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Topical Collection "Genetics and Molecular Breeding in Plants"

Editor

Dr. Pedro Martínez-Gómez
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Collection Editor
CEBAS- CSIC, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura, Department of Plant Breeding, Murcia, Spain
Interests: plant breeding approaches; marker assisted selection; evaluation of agronomical traits; integrating genetic; genomic; transcriptomic; epigenetic; proteomic approaches
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development of new plant varieties is a long and tedious process involving the generation of large seedling populations for the selection of the best individuals. While the ability of breeders to generate large populations is almost unlimited, the management, phenotyping (genetic studies), and selection of these seedlings are the main factors limiting the generation of new cultivars. Genomic (DNA) studies for the development of marker-assisted selection (MAS) strategies are particularly useful when the evaluation of the character is expensive, time-consuming, or with long juvenile periods. More recently, proteomic (proteins and enzymes), transcriptomic (RNA), and epigenetic (DNA methylation and histone modifications) studies have been used in the mentioned genomic studies.

Papers submitted to this Topical Collection must report highly novel results and/or plausible and testable new models for the integrative analysis of the different approaches applied to plant breeding, including genetic (phenotyping and transmission of agronomic characters), genomic (DNA regions responsible for the different agronomic characters), proteomic (proteins and enzymes involved in the expression of the characters), transcriptomic (gene expression analysis of the characters), and epigenetic (DNA methylation and histone modifications) approaches for the development of new MAS strategies. In addition, the application of massive sequencing methodologies ("deep-sequencing") of the genome (DNA-Seq) and transcriptome (RNA-Seq), based on lowering the costs of DNA sequencing, could be an additional approach of interest to this Topical Collection.

Dr. Pedro Martínez-Gómez
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • breeding
  • genetic
  • genomic
  • transcriptomic
  • proteomic
  • epigenetic
  • throughput analysis
  • assisted selection

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (42 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020, 2019

Article
The Sequencing-Based Mapping Method for Effectively Cloning Plant Mutated Genes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22126224 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 361
Abstract
A forward genetic approach is a powerful tool for identifying the genes underlying the phenotypes of interest. However, the conventional map-based cloning method is lengthy, requires a large mapping population and confirmation of many candidate genes in a broad genetic region to clone [...] Read more.
A forward genetic approach is a powerful tool for identifying the genes underlying the phenotypes of interest. However, the conventional map-based cloning method is lengthy, requires a large mapping population and confirmation of many candidate genes in a broad genetic region to clone the causal variant. The whole-genome sequencing method clones the variants with a certain failure probability for multiple reasons, especially for heterozygotes, and could not be used to clone the mutation of epigenetic modifications. Here, we applied the highly complementary characteristics of these two methods and developed a sequencing-based mapping method (SBM) for identifying the location of plant variants effectively with a small population and low cost, which is very user-friendly for most popular laboratories. This method used the whole-genome sequencing data of two pooled populations to screen out enough markers. These markers were used to identify and narrow the candidate region by analyzing the marker-indexes and recombinants. Finally, the possible mutational sites were identified using the whole-genome sequencing data and verified in individual mutants. To elaborate the new method, we displayed the cloned processes in one Arabidopsis heterozygous mutant and two rice homozygous mutants. Thus, the sequencing-based mapping method could clone effectively different types of plant mutations and was a powerful tool for studying the functions of plant genes in the species with known genomic sequences. Full article
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Article
Transcriptome Profiling of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) Early Response to Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrymans
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 4192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22084192 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
Bacterial angular leaf spot disease (ALS) caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrymans (Psl) is one of the biological factors limiting cucumber open-field production. The goal of this study was to characterize cytological and transcriptomic response of cucumber to this pathogen. Plants [...] Read more.
Bacterial angular leaf spot disease (ALS) caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrymans (Psl) is one of the biological factors limiting cucumber open-field production. The goal of this study was to characterize cytological and transcriptomic response of cucumber to this pathogen. Plants of two inbred lines, B10 (susceptible) and Gy14 (resistant), were grown, and leaves were inoculated with highly virulent Psl strain 814/98 under growth chamber conditions. Microscopic and transcriptional evaluations were performed at three time points: before, 1 and 3 days post inoculation (dpi). Investigated lines showed distinct response to Psl. At 1 dpi bacterial colonies were surrounded by necrotized mesophyll cells. At 3 dpi, in the susceptible B10 line bacteria were in contact with degraded cells, whereas cells next to bacteria in the resistant Gy14 line were plasmolyzed, but apparently still alive and functional. Additionally, the level of H2O2 production was higher in resistant Gy14 plants than in B10 at both examined time points. In RNA sequencing more than 18,800 transcripts were detected in each sample. As many as 1648 and 2755 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at 1 dpi as well as 2992 and 3141 DEGs at 3 dpi were identified in B10 and Gy14, respectively. DEGs were characterized in terms of functional categories. Resistant line Gy14 showed massive transcriptomic response to Psl at 1 dpi compared to susceptible line B10, while a similar number of DEGs was detected for both lines at 3 dpi. This suggests that dynamic transcriptomic response to the invading pathogen may be related with host resistance. This manuscript provides the first transcriptomic data on cucumber infected with the pathovar lachrymans and helps to elucidate resistance mechanism against ALS disease. Full article
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Article
Gene Expression Analysis of Induced Plum pox virus (Sharka) Resistance in Peach (Prunus persica) by Almond (P. dulcis) Grafting
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(7), 3585; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073585 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 434
Abstract
No natural sources of resistance to Plum pox virus (PPV, sharka disease) have been identified in peach. However, previous studies have demonstrated that grafting a “Garrigues” almond scion onto “GF305” peach rootstock seedlings heavily infected with PPV can progressively reduce disease symptoms and [...] Read more.
No natural sources of resistance to Plum pox virus (PPV, sharka disease) have been identified in peach. However, previous studies have demonstrated that grafting a “Garrigues” almond scion onto “GF305” peach rootstock seedlings heavily infected with PPV can progressively reduce disease symptoms and virus accumulation. Furthermore, grafting a “Garrigues” scion onto the “GF305” rootstock has been shown to completely prevent virus infection. This study aims to analyse the rewiring of gene expression associated with this resistance to PPV transmitted by grafting through the phloem using RNA-Seq and RT-qPCR analysis. A total of 18 candidate genes were differentially expressed after grafting “Garrigues” almond onto healthy “GF305” peach. Among the up-regulated genes, a HEN1 homolog stands out, which, together with the differential expression of RDR- and DCL2-homologs, suggests that the RNA silencing machinery is activated by PPV infection and can contribute to the resistance induced by “Garrigues” almond. Glucan endo-1,3-beta D-glucosidase could be also relevant for the “Garrigues”-induced response, since its expression is much higher in “Garrigues” than in “GF305”. We also discuss the potential relevance of the following in PPV infection and “Garrigues”-induced resistance: several pathogenesis-related proteins; no apical meristem proteins; the transcription initiation factor, TFIIB; the speckle-type POZ protein; in addition to a number of proteins involved in phytohormone signalling. Full article
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Review
MYB-Mediated Regulation of Anthocyanin Biosynthesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(6), 3103; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22063103 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 649
Abstract
Anthocyanins are natural water-soluble pigments that are important in plants because they endow a variety of colors to vegetative tissues and reproductive plant organs, mainly ranging from red to purple and blue. The colors regulated by anthocyanins give plants different visual effects through [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins are natural water-soluble pigments that are important in plants because they endow a variety of colors to vegetative tissues and reproductive plant organs, mainly ranging from red to purple and blue. The colors regulated by anthocyanins give plants different visual effects through different biosynthetic pathways that provide pigmentation for flowers, fruits and seeds to attract pollinators and seed dispersers. The biosynthesis of anthocyanins is genetically determined by structural and regulatory genes. MYB (v-myb avian myeloblastosis viral oncogene homolog) proteins are important transcriptional regulators that play important roles in the regulation of plant secondary metabolism. MYB transcription factors (TFs) occupy a dominant position in the regulatory network of anthocyanin biosynthesis. The TF conserved binding motifs can be combined with other TFs to regulate the enrichment and sedimentation of anthocyanins. In this study, the regulation of anthocyanin biosynthetic mechanisms of MYB-TFs are discussed. The role of the environment in the control of the anthocyanin biosynthesis network is summarized, the complex formation of anthocyanins and the mechanism of environment-induced anthocyanin synthesis are analyzed. Some prospects for MYB-TF to modulate the comprehensive regulation of anthocyanins are put forward, to provide a more relevant basis for further research in this field, and to guide the directed genetic modification of anthocyanins for the improvement of crops for food quality, nutrition and human health. Full article
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Article
Genetic Mapping and Identification of the Candidate Gene for White Seed Coat in Cucurbita maxima
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(6), 2972; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22062972 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Seed coat color is an important agronomic trait of edible seed pumpkin in Cucurbita maxima. In this study, the development pattern of seed coat was detected in yellow and white seed coat accessions Wuminglv and Agol. Genetic analysis suggested that a single [...] Read more.
