Project description:The temperate wild grass <i>Brachypodium distachyon</i> (Brachypodium) serves as model system for studying turf and forage grasses. Brachypodium collections show diverse responses to drought stress, but little is known about the genetic mechanisms of drought tolerance of this species. The objective of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with drought tolerance traits in Brachypodium. We assessed leaf fresh weight (LFW), leaf dry weight (LDW), leaf water content (LWC), leaf wilting (WT), and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) under well-watered and drought conditions on a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population from two parents (Bd3-1 and Bd1-1) known to differ in their drought adaptation. A linkage map of the RIL population was constructed using 467 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers obtained from genotyping-by-sequencing. The Bd3-1/Bd1-1 map spanned 1,618 cM and had an average distance of 3.5 cM between adjacent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Twenty-six QTLs were identified in chromosome 1, 2, and 3 in two experiments, with 14 of the QTLs under well-watered conditions and 12 QTLs under drought stress. In Experiment 1, a QTL located on chromosome 2 with a peak at 182 cM appeared to simultaneously control WT, LWC, and Fv/Fm under drought stress, accounting for 11-18.7% of the phenotypic variation. Allelic diversity of candidate genes <i>DREB2B, MYB</i>, and <i>SPK</i>, which reside in one multi-QTL region, may play a role in the natural variation in whole plant drought tolerance in Brachypodium. Co-localization of QTLs for multiple drought-related traits suggest that the gene(s) involved are important regulators of drought tolerance in Brachypodium.
Project description:<h4>Background and aims</h4>Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) is a model species for temperate cereals and other economically important grasses. Its favourable cytogenetic features and advanced molecular infrastructure make it a good model for understanding the mechanisms of instability of plant genomes after mutagenic treatment. The aim of this study was to qualitatively and quantitatively assess the composition and origin of micronuclei arising from genomic fracture, and to detect possible 'hot spots' for mutagen-induced DNA breaks.<h4>Methods</h4>Seeds of Brachypodium were treated with maleic hydrazide (MH) or X-rays. The structure of mutagen-induced micronuclei was analysed in root-tip meristematic cells using multicolour fluorescence in situ hybridization (mcFISH) with various repetitive (5S rDNA, 25S rDNA, telomeric, centromeric) and low-repeat [small and large pools of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones specific for chromosome Bd1] DNA sequences.<h4>Key results</h4>The majority of micronuclei derive from large, acentric fragments. X-rays caused more interstitial DNA breaks than MH. Double-strand breaks rarely occurred in distal chromosome regions. Bd1 contributed to the formation of more mutagen-induced micronuclei than expected from random chromosome involvement.<h4>Conclusions</h4>mcFISH with chromosome-specific BAC clones offers insight into micronuclei composition, in so far as it allows their origin and formation to be determined more specifically. A reliable assay for micronuclei composition is crucial for the development of modern genotoxicity tests using plant cells. The combination of mutagenic treatments and well-developed cytomolecular resources in Brachypodium make this model species very promising for plant mutagenesis research.
Project description:Puccinia graminis causes stem rust, a serious disease of cereals and forage grasses. Important formae speciales of P. graminis and their typical hosts are P. graminis f. sp. tritici (Pg-tr) in wheat and barley, P. graminis f. sp. lolii (Pg-lo) in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue, and P. graminis f. sp. phlei-pratensis (Pg-pp) in timothy grass. Brachypodium distachyon is an emerging genetic model to study fungal disease resistance in cereals and temperate grasses. We characterized the P. graminis-Brachypodium pathosystem to evaluate its potential for investigating incompatibility and non-host resistance to P. graminis. Inoculation of eight Brachypodium inbred lines with Pg-tr, Pg-lo or Pg-pp resulted in sporulating lesions later accompanied by necrosis. Histological analysis of early infection events in one Brachypodium inbred line (Bd1-1) indicated that Pg-lo and Pg-pp were markedly more efficient than Pg-tr at establishing a biotrophic interaction. Formation of appressoria was completed (60-70% of germinated spores) by 12 h post-inoculation (hpi) under dark and wet conditions, and after 4 h of subsequent light exposure fungal penetration structures (penetration peg, substomatal vesicle and primary infection hyphae) had developed. Brachypodium Bd1-1 exhibited pre-haustorial resistance to Pg-tr, i.e. infection usually stopped at appressorial formation. By 68 hpi, only 0.3% and 0.7% of the Pg-tr urediniospores developed haustoria and colonies, respectively. In contrast, development of advanced infection structures by Pg-lo and Pg-pp was significantly more common; however, Brachypodium displayed post-haustorial resistance to these isolates. By 68 hpi the percentage of urediniospores that only develop a haustorium mother cell or haustorium in Pg-lo and Pg-pp reached 8% and 5%, respectively. The formation of colonies reached 14% and 13%, respectively. We conclude that Brachypodium is an apt grass model to study the molecular and genetic components of incompatiblity and non-host resistance to P. graminis.
