Comparative transcriptome analysis provides key insights into seedling development in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.).
ABSTRACT: Background:Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a warm-season perennial C4 plant, can be used as a forage plant, a soil and water conservation plant, a windbreak plant, and as a good source of biofuels and alternative energy with low planting costs. However, switchgrass exhibits low rates of seedling development compared to other crops, which means it is typically out-competed by weeds. There is a large variation in seedling development rates among different plantlets in switchgrass, which limits its usefulness for large-scale cultivation. Little is currently known about the molecular reasons for slow seedling growth. Results:Characterization of the seedling development process via growth indices indicated a relatively stagnant growth stage in switchgrass. A total of 678 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified from the comparison of transcriptomes from slowly developed (sd) and rapidly developed (rd) switchgrass seedlings. Gene ontology and pathway enrichment analysis showed that DEGs were enriched in diterpenoid biosynthesis, thiamine metabolism, and circadian rhythm. Transcription factor enrichment and expression analyses showed MYB-related, bHLH and NAC family genes were essential for seedling growth. The transcriptome results were consistent with those of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Then, the expression profiles of maize and switchgrass were compared during seedling leaf development. A total of 128 DEGs that play key roles in seedling growth were aligned to maize genes. Transcriptional information and physiological indices suggested that several genes involved in the circadian rhythm, thiamine metabolism, energy metabolism, gibberellic acid biosynthesis, and signal transduction played important roles in seedling development. Conclusions:The seedling development process of switchgrass was characterized, and the molecular differences between slowly developed and rapidly developed seedlings were discussed. This study provides new insights into the reasons for slow seedling development in switchgrass and will be useful for the genetic improvement of switchgrass and other crops.
Project description:During development of plant seeds, embryos import nutrients and store massive amounts of reserves. Seed reserves are rapidly degraded and mobilized to support seedling development after germination. HIGH-LEVEL EXPRESSION OF SUGAR-INDUCIBLE GENE 2 (HSI2) of Arabidopsis thaliana is a B3 DNA-binding domain protein that represses the transcription of sugar-inducible reporter gene. Although disruption of HSI2 or HSI2-Like 1 (HSL1) did not affect growth, seeds with disruption of both HSI2 and HSL1 (KK mutant) developed abortive seedlings that stopped growing 7-9 days after imbibition. KK seedlings developed swollen hypocotyls that accumulated seed storage proteins and oil on medium containing sucrose or other metabolizable sugars, and calluses developed from KK seedlings also accumulated seed storage reserves. The expression of seed maturation genes, which include LEAFY COTYLEDON-type master regulators, in KK seedlings depended on the concentration of sucrose, suggesting that sugar controls the expression of seed maturation genes. Our results suggest that HSI2 and HSL1 repress the sugar-inducible expression of the seed maturation program in seedlings and play an essential role in regulating the transition from seed maturation to seedling growth.
