Project description:RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) in plants is a well-characterized example of RNA interference-related transcriptional gene silencing. To determine the relationships between RdDM and heterochromatin in the repeat-rich maize (Zea mays) genome, we performed whole-genome analyses of several heterochromatic features: dimethylation of lysine 9 and lysine 27 (H3K9me2 and H3K27me2), chromatin accessibility, DNA methylation, and small RNAs; we also analyzed two mutants that affect these processes, mediator of paramutation1 and zea methyltransferase2.
Project description:Background:Health risks arising from heavy metal pollution have attracted global attention. As a result, many studies on the accumulation of heavy metals in soil-plant systems have performed human health risk assessments. Objectives:We aimed to examine the ability of Zea mays (maize) to accumulate heavy metals and assess the bioaccumulation factor (BAF) by collecting, collating, and analyzing data on heavy metal concentrations in Zea mays. Methods:This study reviewed the accumulation of five selected heavy metals, cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) in soil and the corresponding BAF of Zea mays grown on those soils using a systematic search of peer-reviewed scientific journals. A total of 27 research works were reviewed after screening 52 articles for subject matter relevancy, including dumpsites, industrially polluted soils, inorganically fertilized soils, mining sites, smelting sites, municipal wastewater irrigated soils, and a battery waste dumpsite. Results:Among the reviewed sites, concentrations of Cd and Cr were highest at a tin mining site, where prolonged mining, mineral processing and other production activities contributed heavy metal pollution in the soil. The soil at a battery waste dumpsite exhibited the highest Pb concentration, while the soil at a Zn smelting site presented the highest concentration of Zn. The highest soil Cu concentration was found in an area where sewage irrigation had been carried out over a long period. The BAF of the five heavy metals in Zea mays increased with the metal concentrations in the soil. The BAF of Cd, Cr, Pb, Cu, and Zn in Zea mays from the study areas fall within the ranges of 0-0.95, 0-1.89, 0-1.20, 0.011-0.99, and 0.03-0.99, respectively. Cadmium and Zn had the highest bioconcentration factors values in maize plants, likely due to their higher mobility rate compared to the other heavy metals. Conclusions:The study concluded that Zea mays is capable of accumulating high amounts of heavy metals, although accumulation of these heavy metals is influenced by multiple factors including soil texture, cation exchange capacity, root exudation and especially soil pH and chemical forms of the heavy metals. Zea mays should not be planted on metal-contaminated soils because of its potential to act as a hyperaccumulator. Competing Interests:The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Genetic variation for gene expression is a source of phenotypic variation for natural and agricultural species. The common approach to map and to quantify gene expression from genetically distinct individuals is to assign their RNA-seq reads to a single reference genome. However, RNA-seq reads from alleles dissimilar to this reference genome may fail to map correctly, causing transcript levels to be underestimated. Presently, the extent of this mapping problem is not clear, particularly in highly diverse species. We investigated if mapping bias occurred and if chromosomal features associated with mapping bias. Zea mays presents a model species to assess these questions, given it has genotypically distinct and well-studied genetic lines.<h4>Results</h4>In Zea mays, the inbred B73 genome is the standard reference genome and template for RNA-seq read assignments. In the absence of mapping bias, B73 and a second inbred line, Mo17, would each have an approximately equal number of regulatory alleles that increase gene expression. Remarkably, Mo17 had 2-4 times fewer such positively acting alleles than did B73 when RNA-seq reads were aligned to the B73 reference genome. Reciprocally, over one-half of the B73 alleles that increased gene expression were not detected when reads were aligned to the Mo17 genome template. Genes at dissimilar chromosomal ends were strongly affected by mapping bias, and genes at more similar pericentromeric regions were less affected. Biased transcript estimates were higher in untranslated regions and lower in splice junctions. Bias occurred across software and alignment parameters.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Mapping bias very strongly affects gene transcript abundance estimates in maize, and bias varies across chromosomal features. Individual genome or transcriptome templates are likely necessary for accurate transcript estimation across genetically variable individuals in maize and other species.