Project description:Brachypodium distachyon is a new model plant closely related to wheat and other cereals. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of hormone-regulated genes in Brachypodium distachyon using RNA sequencing technology. Brachypodium distachyon seedlings were treated with eight phytohormones (auxin, cytokinine, brassinosteroid, gibberelline, abscisic acid, ethylene, jasmonate and salicylic acid) and two inhibitors, Brz220 (brassinosteroid biosynthesis inhibitor) and prohexadione (gibberelline biosynthesis inhibitor). The expressions of 1807 genes were regulated in a phytohormone-dependent manner. We compared the data with the phytohormone responses that have reported in rice. Transcriptional responses to hormones are conserved between Bracypodium and rice. Transcriptional regulation by brassinosteroid, gibberellin and ethylene was relatively weaker than those by other hormones. This is consistent with the data obtained from comprehensive analysis of hormone responses reported in Arabidopsis. Brachypodium and Arabidopsis also shared some common transcriptional responses to phytohormones. Alternatively, unique transcriptional responses to phytohormones were observed in Brachypodium. For example, the expressions of ACC synthase genes were up-regulated by auxin treatment in rice and Arabidopsis, but no orthologous ACC synthase gene was up-regulated in Brachypodium. Our results provide information useful to understand the diversity and similarity of hormone-regulated transcriptional responses between eudicots and monocots.
Project description:The genetic transformation of monocot grasses is a resource intensive process, the quality and efficiency of which is dependent in part upon the method of DNA introduction, as well as the ability to effectively separate transformed from wildtype tissue. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Brachypodium has relied mainly on Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain AGL1. Currently the antibiotic hygromycin B has been the selective agent of choice for robust identification of transgenic calli in Brachypodium distachyon and Brachypodium sylvaticum but few other chemicals have been shown to work as well for selection of transgenic Brachypodium cells in tissue culture. This study demonstrates that Agrobacterium rhizogenes strain 18r12v and paromomycin selection can be successfully used for the efficient generation of transgenic B. distachyon and B. sylvaticum. Additionally we observed that the transformation rates were similar to or higher than those obtained with A. tumefaciens strain AGL1 and hygromycin selection. The A. rhizogenes strain 18r12v harboring the pARS1 binary vector and paromomycin selection is an effective means of generating transgenic Brachypodium plants. This novel approach will facilitate the transgenic complementation of T-DNA knockout mutants of B. distachyon which were created using hygromycin selection, as well as aid the implementation of more complex genome manipulation strategies which require multiple rounds of transformation.
Project description:MADS-box genes are important transcription factors for plant development, especially floral organogenesis. Brachypodium distachyon is a model for biofuel plants and temperate grasses such as wheat and barley, but a comprehensive analysis of MADS-box family proteins in Brachypodium is still missing. We report here a genome-wide analysis of the MADS-box gene family in Brachypodium distachyon. We identified 57 MADS-box genes and classified them into 32 MIKC(c)-type, 7 MIKC*-type, 9 M?, 7 M? and 2 M? MADS-box genes according to their phylogenetic relationships to the Arabidopsis and rice MADS-box genes. Detailed gene structure and motif distribution were then studied. Investigation of their chromosomal localizations revealed that Brachypodium MADS-box genes distributed evenly across five chromosomes. In addition, five pairs of type II MADS-box genes were found on synteny blocks derived from whole genome duplication blocks. We then performed a systematic expression analysis of Brachypodium MADS-box genes in various tissues, particular floral organs. Further detection under salt, drought, and low-temperature conditions showed that some MADS-box genes may also be involved in abiotic stress responses, including type I genes. Comparative studies of MADS-box genes among Brachypodium, rice and Arabidopsis showed that Brachypodium had fewer gene duplication events. Taken together, this work provides useful data for further functional studies of MADS-box genes in Brachypodium distachyon.
Project description:We report the comprehensive identification of periodic genes and their network inference, based on a gene co-expression analysis and an Auto-Regressive eXogenous (ARX) model with a group smoothly clipped absolute deviation (SCAD) method using a time-series transcriptome dataset in a model grass, Brachypodium distachyon. To reveal the diurnal changes in the transcriptome in B. distachyon, we performed RNA-seq analysis of its leaves sampled through a diurnal cycle of over 48 h at 4 h intervals using three biological replications, and identified 3,621 periodic genes through our wavelet analysis. The expression data are feasible to infer network sparsity based on ARX models. We found that genes involved in biological processes such as transcriptional regulation, protein degradation, and post-transcriptional modification and photosynthesis are significantly enriched in the periodic genes, suggesting that these processes might be regulated by circadian rhythm in B. distachyon. On the basis of the time-series expression patterns of the periodic genes, we constructed a chronological gene co-expression network and identified putative transcription factors encoding genes that might be involved in the time-specific regulatory transcriptional network. Moreover, we inferred a transcriptional network composed of the periodic genes in B. distachyon, aiming to identify genes associated with other genes through variable selection by grouping time points for each gene. Based on the ARX model with the group SCAD regularization using our time-series expression datasets of the periodic genes, we constructed gene networks and found that the networks represent typical scale-free structure. Our findings demonstrate that the diurnal changes in the transcriptome in B. distachyon leaves have a sparse network structure, demonstrating the spatiotemporal gene regulatory network over the cyclic phase transitions in B. distachyon diurnal growth.
