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:C3 or crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)-induced Mesembryanthemum crystallinum plants perform nocturnal starch degradation which is linear with time. To analyse the composition of metabolites released by isolated leaf chloroplasts during starch degradation we developed a protocol for the purification of starch-containing plastids. Isolated chloroplasts from C3 or CAM-induced M. crystallinum plants are also able to degrade starch. With respect to the endogenous starch content of isolated plastids the rate of starch degradation in intact leaves. The combined presence of Pi, ATP, and oxaloacetate is identified to be the most positive effector combination to induce starch mobilization. The metabolic flux through the oxidative pentose-phosphate pathway in chloroplasts isolated from CAM-induced M. crystallinum is less than 3.5% compared with other metabolic routes of starch degradation. Here we report that starch-degrading chloroplasts isolated from CAM-induced M. crystallinum plants use exogenously supplied oxaloacetate for the synthesis of malate. The main products of starch degradation exported into the incubation medium by these chloroplasts are glucose 6-phosphate, 3-phosphoglyceric acid, dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glucose. The identification of glucose 6-phosphate as an important metabolite released during starch degradation is in contrast to the observations made on all other types of plastids analysed so far, including chloroplasts isolated from M. crystallinum in the C3 state. Therefore, we analysed the transport properties of isolated chloroplasts from M. crystallinum. Surprisingly, both types of chloroplasts, isolated from either C3 or CAM-induced plants, are able to transport glucose 6-phosphate in counter exchange with endogenous Pi, indicating the presence of a glucose 6-phosphate translocator as recently demonstrated to occur in other types of plastids. The composition of metabolites released and the stimulatory effect of oxaloacetate on the rate of starch degradation are discussed with respect to the acidification observed for CAM leaves during the night.
Project description:Physiology and nutritional quality of a facultative CAM plant Mesembryanthemum crystallinum under drought stress alone are poorly understood. To induce drought, M. crystallinum was cultured aeroponically with different nutrient spraying intervals such as 5, 30, 60 and 240 min. The long spraying interval such as 240 min resulted in lower mass of root and shoot, shorter total root length with less tips and smaller surface area, compared to short interval of 5 min. Grown under the longest spraying interval of 240 min, M. crystallinumalso had significantly higher leaf dry matter content but lower leaf succulence. However, CAM acidity was undetectable for any plants. Although M. crystallinum grown under extended spraying intervals had higher photosynthetic pigments, they utilized lesser light energy and did not dissipate heat as effectively as those grown under 5 min. Compare to other shorter spraying intervals, photosynthetic gas exchange rates were significantly reduced under 240 min spraying interval, indicating signs of water deficit stress. Shoot nitrate, total reduced nitrogen, total soluble protein and Rubisco concentrations were similar for all plants. For phytochemicals and dietary minerals, plants grown under 240 min spraying interval had significantly higher values than the other plants. Therefore, drought does not result in the induction of CAM but regulates photosynthetic performance and enhances nutritional quality of M. crystallinum.
Project description:Molecular mechanisms of osmotic stress tolerance were studied in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (ice plant), a facultative halophyte capable of adjusting to and surviving in highly saline conditions. We screened a subtracted cDNA library enriched for salt stress-induced mRNAs to identify transcripts involved in this plant's adaptation to salinity. One mRNA, Imt1, was found to be up-regulated in leaves and, transiently, in roots. Nuclear run-on assays indicated that this mRNA is transcriptionally regulated. Imt1 encoded a predicted polypeptide of M(r) 40,250 which exhibited sequence similarity to several hydroxymethyl transferases. Expression of the protein in Escherichia coli and subsequent activity assays identified the protein as a novel myoinositol O-methyl transferase which catalyzes the first step in the biosynthesis of the cyclic sugar alcohol pinitol. Pinitol accumulates in salt-stressed M.crystallinum and is abundant in a number of salt- and drought-tolerant plants. The presence of high levels of sugar alcohols correlates with osmotolerance in a diverse range of organisms, including bacteria, fungi and algae, as well as higher plants. The stress-initiated transcriptional induction of IMT1 expression in a facultative halophyte provides strong support for the importance of sugar alcohols in establishing tolerance to osmotic stress in higher plants.
