Project description:Polyploidy poses challenges for phylogenetic reconstruction because of the need to identify and distinguish between homoeologous loci. This can be addressed by use of low copy nuclear markers. Panicum s.s. is a genus of about 100 species in the grass tribe Paniceae, subfamily Panicoideae, and is divided into five sections. Many of the species are known to be polyploids. The most well-known of the Panicum polyploids are switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and common or Proso millet (P. miliaceum). Switchgrass is in section Virgata, along with P. tricholaenoides, P. amarum, and P. amarulum, whereas P. miliaceum is in sect. Panicum. We have generated sequence data from five low copy nuclear loci and two chloroplast loci and have clarified the origin of P. virgatum. We find that all members of sects. Virgata and Urvilleana are the result of diversification after a single allopolyploidy event. The closest diploid relatives of switchgrass are in sect. Rudgeana, native to Central and South America. Within sections Virgata and Urvilleana, P. tricholaenoides is sister to the remaining species. Panicum racemosum and P. urvilleanum form a clade, which may be sister to P. chloroleucum. Panicum amarum, P. amarulum, and the lowland and upland ecotypes of P. virgatum together form a clade, within which relationships are complex. Hexaploid and octoploid plants are likely allopolyploids, with P. amarum and P. amarulum sharing genomes with P. virgatum. Octoploid P. virgatum plants are formed via hybridization between disparate tetraploids. We show that polyploidy precedes diversification in a complex set of polyploids; our data thus suggest that polyploidy could provide the raw material for diversification. In addition, we show two rounds of allopolyploidization in the ancestry of switchgrass, and identify additional species that may be part of its broader gene pool. This may be relevant for development of the crop for biofuels.
Project description:Understanding the regulation of proline metabolism necessitates the suppression of two ?1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase enzyme (P5CS) genes performed in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). The results reveal that overexpressing PvP5CS1 and PvP5CS2 increased salt tolerance. Additionally, transcript levels of spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) synthesis and metabolism related genes were upregulated in PvP5CS OE-transgenic plants and downregulated in the PvP5CS RNAi transformants. According to salt stress assay and the measurement of transcript levels of Polyamines (PAs) metabolism-related genes, P5CS enzyme may not only be the key regulator of proline biosynthesis in switchgrass, but it may also indirectly affect the entire subset of pathway for ornithine to proline or to putrescine (Put). Furthermore, application of proline prompted expression levels of Spd and Spm synthesis and metabolism-related genes in both PvP5CS-RNAi and WT plants, but transcript levels were even lower in PvP5CS-RNAi compared to WT plants under salt stress condition. These results suggested that exogenous proline could accelerate polyamines metabolisms under salt stress. Nevertheless, the enzymes involved in this process and the potential functions remain poorly understood. Thus, the aim of this study is to reveal how proline functions with PAs metabolism under salt stress in switchgrass.
Project description:Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a lignocellulosic perennial grass with great potential in bioenergy field. Lignocellulosic bioenergy crops are mostly resistant to cell wall deconstruction, and therefore yield suboptimal levels of biofuel. The one-carbon pathway (also known as C1 metabolism) is critical for polymer methylation, including that of lignin and hemicelluloses in cell walls. Folylpolyglutamate synthetase (FPGS) catalyzes a biochemical reaction that leads to the formation of folylpolyglutamate, an important cofactor for many enzymes in the C1 pathway. In this study, the putatively novel switchgrass PvFPGS1 gene was identified and its functional role in cell wall composition and biofuel production was examined by RNAi knockdown analysis. The PvFPGS1-downregulated plants were analyzed in the field over three growing seasons. Transgenic plants with the highest reduction in PvFPGS1 expression grew slower and produced lower end-of-season biomass. Transgenic plants with low-to-moderate reduction in PvFPGS1 transcript levels produced equivalent biomass as controls. There were no significant differences observed for lignin content and syringyl/guaiacyl lignin monomer ratio in the low-to-moderately reduced PvFPGS1 transgenic lines compared with the controls. Similarly, sugar release efficiency was also not significantly different in these transgenic lines compared with the control lines. However, transgenic plants produced up to 18% more ethanol while maintaining congruent growth and biomass as non-transgenic controls. Severity of rust disease among transgenic and control lines were not different during the time course of the field experiments. Altogether, the unchanged lignin content and composition in the low-to-moderate PvFPGS1-downregulated lines may suggest that partial downregulation of PvFPGS1 expression did not impact lignin biosynthesis in switchgrass. In conclusion, the manipulation of PvFPGS1 expression in bioenergy crops may be useful to increase biofuel potential with no growth penalty or increased susceptibility to rust in feedstock.