Somatic polyploidization often increases cell and organ size, thereby contributing to plant biomass production. However, as most woody plants do not undergo polyploidization, explaining the polyploidization effect on organ growth in trees remains difficult. Here we developed a new method to generate tetraploid lines in poplars through colchicine treatment of lateral buds. We found that tetraploidization induced cell enlargement in the stem, suggesting that polyploidization can increase cell size in woody plants that cannot induce polyploidization in normal development. Greenhouse growth analysis revealed that radial growth was enhanced in the basal stem of tetraploids, whereas longitudinal growth was retarded, producing the same amount of stem biomass as diploids. Woody biomass characteristics were also comparable in terms of wood substance density, saccharification efficiency, and cell wall profiling. Our results reveal tetraploidization as an effective strategy for improving woody biomass production when combined with technologies that promote longitudinal stem growth by enhancing metabolite production and/or transport.
Calcium (Ca) deficiency affects the yields and quality of agricultural products. Susceptibility to Ca deficiency varies among crops and cultivars; however, its genetic basis remains largely unknown. Genes required for low Ca tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana have been identified. In this study, we identified a novel gene required for low Ca tolerance in A. thaliana. We isolated a mutant sensitive to low Ca concentrations and identified Glucan synthase-like (GSL) 8 as a gene responsible for low Ca tolerance. GSL8 is a paralog of the previously identified low Ca tolerance gene GSL10, which encodes β-1,3 glucan(callose) synthase. Under low Ca conditions, the shoot growth of gsl8 mutants were inhibited compared to wild-type plants. A grafting experiment indicated that the shoot, but not root, genotype was important for the shoot growth phenotype. The ectopic accumulation of callose under low Ca conditions was reduced in gsl8 mutants. We further investigated the interaction between GSL8 and GSL10 by testing the gsl8 gsl10 double mutant for sensitivity to low Ca concentrations. The double mutant exhibited a more severe phenotype than the single mutant under 0.3 mM Ca, indicating additive effects of GSL8 and GSL10 with respect to low Ca tolerance. These results establish that GSL genes are required for low Ca tolerance in A. thaliana.
The secondary cell wall, which is mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, constitutes woody tissues and gives physical strength and hydrophobic properties for resistance against environmental stresses. We cloned and functionally analyzed the homologous transcription factor (TF) genes of SECONDARY WALL NAC (SWN) proteins from Hachiku bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra; PnSWNs). An RT-PCR analysis showed that PnSWNs are expressed in young tissues in bamboo. Their transcriptional activation activities were higher than that of the Arabidopsis NAC SECONDARY WALL THICKENING PROMOTING FACTOR 3 (NST3) TF, which was equivalent to SWN TFs in monocot. PnSWNs preferred to activate the genes related to secondary cell wall formation but not the genes related to programmed cell death. When PnSWNs were expressed in Arabidopsis, they highly induced secondary cell wall formation, like previously-shown rice SWN1. Dissection analysis revealed that this high activity largely depends on C-terminal domain. These results demonstrate that the cloned bamboo SWNs function as regulators of secondary cell wall formation with strong activation ability derived from C-terminal domain, and could be served as new genetic tools for secondary cell wall manipulation.
Glucosinolates, a group of sulfur-containing specialized metabolites of the Brassicales, have attracted a lot of interest in nutrition, medicine and agriculture due to their positive health effects and their involvement in plant defense. Their biological activities and the extensive knowledge of their biosynthesis have inspired research into development of crops with enhanced glucosinolate contents as well as their biotechnological production in homologous and heterologous systems. Here, we provide proof-of-concept for transgenic suspension cultures of carrot (Daucus carota, Apiacae) as a scalable production platform for plant specialized metabolites using benzylglucosinolate as a model. Two T-DNAs carrying in total six genes of the benzylglucosinolate biosynthesis pathway from Arabidopsis thaliana as well as NPTII and BAR as selectable markers were transferred to carrot cells by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Putative transformants selected based on their kanamycin and BASTA resistances were subjected to HPLC-MS analysis. Of 79 putative transformants, 17 produced benzylglucosinolate. T-DNA-integration was confirmed for the five best producers. Callus from these transformants was used to establish suspension cultures for quantitative analysis. When grown in 60-ml-cultures, the best transformants produced roughly 2.5 nmol (g fw)−1 benzylglucosinolate, together with up to 10 nmol (g fw)−1 desulfobenzylglucosinolate. Only one transformant produced more benzylglucosinolate than desulfobenzylglucosinolate. The concentration of sulfate in the medium was not a major limiting factor. High production seemed to be associated with poor growth and vice versa. Therefore, future research should try to optimize medium and cultivation process and to separate growth and production phase by using an inducible promoter.
