Roles of the SPL gene family and miR156 in the salt stress responses of tamarisk (Tamarix chinensis).
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Accumulating evidences show that SPLs are crucial regulators of plant abiotic stress tolerance and the highly conserved module miR156/SPL appears to balance plant growth and stress responses. The halophyte Tamarix chinensis is highly resistant to salt tress. SPLs of T. chinensis (TcSPLs) and theirs roles in salt stress responses remain elusive. RESULTS:In this study, we conducted a systematic analysis of the TcSPLs gene family including 12 members belonging to 7 groups. The physicochemical properties and conserved motifs showed divergence among groups and similarity in each group. The microRNA response elements (MREs) are conserved in location and sequence, with the exception of first MRE within TcSPL5. The miR156-targeted SPLs are identified by dual-luciferase reporter assay of MRE-miR156 interaction. The digital expression gene profiles cluster suggested potential different functions of miR156-targeted SPLs vs non-targeted SPLs in response to salt stress. The expression patterns analysis of miR156-targeted SPLs with a reverse expression trend to TcmiR156 suggested 1 h (salt stress time) could be a critical time point of post-transcription regulation in salt stress responses. CONCLUSIONS:Our work demonstrated the post-transcription regulation of miR156-targeted TcSPLs and transcription regulation of non-targeted TcSPLs in salt stress responses, and would be helpful to expound the miR156/SPL-mediated molecular mechanisms underlying T. chinensis salt stress tolerance.
Project description:The SQUAMOSA-promoter binding like (SPL) gene family encodes transcription factors that have been shown in many species to influence plant growth and development, but information about these genes in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is limited. This study identified 17 barley SPL genes, within eight distinct groups, that are orthologs of SPL genes described in Arabidopsis, wheat, and rice. Sixteen barley SPLs undergo alternative splicing. Seven SPLs contain a putative miR156 target site and the transcript levels of the miR156-targeted HvSPLs (HvSPL3, 13 and 23) were lower in vegetative than in reproductive phase but this was true also for some SPL genes such as HvSPL6 that were not regulated by miR156. Because SPL gene products regulate miR172, which is also involved in floral development, the expression of miR172 was studied. An antagonistic expression pattern of miR156 and miR172b during the vegetative and the reproductive phases signifies their apparent function in barley growth phase transition. Characterization of a barley mir172 mutant having an abnormal, indeterminate spikelet phenotype suggests the possible feedback role of AP2/miR172 module on HvSPL genes. This is the first comprehensive analysis of the miR156/SPL/miR172 axis in barley that provides a basis to elucidate their roles in various biological processes.
Project description:The miR156-targeted squamosa promoter binding protein like (SPL) transcription factors function as an endogenous age cue in regulating plant phase transition and phase-dependent morphogenesis, but the control of SPL output remains poorly understood. In Arabidopsis thaliana the spatial pattern of trichome is a hallmark of phase transition and governed by SPLs. Here, by dissecting the regulatory network controlling trichome formation on stem, we show that the miR171-targeted lost meristems 1 (LOM1), LOM2 and LOM3, encoding GRAS family members previously known to maintain meristem cell polarity, are involved in regulating the SPL activity. Reduced LOM abundance by overexpression of miR171 led to decreased trichome density on stems and floral organs, and conversely, constitutive expression of the miR171-resistant LOM (rLOM) genes promoted trichome production, indicating that LOMs enhance trichome initiation at reproductive stage. Genetic analysis demonstrated LOMs shaping trichome distribution is dependent on