Project description:Cinnamic acid (CA), which is a well-known major autotoxin secreted by the roots in cucumber continuous cropping, has been proven to exhibit inhibitory regulation of plant morphogenesis and development. Melatonin (MT) has been recently demonstrated to play important roles in alleviating plant abiotic stresses. To investigate whether MT supplementation could improve cucumber seedling growth under CA stress, we treated cucumber seeds and seedlings with/without MT under CA- or non-stress conditions, and then tested their effects on cucumber seedling growth, morphology, nutrient element content, and plant hormone. Overall, 10 ?M MT best rescued cucumber seedling growth under 0.4 mM CA stress. MT was found to alleviate CA-stressed seedling growth by increasing the growth rates of cotyledons and leaves and by stimulating lateral root growth. Additionally, MT increased the allocation of newly gained dry weight in roots and improved the tolerance of cucumber seedlings to CA stress by altering the nutrient elements and hormone contents of the whole plant. These results strongly suggest that the application of MT can effectively improve cucumber seedling tolerance to CA stress through the perception and integration of morphology, nutrient element content and plant hormone signaling crosstalk.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Drought is one of the major factors limiting global maize production. Exposure to long-term drought conditions inhibits growth and leads to yield losses. Although several drought-responsive genes have been identified and functionally analyzed, the mechanisms underlying responses to drought and water recovery treatments have not been fully elucidated. To characterize how maize seedling respond to drought stress at the transcriptional level, we analyzed physiological responses and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the inbred line B73 under water deficit and recovery conditions. RESULTS:The data for relative leaf water content, leaf size, and photosynthesis-related parameters indicated that drought stress significantly repressed maize seedling growth. Further RNA sequencing analysis revealed that 6107 DEGs were responsive to drought stress and water recovery, with more down-regulated than up-regulated genes. Among the DEGs, the photosynthesis- and hormone-related genes were enriched in responses to drought stress and re-watering. Additionally, transcription factor genes from 37 families were differentially expressed among the three analyzed time-points. Gene ontology enrichment analyses of the DEGs indicated that 50 GO terms, including those related to photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, oxidoreductase activities, nutrient metabolism and other drought-responsive pathways, were over-represented in the drought-treated seedlings. The content of gibberellin in drought treatment seedlings was decreased compared to that of control seedlings, while abscisic acid showed accumulated in the drought treated plants. The deep analysis of DEGs related to cell wall development indicated that these genes were prone to be down-regulated at drought treatment stage. CONCLUSIONS:Many genes that are differentially expressed in responses to drought stress and water recovery conditions affect photosynthetic systems and hormone biosynthesis. The identified DEGs, especially those encoding transcription factors, represent potential targets for developing drought-tolerant maize lines.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Intracellular Na+ (K+)/H+ antiporters (NHXs) have pivotal functions in regulating plant growth, development, and resistance to a range of stresses. To gain insight into the molecular events underlying their actions in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), we analyzed transcriptomic changes between PvNHX1-overexpression transgenic lines and wild-type (WT) plants using RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technology. RESULTS:The comparison of transcriptomic data from the WT and transgenic plants revealed a large number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the latter. Gene ontology (GO) and KEGG pathway analyses showed that these DEGs were associated with a wide range of functions, and participated in many biological processes. For example, we found that PvNHX1 had an important role in plant growth through its regulation of photosynthetic activity and cell expansion. In addition, PvNHX1 regulated K+ homeostasis, cell expansion and pollen development, indicating that it has unique and specific roles in flower development. We also found that transgenic switchgrass exhibited a higher level of transcription of defense-related genes, especially those involved in disease resistance. CONCLUSION:We showed that PvNHX1 had an important role in plant growth and development through its regulation of photosynthetic activity, cell expansion, K+ homeostasis, and pollen development. Additionally, PvNHX1 overexpression activated a complex signal transduction network in response to various biotic and abiotic stresses. In relation to plant growth, development, and defense responses, PvNHX1 also had a vital regulatory role in the formation of a series of plant hormones and transcription factors (TFs). The reliability of the RNA-seq data was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Our data provide a valuable foundation for further research into the molecular mechanisms and physiological roles of NHXs in plants.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plant genome sequencing has resulted in the identification of a large number of uncharacterized genes. To investigate these unknown gene functions, several transient transformation systems have been developed as quick and convenient alternatives to the lengthy transgenic assay. These transient assays include biolistic bombardment, protoplast transfection and Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation, each having advantages and disadvantages depending on the research purposes. RESULTS:We present a novel transient assay based on cocultivation of young Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seedlings with Agrobacterium tumefaciens in the presence of a surfactant which does not require any dedicated equipment and can be carried out within one week from sowing seeds to protein analysis. This Fast Agro-mediated Seedling Transformation (FAST) was used successfully to express a wide variety of constructs driven by different promoters in Arabidopsis seedling cotyledons (but not roots) in diverse genetic backgrounds. Localizations of three previously uncharacterized proteins were identified by cotransformation with fluorescent organelle markers. The FAST procedure requires minimal handling of seedlings and was also adaptable for use in 96-well plates. The high transformation efficiency of the FAST procedure enabled protein detection from eight transformed seedlings by immunoblotting. Protein-protein interaction, in this case HY5 homodimerization, was readily detected in FAST-treated seedlings with Förster resonance energy transfer and bimolecular fluorescence complementation techniques. Initial tests demonstrated that the FAST procedure can also be applied to other dicot and monocot species, including tobacco, tomato, rice and switchgrass. CONCLUSION:The FAST system provides a rapid, efficient and economical assay of gene function in intact plants with minimal manual handling and without dedicated device. This method is potentially ideal for future automated high-throughput analysis.