Codonopsis pilosula, a traditional Chinese medicinal and edible plant, contains several bioactive components. However, the biosynthetic mechanism is unclear because of the difficulties associated with functional gene analysis. Therefore, it is important to establish an efficient genetic transformation system for gene function analysis. In this study, we established a highly efficient Agrobacterium-mediated callus genetic transformation system for C. pilosula using stems as explants. After being pre-cultured for 3 days, the explants were infected with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain GV3101 harboring pCAMBIA1381-35S::GUS at an OD600 value of 0.3 for 15 min, followed by co-cultivation on MS induction medium for 1 day and delayed cultivation on medium supplemented with 250 mg l−1 cefotaxime sodium for 12 days. The transformed calli were selected on screening medium supplemented with 250 mg l−1 cefotaxime sodium and 2.0 mg l−1 hygromycin and further confirmed by PCR amplification of the GUS gene and histochemical GUS assay. Based on the optimal protocol, the induction and transformation efficiency of calli reached a maximum of 91.07%. The establishment of a genetic transformation system for C. pilosula calli lays the foundation for the functional analysis of genes related to bioactive components through genetic engineering technology.
Potassium chlorate can promote off-season flowering in longan, but the molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, four-year-old ‘Shixia’ longan trees were injected in the trunk with potassium chlorate, and terminal buds were sampled and analyzed using transcriptomics and bioinformatics tools. To generate a reference longan transcriptome, we obtained 207,734 paired-end reads covering a total of 58,514,149 bp, which we assembled into 114,445 unigenes. Using this resource, we identified 3,265 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that were regulated in longan terminal buds in response to potassium chlorate treatment for 2, 6 or 30 days, including 179 transcription factor genes. By reference to the Arabidopsis literature, we then defined 38 longan genes involved in flowering, from which we constructed the longan flowering pathway. According to RNA-seq data, at least 24 of these genes, which participate in multiple signaling pathways, are involved in potassium chlorate-stimulated floral induction, and the differential regulation in terminal buds of ten floral pathway genes (GI, CO, GID1, GA4, GA5, FLC, AP1, LFY, FT and SOC1) was confirmed by qRT-PCR. These data will contribute to an improved understanding of the functions of key genes involved in longan floral induction by potassium chlorate.
Matthiola incana is an important floricultural plant that blooms from winter to spring, and had been desired to be established a transformation system. This study successfully obtained stable transgenic plants from M. incana. We used Agrobacterium tumefaciens harboring a binary vector containing the β-glucuronidase gene (GUS) under the control of cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter to evaluate the transformation frequency of M. incana. We observed that cocultivation with the A. tumefaciens strain GV3101 for 5 days effectively enhanced the infection frequency, assessed through a transient GUS expression area in the seedling. Furthermore, the addition of 100 µM acetosyringone was necessary for Agrobacterium infection. However, we could not obtain transgenic plants on a shoot formation medium supplemented with 1 mg l−1 6-benzyladenine (BA). For callus formation from the leaf sections, a medium supplemented with 1–50 µM fipexide (FPX), a novel callus induction chemical, was employed. Then, the callus formation was observed after 2 weeks, and an earlier response was detected than that in the BA medium (4–6 weeks). Results also showed that cultivation in a selection medium supplemented with 12.5 µM FPX obtained hygromycin-resistant calli. Thus, this protocol achieved a 0.7% transformation frequency. Similarly, progenies from one transgenic line were observed on the basis of GUS stains on their leaves, revealing that the transgenes were also inherited stably. Hence, FPX is considered a breakthrough for establishing the transformation protocol of M. incana, and its use is proposed in recalcitrant plants.
