in adult plants. However, the mechanism by which ethylene induces flowering in adult bromeliads remains unknown. Here, we identified an APETALA2 (AP2)-like gene, AfAP2-1, in Aechmea fasciata. AfAP2-1 contains two AP2 domains and is a nuclear-localized protein. It functions as a transcriptional activator, and the activation domain is located in the C-terminal region. The expression level of AfAP2-1 is higher in juvenile plants than in adult plants, and the AfAP2-1 transcript level was rapidly and transiently reduced in plants treated with exogenous ethylene. Overexpression of AfAP2-1 in Arabidopsis thaliana results in an extremely delayed flowering phenotype. These results suggested that AfAP2-1 responds to ethylene and is a putative age-dependent flowering regulator in A. fasciata.
Project description:Ethylene-triggered flowering is a common phenomenon in plants of the family Bromeliaceae, but its molecular mechanism remains unclear. As a classical group of small RNAs, microRNAs play an essential role in the regulation of flowering. In this study, we found that various miRNAs participate in the ethylene-triggered flowering process in Aechmea fasciata via small RNA sequencing using juvenile and adult plants treated with ethylene for 24?hours. Finally, 63 known miRNAs, 52 novel miRNAs and 1721 target genes were identified or predicted. Expression changes of specific miRNAs were validated by qRT-PCR and northern blotting. Some predicted targets, including SPL, GAMYB and ARF, were verified in RLM-RACE experiments. Gene Ontology (GO) and KEGG analysis showed that numerous developmental and RNA-related processes were enriched. Integrated analysis of the transcriptomic data with small RNA sequencing revealed that numerous miRNAs and targets involved in ethylene-triggered flowering in A. fasciata. Our study is helpful for illuminating the molecular basis of the ethylene-triggered flowering phenomenon in Bromeliaceae.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The angiosperm family Bromeliaceae comprises over 3.500 species characterized by exceptionally high morphological and ecological diversity, but a very low genetic variation. In many genera, plants are vegetatively very similar which makes determination of non flowering bromeliads difficult. This is particularly problematic with living collections where plants are often cultivated over decades without flowering. DNA barcoding is therefore a very promising approach to provide reliable and convenient assistance in species determination. However, the observed low genetic variation of canonical barcoding markers in bromeliads causes problems.<h4>Result</h4>In this study the low-copy nuclear gene Agt1 is identified as a novel DNA barcoding marker suitable for molecular identification of closely related bromeliad species. Combining a comparatively slowly evolving exon sequence with an adjacent, genetically highly variable intron, correctly matching MegaBLAST based species identification rate was found to be approximately double the highest rate yet reported for bromeliads using other barcode markers.<h4>Conclusion</h4>In the present work, we characterize Agt1 as a novel plant DNA barcoding marker to be used for barcoding of bromeliads, a plant group with low genetic variation. Moreover, we provide a comprehensive marker sequence dataset for further use in the bromeliad research community.
Project description:Tropical forest canopies are among the most species-rich terrestrial habitats on earth and one of the remaining relatively unexplored biotic frontiers. Epiphytic bromeliads provide microhabitat for a high diversity of organisms in tropical forest canopies and are considered a keystone resource. A number of amphibians inhabit these phytotelmata, yet their ecological role and status in forest canopies remains unknown. For this study, anurans were collected from an upper canopy tank bromeliad (Aechmea zebrina) at ?20-45 m (x¯?=?33 m) above the forest floor. Bromeliads were sampled from trees located near trails in undisturbed primary rainforest and oil access roads in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve of Amazonian Ecuador. We collected 95 anurans representing 10 species from 160 bromeliads in 32 trees. We used generalized linear mixed models to assess the effects of disturbance and habitat factors on the occupancy and abundance of anurans collected. Bromeliads in forest along oil roads had a lower occupancy and abundance of anurans than those in undisturbed forest, a somewhat unexpected result due to the intactness and quality of forest adjacent to the roads. Recorded habitat variables had no relationship with occupancy or abundance of anurans, and did not differ significantly between treatments. Our findings reveal that even the minimal footprint of natural resource extraction operations, primarily roads, in rainforest environments can have significant negative impacts on the unique upper canopy anuran community. Based on these results, we recommend that natural resource development treat rainforest habitat as an offshore system where roads are not used, employ industry best practice guidelines, and current access roads be protected from colonization and further deforestation.
Project description:Tank bromeliads are good models for understanding how climate change may affect biotic associations. We studied the relationships between spiders, the epiphytic tank bromeliad, Aechmea bracteata, and its associated ants in an inundated forest in Quintana Roo, Mexico, during a drought period while, exceptionally, this forest was dry and then during the flooding that followed. We compared spider abundance and diversity between 'Aechmea-areas' and 'control-areas' of the same surface area. We recorded six spider families: the Dipluridae, Ctenidae, Salticidae, Araneidae, Tetragnathidae and Linyphiidae among which the funnel-web tarantula, Ischnothele caudata, the only Dipluridae noted, was the most abundant. During the drought period, the spiders were more numerous in the Aechmea-areas than in the control-areas, but they were not obligatorily associated with the Aechmea. During the subsequent flooding, the spiders were concentrated in the A. bracteata patches, particularly those sheltering an ant colony. Also, a kind of specificity existed between certain spider taxa and ant species, but varied between the drought period and subsequent flooding. We conclude that climatic events modulate the relationship between A. bracteata patches and their associated fauna. Tank bromeliads, previously considered only for their ecological importance in supplying food and water during drought, may also be considered refuges for spiders during flooding. More generally, tank bromeliads have an important role in preserving non-specialized fauna in inundated forests.