Project description:BACKGROUND: A complete assembled genome sequence of wheat is not yet available. Therefore, model plant systems for wheat are very valuable. Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) is such a system. The WRKY family of transcription factors is one of the most important families of plant transcriptional regulators with members regulating important agronomic traits. Studies of WRKY transcription factors in Brachypodium and wheat therefore promise to lead to new strategies for wheat improvement. RESULTS: We have identified and manually curated the WRKY transcription factor family from Brachypodium using a pipeline designed to identify all potential WRKY genes. 86 WRKY transcription factors were found, a total higher than all other current databases. We therefore propose that our numbering system (BdWRKY1-BdWRKY86) becomes the standard nomenclature. In the JGI v1.0 assembly of Brachypodium with the MIPS/JGI v1.0 annotation, nine of the transcription factors have no gene model and eleven gene models are probably incorrectly predicted. In total, twenty WRKY transcription factors (23.3%) do not appear to have accurate gene models. To facilitate use of our data, we have produced The Database of Brachypodium distachyon WRKY Transcription Factors. Each WRKY transcription factor has a gene page that includes predicted protein domains from MEME analyses. These conserved protein domains reflect possible input and output domains in signaling. The database also contains a BLAST search function where a large dataset of WRKY transcription factors, published genes, and an extensive set of wheat ESTs can be searched. We also produced a phylogram containing the WRKY transcription factor families from Brachypodium, rice, Arabidopsis, soybean, and Physcomitrella patens, together with published WRKY transcription factors from wheat. This phylogenetic tree provides evidence for orthologues, co-orthologues, and paralogues of Brachypodium WRKY transcription factors. CONCLUSIONS: The description of the WRKY transcription factor family in Brachypodium that we report here provides a framework for functional genomics studies in an important model system. Our database is a resource for both Brachypodium and wheat studies and ultimately projects aimed at improving wheat through manipulation of WRKY transcription factors.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system enables precise genome editing and is a useful tool for functional genomic studies. Here we report a detailed protocol for targeted genome editing in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon and its allotetraploid relative B. hybridum, describing gRNA design, a transient protoplast assay to test gRNA efficiency, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and the selection and analysis of regenerated plants. In B. distachyon, we targeted the gene encoding phytoene desaturase (PDS), which is a crucial enzyme in the chlorophyll biosynthesis pathway. The albino phenotype of mutants obtained confirmed the effectiveness of the protocol for functional gene analysis. Additionally, we targeted two genes related to cell wall maintenance, encoding a fasciclin-like arabinogalactan protein (FLA) and a pectin methylesterase (PME), also in B. distachyon. Two genes encoding cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKG1 and CDKG2), which may be involved in DNA recombination were targeted in both B. distachyon and B. hybridum. Cas9 activity induces mainly insertions or deletions, resulting in frameshift mutations that, may lead to premature stop codons. Because of the close phylogenetic relationship between Brachypodium species and key temperate cereals and forage grasses, this protocol should be easily adapted to target genes underpinning agronomically important traits.
Project description:Grain development and its evolution in grasses remains poorly understood, despite cereals being our most important source of food. The grain, for which many grass species have been domesticated, is a single-seeded fruit with prominent and persistent endosperm. Brachypodium distachyon, a small wild grass, is being posited as a new model system for the temperate small grain cereals, but little is known about its endosperm development and how this compares with that of the domesticated cereals. A cellular and molecular map of domains within the developing Brachypodium endosperm is constructed. This provides the first detailed description of grain development in Brachypodium for the reference strain, Bd21, that will be useful for future genetic and comparative studies. Development of Brachypodium grains is compared with that of wheat. Notably, the aleurone is not regionally differentiated as in wheat, suggesting that the modified aleurone region may be a feature of only a subset of cereals. Also, the central endosperm and the nucellar epidermis contain unusually prominent cell walls that may act as a storage material. The composition of these cell walls is more closely related to those of barley and oats than to those of wheat. Therefore, although endosperm development is broadly similar to that of temperate small grain cereals, there are significant differences that may reflect its phylogenetic position between the Triticeae and rice.