SPLs, which positively regulate trichome repressor genes TRICHOMELESS 1 (TCL1) and TRIPTYCHON (TRY). Physical interaction between the N-terminus of LOMs and SPLs underpins the repression of SPL activity. Importantly, other growth and developmental events, such as flowering, are also modulated by LOM-SPL interaction, indicating a broad effect of the LOM-SPL interplay. Furthermore, we provide evidence that MIR171 gene expression is regulated by its targeted LOMs, forming a homeostatic feedback loop. Our data uncover an antagonistic interplay between the two timing miRNAs in controlling plant growth, phase transition and morphogenesis through direct interaction of their targets.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a dedicated lignocellulosic feedstock for bioenergy production. The SQUAMOSA PROMOTER-BINDING PROTEIN (SBP-box)-LIKE transcription factors (SPLs) change plant architecture and vegetative-to-reproductive phase transition significantly, and as such, they are promising candidates for genetic improvement of switchgrass biomass yield. However, the genome-wide identification and functional characterization of SPL genes have yet to be investigated in herbaceous energy crops. RESULTS:We identified 35 full-length SPL genes in the switchgrass genome. The phylogenetic relationship and expression pattern of PvSPLs provided baseline information for their function characterization. Based on the global overview of PvSPLs, we explored the biological function of miR156-targeted PvSPL1 and PvSPL2, which are closely related members of SPL family in switchgrass. Our results showed that PvSPL1 and PvSPL2 acted redundantly to modulate side tiller initiation, whereas they did not affect phase transition and internode initiation. Consistently, overexpression of the miR156-resistant rPvSPL2 in the miR156-overexpressing transgenic plants greatly reduced tiller initiation, but did not rescue the delayed flowering and increased internode numbers. Furthermore, suppression of PvSPL2 activity in switchgrass increased biomass yield and reduced lignin accumulation, which thereby elevated the total amount of solubilized sugars. CONCLUSIONS:Our results indicate that different miR156-targeted PvSPL subfamily genes function predominantly in certain biological processes in switchgrass. We suggest that PvSPL2 and its paralogs can be utilized as the valuable targets in molecular breeding of energy crops for developing novel germplasms with high biofuel production.
Project description:Time to flower, a process either referring to juvenile-adult phase change or vegetative-reproductive transition, is strictly controlled by an intricate regulatory network involving at least both FT/TFL1 and the micro RNA (miR)156-regulated SPL family members. Despite substantial progresses recently achieved in Arabidopsis and other plant species, information regarding the involvement of these genes during orchid development and flowering competence is still limited. Dendrobium catenatum, a popular orchid species, exhibits a juvenile phase of at least three years. Here, through whole-genome mining and whole-family expression profiling, we analyzed the homologous genes of FT/TFL1, miR156, and SPL with special reference to the developmental stages. The FT/TFL1 family contains nine members; among them, DcHd3b transcribes abundantly in young and juvenile tissues but not in adult, contrasting with the low levels of others. We also found that mature miR156, encoded by a single locus, accumulated in large quantity in protocorms and declined by seedling development, coincident with an increase in transcripts of three of its targeted SPL members, namely DcSPL14, DcSPL7, and DcSPL18. Moreover, among the seven predicted miR156-targeted SPLs, only DcSPL3 was significantly expressed in adult plants and was associated with plant maturation. Our results might suggest that the juvenile phase change or maturation in this orchid plant likely involves both the repressive action of a TFL1-like pathway and the promotive effect from an SPL3-mediated mechanism.
