Comparative Genomics Analysis Provides New Insight Into Molecular Basis of Stomatal Movement in Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi.
ABSTRACT: CO2 uptake and water loss in plants are regulated by microscopic pores on the surface of leaves, called stomata. This enablement of gas exchange by the opening and closing of stomata is one of the most essential processes in plant photosynthesis and transpiration, affecting water-use efficiency (WUE) and thus drought susceptibility. In plant species with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis, diel stomatal movement pattern is inverted relative to C3 and C4 photosynthesis species, resulting in much higher WUE and drought tolerance. However, little is known about the molecular basis of stomatal movement in CAM species. The goal of this study is to identify candidate genes that could play a role in stomatal movement in an obligate CAM species, Kalanchoë fedtschenkoi. By way of a text-mining approach, proteins were identified in various plant species, spanning C3, C4, and CAM photosynthetic types, which are orthologous to proteins known to be involved in stomatal movement. A comparative analysis of diel time-course gene expression data was performed between K. fedtschenkoi and two C3 species (i.e., Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanum lycopersicum) to identify differential gene expression between the dusk and dawn phases of the 24-h cycle. A rescheduled catalase gene known to be involved in stomatal movement was identified, suggesting a role for H2O2 in CAM-like stomatal movement. Overall, these results provide new insights into the molecular regulation of stomatal movement in CAM plants, facilitating genetic improvement of drought resistance in agricultural crops through manipulation of stomata-related genes.
Project description:Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a water-use efficient adaptation of photosynthesis that has evolved independently many times in diverse lineages of flowering plants. We hypothesize that convergent evolution of protein sequence and temporal gene expression underpins the independent emergences of CAM from C3 photosynthesis. To test this hypothesis, we generate a de novo genome assembly and genome-wide transcript expression data for Kalanchoë fedtschenkoi, an obligate CAM species within the core eudicots with a relatively small genome (~260?Mb). Our comparative analyses identify signatures of convergence in protein sequence and re-scheduling of diel transcript expression of genes involved in nocturnal CO2 fixation, stomatal movement, heat tolerance, circadian clock, and carbohydrate metabolism in K. fedtschenkoi and other CAM species in comparison with non-CAM species. These findings provide new insights into molecular convergence and building blocks of CAM and will facilitate CAM-into-C3 photosynthesis engineering to enhance water-use efficiency in crops.
Project description:Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is an important photosynthetic pathway in diverse lineages of plants featuring high water-use efficiency and drought tolerance. A big challenge facing the CAM research community is to understand the function of the annotated genes in CAM plant genomes. Recently, a new genome editing technology using CRISPR/Cas9 has become a more precise and powerful tool than traditional approaches for functional genomics research in C3 and C4 plants. In this study, we explore the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 to characterize the function of CAM-related genes in the model CAM species Kalanchoë fedtschenkoi. We demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9 is effective in creating biallelic indel mutagenesis to reveal previously unknown roles of blue light receptor phototropin 2 (KfePHOT2) in the CAM pathway. Knocking out KfePHOT2 reduced stomatal conductance and CO2 fixation in late afternoon and increased stomatal conductance and CO2 fixation during the night, indicating that blue light signaling plays an important role in the CAM pathway. Lastly, we provide a genome-wide guide RNA database targeting 45 183 protein-coding transcripts annotated in the K. fedtschenkoi genome.
Project description:As plants evolved to function on land, they developed stomata for effective gas exchange, for photosynthesis and for controlling water loss. We have recently shown that sugars, as the end product of photosynthesis, close the stomata of various angiosperm species, to coordinate sugar production with water loss. In the current study, we examined the sugar responses of the stomata of phylogenetically different plant species and species that employ different photosynthetic mechanisms (i.e., C3, C4 and CAM). To examine the effect of sucrose on stomata, we treated leaves with sucrose and then measured their stomatal apertures. Sucrose reduced stomatal aperture, as compared to an osmotic control, suggesting that regulation of stomata by sugars is a trait that evolved early in evolutionary history and has been conserved across different groups of plants.
Project description:Production per amount of water used (water use efficiency, WUE) is closely correlated with drought tolerance. Although stomatal aperture can regulate WUE, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still unclear. Previous reports revealed that stomatal closure was inhibited in the calcium-sensing receptor (CAS) antisense line of Arabidopsis (CASas). Here it is shown that decreased drought tolerance and WUE of CASas was associated with higher stomatal conductance due to improper regulation of stomatal aperture, rather than any change of stomatal density. CASas plants also had a lower CO2 assimilation rate that was attributed to a lower photosynthetic electron transport rate, leading to higher chlorophyll fluorescence. Gene co-expression combined with analyses of chlorophyll content and transcription levels of photosynthesis-related genes indicate that CAS is involved in the formation of the photosynthetic electron transport system. These data suggest that CAS regulates transpiration and optimizes photosynthesis by playing important roles in stomatal movement and formation of photosynthetic electron transport, thereby regulating WUE and drought tolerance.
Project description:Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a water-use efficient adaptation of photosynthesis that has evolved independently many times in diverse lineages of flowering plants. We hypothesize that convergent evolution of protein sequence and temporal gene expression underpins the independent emergences of CAM from C3 photosynthesis. To test this hypothesis, we generated a de novo genome assembly and genome-wide transcript expression data for Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi, an obligate CAM species within the core eudicots with a relatively small genome (~260 Mb). Our comparative analyses identified signatures of convergence in protein sequence and re-scheduling of diel transcript expression of genes involved in nocturnal CO2 fixation, stomatal movement, heat tolerance, circadian clock and carbohydrate metabolism in K. fedtschenkoi and other CAM species in comparison with non-CAM species. These findings provide new insights into molecular convergence and building blocks of CAM and will facilitate CAM-into-C3 photosynthesis engineering to enhance water-use efficiency in crops.