Seed coat color is an important agronomic trait of edible seed pumpkin in Cucurbita maxima. In this study, the development pattern of seed coat was detected in yellow and white seed coat accessions Wuminglv and Agol. Genetic analysis suggested that a single recessive gene white seed coat (wsc) is involved in seed coat color regulation in Cucurbita maxima. An F2 segregating population including 2798 plants was used for fine mapping and a candidate region containing nine genes was identified. Analysis of 54 inbred accessions revealed four main Insertion/Deletion sites in the promoter of CmaCh15G005270 encoding an MYB transcription factor were co-segregated with the phenotype of seed coat color. RNA-seq analysis and qRT-PCR revealed that some genes involved in phenylpropanoid/flavonoid metabolism pathway displayed remarkable distinction in Wuminglv and Agol during the seed coat development. The flanking InDel marker S1548 was developed to predict the seed coat color in the MAS breeding with an accuracy of 100%. The results may provide valuable information for further studies in seed coat color formation and structure development in Cucurbitaceae crops and help the molecular breeding of Cucurbita maxima. Full article
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Article
Overexpression of Salicylic Acid Carboxyl Methyltransferase (CsSAMT1) Enhances Tolerance to Huanglongbing Disease in Wanjincheng Orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(6), 2803; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22062803 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) disease or citrus greening is caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) and is the most devastating disease in the global citrus industry. Salicylic acid (SA) plays a central role in regulating plant defenses against pathogenic attack. SA methyltransferase (SAMT) modulates [...] Read more.
Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) disease or citrus greening is caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) and is the most devastating disease in the global citrus industry. Salicylic acid (SA) plays a central role in regulating plant defenses against pathogenic attack. SA methyltransferase (SAMT) modulates SA homeostasis by converting SA to methyl salicylate (MeSA). Here, we report on the functions of the citrus SAMT (CsSAMT1) gene from HLB-susceptible Wanjincheng orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) in plant defenses against Las infection. The CsSAMT1 cDNA was expressed in yeast. Using in vitro enzyme assays, yeast expressing CsSAMT1 was confirmed to specifically catalyze the formation of MeSA using SA as a substrate. Transgenic Wanjincheng orange plants overexpressing CsSAMT1 had significantly increased levels of SA and MeSA compared to wild-type controls. HLB resistance was evaluated for two years and showed that transgenic plants displayed significantly alleviated symptoms including a lack of chlorosis, low bacterial counts, reduced hyperplasia of the phloem cells, and lower levels of starch and callose compared to wild-type plants. These data confirmed that CsSAMT1 overexpression confers an enhanced tolerance to Las in citrus fruits. RNA-seq analysis revealed that CsSAMT1 overexpression significantly upregulated the citrus defense response by enhancing the transcription of disease resistance genes. This study provides insight for improving host resistance to HLB by manipulation of SA signaling in citrus fruits. Full article
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Article
Reactive Oxygen Species Accumulation Strongly Allied with Genetic Male Sterility Convertible to Cytoplasmic Male Sterility in Kenaf
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031107 - 23 Jan 2021
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Male sterility (MS) plays a key role in the hybrid breed production of plants. Researchers have focused on the association between genetic male sterility (GMS) and cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) in kenaf. In this study, P9BS (a natural GMS mutant of the kenaf [...] Read more.
Male sterility (MS) plays a key role in the hybrid breed production of plants. Researchers have focused on the association between genetic male sterility (GMS) and cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) in kenaf. In this study, P9BS (a natural GMS mutant of the kenaf line P9B) and male plants of P9B were used as parents in multiple backcross generations to produce P9SA, a CMS line with stable sterility, to explore the molecular mechanisms of the association between GMS and CMS. The anthers of the maintainer (P9B), GMS (P9BS), and CMS (P9SA) lines were compared through phenotypic, cell morphological, physiological, biochemical observations, and transcriptome analysis. Premature degradation of the tapetum was observed at the mononuclear stage in P9BS and P9SA, which also had lower activity of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging enzymes compared with P9B. Many coexpressed differentially expressed genes were related to ROS balance, including ATP synthase, electron chain transfer, and ROS scavenging processes were upregulated in P9B. CMS plants had a higher ROS accumulation than GMS plants. The MDA content in P9SA was 3.2 times that of P9BS, and therefore, a higher degree of abortion occurred in P9SA, which may indicate that the conversion between CMS and GMS is related to intracellular ROS accumulation. Our study adds new insights into the natural transformation of GMS and CMS in plants in general and kenaf in particular. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021, 2019

Review
Molecular Bases of Fruit Quality in Prunus Species: An Integrated Genomic, Transcriptomic, and Metabolic Review with a Breeding Perspective
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010333 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 792
Abstract
In plants, fruit ripening is a coordinated developmental process that requires the change in expression of hundreds to thousands of genes to modify many biochemical and physiological signal cascades such as carbohydrate and organic acid metabolism, cell wall restructuring, ethylene production, stress response, [...] Read more.
In plants, fruit ripening is a coordinated developmental process that requires the change in expression of hundreds to thousands of genes to modify many biochemical and physiological signal cascades such as carbohydrate and organic acid metabolism, cell wall restructuring, ethylene production, stress response, and organoleptic compound formation. In Prunus species (including peaches, apricots, plums, and cherries), fruit ripening leads to the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into sugars, fruit firmness reductions (softening by cell wall degradation and cuticle properties alteration), color changes (loss of green color by chlorophylls degradation and increase in non-photosynthetic pigments like anthocyanins and carotenoids), acidity decreases, and aroma increases (the production and release of organic volatile compounds). Actually, the level of information of molecular events at the transcriptional, biochemical, hormonal, and metabolite levels underlying ripening in Prunus fruits has increased considerably. However, we still poorly understand the molecular switch that occurs during the transition from unripe to ripe fruits. The objective of this review was to analyze of the molecular bases of fruit quality in Prunus species through an integrated metabolic, genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic approach to better understand the molecular switch involved in the ripening process with important consequences from a breeding point of view. Full article
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Article
Ovule Development and in Planta Transformation of Paphiopedilum Maudiae by Agrobacterium-Mediated Ovary-Injection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010084 - 23 Dec 2020
Viewed by 868
Abstract
In this paper, the development of the Paphiopedilum Maudiae embryo sac at different developmental stages after pollination was assessed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The mature seeds of P. Maudiae consisted of an exopleura and a spherical embryo, but without an endosperm, while [...] Read more.
In this paper, the development of the Paphiopedilum Maudiae embryo sac at different developmental stages after pollination was assessed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The mature seeds of P. Maudiae consisted of an exopleura and a spherical embryo, but without an endosperm, while the inner integument cells were absorbed by the developing embryo. The P. Maudiae embryo sac exhibited an Allium type of development. The time taken for the embryo to develop to a mature sac was 45-50 days after pollination (DAP) and most mature embryo sacs had completed fertilization and formed zygotes by about 50–54 DAP. In planta transformation was achieved by injection of the ovaries by Agrobacterium, resulting in 38 protocorms or seedlings after several rounds of hygromycin selection, corresponding to 2, 7, 5, 1, 3, 4, 9, and 7 plantlets from Agrobacterium-mediated ovary-injection at 30, 35, 42, 43, 45, 48, 50, and 53 DAP, respectively. Transformation efficiency was highest at 50 DAP (2.54%), followed by 2.48% at 53 DAP and 2.45% at 48 DAP. Four randomly selected hygromycin-resistant plants were GUS-positive after PCR analysis. Semi-quantitative PCR and quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed the expression of the hpt gene in the leaves of eight hygromycin-resistant seedlings following Agrobacterium-mediated ovary-injection at 30, 35, 42, 43, 45, 48, 50, and 53 DAP, while hpt expression was not detected in the control. The best time to inject P. Maudiae ovaries in planta with Agrobacterium is 48-53 DAP, which corresponds to the period of fertilization. This protocol represents the first genetic transformation protocol for any Paphiopedilum species and will allow for expanded molecular breeding programs to introduce useful and interesting genes that can expand its ornamental and horticulturally important characteristics. Full article
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Article
Transcriptome and Gene Editing Analyses Reveal MOF1a Defect Alters the Expression of Genes Associated with Tapetum Development and Chromosome Behavior at Meiosis Stage Resulting in Low Pollen Fertility of Tetraploid Rice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207489 - 11 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Autotetraploid rice is a useful rice germplasm for polyploid rice breeding. However, low fertility limits its commercial production. A neo-tetraploid rice with high fertility was developed from the progenies of crossing between autotetraploid lines by our research group. Our previous study showed that [...] Read more.