Project description:BACKGROUND: SPLs, a family of transcription factors specific to plants, play vital roles in plant growth and development through regulation of various physiological and biochemical processes. Although Populus trichocarpa is a model forest tree, the PtSPL gene family has not been systematically studied. RESULTS: Here we report the identification of 28 full-length PtSPLs, which distribute on 14 P. trichocarpa chromosomes. Based on the phylogenetic relationships of SPLs in P. trichocarpa and Arabidopsis, plant SPLs can be classified into 6 groups. Each group contains at least a PtSPL and an AtSPL. The N-terminal zinc finger 1 (Zn1) of SBP domain in group 6 SPLs has four cysteine residues (CCCC-type), while Zn1 of SPLs in the other groups mainly contains three cysteine and one histidine residues (C2HC-type). Comparative analyses of gene structures, conserved motifs and expression patterns of PtSPLs and AtSPLs revealed the conservation of plant SPLs within a group, whereas among groups, the P. trichocarpa and Arabidopsis SPLs were significantly different. Various conserved motifs were identified in PtSPLs but not found in AtSPLs, suggesting the diversity of plant SPLs. A total of 11 pairs of intrachromosome-duplicated PtSPLs were identified, suggesting the importance of gene duplication in SPL gene expansion in P. trichocarpa. In addition, 18 of the 28 PtSPLs, belonging to G1, G2 and G5, were found to be targets of miR156. Consistently, all of the AtSPLs in these groups are regulated by miR156. It suggests the conservation of miR156-mediated posttranscriptional regulation in plants. CONCLUSIONS: A total of 28 full-length SPLs were identified from the whole genome sequence of P. trichocarpa. Through comprehensive analyses of gene structures, phylogenetic relationships, chromosomal locations, conserved motifs, expression patterns and miR156-mediated posttranscriptional regulation, the PtSPL gene family was characterized. Our results provide useful information for evolution and biological function of plant SPLs.
Project description:Grasses produce tiller and panicle branching at vegetative and reproductive stages; the branching patterns largely define the diversity of grasses and constitute a major determinant for grain yield of many cereals. Here we show that a spatiotemporally coordinated gene network consisting of the MicroRNA 156 (miR156/)miR529/SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE (SPL) and miR172/APETALA2 (AP2) pathways regulates tiller and panicle branching in rice. SPL genes negatively control tillering, but positively regulate inflorescence meristem and spikelet transition. Underproduction or overproduction of SPLs reduces panicle branching, but by distinct mechanisms: miR156 and miR529 fine-tune the SPL levels for optimal panicle size. miR172 regulates spikelet transition by targeting AP2-like genes, which does not affect tillering, and the AP2-like proteins play the roles by interacting with TOPLESS-related proteins (TPRs). SPLs modulate panicle branching by directly regulating the miR172/AP2 and PANICLE PHYTOMER2 (PAP2)/Rice TFL1/CEN homolog 1 (RCN1) pathways and also by integrating other regulators, most of which are not involved in tillering regulation. These findings may also have significant implications for understanding branching regulation of other grasses and for application in rice genetic improvement.
Project description:Salinity is one of the major abiotic stresses affecting alfalfa productivity. Developing salinity tolerant alfalfa genotypes could contribute to sustainable crop production. The functions of microRNA156 (miR156) have been investigated in several plant species, but so far, no studies have been published that explore the role of miR156 in alfalfa response to salinity stress. In this work, we studied the role of miR156 in modulating commercially important traits of alfalfa under salinity stress. Our results revealed that overexpression of miR156 increased biomass, number of branches and time to complete growth stages, while it reduced plant height under control and salinity stress conditions. We observed a miR156-related reduction in neutral detergent fiber under non-stress, and acid detergent fiber under mild salinity stress conditions. In addition, enhanced total Kjeldahl nitrogen content was recorded in miR156 overexpressing genotypes under severe salinity stress. Furthermore, alfalfa genotypes overexpressing miR156 exhibited an altered ion homeostasis under salinity conditions. Under severe salinity stress, miR156 downregulated <i>SPL</i> transcription factor family genes, modified expression of other important transcription factors, and downstream salt stress responsive genes. Taken together, our results reveal that miR156 plays a role in mediating physiological and transcriptional responses of alfalfa to salinity stress.