Marasmin [S-(methylthiomethyl)-L-cysteine-4-oxide] is a pharmaceutically valuable sulfur-containing compound produced by the traditional medicinal plant, Tulbaghia violacea. Here, we report the identification of an S-oxygenase, TvMAS1, that produces marasmin from its corresponding sulfide, S-(methylthiomethyl)-L-cysteine. The amino acid sequence of TvMAS1 showed high sequence similarity to known flavin-containing S-oxygenating monooxygenases in plants. Recombinant TvMAS1 catalyzed regiospecific S-oxygenation at S4 of S-(methylthiomethyl)-L-cysteine to yield marasmin, with an apparent Km value of 0.55 mM. TvMAS1 mRNA accumulated with S-(methylthiomethyl)-L-cysteine and marasmin in various organs of T. violacea. Our findings suggest that TvMAS1 catalyzes the S-oxygenation reaction during the last step of marasmin biosynthesis in T. violacea.
The human basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a protein that plays a pivotal role in cellular processes like cell proliferation and development. As a result, it has become an important component in cell culture systems, with applications in biomedical engineering, cosmetics, and research. Alternative production techniques, such as transient production in plants, are becoming a feasible option as the demand continues to grow. High-level bFGF production was achieved in this study employing an optimized Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression system, which yielded about a 3-fold increase in production over a conventional system. This yield was further doubled at about 185 µg g−1 FW using a mutant protease-resistant version that degraded/aggregated at a three-fold slower rate in leaf crude extracts. To achieve a pure product, a two-step purification technique was applied. The capacity of the pure protease-resistant bFGF (PRbFGF) to stimulate cell proliferation was tested and was found to be comparable to that of E. coli-produced bFGF in HepG2 and CHO-K1 cells. Overall, this study demonstrates a high-level transient production system of functional PRbFGF in N. benthamiana leaves as well as an efficient tag-less purification technique of leaf crude extracts.
The unfolded protein response (UPR) or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response is a homeostatic cellular response conserved in eukaryotes to alleviate the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER. In the present study, we characterized the UPR in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha to obtain insights into the conservation and divergence of the UPR in the land plants. We demonstrate that the most conserved UPR transducer in eukaryotes, IRE1, is conserved in M. polymorpha, which harbors a single gene encoding IRE1. We showed that MpIRE1 mediates cytoplasmic splicing of mRNA encoding MpbZIP7, a M. polymorpha homolog of bZIP60 in flowering plants, and upregulation of ER chaperone genes in response to the ER stress inducer tunicamycin. We further showed that MpIRE1 also mediates downregulation of genes encoding secretory and membrane proteins in response to ER stress, indicating the conservation of regulated IRE1-dependent decay of mRNA. Consistent with their roles in the UPR, Mpire1ge and Mpbzip7ge mutants exhibited higher sensitivity to ER stress. Furthermore, an Mpire1ge mutant also exhibited retarded growth even without ER stress inducers, indicating the importance of MpIRE1 for vegetative growth in addition to alleviation of ER stress. The present study provides insights into the evolution of the UPR in land plants.
Sweet potato is a major root crop with nutritious tuberous roots. The mechanism of tuberous root development has not yet been adequately elucidated. Genetic resources are required to develop the molecular understanding of sweet potato. Heavy-ion beams were applied to hexaploid sweet potato for an increase in genetic variation, after which the comprehensive effects of heavy-ion beam irradiation were investigated. In vitro cultured shoots with an axillary bud of ‘Beniharuka’ were irradiated with Ar-ions at a dose of 1–5 Gy and C-ions at a dose of 5–20 Gy, and three irradiated lines were separated from each irradiated shoot. The shoot regeneration was inhibited at high doses of each ion irradiation. Ar-ion irradiation had an especially high biological effect on shoot regeneration. A total of 335 lines were obtained, consisting of 104 and 231 lines derived from Ar- and C-ion irradiation, respectively. The change in the DNA content of the lines was analyzed by flow cytometry to evaluate the irradiation-induced damage to the DNA. The two lines demonstrated significant differences in the DNA content and changes at the chromosome level. The screening for the morphological mutants was conducted in the field. Some irradiated lines showed inhibited or no tuberous root phenotype as mutant candidates. Additionally, the high-yield mutant candidates were dominated by Ar-ion irradiation. It was indicated that heavy-ion beam mutagenesis is effective in broadening the range of the phenotypes corresponding to tuberous root formation in hexaploid sweet potato.