Project description:Maize was domesticated from lowland teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis), but the contribution of highland teosinte (Zea mays ssp. mexicana, hereafter mexicana) to modern maize is not clear. Here, two genomes for Mo17 (a modern maize inbred) and mexicana are assembled using a meta-assembly strategy after sequencing of 10 lines derived from a maize-teosinte cross. Comparative analyses reveal a high level of diversity between Mo17, B73, and mexicana, including three Mb-size structural rearrangements. The maize spontaneous mutation rate is estimated to be 2.17?×?10-8 ~3.87?×?10-8 per site per generation with a nonrandom distribution across the genome. A higher deleterious mutation rate is observed in the pericentromeric regions, and might be caused by differences in recombination frequency. Over 10% of the maize genome shows evidence of introgression from the mexicana genome, suggesting that mexicana contributed to maize adaptation and improvement. Our data offer a rich resource for constructing the pan-genome of Zea mays and genetic improvement of modern maize varieties.
Project description:Zea mays is an economically important crop, but its molecular mechanism of flowering remains largely uncharacterized. The gene, SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS 1 (SOC1), integrates multiple flowering signals to regulate floral transition in Arabidopsis. In this study, ZmSOC1 was isolated from Zea mays. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the ZmSOC1 protein contained a highly conserved MADS domain and a typical SOC1 motif. ZmSOC1 protein was localized in the nucleus in protoplasts and showed no transcriptional activation activity in yeast cells. ZmSOC1 was highly expressed in maize reproductive organs, including filaments, ear and endosperm, but expression was very low in embryos; on the other hand, the abiotic stresses could repress ZmSOC1 expression. Overexpression of ZmSOC1 resulted in early flowering in Arabidopsis through increasing the expression of AtLFY and AtAP1. Overall, these results suggest that ZmSOC1 is a flowering promoter in Arabidopsis.
Project description:In this study RNA-sequencing was used to monitor gene expression changes in four tissues (meristematic zone, elongation zone, and cortex and stele of the mature zone) of maize (Zea mays L.) primary roots in response to water deficit to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying drought tolerance.
Project description:The annual Zea mays ssp. mexicana L. is a member of teosinte, a wild relative of the Zea mays spp. mays L. This subspecies has strong growth and regeneration ability, high tiller numbers, high protein and lysine content as well as resistance to many fungal diseases, and it can be effectively used in maize improvement. In this study, we reported a Zea mays ssp. mexicana L. transcriptome by merging data from untreated control (CK), cold (4°C) and drought (PEG2000, 20%) treated plant samples. A total of 251,145 transcripts (N50 = 1,269 bp) and 184,280 unigenes (N50 = 923 bp) were predicted, which code for homologs of near 47% of the published maize proteome. Under cold conditions, 2,232 and 817 genes were up-regulated and down-regulated, respectively, while fewer genes were up-regulated (532) and down-regulated (82) under drought stress, indicating that Zea mays ssp. mexicana L. is more sensitive to the applied cold rather than to the applied drought stresses. Functional enrichment analyses identified many common or specific biological processes and gene sets in response to drought and cold stresses. The ABA dependent pathway, trehalose synthetic pathway and the ICE1-CBF pathway were up-regulated by both stresses. GA associated genes have been shown to differentially regulate the responses to cold in close subspecies in Zea mays. These findings and the identified functional genes can provide useful clues for improving abiotic stress tolerance of maize.
Project description:RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) enables in-depth exploration of transcriptomes, but typical sequencing depth often limits its comprehensiveness. In this study, we generated nearly 3 billion RNA-Seq reads, totaling 341 Gb of sequence, from a Zea mays seedling sample. At this depth, a near complete snapshot of the transcriptome was observed consisting of over 90% of the annotated transcripts, including lowly expressed transcription factors. A novel hybrid strategy combining de novo and reference-based assemblies yielded a transcriptome consisting of 126,708 transcripts with 88% of expressed known genes assembled to full-length. We improved current annotations by adding 4,842 previously unannotated transcript variants and many new features, including 212 maize transcripts, 201 genes, 10 genes with undocumented potential roles in seedlings as well as maize lineage specific gene fusion events. We demonstrated the power of deep sequencing for large transcriptome studies by generating a high quality transcriptome, which provides a rich resource for the research community.