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Asano T.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science
Plant signaling & behavior | Year: 2012

Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) constitute a large multigene family in various plant species. CDPKs have been shown to have important roles in various physiological processes, including plant growth and development and abiotic and biotic stress responses in plants. Functional analysis using gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutants has revealed the biological function of CDPKs in planta. Several CDPKs have been shown to be essential factors in abiotic stress tolerance, positively or negatively regulating stress tolerance by modulating ABA signaling and reducing the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This review summarizes recent results describing the biological function of CDPKs that are involved in abiotic stress tolerance. Source


Kawahara Y.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science
PloS one | Year: 2012

A filamentous fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, is a causal agent of rice blast disease, which is one of the most serious diseases affecting cultivated rice, Oryza sativa. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying both rice defense and fungal attack are not yet fully understood. Extensive past studies have characterized many infection-responsive genes in the pathogen and host plant, separately. To understand the plant-pathogen interaction comprehensively, it is valuable to monitor the gene expression profiles of both interacting organisms simultaneously in the same infected plant tissue. Although the host-pathogen interaction during the initial infection stage is important for the establishment of infection, the detection of fungal gene expression in infected leaves at the stage has been difficult because very few numbers of fungal cells are present. Using the emerging RNA-Seq technique, which has a wide dynamic range for expression analyses, we analyzed the mixed transcriptome of rice and blast fungus in infected leaves at 24 hours post-inoculation, which is the point when the primary infection hyphae penetrate leaf epidermal cells. We demonstrated that our method detected the gene expression of both the host plant and pathogen simultaneously in the same infected leaf blades in natural infection conditions without any artificial treatments. The upregulation of 240 fungal transcripts encoding putative secreted proteins was observed, suggesting that these candidates of fungal effector genes may play important roles in initial infection processes. The upregulation of transcripts encoding glycosyl hydrolases, cutinases and LysM domain-containing proteins were observed in the blast fungus, whereas pathogenesis-related and phytoalexin biosynthetic genes were upregulated in rice. Furthermore, more drastic changes in expression were observed in the incompatible interactions compared with the compatible ones in both rice and blast fungus at this stage. Our mixed transcriptome analysis is useful for the simultaneous elucidation of the tactics of host plant defense and pathogen attack. Source


Okamura H.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science
Advances in experimental medicine and biology | Year: 2013

The reproductive neuropeptide gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) has two modes of secretion. Besides the surge mode, which induces ovulation in females, the pulse mode of GnRH release is essential to cause various reproductive events in both sexes, such as spermatogenesis, follicular development, and sex steroid synthesis. Some environmental cues control gonadal activities through modulating GnRH pulse frequency. Researchers have looked for the anatomical location of the mechanism generating GnRH pulses, the GnRH pulse generator, in the brain, because an artificial manipulation of GnRH pulse frequency is of therapeutic importance to stimulate or suppress gonadal activity. Discoveries of kisspeptin and, consequently, KNDy (kisspeptin/neurokinin B/dynorphin) neurons in the hypothalamus have provided a clue to the possible location of the GnRH pulse generator. Our analyses of hypothalamic multiple-unit activity revealed that KNDy neurons located in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus might play a central role in the generation of GnRH pulses in goats, and perhaps other mammalian species. This chapter further discusses the possible mechanisms for GnRH pulse generation. Source


Nakao H.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science
Developmental Biology | Year: 2012

Insect embryo segmentation is largely divided into long and short germ types. In the long germ type, each segment primordium is represented on a large embryonic rudiment of the blastoderm, and segmental patterning occurs nearly simultaneously in the syncytium. In the short germ type, however, only anterior segments are represented in the small embryonic rudiment, usually located on the egg posterior, and the rest of the segments are added sequentially from the posterior growth zone in a cellular context. The long germ type is thought to have evolved from the short germ type. It is proposed that this transition, which appears to have occurred multiple times over the course of evolution, was realized through the acquisition of a localized anterior instruction center. Here, I examined the early segmentation process in the silkmoth Bombyx mori, a lepidopteran insect, in which the mechanisms of anterior-posterior (AP) axis formation have not been well analyzed. In this insect, both the long germ and short germ features have been reported. The mRNAs for two key genes involved in insect AP axis formation, orthodenticle (Bm-otd) and caudal (Bm-cad), are localized maternally in the germ anlage, where they act as anterior and posterior instruction centers, respectively. RNAi studies indicate that, while Bm-cad affects the formation of all the even skipped (Bm-eve) stripes, there is also anterior Bm-eve stripe formation activity that involves Bm-otd. Thus, there is redundancy in Bm-eve stripe formation activity that must be coordinated. Some genetic interactions, identified either experimentally or hypothetically, are also introduced, which might enable robust AP formation in this organism. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source


Suetsugu Y.,Japan National Institute of Agrobiological Science
G3 (Bethesda, Md.) | Year: 2013

The establishment of a complete genomic sequence of silkworm, the model species of Lepidoptera, laid a foundation for its functional genomics. A more complete annotation of the genome will benefit functional and comparative studies and accelerate extensive industrial applications for this insect. To realize these goals, we embarked upon a large-scale full-length cDNA collection from 21 full-length cDNA libraries derived from 14 tissues of the domesticated silkworm and performed full sequencing by primer walking for 11,104 full-length cDNAs. The large average intron size was 1904 bp, resulting from a high accumulation of transposons. Using gene models predicted by GLEAN and published mRNAs, we identified 16,823 gene loci on the silkworm genome assembly. Orthology analysis of 153 species, including 11 insects, revealed that among three Lepidoptera including Monarch and Heliconius butterflies, the 403 largest silkworm-specific genes were composed mainly of protective immunity, hormone-related, and characteristic structural proteins. Analysis of testis-/ovary-specific genes revealed distinctive features of sexual dimorphism, including depletion of ovary-specific genes on the Z chromosome in contrast to an enrichment of testis-specific genes. More than 40% of genes expressed in specific tissues mapped in tissue-specific chromosomal clusters. The newly obtained FL-cDNA sequences enabled us to annotate the genome of this lepidopteran model insect more accurately, enhancing genomic and functional studies of Lepidoptera and comparative analyses with other insect orders, and yielding new insights into the evolution and organization of lepidopteran-specific genes. Source

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