Autotetraploid rice is a useful rice germplasm for polyploid rice breeding. However, low fertility limits its commercial production. A neo-tetraploid rice with high fertility was developed from the progenies of crossing between autotetraploid lines by our research group. Our previous study showed that a myeloblastosis (MYB) transcription factor, MOF1, might be associated with the pollen development in tetraploid rice. However, little information is available about its role in pollen development in tetraploid rice. Here, we identified a new haplotype of MOF1 from neo-tetraploid rice and marked it as MOF1a. Transcriptome and qRT-PCR analysis demonstrated that MOF1a highly expressed in anthers, and displayed differential expression in neo-tetraploid rice compared to tetraploid rice line with low pollen fertility. The mutant (mof1a) of MOF1a, which was generated by CRISPR/Cas9 knockout in neo-tetraploid rice, showed low pollen fertility, and also exhibited abnormal tapetum and middle layer development, and defective chromosome behaviors during meiosis. A total of 13 tapetal related genes were found to be up-regulated in meiotic anthers of MOF1a compared with wild type plants by RNA-seq analysis, including CYP703A3, PTC1, and OsABCG26, which had been demonstrated to affect tapetal development. Moreover, 335 meiosis-related genes displayed differential expression patterns at same stage, including nine important meiosis-related genes, such as metallothionein OsMT1a. These results demonstrated that MOF1a plays an important role in pollen development and provides a foundation for understanding the molecular mechanism underlying MOF1a in reproduction of tetraploid rice. Full article
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Article
Comparative Cytological and Transcriptome Analysis Revealed the Normal Pollen Development Process and Up-Regulation of Fertility-Related Genes in Newly Developed Tetraploid Rice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7046; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197046 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 523
Abstract
Autotetraploid rice is a useful germplasm for polyploid rice breeding; however, low seed setting is a major hindrance for its utilization. Here, we reported the development of a new tetraploid rice, Huoduo1 (H1), which has the characteristic of high fertility, from crossing generations [...] Read more.
Autotetraploid rice is a useful germplasm for polyploid rice breeding; however, low seed setting is a major hindrance for its utilization. Here, we reported the development of a new tetraploid rice, Huoduo1 (H1), which has the characteristic of high fertility, from crossing generations of autotetraploid rice. Cytological observations displayed the high fertility of the pollen (95.62%) in H1, a lower percentage of pollen mother cell (PMC) abnormalities, and stable chromosome configurations during the pollen development process compared with its parents. Using RNA-seq analysis, we detected 440 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in H1 compared with its parents. Of these DEGs, 193 were annotated as pollen fertility-related genes, and 129 (~66.8%) exhibited significant up-regulation in H1 compared with the parents, including three environmentally sensitive genic male sterility genes (TMS9-1, TMS5, and CSA), one meiosis gene (RAD51D), and three tapetal-related genes (MIL2, OsAP25, and OsAP37), which were validated by qRT-PCR in this study. Two genes, TMS9-1 and TMS5, were knocked out using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and their mutants displayed low fertility and the abnormal development of pollen. Our findings provide evidence for the regulatory mechanisms of fertility in tetraploid rice and indicated that the up-regulation of pollen fertility-related genes may contribute to the high fertility in new tetraploid rice. Full article
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Article
Molecular Evolutionary and Expression Pattern Analysis of AKR Genes Shed New Light on GalUR Functional Characteristics in Brassica rapa
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(17), 5987; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21175987 - 20 Aug 2020
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily plays a major role in oxidation-reduction in plants. D-galacturonic acid reductase (GalUR), an ascorbic acid (AsA) biosynthetic enzyme, belongs to this superfamily. However, the phylogenetic relationship and evolutionary history of the AKR gene family in plants has [...] Read more.
The aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily plays a major role in oxidation-reduction in plants. D-galacturonic acid reductase (GalUR), an ascorbic acid (AsA) biosynthetic enzyme, belongs to this superfamily. However, the phylogenetic relationship and evolutionary history of the AKR gene family in plants has not yet been clarified. In this study, a total of 1268 AKR genes identified in 36 plant species were used to determine this phylogenetic relationship. The retention, structural characteristics, and expression patterns of AKR homologous genes in Brassica rapa and Arabidopsis thaliana were analyzed to further explore their evolutionary history. We found that the AKRs originated in algae and could be divided into A and B groups according to the bootstrap value; GalURs belonged to group A. Group A AKR genes expanded significantly before the origin of angiosperms. Two groups of AKR genes demonstrated functional divergence due to environmental adaptability, while group A genes were more conservative than those in group B. All 12 candidate GalUR genes were cloned, and their expression patterns under stress were analyzed, in Pak-choi. These genes showed an obvious expression divergence under multiple stresses, and BrcAKR22 exhibited a positive correlation between its expression trend and AsA content. Our findings provide new insights into the evolution of the AKR superfamily and help build a foundation for further investigations of GalUR’s functional characteristics. Full article
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Article
Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis of the Development of Sepal Morphology in Tomato (Solanum Lycopersicum L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5914; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165914 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 827
Abstract
Sepal is an important component of the tomato flower and fruit that typically protects the flower in bud and functions as a support for petals and fruits. Moreover, sepal appearance influences the commercial property of tomato nowadays. However, the phenotype information and development [...] Read more.
Sepal is an important component of the tomato flower and fruit that typically protects the flower in bud and functions as a support for petals and fruits. Moreover, sepal appearance influences the commercial property of tomato nowadays. However, the phenotype information and development mechanism of the natural variation of sepal morphology in the tomato is still largely unexplored. To study the developmental mechanism and to determine key genes related to downward sepal in the tomato, we compared the transcriptomes of sepals between downward sepal (dsp) mutation and the wild-type by RNA sequencing and found that the differentially expressed genes were dominantly related to cell expansion, auxin, gibberellins and cytokinin. dsp mutation affected cell size and auxin, and gibberellins and cytokinin contents in sepals. The results showed that cell enlargement or abnormal cell expansion in the adaxial part of sepals in dsp. As reported, auxin, gibberellins and cytokinin were important factors for cell expansion. Hence, dsp mutation regulated cell expansion to control sepal morphology, and auxin, gibberellins and cytokinin may mediate this process. One ARF gene and nine SAUR genes were dramatically upregulated in the sepal of the dsp mutant, whereas seven AUX/IAA genes were significantly downregulated in the sepal of dsp mutant. Further bioinformatic analyses implied that seven AUX/IAA genes might function as negative regulators, while one ARF gene and nine SAUR genes might serve as positive regulators of auxin signal transduction, thereby contributing to cell expansion in dsp sepal. Thus, our data suggest that 17 auxin-responsive genes are involved in downward sepal formation in the tomato. This study provides valuable information for dissecting the molecular mechanism of sepal morphology control in the tomato. Full article
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Article
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms as Practical Molecular Tools to Support European Chestnut Agrobiodiversity Management
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(13), 4805; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21134805 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1040
Abstract
European chestnut orchards are multifunctional agroforestry systems with a key role in environmental management. Their biodiversity is at risk of erosion and farmers do not have enough tools to protect and valorize traditional ecotypes. In particular, cost effective and reliable molecular markers for [...] Read more.
European chestnut orchards are multifunctional agroforestry systems with a key role in environmental management. Their biodiversity is at risk of erosion and farmers do not have enough tools to protect and valorize traditional ecotypes. In particular, cost effective and reliable molecular markers for cultivar identification are lacking. The aim of this research was to develop a new molecular tool for varietal identification in European chestnuts. A set of cultivars was preliminarily characterized to evaluate the range of genetic diversity using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. The genetic distances indicated a sufficiently wide variability range among tested genotypes and confirmed they were suitable for our goal. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mining within 64 expressed sequence tags (EST), covering all the linkage groups, was performed by high-resolution melting (HRM) and validated by target resequencing. Fifty-six SNPs were retrieved by monitoring the variability present on the whole set of considered cultivars in loci uniformly distributed on the genome. A subset of 37 SNPs was finally transformed into kompetitive allele-specific PCR (KASP) markers that were successfully evaluated for varietal discrimination. Three assays (C1083, G0115 and A5096) were identified as necessary and sufficient for distinguishing among the tested cultivars. The developed tools can be effectively exploited by stakeholders for improving the management of the European chestnut genetic resources. Full article
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Article
Development of Specific Thinopyrum Cytogenetic Markers for Wheat-Wheatgrass Hybrids Using Sequencing and qPCR Data
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(12), 4495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21124495 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 681
Abstract
The cytogenetic study of wide hybrids of wheat has both practical and fundamental values. Partial wheat-wheatgrass hybrids (WWGHs) are interesting as a breeding bridge to confer valuable genes to wheat genome, as well as a model object that contains related genomes of Triticeae [...] Read more.
The cytogenetic study of wide hybrids of wheat has both practical and fundamental values. Partial wheat-wheatgrass hybrids (WWGHs) are interesting as a breeding bridge to confer valuable genes to wheat genome, as well as a model object that contains related genomes of Triticeae. The development of cytogenetic markers is a process that requires long and laborious fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) testing of various probes before a suitable probe is found. In this study, we aimed to find an approach that allows to facilitate this process. Based on the data sequencing of Thinopyrum ponticum, we selected six tandem repeat (TR) clusters using RepeatExplorer2 pipeline and designed primers for each of them. We estimated the found TRs’ abundance in the genomes of Triticum aestivum, Thinopyrum ponticum, Thinopyrum intermedium and four different WWGH accessions using real-time qPCR, and localized them on the chromosomes of the studied WWGHs using fluorescence in situ hybridization. As a result, we obtained three tandem repeat cytogenetic markers that specifically labeled wheatgrass chromosomes in the presence of bread wheat chromosomes. Moreover, we designed and tested primers for these repeats, and demonstrated that they can be used as qPCR markers for quick and cheap monitoring of the presence of certain chromosomes of wheatgrass in breeding programs. Full article
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Article
Quantitative Trait Locus Mapping of Clubroot Resistance and Plasmodiophora brassicae Pathotype Banglim-Specific Marker Development in Brassica rapa
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(11), 4157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21114157 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1300
Abstract
Clubroot resistance is an economically important trait in Brassicaceae crops. Although many quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for clubroot resistance have been identified in Brassica, disease-related damage continues to occur owing to differences in host variety and constant pathogen variation. Here, we investigated [...] Read more.