Project description:One of the remarkable adaptive features of the halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum are the specialized modified trichomes called epidermal bladder cells (EBC) which cover the leaves, stems, and peduncle of the plant. They are present from an early developmental stage but upon salt stress rapidly expand due to the accumulation of water and sodium. This particular plant feature makes it an attractive system for single cell type studies, with recent proteomics and transcriptomics studies of the EBC establishing that these cells are metabolically active and have roles other than sodium sequestration. To continue our investigation into the function of these unusual cells we carried out a comprehensive global analysis of the metabolites present in the EBC extract by gas chromatography Time-of-Flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF) and identified 194 known and 722 total molecular features. Statistical analysis of the metabolic changes between control and salt-treated samples identified 352 significantly differing metabolites (268 after correction for FDR). Principal components analysis provided an unbiased evaluation of the data variance structure. Biochemical pathway enrichment analysis suggested significant perturbations in 13 biochemical pathways as defined in KEGG. More than 50% of the metabolites that show significant changes in the EBC, can be classified as compatible solutes and include sugars, sugar alcohols, protein and non-protein amino acids, and organic acids, highlighting the need to maintain osmotic homeostasis to balance the accumulation of Na(+) and Cl(-) ions. Overall, the comparison of metabolic changes in salt treated relative to control samples suggests large alterations in M. crystallinum epidermal bladder cells.
Project description:Understanding the molecular mechanisms that convey salt tolerance in plants is a crucial issue for increasing crop yield. The ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) is a halophyte that is capable of growing under high salt conditions. For example, the roots of ice plant seedlings continue to grow in 140 mM NaCl, a salt concentration that completely inhibits Arabidopsis thaliana root growth. Identifying the molecular mechanisms responsible for this high level of salt tolerance in a halophyte has the potential of revealing tolerance mechanisms that have been evolutionarily successful. In the present study, deep sequencing (RNAseq) was used to examine gene expression in ice plant roots treated with various concentrations of NaCl. Sequencing resulted in the identification of 53,516 contigs, 10,818 of which were orthologs of Arabidopsis genes. In addition to the expression analysis, a web-based ice plant database was constructed that allows broad public access to the data. The results obtained from an analysis of the RNAseq data were confirmed by RT-qPCR. Novel patterns of gene expression in response to high salinity within 24 hours were identified in the ice plant when the RNAseq data from the ice plant was compared to gene expression data obtained from Arabidopsis plants exposed to high salt. Although ABA responsive genes and a sodium transporter protein (HKT1), are up-regulated and down-regulated respectively in both Arabidopsis and the ice plant; peroxidase genes exhibit opposite responses. The results of this study provide an important first step towards analyzing environmental tolerance mechanisms in a non-model organism and provide a useful dataset for predicting novel gene functions.
Project description:The increased expression of McPIP2;1 (MipC), a root-specific aquaporin (AQP) from Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, under salt stress has suggested a role for this AQP in the salt tolerance of the plant. However, whether McPIP2;1 transports water or another solute and how its activity is regulated are so far unknown. Therefore, wild type (wt) or mutated McPIP2;1 protein was expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Then, the osmotic water permeability (P(f)) of the oocytes membrane was assessed by hypotonic challenges. Selectivity of McPIP2;1 to water was determined by radiolabeled glycerol or urea uptake assays. Moreover, swelling and in vitro phosphorylation assays revealed that both water permeation and phosphorylation status of McPIP2;1 were significantly increased by the phosphorylation agonists okadaic acid (OA), phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), and 8-Br-cAMP, and markedly decreased by the inhibitory peptides PKI 14-22 and PKC 20-28, inhibitors of protein kinases A (PKA) and C (PKC), respectively. Substitution of Ser(123) or both, Ser(123) and Ser(282), abolished the water channel activity of McPIP2;1 while substitution of Ser(282) only partially inhibited it (51.9% inhibition). Despite lacking Ser(123) and/or Ser(282), the McPIP2;1 mutant forms were still phosphorylated in vitro, which suggests that phosphorylation may have a dual role on this AQP. Our results indicate that McPIP2;1 water permeability depends completely on Ser(123) and is positively regulated by PKA- and PKC-mediated phosphorylation. Regulation of the phosphorylation status of McPIP2;1 may contribute to control water transport through root cells when the plant is subjected to high salinity conditions.