Project description:The pollination biology of Aechmea pectinata (Bromeliaceae) was studied in a submontane rainforest in south-eastern Brazil. This species has a mainly clumped distribution and its aggregated individuals are likely to be clones. From October to January, during the flowering period, the distal third of its leaves becomes red. The inflorescence produces 1-15 flowers per day over a period of 20-25 d. The flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-white coloured, tubular shaped with a narrow opening, and the stigma is situated just above the anthers. Anthesis begins at 0400 h and flowers last for about 13 h. The highest nectar volume and sugar concentration occur between 0600 and 1000 h, and decrease throughout the day. Aechmea pectinata is self-incompatible and therefore pollinator-dependent. Hummingbirds are its main pollinators (about 90 % of the visits), visiting flowers mainly in the morning. There is a positive correlation between the number of hummingbird visits per inflorescence and the production of nectar, suggesting that the availability of this resource is important in attracting and maintaining visitors. The arrangement of the floral structures favours pollen deposition on the bill of the hummingbirds. Flowers in clumps promote hummingbird territoriality, and a consequence is self-pollination in a broader sense (geitonogamy) as individuals in assemblages are genetically close. However, trap-lining and intruding hummingbirds promote cross-pollination. These observations suggest that successful fruit set of A. pectinata depends on both the spatial distribution of its individuals and the interactions among hummingbirds.
Project description:In the Yucatan Peninsula, the ponerine ant Neoponera villosa nests almost exclusively in tank bromeliads, Aechmea bracteata. In this study, we aimed to determine the factors influencing nest site selection during nest relocation which is regularly promoted by hurricanes in this area. Using ants with and without previous experience of Ae. bracteata, we tested their preference for refuges consisting of Ae. bracteata leaves over two other bromeliads, Ae. bromeliifolia and Ananas comosus. We further evaluated bromeliad-associated traits that could influence nest site selection (form and size). Workers with and without previous contact with Ae. bracteata significantly preferred this species over others, suggesting the existence of an innate attraction to this bromeliad. However, preference was not influenced by previous contact with Ae. bracteata. Workers easily discriminated between shelters of Ae. bracteata and A. comosus, but not those of the closely related Ae. bromeliifolia. In marked contrast, ants discriminated between similar sized Ae. bracteata and Ae. bromeliifolia plants, suggesting that chemical cues and plant structure play an important role. Size was also significant as they selected the largest plant when provided two dissimilar Ae. bracteata plants. Nest site selection by N. villosa workers seems to depend on innate preferences but familiarization with plant stimuli is not excluded.
Project description:Tropical epiphytic plants within the family Bromeliaceae are unusual in that they possess foliage capable of retaining water and impounded material. This creates an acidic (pH 3.5-6.5) and anaerobic (<1?ppm O(2)) environment suspended in the canopy. Results from a Costa Rican rainforest show that most bromeliads (n?=?75/86) greater than ~20?cm in plant height or ~4-5?cm tank depth, showed presence of methanogens within the lower anoxic horizon of the tank. Archaea were dominated by methanogens (77-90% of recovered ribotypes) and community structure, although variable, was generally comprised of a single type, closely related to either hydrogenotrophic Methanoregula or Methanocella, a specific clade of aceticlastic Methanosaeta, or Methanosarcina. Juvenile bromeliads, or those species, such as Guzmania, with shallow tanks, generally did not possess methanogens, as assayed by polymerase chain reaction specific for methanogen 16S rRNA genes, nor did artificial catchments (~100?ml volume), in place 6-12?months prior to sample collection. Methanogens were not detected in soil (n?=?20), except in one case, in which the dominant ribotype was different from nearby bromeliads. Recovery of methyl coenzyme M reductase genes supported the occurrence of hydrogenotrophic and aceticlastic methanogens within bromeliad tanks, as well as the trend, via QPCR analysis of mcrA, of increased methanogenic capacity with increased plant height. Methane production rates of up to 300?nmol CH(4)?ml tank water(-1)?day(-1) were measured in microcosm experiments. These results suggest that bromeliad-associated archaeal communities may play an important role in the cycling of carbon in neotropical forests.
Project description:The unprecedented loss of biological diversity has negative impacts on ecosystems and the associated benefits which they provide to humans. Bromeliads have high diversity throughout the Neotropics, but they have been negatively affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, invasive species, and commercialization for ornamental purpose. These plants provide direct benefits to the human society, and they also form microecosystems in which accumulated water and nutrients support the communities of aquatic and terrestrial species, thus maintaining local diversity. We performed a systematic review of the contribution of bromeliads to ecosystem services across their native geographical distribution. We showed that bromeliads provide a range of ecosystem services such as maintenance of biodiversity, community structure, nutrient cycling, and the provisioning of food and water. Moreover, bromeliads can regulate the spread of diseases, and water and carbon cycling, and they have the potential to become important sources of chemical and pharmaceutical products. The majority of this research was performed in Brazil, but future research from other Neotropical countries with a high diversity of bromeliads would fill the current knowledge gaps and increase the generality of these findings. This systematic review identified that future research should focus on provisioning, regulating, and cultural services that have been currently overlooked. This would enhance our understanding of how bromeliad diversity contributes to human welfare, and the negative consequences that loss of bromeliad plants can have on communities of other species and the healthy functioning of the entire ecosystems.