Clubroot resistance is an economically important trait in Brassicaceae crops. Although many quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for clubroot resistance have been identified in Brassica, disease-related damage continues to occur owing to differences in host variety and constant pathogen variation. Here, we investigated the inheritance of clubroot resistance in a double haploid population developed by crossing clubroot resistant and susceptible lines “09CR500” and “09CR501”, respectively. The resistance of “09CR500” to Plasmodiophora brassicae pathotype “Banglim” was controlled as a single dominant gene, with the segregation of resistance and susceptibility being nearly 1:1. PbBrA08Banglim was identified as having a logarithm of odds value of 7.9–74.8, and a phenotypic variance of 26.0–97.1% with flanking marker “09CR.11390652” in A08. After aligning QTL regions to the B. rapa reference genome, 11 genes were selected as candidates. PbBrA08Banglim was located near Crr1, CRs, and Rcr9 loci, but differences were validated by marker analysis, gene structural variations, and gene expression levels, as well as phenotypic responses to the pathotype. Genotyping using the “09CR.11390652” marker accurately distinguished the Banglim-resistance phenotypes in the double haploid population. Thus, the developed marker will be useful in Brassica breeding programs, marker-assisted selection, and gene pyramiding to identify and develop resistant cultivars. Full article
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Review
Conventional and Molecular Techniques from Simple Breeding to Speed Breeding in Crop Plants: Recent Advances and Future Outlook
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2590; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072590 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3388
Abstract
In most crop breeding programs, the rate of yield increment is insufficient to cope with the increased food demand caused by a rapidly expanding global population. In plant breeding, the development of improved crop varieties is limited by the very long crop duration. [...] Read more.
In most crop breeding programs, the rate of yield increment is insufficient to cope with the increased food demand caused by a rapidly expanding global population. In plant breeding, the development of improved crop varieties is limited by the very long crop duration. Given the many phases of crossing, selection, and testing involved in the production of new plant varieties, it can take one or two decades to create a new cultivar. One possible way of alleviating food scarcity problems and increasing food security is to develop improved plant varieties rapidly. Traditional farming methods practiced since quite some time have decreased the genetic variability of crops. To improve agronomic traits associated with yield, quality, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in crop plants, several conventional and molecular approaches have been used, including genetic selection, mutagenic breeding, somaclonal variations, whole-genome sequence-based approaches, physical maps, and functional genomic tools. However, recent advances in genome editing technology using programmable nucleases, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins have opened the door to a new plant breeding era. Therefore, to increase the efficiency of crop breeding, plant breeders and researchers around the world are using novel strategies such as speed breeding, genome editing tools, and high-throughput phenotyping. In this review, we summarize recent findings on several aspects of crop breeding to describe the evolution of plant breeding practices, from traditional to modern speed breeding combined with genome editing tools, which aim to produce crop generations with desired traits annually. Full article
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Article
Mapping of QTLs Associated with Yield and Yield Related Traits in Durum Wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) Under Irrigated and Drought Conditions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2372; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072372 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 839
Abstract
Global durum wheat consumption (Triticum durum Desf.) is ahead of its production. One reason for this is abiotic stress, e.g., drought. Breeding for resistance to drought is complicated by the lack of fast, reproducible screening techniques and the inability to routinely create [...] Read more.
Global durum wheat consumption (Triticum durum Desf.) is ahead of its production. One reason for this is abiotic stress, e.g., drought. Breeding for resistance to drought is complicated by the lack of fast, reproducible screening techniques and the inability to routinely create defined and repeatable water stress conditions. Here, we report the first analysis of dissection of yield and yield-related traits in durum wheat in Pakistan, seeking to elucidate the genetic components of yield and agronomic traits. Analysis of several traits revealed a total of 221 (160 with logarithm of odds (LOD) > 2 ≤ 3 and 61 with LOD > 3) quantitative trait loci (QTLs) distributed on all fourteen durum wheat chromosomes, of which 109 (78 with LOD > 2 ≤ 3 and 31 with LOD > 3) were observed in 2016-17 (S1) and 112 (82 with LOD > 2 ≤ 3 and 30 with LOD > 3) were observed in 2017-18 (S2). Allelic profiles of yield QTLs on chromosome 2A and 7B indicate that allele A of Xgwm895 and allele B of Xbarc276 can enhance the Yd up to 6.16% in control and 5.27% under drought. Moreover, if combined, a yield gain of up to 11% would be possible. Full article
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Article
OsINV3 and Its Homolog, OsINV2, Control Grain Size in Rice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062199 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
Vacuolar invertase is involved in sugar metabolism and plays a crucial role in plant growth and development, thus regulating seed size. However, information linking vacuolar invertase and seed size in rice is limited. Here we characterized a small grain mutant sg2 (grain size [...] Read more.
Vacuolar invertase is involved in sugar metabolism and plays a crucial role in plant growth and development, thus regulating seed size. However, information linking vacuolar invertase and seed size in rice is limited. Here we characterized a small grain mutant sg2 (grain size on chromosome 2) that showed a reduced in grain size and 1000-grain weight compared to the wild type. Map-based cloning and genetic complementation showed that OsINV3 is responsible for the observed phenotype. Loss-of-function of OsINV3 resulted in grains of smaller size when compared to the wild type, while overexpression showed increased grain size. We also obtained a T-DNA insertion mutant of OsINV2, which is a homolog of OsINV3 and generated double knockout (KO) mutants of OsINV2 and OsINV3 using CRISPR/Cas9. Genetic data showed that OsINV2, that has no effect on grain size by itself, reduces grain length and width in the absence of OsINV3. Altered sugar content with increased sucrose and decreased hexose levels, as well as changes vacuolar invertase activities and starch constitution in INV3KO, INV2KO, INV3KOINV2KO mutants indicate that OsINV2 and OsINV3 affect sucrose metabolism in sink organs. In summary, we identified OsINV3 as a positive regulator of grain size in rice, and while OsINV2 has no function on grain size by itself. In the absence of OsINV3, it is possible to detect a role of OsINV2 in the regulation of grain size. Both OsINV3 and OsINV2 are involved in sucrose metabolism, and thus regulate grain size. Our findings increase our understanding of the role of OsINV3 and its homolog, OsINV2, in grain size development and also suggest a potential strategy to improve grain yield in rice. Full article
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Article
Identification of Novel Genomic Regions and Superior Alleles Associated with Zn Accumulation in Wheat Using a Genome-Wide Association Analysis Method
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 1928; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21061928 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
Micronutrient deficiencies, and especially zinc (Zn) deficiency, pose serious health problems to people who mainly depend on cereal-based diets. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to detect the genetic basis of the Zn accumulation in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grains [...] Read more.
Micronutrient deficiencies, and especially zinc (Zn) deficiency, pose serious health problems to people who mainly depend on cereal-based diets. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to detect the genetic basis of the Zn accumulation in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grains with a diversity panel of 207 bread wheat varieties. To uncover authentic quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling Zn accumulation, the varieties were planted in three locations. In total, 29 unique loci associated with Zn grain accumulation were identified. Notably, seven non-redundant loci located on chromosomes 1B, 3B, 3D, 4A, 5A, 5B, and 7A, were detected at least in two environments. Of these quantitative trait loci (QTL), six coincided with known QTL or genes, whereas the highest effect QTL on chromosome 3D identified in this study was not reported previously. Searches of public databases revealed that the seven identified QTL coincided with seven putative candidate genes linked to Zn accumulation. Among these seven genes, NAC domain-containing protein gene (TraesCS3D02G078500) linked with the most significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) AX-94729264 on chromosome 3D was relevant to metal accumulation in wheat grains. Results of this study provide new insights into the genetic architecture of Zn accumulation in wheat grains. Full article
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Article
Understanding Mechanisms of Salinity Tolerance in Barley by Proteomic and Biochemical Analysis of Near-Isogenic Lines
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041516 - 22 Feb 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
Salt stress is one of the major environmental factors impairing crop production. In our previous study, we identified a major QTL for salinity tolerance on chromosome 2H on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). For further investigation of the mechanisms responsible for this QTL, [...] Read more.
Salt stress is one of the major environmental factors impairing crop production. In our previous study, we identified a major QTL for salinity tolerance on chromosome 2H on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). For further investigation of the mechanisms responsible for this QTL, two pairs of near-isogenic lines (NILs) differing in this QTL were developed. Sensitive NILs (N33 and N53) showed more severe damage after exposure to 300 mM NaCl than tolerant ones (T46 and T66). Both tolerant NILs maintained significantly lower Na+ content in leaves and much higher K+ content in the roots than sensitive lines under salt conditions, thus indicating the presence of a more optimal Na+/K+ ratio in plant tissues. Salinity stress caused significant accumulation of H2O2, MDA, and proline in salinity-sensitive NILs, and a greater enhancement in antioxidant enzymatic activities at one specific time or tissues in tolerant lines. One pair of NILs (N33 and T46) were used for proteomic studies using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. A total of 53 and 51 differentially expressed proteins were identified through tandem mass spectrometry analysis in the leaves and roots, respectively. Proteins which are associated with photosynthesis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, and ATP synthase were found to be specifically upregulated in the tolerant NIL. Proteins identified in this study can serve as a useful resource with which to explore novel candidate genes for salinity tolerance in barley. Full article
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Article
Genetic Dissection of Phomopsis Stem Canker Resistance in Cultivated Sunflower Using High Density SNP Linkage Map
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041497 - 22 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
Phomopsis stem canker (PSC) caused by Diaporthe helianthi is increasingly becoming a global threat for sunflower production. In this study, the genetic basis of PSC resistance was investigated in a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population developed from a cross between HA 89 (susceptible) [...] Read more.