Project description:Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, which switches the mode of photosynthesis from C3 to crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) upon high salt stress, was shown here to exhibit diurnal changes in not only the CO2 fixation pathway but also Chl fluorescence parameters under CAM-induced conditions. We conducted comprehensive time course measurements of M. crystallinum leaf Chl fluorescence using the same leaf throughout the CAM induction period. By doing so, we were able to distinguish the effect of CAM induction from that of photoinhibition and avoid the possible effects of differences in foliar age. We found that the diurnal change in the status of electron transfer could be ascribed to the formation of a proton gradient across thylakoid membranes presumably resulting from diurnal changes in the ATP/ADP ratio reported earlier. The electron transport by actinic illumination thus became limited at the step of plastoquinol oxidation by the Cyt b6/f complex in the 'night' period upon CAM induction, resulting in high levels of non-photochemical quenching. The actinically induced non-photochemical quenching in the 'night' period correlated well with the degree of CAM induction. Chl fluorescence parameters, such as NPQ or qN, could be used as a simple indexing system for the CAM induction.
Project description:The halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (common or crystalline ice plant) is a useful model for studying molecular mechanisms of salt tolerance. The morphology, physiology, metabolism, and gene expression of ice plant have been studied and large-scale analyses of gene expression profiling have drawn an outline of salt tolerance in ice plant. A rapid root growth to a sudden increase in salinity was observed in ice plant seedlings. Using a fluorescent dye to detect Na(+), we found that ice plant roots respond to an increased flux of Na(+) by either secreting or storing Na(+) in specialized cells. High-throughput sequencing was used to identify small RNA profiles in 3-day-old seedlings treated with or without 200 mM NaCl. In total, 135 conserved miRNAs belonging to 21 families were found. The hairpin precursor of 19 conserved mcr-miRNAs and 12 novel mcr-miRNAs were identified. After 6 h of salt stress, the expression of most mcr-miRNAs showed decreased relative abundance, whereas the expression of their corresponding target genes showed increased mRNA relative abundance. The cognate target genes are involved in a broad range of biological processes: transcription factors that regulate growth and development, enzymes that catalyze miRNA biogenesis for the most conserved mcr-miRNA, and proteins that are involved in ion homeostasis and drought-stress responses for some novel mcr-miRNAs. Analyses of the functions of target genes revealed that cellular processes, including growth and development, metabolism, and ion transport activity are likely to be enhanced in roots under salt stress. The expression of eleven conserved miRNAs and two novel miRNAs were correlated reciprocally with predicted targets within hours after salt stress exposure. Several conserved miRNAs have been known to regulate root elongation, root apical meristem activity, and lateral root formation. Based upon the expression pattern of miRNA and target genes in combination with the observation of Na(+) distribution, ice plant likely responds to increased salinity by using Na(+) as an osmoticum for cell expansion and guard cell opening. Excessive Na(+) could either be secreted through the root epidermis or stored in specialized leaf epidermal cells. These responses are regulated in part at the miRNA-mediated post-transcriptional level.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.) is a model plant for studying salt-tolerant mechanisms in higher plants. Many salt stress-responsive ice plant genes have been identified with molecular and biochemical approaches. However, no further functional characterization of these genes in host plant due to lack of easy and effective transformation protocols. RESULTS:To establish efficient transformation system of ice plants, three types of ice plant materials, hypocotyl-derived callus, aseptically-grown seedlings and pot-grown juvenile plants, were used to develop Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocols. The highest transient transformation efficiency was with 5-day-old ice plant callus co-incubated with an Agrobacterium tumefaciens at 2.5?×?109 cells mL-1 for 48 h. The 3-day-old ice plant seedlings with root tip removed were successfully infected with A. tumefaciens or A. rhizogenes, and obtained 85% and 33-100% transient transformation rates, respectively. The transient transformation assays in ice plant callus and seedlings demonstrated that the concentrations of Agrobacteria, the durations of co-incubation time, and the plant growth stages were three important factors affecting the transient transformation efficiencies. Additionally, pot-grown juvenile plants were syringe-injected with two A. rhizogenes strains A8196 and NCPPB 1855, to establish transformed roots. After infections, ice plants were grown hydroponically and showed GUS expressions in transformed roots for 8 consecutive weeks. CONCLUSIONS:Our Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocols utilized hypocotyl-derived callus and seedlings as plant materials, which can be easily obtained in large quantity. The average successful transient transformation rates were about 2.4-3.0% with callus and 33.3-100.0% with seedlings. We also developed a rapid and efficient protocol to generate transgenic roots by A. rhizogenes infections without laborious and challenging tissue culture techniques. This protocol to establish composite ice plant system demonstrates excellent improvements in efficiency, efficacy, and ease of use over previous ice plant transformation protocols. These Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocols can be versatile and efficient tools for exploring gene functions at cellular and organ levels of ice plants.