Project description:Invasive plant species often dominate native species in competition, augmenting other potential advantages such as release from natural enemies. Resource pre-emption may be a particularly important mechanism for establishing dominance over competitors of the same functional type. We hypothesized that competitive success of an exotic grass against native grasses is mediated by establishing an early size advantage. We tested this prediction among four perennial C4 warm-season grasses: the exotic weed Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparius) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). We predicted that a) the competitive effect of Johnsongrass on target species would be proportional to their initial biomass difference, b) competitive effect and response would be negatively correlated and c) soil fertility would have little effect on competitive relationships. In a greenhouse, plants of the four species were grown from seed either alone or with one Johnsongrass neighbor at two fertilizer levels and periodically harvested. The first two hypotheses were supported: The seedling biomass of single plants at first harvest (50 days after seeding) ranked the same way as the competitive effect of Johnsongrass on target species: Johnsongrass < big bluestem < little bluestem/switchgrass, while Johnsongrass responded more strongly to competition from Johnsongrass than from native species. At final harvest, native plants growing with Johnsongrass attained between 2-5% of their single-plant non-root biomass, while Johnsongrass growing with native species attained 89% of single-plant non-root biomass. Fertilization enhanced Johnsongrass' competitive effects on native species, but added little to the already severe competitive suppression. Accelerated early growth of Johnsongrass seedlings relative to native seedlings appeared to enable subsequent resource pre-emption. Size-asymmetric competition and resource-pre-emption may be a critical mechanism by which exotic invasive species displace functionally similar native species and alter the functional dynamics of native communities.
Project description:We have identified a synthetic peptide that interrupts discrete aspects of seedling development under red light. Previous reports have demonstrated that plants transformed with random DNA sequences produce synthetic peptides that affect plant biology. In this report, one specific peptide is characterized that inhibits discrete aspects of red light-mediated photomorphogenic development in Arabidopsis thaliana . Seedlings expressing the PEP6-32 peptide presented longer hypocotyls and diminished cotyledon expansion when grown under red light. Other red light-mediated seedling processes such as induction of Lhcb (cab) transcripts or loss of vertical growth remained unaffected. Long-term responses to red light in PEP6-32 expressing plants, such as repression of flowering time, did not show defects in red light signaling or integration. A synthesized peptide applied exogenously induced the long-hypocotyl phenotype under red light in non-transformed seedlings. The results indicate that the PEP6-32 peptide causes discrete cell expansion abnormalities during early seedling development in red light that mimic weak phyB alleles, yet only in some aspects of seedling photomorphogenesis. The findings demonstrate that new chemistries derived from random peptide expression can modulate specific facets of plant growth and development.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Heterosis breeding is the most useful method for yield increase around the globe. Heterosis is an intriguing process to develop superior offspring to either parent in the desired character. The biomass vigor produced during seedling emergence stage has a direct influence on yield heterosis in plants. Unfortunately, the genetic basis of early biomass vigor in cotton is poorly understood. RESULTS:Three stable performing F1 hybrids varying in yield heterosis named as high, medium and low hybrids with their inbred parents were used in this study. Phenotypically, these hybrids established noticeable biomass heterosis during the early stage of seedling growth in the field. Transcriptome analysis of root and leaf revealed that hybrids showed many differentially expressed genes (DEGs) relative to their parents, while the comparison of inbred parents showed limited number of DEGs indicating similarity in their genetic constitution. Further analysis indicated expression patterns of most DEGs were overdominant in both tissues of hybrids. According to GO results, functions of overdominance genes in leaf were enriched for chloroplast, membrane, and protein binding, whereas functions of overdominance genes in root were enriched for plasma membrane, extracellular region, and responses to stress. We found several genes of circadian rhythm pathway related to LATE ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL (LHY) showed downregulated overdominant expressions in both tissues of hybrids. In addition to circadian rhythm, several leaf genes related to Aux/IAA regulation, and many root genes involved in peroxidase activity also showed overdominant expressions in hybrids. Twelve genes involved in circadian rhythm plant were selected to perform qRT-PCR analysis to confirm the accuracy of RNA-seq results. CONCLUSIONS:Through genome-wide comparative transcriptome analysis, we strongly predict that overdominance at gene expression level plays a pivotal role in early biomass vigor of hybrids. The combinational contribution of circadian rhythm and other metabolic process may control vigorous growth in hybrids. Our result provides an important foundation for dissecting molecular mechanisms of biomass vigor in hybrid cotton.
