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Zuccolo A.,SantAnna School of Advanced Studies | Scofield D.G.,Uppsala University | De Paoli E.,University of Udine | Morgante M.,Istituto di Genomica Applicata | Morgante M.,University of Udine

Long Terminal Repeat retroelements (LTR-RTs) are a major component of many plant genomes. Although well studied and described in angiosperms, their features and dynamics are poorly understood in gymnosperms. Representative complete copies of a Ty1-copia element isolate in Picea abies and named PARTC were identified in six other conifer species (Picea glauca, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus taeda, Abies sibirica, Taxus baccata and Juniperus communis) covering more than 200 million years of evolution. Here we characterized the structure of this element, assessed its abundance across conifers, studied the modes and timing of its amplification, and evaluated the degree of conservation of its extant copies at nucleotide level over distant species. We demonstrated that the element is ancient, abundant, widespread and its paralogous copies are present in the genera Picea, Pinus and Abies as an LTR-RT family. The amplification leading to the extant copies of PARTC occurred over long evolutionary times spanning 10 s of MY and mostly took place after the speciation of the conifers analyzed. The level of conservation of PARTC is striking and may be explained by low substitution rates and limited removal mechanisms for LTR-RTs. These PARTC features and dynamics are representative of a more general scenario for LTR-RTs in gymnosperms quite different from that characterizing the vast majority of LTR-RT elements in angiosperms. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

De Paola D.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Cattonaro F.,Istituto di Genomica Applicata | Pignone D.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics | Sonnante G.,CNR Institute of Plant Genetics
BMC Genomics

Background: Plant microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of several processes, including the response to biotic and abiotic stress, often contributing to the adaptive response of the plant to adverse conditions. In addition to conserved miRNAs, found in a wide range of plant species a number of novel species-specific miRNAs, displaying lower levels of expression can be found. Due to low abundance, non conserved miRNAs are difficult to identify and isolate using conventional approaches. Conversely, deep-sequencing of small RNA (sRNA) libraries can detect even poorly expressed miRNAs.No miRNAs from globe artichoke have been described to date. We analyzed the miRNAome from artichoke by deep sequencing four sRNA libraries obtained from NaCl stressed and control leaves and roots.Results: Conserved and novel miRNAs were discovered using accepted criteria. The expression level of selected miRNAs was monitored by quantitative real-time PCR. Targets were predicted and validated for their cleavage site. A total of 122 artichoke miRNAs were identified, 98 (25 families) of which were conserved with other plant species, and 24 were novel. Some miRNAs were differentially expressed according to tissue or condition, magnitude of variation after salt stress being more pronounced in roots. Target function was predicted by comparison to Arabidopsis proteins; the 43 targets (23 for novel miRNAs) identified included transcription factors and other genes, most of which involved in the response to various stresses. An unusual cleaved transcript was detected for miR393 target, transport inhibitor response 1.Conclusions: The miRNAome from artichoke, including novel miRNAs, was unveiled, providing useful information on the expression in different organs and conditions. New target genes were identified. We suggest that the generation of secondary short-interfering RNAs from miR393 target can be a general rule in the plant kingdom. © 2012 De Paola et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Nazzi F.,University of Udine | Brown S.P.,University of Edinburgh | Annoscia D.,University of Udine | Del Piccolo F.,University of Udine | And 6 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens

The health of the honeybee and, indirectly, global crop production are threatened by several biotic and abiotic factors, which play a poorly defined role in the induction of widespread colony losses. Recent descriptive studies suggest that colony losses are often related to the interaction between pathogens and other stress factors, including parasites. Through an integrated analysis of the population and molecular changes associated with the collapse of honeybee colonies infested by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, we show that this parasite can de-stabilise the within-host dynamics of Deformed wing virus (DWV), transforming a cryptic and vertically transmitted virus into a rapidly replicating killer, which attains lethal levels late in the season. The de-stabilisation of DWV infection is associated with an immunosuppression syndrome, characterized by a strong down-regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB. The centrality of NF-κB in host responses to a range of environmental challenges suggests that this transcription factor can act as a common currency underlying colony collapse that may be triggered by different causes. Our results offer an integrated account for the multifactorial origin of honeybee losses and a new framework for assessing, and possibly mitigating, the impact of environmental challenges on honeybee health. © 2012 Nazzi et al. Source

Falchi R.,University of Udine | Vendramin E.,Italian Agricultural Research Council | Zanon L.,University of Udine | Scalabrin S.,Istituto di Genomica Applicata | And 5 more authors.
Plant Journal

Peach flesh color (white or yellow) is among the most popular commercial criteria for peach classification, and has implications for consumer acceptance and fruit nutritional quality. Despite the increasing interest in improving cultivars of both flesh types, little is known about the genetic basis for the carotenoid content diversity in peach. Here we describe the association between genotypes at a locus encoding the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 4 (PpCCD4), localized in pseudomolecule 1 of the Prunus persica reference genome sequence, and the flesh color for 37 peach varieties, including two somatic revertants, and three ancestral relatives of peach, providing definitive evidence that this locus is responsible for flesh color phenotype. We show that yellow peach alleles have arisen from various ancestral haplotypes by at least three independent mutational events involving nucleotide substitutions, small insertions and transposable element insertions, and that these mutations, despite being located within the transcribed portion of the gene, also result in marked differences in transcript levels, presumably as a consequence of differential transcript stability involving nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. The PpCCD4 gene provides a unique example of a gene for which humans, in their quest to diversify phenotypic appearance and qualitative characteristics of a fruit, have been able to select and exploit multiple mutations resulting from a variety of mechanisms. © 2013 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

di Gaspero G.,Istituto di Genomica Applicata | di Gaspero G.,University of Udine | Cattonaro F.,Istituto di Genomica Applicata
Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research

Imagine a breeder browsing a grape chromosome nucleotide-by-nucleotide around a trait locus, scrolling down the list of catalogued genes along a genetic interval, resequencing for a few thousand dollars a potential parent or a selected breeding line. In the past couple of years, this vision has become a reality. The availability of the reference genome sequence has provided significant assistance in the saturation of loci with targeted genetic markers. Grape breeders are now offered unprecedented possibilities for selecting plants using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences within or near the gene that controls a desirable trait rather than handling their phenotypes. Genomics-assisted selection offers unique advantages in the correct choice of elite genotypes, in order to improve traits for which limitations of phenotyping technologies or low hereditability adversely affect the efficiency of phenotypic selection. DNA technologies enable the application of marker-assisted selection to thousands of grape seedlings every year, which was previously feasible only for cereals and annuals, enhancing the possibilities of finding an ideal recombinant in populations bred from highly heterozygous parents. The expected outcome is a renewal of the varietal choices available to viticulturists, with novel genotypes that meet the demand for disease-free vines and flavourful grapes. The depth of exploration and characterisation of the existing germplasm is crucial for translating natural diversity into new varieties that could perform beyond the fence of the experimental vineyards and gain substantial market share. We review here how current achievements in genomics and genome sequencing are expected to increase the efficiency of grapevine breeding programs. © 2009 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Inc. Source

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