Phomopsis stem canker (PSC) caused by Diaporthe helianthi is increasingly becoming a global threat for sunflower production. In this study, the genetic basis of PSC resistance was investigated in a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population developed from a cross between HA 89 (susceptible) and HA-R3 (resistant). The RIL population was evaluated for PSC disease incidence (DI) in seven screening trials at multiple locations during 2016–2018. The distribution of PSC DI in the RIL population was continuous, confirming a polygenic inheritance of the trait. A moderately high broad-sense heritability (H2, 0.76) was estimated for the trait across environments. In the combined analysis, both the genotype and the genotype × environment interactions were highly significant. A linkage map spanning 1505.33 cM was constructed using genotyping-by-sequencing derived markers. Marker–trait association analysis identified a total of 15 quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with PSC resistance on 11 sunflower chromosomes, each explaining between 5.24 and 17.39% of the phenotypic variation. PSC resistance QTL were detected in two genomic regions each on chromosomes 3, 5, 13, and 17, while one QTL each was detected in the remaining seven chromosomes. Tightly linked single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers flanking the PSC resistance QTL will facilitate marker-assisted selection in PSC resistance sunflower breeding. Full article
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Article
Transcriptome Profiling Analysis Reveals Co-Regulation of Hormone Pathways in Foxtail Millet during Sclerospora graminicola Infection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041226 - 12 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 896
Abstract
Sclerospora graminicola (Sacc.) Schroeter is a biotrophic pathogen of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and increasingly impacts crop production. We explored the main factors for symptoms such as dwarfing of diseased plants and the “hedgehog panicle” by determining panicle characteristics of varieties [...] Read more.
Sclerospora graminicola (Sacc.) Schroeter is a biotrophic pathogen of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and increasingly impacts crop production. We explored the main factors for symptoms such as dwarfing of diseased plants and the “hedgehog panicle” by determining panicle characteristics of varieties infected with S. graminicola and analyzing the endogenous hormone-related genes in leaves of Jingu 21. Results indicated that different varieties infected by S. graminicola exhibited various symptoms. Transcriptome analysis revealed that the ent-copalyl diphosphate synthetase (CPS) encoded by Seita.2G144900 and ent-kaurene synthase (KS) encoded by Seita.2G144400 were up-regulated 4.7-fold and 2.8-fold, respectively. Results showed that the biosynthesis of gibberellin might be increased, but the gibberellin signal transduction pathway might be blocked. The abscisic acid (ABA) 8′-hydroxylase encoded by Seita.6G181300 was continuously up-regulated by 4.2-fold, 2.7-fold, 14.3-fold, and 12.9-fold from TG1 to TG4 stage, respectively. Seita.2G144900 and Seita.2G144400 increased 79-fold and 51-fold, respectively, at the panicle development stage, promoting the formation of a “hedgehog panicle”. Jasmonic acid-related synthesis enzymes LOX2s, AOS, and AOC were up-regulated at the early stage of infection, indicating that jasmonic acid played an essential role in early response to S. graminicola infection. The expression of YUC-related genes of the auxin synthesis was lower than that of the control at TG3 and TG4 stages, but the amidase encoded by Seita.2G313400 was up-regulated by more than 30-fold, indicating that the main biosynthesis pathway of auxin had changed. The results suggest that there was co-regulation of the hormone pathways during the infection of foxtail millet by S. graminicola. Full article
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Article
Genome-Wide Mapping of Quantitative Trait Loci Conferring All-Stage and High-Temperature Adult-Plant Resistance to Stripe Rust in Spring Wheat Landrace PI 181410
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020478 - 12 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is one of the most destructive diseases of wheat in the world. Genetic resistance is the best strategy for control of the disease. Spring wheat landrace PI 181410 has shown high [...] Read more.
Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is one of the most destructive diseases of wheat in the world. Genetic resistance is the best strategy for control of the disease. Spring wheat landrace PI 181410 has shown high level resistance to stripe rust. The present study characterized the landrace to have both race-specific all-stage resistance and nonrace-specific high-temperature adult-plant (HTAP) resistance. To map quantitative trait loci (QTL) for the resistance in PI 181410, it was crossed with Avocet S (AvS), from which a recombinant inbred line population was developed. The F5–F8 populations were consecutively phenotyped for stripe rust response in multiple field environments under natural Pst infection, and the F7 population was phenotyped in seedlings at low temperature and in adult-plant stage with selected Pst races in the greenhouse. The F7 population was genotyped using the 90K wheat SNP chip. Three QTL, QYrPI181410.wgp-4AS, QYrPI181410.wgp-4BL, and QYrPI181410.wgp-5BL.1, from PI 181410 for all-stage resistance, were mapped on chromosome arms 4AS, 4BL, and 5BL, respectively. Four QTL, QYrPI181410.wgp-1BL, QYrPI181410.wgp-4BL, QYrPI181410.wgp-5AS, and QYrPI181410.wgp-5BL.2, were identified from PI 181410 for HTAP resistance and mapped to 1BL, 4BL, 5AS, and 5BL, respectively. Two QTL with minor effects on stripe rust response were identified from AvS and mapped to 2BS and 2BL. Four of the QTL from PI 181410 and one from AvS were potentially new. As the 4BL QTL was most effective and likely a new gene for stripe rust resistance, three kompetitive allele specific PCR (KASP) markers were developed for incorporating this gene into new wheat cultivars. Full article
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Article
Systematic Analysis of the Maize OSCA Genes Revealing ZmOSCA Family Members Involved in Osmotic Stress and ZmOSCA2.4 Confers Enhanced Drought Tolerance in Transgenic Arabidopsis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010351 - 05 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1139
Abstract
OSCAs are hyperosmolality-gated calcium-permeable channel proteins. In this study, two co-expression modules, which are strongly associated with maize proline content, were screened by weighted correlation network analysis, including three ZmOSCA family members. Phylogenetic and protein domain analyses revealed that 12 ZmOSCA members were [...] Read more.
OSCAs are hyperosmolality-gated calcium-permeable channel proteins. In this study, two co-expression modules, which are strongly associated with maize proline content, were screened by weighted correlation network analysis, including three ZmOSCA family members. Phylogenetic and protein domain analyses revealed that 12 ZmOSCA members were classified into four classes, which all contained DUF221 domain. The promoter region contained multiple core elements responsive to abiotic stresses and hormones. Colinear analysis revealed that ZmOSCAs had diversified prior to maize divergence. Most ZmOSCAs responded positively to ABA, PEG, and NaCl treatments. ZmOSCA2.3 and ZmOSCA2.4 were up-regulated by more than 200-fold under the three stresses, and showed significant positive correlations with proline content. Yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation indicated that ZmOSCA2.3 and ZmOSCA2.4 proteins interacted with ZmEREB198. Over-expression of ZmOSCA2.4 in Arabidopsis remarkably improved drought resistance. Moreover, over-expression of ZmOSCA2.4 enhanced the expression of drought tolerance-associated genes and reduced the expression of senescence-associated genes. We also found that perhaps ZmOSCA2.4 was regulated by miR5054.The results provide a high-quality molecular resource for selecting resistant breeding, and lay a foundation for elucidating regulatory mechanism of ZmOSCA under abiotic stresses. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Article
Ectopic Expression of Grapevine Gene VaRGA1 in Arabidopsis Improves Resistance to Downy Mildew and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 But Increases Susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010193 - 27 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1057
Abstract
The protein family with nucleotide binding sites and leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) in plants stimulates immune responses caused by effectors and can mediate resistance to hemi-biotrophs and biotrophs. In our previous study, a Toll-interleukin-1(TIR)-NBS-LRR gene cloned from Vitis amurensis “Shuanghong”, VaRGA1, was induced [...] Read more.
The protein family with nucleotide binding sites and leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) in plants stimulates immune responses caused by effectors and can mediate resistance to hemi-biotrophs and biotrophs. In our previous study, a Toll-interleukin-1(TIR)-NBS-LRR gene cloned from Vitis amurensis “Shuanghong”, VaRGA1, was induced by Plasmopara viticola and could improve the resistance of tobacco to Phytophthora capsici. In this study, VaRGA1 in “Shuanghong” was also induced by salicylic acid (SA), but inhibited by jasmonic acid (JA). To investigate whether VaRGA1 confers broad-spectrum resistance to pathogens, we transferred this gene into Arabidopsis and then treated with Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa), Botrytis cinerea (B. cinerea), and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (PstDC3000). Results showed that VaRGA1 improved transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana resistance to the biotrophic Hpa and hemi-biotrophic PstDC3000, but decreased resistance to the necrotrophic B. cinerea. Additionally, qPCR assays showed that VaRGA1 plays an important role in disease resistance by activating SA and inhibiting JA signaling pathways. A 1104 bp promoter fragment of VaRGA1 was cloned and analyzed to further elucidate the mechanism of induction of the gene at the transcriptional level. These results preliminarily confirmed the disease resistance function and signal regulation pathway of VaRGA1, and contributed to the identification of R-genes with broad-spectrum resistance function. Full article
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Article
Genomic Prediction and Indirect Selection for Grain Yield in US Pacific Northwest Winter Wheat Using Spectral Reflectance Indices from High-Throughput Phenotyping
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010165 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1145
Abstract
Secondary traits from high-throughput phenotyping could be used to select for complex target traits to accelerate plant breeding and increase genetic gains. This study aimed to evaluate the potential of using spectral reflectance indices (SRI) for indirect selection of winter-wheat lines with high [...] Read more.