Project description:As a major family of plant-specific transcription factors, SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) genes play vital regulatory roles in plant growth, development and stress responses. In this study, 18 SPL genes were identified and cloned from Betula luminifera. Two zinc finger-like structures and a nuclear location signal (NLS) segments were existed in the SBP domains of all BlSPLs. Phylogenetic analysis showed that these genes were clustered into nine groups (group I-IX). The intron/exon structure and motif composition were highly conserved within the same group. 12 of the 18 BlSPLs were experimentally verified as the targets of miR156, and two cleavage sites were detected in these miR156-targeted BlSPL genes. Many putative cis-elements, associated with light, stresses and phytohormones response, were identified in the promoter regions of BlSPLs, suggesting that BlSPL genes are probably involved in important physiological processes and developmental events. Tissue-specific expression analysis showed that miR156-targeted BlSPLs exhibited a more differential expression pattern, while most miR156-nontargeted BlSPLs tended to be constitutively expressed, suggesting the distinct roles of miR156-targeted and nontargeted BlSPLs in development and growth of B. luminifera. Further expression analysis revealed that miR156-targeted BlSPLs were dramatically up-regulated with age, whereas mature BlmiR156 level was apparently declined with age, indicating that miR156/SPL module plays important roles in vegetative phase change of B. luminifera. Moreover, yeast two-hybrid assay indicated that several miR156-targeted and nontargeted BlSPLs could interact with two DELLA proteins (BlRGA and BlRGL), which suggests that certain BlSPLs take part in the GA regulated processes through protein interaction with DELLA proteins. All these results provide an important basis for further exploring the biological functions of BlSPLs in B. luminifera.
Project description:The effects of microRNA156 overexpression on general plant architecture, branching, flowering time and nodulation were investigated in the model legume, Lotus japonicus. We cloned an miR156 homolog, LjmiR156a, from L. japonicus, and investigated its SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE (SPL) genes and its biological function at enhancing vegetative biomass yield, extending flowering time, and its impact on nodulation. Thirteen potential targets for LjmiR156 were identified in vitro and their expression profiles were determined in aerial and underground parts of mature plants, including genes coding for eight SPLs, one WD-40, one RNA-directed DNA polymerase, two transport proteins, and one histidine-phosphotransfer protein. Two SPL and one WD-40 cleavage targets for LjmiR156-TC70253, AU089191, and TC57859-were identified. Transgenic plants with ectopic expression of LjmiR156a showed enhanced branching, dramatically delayed flowering, underdeveloped roots, and reduced nodulation. We also examined the transcript levels of key genes involved in nodule organogenesis and infection thread formation to determine the role of miR156 in regulating symbiosis. Overexpression of LjmiR156a led to repression of several nodulation genes during the early stages of root development such as three ENOD genes, SymPK, POLLUX, CYCLOPS, Cerberus, and Nsp1, and the stimulation of NFR1. Our results show that miR156 regulates vegetative biomass yield, flowering time and nodulation by silencing downstream target SPLs and other genes, suggesting that the miR156 regulatory network could be modified in forage legumes (such as alfalfa and trefoils) and in leafy vegetables (like lettuce and spinach) to positively impact economically valuable crop species.
Project description:We recently identified a Citrus gene encoding SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) transcription factor that contained a sequence complementary to miR156. Genes of the SPL family are known to play a role in flowering regulation and phase transition. In Citrus, the mRNA levels of the gene were significantly altered by fruit load in buds; under heavy fruit load (ON-Crop trees), known to suppress next year flowering, the mRNA levels were down-regulated, while fruit removal (de-fruiting), inducing next-year flowering, resulted in its up-regulation. In the current work, we set on to study the function of the gene. We showed that the Citrus SPL was able promote flowering independently of photoperiod in Arabidopsis, while miR156 repressed its flowering-promoting activity. In order to find out if fruit load affected the expression of additional genes of the SPL family, we identified and classified all SPL members in the Citrus genome, and studied their seasonal expression patterns in buds and leaves, and in response to de-fruiting. Results showed that two additional SPL-like genes and miR172, known to be induced by SPLs in Arabidopsis, were altered by fruit load. The relationships between these factors in relation to the fruit-load effect on Citrus flowering are discussed.