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Topical Collection "Genetics and Molecular Breeding in Plants"

Editor

Dr. Pedro Martínez-Gómez
E-Mail Website1 Website2 Website3
Collection Editor
CEBAS- CSIC, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura, Department of Plant Breeding, Murcia, Spain
Tel. +34968396200
Interests: plant breeding approaches; marker assisted selection; evaluation of agronomical traits; integrating genetic, genomic, transcriptomic, epigenetic and 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 (20 papers)

2020

Jump to: 2019

Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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: 2020

Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessReview
Citrus Taste Modification Potentials by Genetic Engineering
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246194 - 08 Dec 2019
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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 1
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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Open AccessArticle
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 1
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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 1
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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 2
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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Open AccessArticle
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 2
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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 1
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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