Project description:Mutants are ideal for studying physiological processes. The leaves of Chinese cabbage are a major place for photosynthesis, and the mutation of these leaves may directly affect the rate of plant growth and development, thus influencing the formation of its leafy head. We characterized a slow-growing mutant, which was designated as drm. The drm exhibited slow growth and development at the seedling and heading stages, leading to the production of a tiny, leafy head, and chlorophyll-deficient leaves, especially in seedlings. Genetic analysis indicated that the phenotype of drm was controlled by a single recessive nuclear gene. Compared with the wild-type "FT" line, the drm's chlorophyll content was significantly reduced and its chloroplast structure was abnormal. Moreover, its photosynthetic efficiency and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters were significantly decreased. The changes in leaf color, combined with these altered physiological characters, may influence the growth and development of plant, ultimately resulting in the slow-growing phenotype. To further understand the molecular regulation mechanisms of phenotypic differences between "FT" and drm, comparative transcriptome analyses were performed using RNA-Seq; a total of 338 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were detected between "FT" and drm. According to GO and KEGG pathway analysis, a number of DEGs involved in chlorophyll degradation and photosynthesis were identified, such as chlorophyllase and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase. In addition, the expression patterns of 12 DEGs, including three chlorophyll degradation- and photosynthesis-related genes and nine randomly-selected genes, were confirmed by qRT-PCR. Numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms were also identified, providing a valuable resource for research and molecular marker-assistant breeding in Chinese cabbage. These results contribute to our understanding of the molecular regulation mechanisms underlying growth and development and lay the foundation for future genetic and functional genomics in Chinese cabbage.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Seed germination and seedling establishment are two of the most critical phases in plant development. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the effect of phosphorus on seed germination and post-germinated growth of oilseed rape are unclear so far. Here, we report the role of BnPHT1;4 in seed germination and early seedling development of Brassica napus. RESULTS:Our results show that BnPHT1;4 is preferentially expressed in cotyledons of early developing seedlings. Overexpression of BnPHT1;4 in oilseed rape promoted seed germination and seedling growth. Expression levels of the genes related to ABA and GA biosynthesis and signaling were significantly altered in BnPHT1;4 transgenic seedlings. Consequently, active GA level was up-regulated, whereas ABA content was down-regulated in BnPHT1;4 transgenic seedlings. Furthermore, exogenous GA could promote seed germination of wild type, while exogenous ABA could partially recover the advanced-germination phenotype of BnPHT1;4 transgenic seeds. Total phosphorus content in cotyledons of the transgenic seedlings was decreased more rapidly than that in wild type when Pi was supplied or deficient, and Pi contents in shoots and roots of the BnPHT1;4 transgenic plants were higher than those in wild type under high and low Pi conditions. CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggest that the high-affinity transporter BnPHT1;4 is involved in phosphorus acquisition and mobilization for facilitating seed germination and seedling growth of Brassica napus by modulating ABA and GA biosynthesis.