Secondary traits from high-throughput phenotyping could be used to select for complex target traits to accelerate plant breeding and increase genetic gains. This study aimed to evaluate the potential of using spectral reflectance indices (SRI) for indirect selection of winter-wheat lines with high yield potential and to assess the effects of including secondary traits on the prediction accuracy for yield. A total of five SRIs were measured in a diversity panel, and F5 and doubled haploid wheat breeding populations planted between 2015 and 2018 in Lind and Pullman, WA. The winter-wheat panels were genotyped with 11,089 genotyping-by-sequencing derived markers. Spectral traits showed moderate to high phenotypic and genetic correlations, indicating their potential for indirect selection of lines with high yield potential. Inclusion of correlated spectral traits in genomic prediction models resulted in significant (p < 0.001) improvement in prediction accuracy for yield. Relatedness between training and test populations and heritability were among the principal factors affecting accuracy. Our results demonstrate the potential of using spectral indices as proxy measurements for selecting lines with increased yield potential and for improving prediction accuracy to increase genetic gains for complex traits in US Pacific Northwest winter wheat. Full article
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Review
Citrus Taste Modification Potentials by Genetic Engineering
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246194 - 08 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1538
Abstract
Citrus fruits are mainly consumed as fresh fruit and processed juice products. They serve as nutritional and a tasty diet in our daily life. However, the formidable bitterness and delayed bitterness significantly impact the citrus industry attributable to the two major bitter compounds [...] Read more.
Citrus fruits are mainly consumed as fresh fruit and processed juice products. They serve as nutritional and a tasty diet in our daily life. However, the formidable bitterness and delayed bitterness significantly impact the citrus industry attributable to the two major bitter compounds naringin and limonin. The extremely sour and acidic also negatively affects the sensory quality of citrus products. Citrus breeding programs have developed different strategies to improve citrus quality and a wealth of studies have aimed to uncover the genetic and biochemical basis of citrus flavor. In this minireview, we outline the major genes characterized to be involved in pathways shaping the sweet, bitter, or sour taste in citrus, and discuss briefly about the possible approaches to modify citrus taste by genetic engineering. Full article
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Article
Overexpression of Maize ZmC1 and ZmR Transcription Factors in Wheat Regulates Anthocyanin Biosynthesis in a Tissue-Specific Manner
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5806; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225806 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1472
Abstract
Maize ZmC1 and ZmR transcription factors belong to the MYB-type and bHLH families, respectively, and control anthocyanin biosynthesis. In this study, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation was used to generate transgenic wheat plants that overexpress ZmC1 and ZmR or both, with the objective of developing [...] Read more.
Maize ZmC1 and ZmR transcription factors belong to the MYB-type and bHLH families, respectively, and control anthocyanin biosynthesis. In this study, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation was used to generate transgenic wheat plants that overexpress ZmC1 and ZmR or both, with the objective of developing anthocyanin-enriched wheat germplasm. Three kinds of stable transgenic wheat lines were obtained. The integration of target genes in the transgenic wheat plants was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. We found that single overexpression of ZmC1 regulates pigmentation in the vegetative tissues such as coleoptiles, auricles, and stems. The single overexpression of ZmR controls the coloration in reproductive tissue like spikelets and seeds. The simultaneous overexpression of ZmC1 and ZmR showed the strongest pigmentation in almost all tissues. Furthermore, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis revealed that expression of the two transgenes, and of two conserved homologous and six associated structural genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis in wheat were greatly up-regulated in the transgenic plants. Similarly, quantitative analysis for anthocyanin amounts based on HPLC-MS also confirmed that the transgenic wheat plants with combined overexpression of ZmC1 and ZmR accumulated the highest quantity of pigment products. Moreover, developing seeds overexpressing ZmR exposed to light conditions showed up-regulated transcript levels of anthocyanin biosynthesis-related genes compared to dark exposure, which suggests an important role of light in regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis. This study provides a foundation for breeding wheat materials with high anthocyanin accumulation and understanding the mechanism of anthocyanin biosynthesis in wheat. Full article
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Article
CpWRKY71, a WRKY Transcription Factor Gene of Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), Promotes Flowering and Leaf Senescence in Arabidopsis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(21), 5325; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20215325 - 25 Oct 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1055
Abstract
The WRKY transcription factors are one of the most important plant-specific transcription factors and play vital roles in various biological processes. However, the functions of WRKY genes in wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) are still unknown. In this report, a group IIc WRKY [...] Read more.
The WRKY transcription factors are one of the most important plant-specific transcription factors and play vital roles in various biological processes. However, the functions of WRKY genes in wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) are still unknown. In this report, a group IIc WRKY gene, CpWRKY71, was isolated from wintersweet. CpWRKY71 was localized to the nucleus and possessed transcriptional activation activity. qRT-PCR (quantitative real-time PCR) analysis showed that CpWRKY71 was expressed in all tissues tested, with higher expression in flowers and senescing leaves. During the flower development, the highest expression was detected in the early-withering stage, an obvious expression of CpWRKY71 was also observed in the flower primordia differentiation and the bloom stage. Meanwhile, the expression of CpWRKY71 was influenced by various abiotic stress and hormone treatments. The expression patterns of the CpWRKY71 gene were further confirmed in CpWRKY71pro:GUS (β-glucuronidase) plants. Heterologous overexpression of CpWRKY71 in Arabidopsis caused early flowering. Consistent with the early flowering phenotype, the expression of floral pathway integrators and floral meristem identity (FMI) genes were significantly up-regulated in transgenic plants. In addition, we also observed that the transgenic plants of CpWRKY71 exhibited precocious leaf senescence. In conclusion, our results suggested that CpWRKY71 may be involved in the regulation of flowering and leaf senescence in Arabidopsis. Our study provides a foundation for further characterization of CpWRKY genes function in wintersweet, and also enrich our knowledge of molecular mechanism about flowering and senescence in wintersweet. Full article
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Article
CircRNA Expression Pattern and ceRNA and miRNA–mRNA Networks Involved in Anther Development in the CMS Line of Brassica campestris
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(19), 4808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194808 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
Male-sterile plants provide an important breeding tool for the heterosis of hybrid crops, such as Brassicaceae. In the last decade, circular RNAs (circRNAs), as a novel class of covalently closed and single-stranded endogenous non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), have received much attention because of their [...] Read more.
Male-sterile plants provide an important breeding tool for the heterosis of hybrid crops, such as Brassicaceae. In the last decade, circular RNAs (circRNAs), as a novel class of covalently closed and single-stranded endogenous non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), have received much attention because of their functions as “microRNA (miRNA) sponges” and “competing endogenous RNAs” (ceRNAs). However, the information about circRNAs in the regulation of male-sterility and anther development is limited. In this study, we established the Polima cytoplasm male sterility (CMS) line “Bcpol97-05A”, and the fertile line, “Bcajh97-01B”, in Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis Makino, syn. B. rapa ssp. chinensis, and performed RNA expression profiling comparisons between the flower buds of the sterile line and fertile line by whole-transcriptome sequencing. A total of 31 differentially expressed (DE) circRNAs, 47 DE miRNAs, and 4779 DE mRNAs were identified. By using Cytoscape, the miRNA-mediated regulatory network and ceRNA network were constructed, and the circRNA A02:23507399|23531438 was hypothesized to be an important circRNA regulating anther development at the post-transcriptional level. The gene ontology (GO) analysis demonstrated that miRNAs and circRNAs could regulate the orderly secretion and deposition of cellulose, sporopollenin, pectin, and tryphine; the timely degradation of lipids; and the programmed cell death (PCD) of tapetum cells, which play key roles in anther development. Our study revealed a new circRNA–miRNA–mRNA network, which is involved in the anther development of B. campestris, which enriched the understanding of CMS in flowering plants, and laid a foundation for further study on the functions of circRNAs and miRNAs during anther development. Full article
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Article
Cloning and Functional Characterization of Dihydroflavonol 4-Reductase Gene Involved in Anthocyanidin Biosynthesis of Grape Hyacinth
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(19), 4743; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194743 - 24 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1019
Abstract
Grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) is a popular ornamental plant with bulbous flowers noted for their rich blue color. Muscari species have been thought to accumulate delphinidin and cyanidin rather than pelargonidin-type anthocyanins because their dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) does not efficiently reduce dihydrokaempferol. [...] Read more.
Grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) is a popular ornamental plant with bulbous flowers noted for their rich blue color. Muscari species have been thought to accumulate delphinidin and cyanidin rather than pelargonidin-type anthocyanins because their dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) does not efficiently reduce dihydrokaempferol. In our study, we clone a novel DFR gene from blue flowers of Muscari. aucheri. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and anthocyanin analysis showed that the expression pattern of MaDFR had strong correlations with the accumulation of delphinidin, relatively weak correlations with cyanidin, and no correations with pelargonidin. However, in vitro enzymatic analysis revealed that the MaDFR enzyme can reduce all the three types of dihydroflavonols (dihydrokaempferol, dihydroquercetin, and dihydromyricetin), although it most preferred dihydromyricetin as a substrate to produce leucodelphinidin, the precursor of blue-hued delphinidin. This indicated that there may be other functional genes responsible for the loss of red pelargonidin-based pigments in Muscari. To further verify the substrate-specific selection domains of MaDFR, an assay of amino acid substitutions was conducted. The activity of MaDFR was not affected whenever the N135 or E146 site was mutated. However, when both of them were mutated, the catalytic activity of MaDFR was lost completely. The results suggest that both the N135 and E146 sites are essential for the activity of MaDFR. Additionally, the heterologous expression of MaDFR in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) resulted in increasing anthocyanin accumulation, leading to a darker flower color, which suggested that MaDFR was involved in color development in flowers. In summary, MaDFR has a high preference for dihydromyricetin, and it could be a powerful candidate gene for genetic engineering for blue flower colour modification. Our results also make a valuable contribution to understanding the basis of color variation in the genus Muscari. Full article
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Article
Overexpression of BpCUC2 Influences Leaf Shape and Internode Development in Betula pendula
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(19), 4722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194722 - 23 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
The CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON 2 (CUC2) gene, which is negatively regulated by microRNA164 (miR164), has been specifically linked to the regulation of leaf margin serration and the maintenance of phyllotaxy in model plants. However, few studies have investigated these effects [...] Read more.
The CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON 2 (CUC2) gene, which is negatively regulated by microRNA164 (miR164), has been specifically linked to the regulation of leaf margin serration and the maintenance of phyllotaxy in model plants. However, few studies have investigated these effects in woody plants. In this study, we integrated genomic, transcriptomic, and physiology approaches to explore the function of BpCUC2 gene in Betula pendula growth and development. Our results showed that Betula pendula plants overexpressing BpCUC2, which is targeted by BpmiR164, exhibit shortened internodes and abnormal leaf shapes. Subsequent analysis indicated that the short internodes of BpCUC2 overexpressed transgenic lines and were due to decreased epidermal cell size. Moreover, transcriptome analysis, yeast one-hybrid assays, and ChIP-PCR suggested that BpCUC2 directly binds to the LTRECOREATCOR15 (CCGAC), CAREOSREP1 (CAACTC), and BIHD1OS (TGTCA) motifs of a series of IAA-related and cyclin-related genes to regulate expression. These results may be useful to our understanding of the functional role and genetic regulation of BpCUC2. Full article
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Article
The Artificial Promoter rMdAG2I Confers Flower-specific Activity in Malus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(18), 4551; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184551 - 13 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
Genetic modifications of floral organs are important in the breeding of Malus species. Flower-specific promoters can be used to improve floral organs specifically, without affecting vegetative organs, and therefore developing such promoters is highly desirable. Here, we characterized two paralogs of the Arabidopsis [...] Read more.
Genetic modifications of floral organs are important in the breeding of Malus species. Flower-specific promoters can be used to improve floral organs specifically, without affecting vegetative organs, and therefore developing such promoters is highly desirable. Here, we characterized two paralogs of the Arabidopsis thaliana gene AGAMOUS (AG) from Malus domestica (apple): MdAG1 and MdAG2. We then isolated the second-intron sequences for both genes, and created four artificial promoters by fusing each intron sequence to a minimal 35S promoter sequence in both the forward and reverse directions. When transferred into tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated stable transformation, one promoter, rMdAG2I, exhibited activity specifically in flowers, whereas the other three also showed detectable activity in vegetative organs. A test of the four promoters’ activities in the ornamental species Malus micromalus by Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation showed that, as in tobacco, only rMdAG2I exhibited a flower-specific expression pattern. Through particle bombardment transformation, we demonstrated that rMdAG2I also had flower-specific activity in the apple cultivar ‘Golden Delicious’. The flower-specific promoter rMdAG2I, derived from M. domestica, thus has great potential for use in improving the floral characteristics of ornamental plants, especially the Malus species. Full article
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Article
An Integrated Transcriptome and Proteome Analysis Reveals New Insights into Russeting of Bagging and Non-Bagging “Golden Delicious” Apple
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(18), 4462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184462 - 10 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Apple skin russeting naturally occurs in many varieties, particularly in “Golden Delicious” and its pedigree, and is regarded as a non-invasive physiological disorder partly caused by excessive deposition of lignin. However, the understanding of its molecular mechanism is still limited. In this study, [...] Read more.
Apple skin russeting naturally occurs in many varieties, particularly in “Golden Delicious” and its pedigree, and is regarded as a non-invasive physiological disorder partly caused by excessive deposition of lignin. However, the understanding of its molecular mechanism is still limited. In this study, we used iTRAQ (isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation) and RNA-seq to detect the changes in the expression levels of genes and proteins in three developmental stages of russeting formation, in russeted (non-bagging) and non-russeted (bagging) skin of “Golden Delicious” apple. 2856 differentially expressed genes and 942 differentially expressed proteins in the comparison groups were detected at the transcript level and protein level, respectively. A correlation analysis of the transcriptomics and proteomics data revealed that four genes (MD03G1059200, MD08G1009200, MD17G1092400, and MD17G1225100) involved in lignin biosynthesis are significant changed during apple russeting formation. Additionally, 92 transcription factors, including 4 LIM transcription factors, may be involved in apple russeting formation. Among them, one LIM transcription factor (MD15G1068200) was capable of binding to the PAL-box like (CCACTTGAGTAC) element, which indicated it was potentially involved in lignin biosynthesis. This study will provide further views on the molecular mechanisms controlling apple russeting formation. Full article
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Article
Genetic Dissection of Seed Storability and Validation of Candidate Gene Associated with Antioxidant Capability in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(18), 4442; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184442 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1118
Abstract
Seed storability, defined as the ability to remain alive during storage, is an important agronomic and physiological characteristic, but the underlying genetic mechanism remains largely unclear. Here, we report quantitative trait loci (QTLs) analyses for seed storability using a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism [...] Read more.
Seed storability, defined as the ability to remain alive during storage, is an important agronomic and physiological characteristic, but the underlying genetic mechanism remains largely unclear. Here, we report quantitative trait loci (QTLs) analyses for seed storability using a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism linkage map in the backcross recombinant inbred lines that was derived from a cross of a japonica cultivar, Nipponbare, and an indica cultivar, 9311. Seven putative QTLs were identified for seed storability under natural storage, each explaining 3.6–9.0% of the phenotypic variation in this population. Among these QTLs, qSS1 with the 9311 alleles promoting seed storability was further validated in near-isogenic line and its derived-F2 population. The other locus (qSS3.1) for seed storability colocalized with a locus for germination ability under hydrogen peroxide, which is recognized as an oxidant molecule that causes lipid damage. Transgenic experiments validated that a candidate gene (OsFAH2) resides the qSS3.1 region controlling seed storability and antioxidant capability. Overexpression of OsFAH2 that encodes a fatty acid hydroxylase reduced lipid preoxidation and increased seed storability. These findings provide new insights into the genetic and physiological bases of seed storability and will be useful for the improvement of seed storability in rice. Full article
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Article
A SNP Mutation of SiCRC Regulates Seed Number Per Capsule and Capsule Length of cs1 Mutant in Sesame
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(16), 4056; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20164056 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 990
Abstract
Seed number per capsule (SNC) is a major factor influencing seed yield and is an important trait with complex gene interaction effects. We first performed genetic analysis, gene cloning, and molecular mechanism study for an EMS-induced sesame mutant cs1 with fewer SNC and [...] Read more.
Seed number per capsule (SNC) is a major factor influencing seed yield and is an important trait with complex gene interaction effects. We first performed genetic analysis, gene cloning, and molecular mechanism study for an EMS-induced sesame mutant cs1 with fewer SNC and shorter capsule length (CL). The mutant traits were due to the pleiotropism of a regressive gene (Sics1). Capsule hormone determination showed that five out of 12 hormones, including auxin indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), had significantly different levels between wild type (WT) and mutant type (MT). KEGG pathway analysis showed that plant hormone signal transduction, especially the auxin signal transduction pathway, was the most abundant differentially expressed signaling pathway. After the cross-population association and regional genome screening, we found that three homozygous loci were retained in cs1. Further analysis of these three loci resulted in the identification of SiCRC as the candidate gene for cs1. SiCRC consists of seven exons and six introns encoding 163 amino acids. The SiCRC in cs1 showed a point mutation at intron 5 and exon 6 junction, resulting in the splice site being frame-shifted eight nucleotides further downstream, causing incorrect splicing. Taken together, we assumed the SNP mutation in SiCRC disrupted the function of the transcription factor, which might act downstream of the CRC-auxin signal transduction pathway, resulting in a shorter CL and less SNC mutation of cs1 in sesame. Our results highlight the molecular framework underlying the transcription factor CRC-mediated role of auxin transduction in SNC and CL development. Full article
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Article
Integrated Metabolome and Transcriptome Analysis Provide Insights into the Effects of Grafting on Fruit Flavor of Cucumber with Different Rootstocks
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3592; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143592 - 23 Jul 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1794
Abstract
Rootstocks frequently exert detrimental effects on the fruit quality of grafted cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants. To understand and ultimately correct this deficiency, a transcriptomic and metabolomic comparative analysis was performed among cucumber fruits from non-grafted plants (NG), and fruits from plants [...] Read more.