Controlling the flowering time is crucial for propagating plant species and crop production. ALTERED MERISTEM PROGRAM1 (AMP1) in Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a putative carboxypeptidase, and an AMP1 mutant (amp1) was found to cause highly pleiotropic phenotypes including a short plastochron, an enlarged shoot apical meristem, and reduced apical dominance. Although amp1 also shows an early flowering phenotype, its mechanism has not been investigated in detail. The most important floral integrator or florigen gene, FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), has a close relative, TWIN SISTER OF FT (TSF). In this report, we generated a new allele of tsf using a genome-editing technique and produced ft tsf double and amp1 ft tsf triple mutants. The flowering time of amp1 ft tsf was equally as late as ft tsf under long-day conditions. In addition, the expression level of FT in amp1 was 2.4-fold higher than that in wild-type, even five days after germination under long-day conditions. These results suggest that the elevated expression level of FT is responsible for the early flowering phenotype of amp1. Furthermore, expression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), a negative regulator of FT expression, is severely repressed in amp1, raising the possibility that low expression levels of FLC contributes to upregulation of FT expression and the early flowering phenotype of amp1.
Agrobacterium-mediated transformation is a key innovation for plant breeding, and routinely used in basic researches and applied biology. However, the transformation efficiency is often the limiting factor of this technique. In this study, we discovered that oxicam-type nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including tenoxicam (TNX), increase the efficiency of Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation. TNX treatment increased the transformation efficiency of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Arabidopsis thaliana mature leaves by agroinfiltration. The increase of efficiency by TNX treatment was not observed in dde2/ein2/pad4/sid2 quadruple mutant, indicating that TNX inhibits the immune system mediated by jasmonic acid, ethylene, and salicylic acid against to Agrobacterium. We also found that TNX-treatment is applicable for the transient expression and subcellular localization analysis of fluorescent-tagged proteins in Arabidopsis leaf cells. In addition, we found that TNX increases the efficiency of Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation of Jatropha. Given that treatment with oxicam compounds is a simple and cost effective method, our findings will provide a new option to overcome limitations associated with Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of various plant species.
During organ regeneration, differentiated cells acquire cell proliferation competence before the re-start of cell division. In Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), CDKA;1, a cyclin-dependent kinase, RID1, a DEAH-box RNA helicase, and SRD2, a small nuclear RNA transcription factor, are implicated in the regulation of cell proliferation competence. Here, we report phytohormonal transcriptional regulation of these cell proliferation competence-associated genes during callus initiation. We can induce the callus initiation from Arabidopsis hypocotyl explants by the culture on the auxin-containing medium. By RT-quantitative PCR analysis, we observed higher mRNA accumulation of CDKA;1, RID1, and SRD2 in culture on the auxin-containing medium than in culture on the auxin-free medium. Promoter-reporter analysis showed that the CDKA;1, RID1, and SRD2 expression was induced in the stele regions containing pericycle cells, where cell division would be resumed to make callus, by the culture in the medium containing auxin and/or cytokinin. However, the expression levels of these genes in cortical and epidermal cells, which would not originate callus cells, were variable by genes and phytohormonal conditions. We also found that the rid1-1 mutation greatly decreased the expression levels of CDKA;1 and SRD2 during callus initiation specifically at 28°C (restrictive temperature), while the srd2-1 mutation did not obviously decrease the expression levels of CDKA;1 and RID1 regardless of temperature conditions but rather even increased them at 22°C (permissive temperature). Together, our results implicated the phytohormonal and differential regulation of cell proliferation competence-associated genes in the multistep regulation of cell proliferation competence.