Project description:Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis is an innovation of carbon concentrating mechanism that is characterized by nocturnal CO2 fixation. Recent progresses in genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics of CAM species yielded new knowledge and abundant genomic resources. In this review, we will discuss the pattern of cis-elements in stomata movement-related genes and CAM CO2 fixation genes, and analyze the expression dynamic of CAM related genes in green leaf tissues. We propose that CAM photosynthesis evolved through the re-organization of existing enzymes and associated membrane transporters in central metabolism and stomatal movement-related genes, at least in part by selection of existing circadian clock cis-regulatory elements in their promoter regions. Better understanding of CAM evolution will help us to design crops that can thrive in arid or semi-arid regions, which are likely to expand due to global climate change.
Project description:Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) improves photosynthetic efficiency under limited water availability relative to C3 photosynthesis. It is widely accepted that CAM plants have evolved from C3 plants and it is hypothesized that CAM is under the control of the internal circadian clock. However, the role that the circadian clock plays in the evolution of CAM is not well understood. To identify the molecular basis of circadian control over CAM evolution, rhythmic gene sets were identified in a CAM model plant species (Kalanchoë fedtschenkoi) and a C3 model plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana) through analysis of diel time-course gene expression data using multiple periodicity detection algorithms. Based on protein sequences, ortholog groups were constructed containing genes from each of these two species. The ortholog groups were categorized into five gene sets based on conservation and diversification of rhythmic gene expression. Interestingly, minimal functional overlap was observed when comparing the rhythmic gene sets of each species. Specifcally, metabolic processes were enriched in the gene set under circadian control in K. fedtschenkoi and numerous genes were found to have retained or gained rhythmic expression in K. fedtsechenkoi. Additonally, several rhythmic orthologs, including CAM-related orthologs, displayed phase shifts between species. Results of this analysis point to several mechanisms by which the circadian clock plays a role in the evolution of CAM. These genes provide a set of testable hypotheses for future experiments.
Project description:Water is a limiting resource for many land plants. Most of the water taken up by plants is lost to the atmosphere through the stomata, which are adjustable pores on the leaf surface that allow for gas exchange between the plant and the atmosphere. Modulating stomatal activity might be an effective way to reduce plants' water consumption and enhance their productivity under normal, as well as water-limiting conditions. Our recent discovery of stomatal regulation by sugars that is mediated by guard-cell hexokinase (HXK), a sugar-sensing enzyme, has raised the possibility that HXK might be used to increase plant water-use efficiency (WUE; i.e., carbon gain per unit of water). We show here that transgenic tomato and Arabidopsis plants with increased expression of HXK in their guard cells (GCHXK plants) exhibit reduced transpiration and higher WUE without any negative effects on growth under normal conditions, as well as drought avoidance and improved photosynthesis and growth under limited-water conditions. Our results demonstrate that exclusive expression of HXK in guard cells is an effective tool for improving WUE, and plant performance under drought.
Project description:Salt stress impedes plant growth and development, and leads to yield loss. Recently, a halophyte species Mesembryanthemum crystallinum has become a model to study plant photosynthetic responses to salt stress. It has an adaptive mechanism of shifting from C3 photosynthesis to crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis under stresses, which greatly enhances water usage efficiency and stress tolerance. In this study, we focused on investigating the morphological and physiological changes [e.g., leaf area, stomatal movement behavior, gas exchange, leaf succulence, and relative water content (RWC)] of M. crystallinum during the C3 to CAM photosynthetic transition under salt stress. Our results showed that in M. crystallinum seedlings, CAM photosynthesis was initiated after 6 days of salt treatment, the transition takes place within a 3-day period, and plants became mostly CAM in 2 weeks. This result defined the transition period of a facultative CAM plant, laid a foundation for future studies on identifying the molecular switches responsible for the transition from C3 to CAM, and contributed to the ultimate goal of engineering CAM characteristics into C3 crops.
Project description:Global climate change is expected to shift regional rainfall patterns, influencing species distributions where they depend on water availability. Comparative studies have demonstrated that C4 grasses inhabit drier habitats than C3 relatives, but that both C3 and C4 photosynthesis are susceptible to drought. However, C4 plants may show advantages in hydraulic performance in dry environments. We investigated the effects of seasonal variation in water availability on leaf physiology, using a common garden experiment in the Eastern Cape of South Africa to compare 12 locally occurring grass species from C4 and C3 sister lineages. Photosynthesis was always higher in the C4 than C3 grasses across every month, but the difference was not statistically significant during the wettest months. Surprisingly, stomatal conductance was typically lower in the C3 than C4 grasses, with the peak monthly average for C3 species being similar to that of C4 leaves. In water-limited, rain-fed plots, the photosynthesis of C4 leaves was between 2.0 and 7.4 ?mol m(-2) s(-1) higher, stomatal conductance almost double, and transpiration 60% higher than for C3 plants. Although C4 average instantaneous water-use efficiencies were higher (2.4-8.1 mmol mol(-1)) than C3 averages (0.7-6.8 mmol mol(-1)), differences were not as great as we expected and were statistically significant only as drought became established. Photosynthesis declined earlier during drought among C3 than C4 species, coincident with decreases in stomatal conductance and transpiration. Eventual decreases in photosynthesis among C4 plants were linked with declining midday leaf water potentials. However, during the same phase of drought, C3 species showed significant decreases in hydrodynamic gradients that suggested hydraulic failure. Thus, our results indicate that stomatal and hydraulic behaviour during drought enhances the differences in photosynthesis between C4 and C3 species. We suggest that these drought responses are important for understanding the advantages of C4 photosynthesis under field conditions.