Rootstocks frequently exert detrimental effects on the fruit quality of grafted cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants. To understand and ultimately correct this deficiency, a transcriptomic and metabolomic comparative analysis was performed among cucumber fruits from non-grafted plants (NG), and fruits from plants grafted onto different rootstocks of No.96 and No.45 (Cucurbita moschata. Duch), known to confer a different aroma and taste. We found remarkable changes in the primary metabolites of sugars, organic acids, amino acids, and alcohols in the fruit of the grafted cucumber plants with different rootstocks, compared to the non-grafted ones, especially No.45. We identified 140, 131, and 244 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the comparisons of GNo.96 vs. NG, GNo.45 vs. NG, and GNo.45 vs. GNo.96. The identified DEGs have functions involved in many metabolic processes, such as starch and sucrose metabolism; the biosynthesis of diterpenoid, carotenoid, and zeatin compounds; and plant hormone signal transduction. Members of the HSF, AP2/ERF-ERF, HB-HD-ZIP, and MYB transcription factor families were triggered in the grafted cucumbers, especially in the cucumber grafted on No.96. Based on a correlation analysis of the relationships between the metabolites and genes, we screened 10 candidate genes likely to be involved in sugar metabolism (Fructose-6-phosphate and trehalose), linoleic acid, and amino-acid (isoleucine, proline, and valine) biosynthesis in grafted cucumbers, and then confirmed the gene expression patterns of these genes by qRT-PCR. The levels of TPS15 (Csa3G040850) were remarkably increased in cucumber fruit with No.96 rootstock compared with No.45, suggesting changes in the volatile chemical production. Together, the results of this study improve our understanding of flavor changes in grafted cucumbers, and identify the candidate genes involved in this process. Full article
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Article
R-Loci Arrangement Versus Downy and Powdery Mildew Resistance Level: A Vitis Hybrid Survey
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3526; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143526 - 18 Jul 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1383
Abstract
For the viticulture of the future, it will be an essential prerequisite to manage grapevine diseases with fewer chemical inputs. The development and the deployment of novel mildew resistant varieties are considered one of the most promising strategies towards a sustainable viticulture. In [...] Read more.
For the viticulture of the future, it will be an essential prerequisite to manage grapevine diseases with fewer chemical inputs. The development and the deployment of novel mildew resistant varieties are considered one of the most promising strategies towards a sustainable viticulture. In this regard, a collection of 102 accessions derived from crossing Vitis hybrids with V. vinifera varieties was studied. In addition to the true-to-type analysis, an exhaustive genetic characterization was carried out at the 11 reliable mildew resistance (R) loci available in the literature to date. Our findings highlight the pyramiding of R-loci against downy mildew in 15.7% and against powdery mildew in 39.2% of the total accessions. The genetic analysis was coupled with a three-year evaluation of disease symptoms in an untreated field in order to assess the impact of the R-loci arrangement on the disease resistance degree at leaf and bunch level. Overall, our results strongly suggest that R-loci pyramiding does not necessarily mean to increase the overall disease resistance, but it guarantees the presence of further barriers in case of pathogens overcoming the first. Moreover, our survey allows the discovery of new mildew resistance sources useful for novel QTL identifications towards marker-assisted breeding. Full article
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Article
Discovering and Constructing ceRNA-miRNA-Target Gene Regulatory Networks during Anther Development in Maize
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143480 - 15 Jul 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
The “competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) hypothesis” has recently been proposed for a new type of gene regulatory model in many organisms. Anther development is a crucial biological process in plant reproduction, and its gene regulatory network (GRN) has been gradually revealed during the [...] Read more.
The “competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) hypothesis” has recently been proposed for a new type of gene regulatory model in many organisms. Anther development is a crucial biological process in plant reproduction, and its gene regulatory network (GRN) has been gradually revealed during the past two decades. However, it is still unknown whether ceRNAs contribute to anther development and sexual reproduction in plants. We performed RNA and small RNA sequencing of anther tissues sampled at three developmental stages in two maize lines. A total of 28,233 stably transcribed loci, 61 known and 51 potentially novel microRNAs (miRNAs) were identified from the transcriptomes. Predicted ceRNAs and target genes were found to conserve in sequences of recognition sites where their corresponding miRNAs bound. We then reconstructed 79 ceRNA-miRNA-target gene regulatory networks consisting of 51 known miRNAs, 28 potentially novel miRNAs, 619 ceRNA-miRNA pairs, and 869 miRNA-target gene pairs. More than half of the regulation pairs showed significant negative correlations at transcriptional levels. Several well-studied miRNA-target gene pairs associated with plant flower development were located in some networks, including miR156-SPL, miR159-MYB, miR160-ARF, miR164-NAC, miR172-AP2, and miR319-TCP pairs. Six target genes in the networks were found to be orthologs of functionally confirmed genes participating in anther development in plants. Our results provide an insight that the ceRNA-miRNA-target gene regulatory networks likely contribute to anther development in maize. Further functional studies on a number of ceRNAs, miRNAs, and target genes will facilitate our deep understanding on mechanisms of anther development and sexual plants reproduction. Full article
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Article
Comprehensive Analysis of SnRK Gene Family and their Responses to Salt Stress in Eucalyptus grandis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(11), 2786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20112786 - 06 Jun 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1617
Abstract
The sucrose non-fermentation-related protein kinase (SnRK) is a kind of Ser/Thr protein kinase, which plays a crucial role in plant stress response by phosphorylating the target protein to regulate the interconnection of various signaling pathways. However, little is known about the SnRK family [...] Read more.
The sucrose non-fermentation-related protein kinase (SnRK) is a kind of Ser/Thr protein kinase, which plays a crucial role in plant stress response by phosphorylating the target protein to regulate the interconnection of various signaling pathways. However, little is known about the SnRK family in Eucalyptus grandis. Thirty-four putative SnRK sequences were identified in E. grandis and divided into three subgroups (SnRK1, SnRK2 and SnRK3) based on phylogenetic analysis and the type of domain. Chromosome localization showed that SnRK family members are unevenly distributed in the remaining 10 chromosomes, with the notable exception of chromosome 11. Gene structure analysis reveal that 10 of the 24 SnRK3 genes contained no introns. Moreover, conserved motif analyses showed that SnRK sequences belonged to the same subgroup that contained the same motif type of motif. The Ka/Ks ratio of 17 paralogues suggested that the EgrSnRK gene family underwent a purifying selection. The upstream region of EgrSnRK genes enriched with different type and numbers of cis-elements indicated that EgrSnRK genes are likely to play a role in the response to diverse stresses. Quantitative real-time PCR showed that the majority of the SnRK genes were induced by salt treatment. Genome-wide analyses and expression pattern analyses provided further understanding on the function of the SnRK family in the stress response to different environmental salt concentrations. Full article
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Article
Reduced Expression of CbUFO Is Associated with the Phenotype of a Flower-Defective Cosmos bipinnatus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2503; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102503 - 21 May 2019
Viewed by 1463
Abstract
LEAFY (LFY) and UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) homologous genes have been reported to play key roles in promoting the initiation of floral meristems in raceme- and cyme-type plants. Asteraceae, a large family of plants with more than 23,000 species, has a unique head-like [...] Read more.
LEAFY (LFY) and UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) homologous genes have been reported to play key roles in promoting the initiation of floral meristems in raceme- and cyme-type plants. Asteraceae, a large family of plants with more than 23,000 species, has a unique head-like inflorescence termed capitulum. Here, we report a floral defective plant of the garden cosmos named green head (gh), which shows homogeneous inflorescence, indistinguishable inflorescence periphery and center, and the replacement of flower meristems by indeterminate inflorescence meristems, coupled with iterative production of bract-like organs and higher order of inflorescences. A comparison of the LFY- and UFO-like genes (CbFLY and CbUFO) isolated from both the wild-type and gh cosmos revealed that CbUFO may play an important role in inflorescence differentiation into different structures and promotion of flower initiation, and the reduced expression of CbUFO in the gh cosmos could be associated with the phenotypes of the flower-defective plants. Further expression analysis indicated that CbUFO may promote the conversion of inflorescence meristem into floral meristem in early ray flower formation, but does not play a role in its later growth period. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1.
Title: Genome-wide linkage mapping affecting resistance to blank shank in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.)
Author: Lirui Cheng [email protected]

2.
Title: Maize GWAS and its application: Progress and Perspectives
Author: Xiangyuan Wan [email protected]

3.
Title: Maize transgenic systems and their molecular breeding application: Progress and Perspectives
Author: Xiangyuan Wan [email protected]

4.
Title: One Maize male sterility gene Ms25
Author: Xiangyuan Wan [email protected]

5.
Topic: R-loci arrangement versus downy and powdery mildew resistance level: a Vitis hybrid survey
Author: Silvia Vezzulli  [email protected]

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