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Chen J.,Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Yang Z.M.,Nanjing Agricultural University
BioMetals | Year: 2012

Mercury (Hg) contamination in soils has become a great concern as a result of its natural release and anthropogenic activities. This review presents broad aspects of our recent understanding of mercury contamination and toxicology in plants including source of Hg contamination, toxicology, tolerant regulation in plants, and minimization strategy. We first introduced the sources of mercury contamination in soils. Mercury exists in different forms, but ionic mercury (Hg2+) is the predominant form in soils and readily absorbed by plants. The second issue to be discussed is the uptake, transport, and localization of Hg2+ in plants. Mercury accumulated in plants evokes severe phytotoxicity and impairs numerous metabolic processes including nutrient uptake, water status, and photosynthesis. The mechanisms of mercury-induced toxicology, molecular response and gene networks for regulating plant tolerance will be reviewed. In the case of Hg recent much progress has been made in profiling of transcriptome and more importantly, uncovering a group of small RNAs that potentially mediates plant tolerance to Hg. Several newly discovered signaling molecules such as nitric oxide and carbon monoxide have now been described as regulators of plant tolerance to Hg. A recently emerged strategy, namely selection and breeding of plant cultivars to minimize Hg (or other metals) accumulation will be discussed in the last part of the review. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012.

Gao D.,Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Gao D.,Michigan State University
Molecular Genetics and Genomics | Year: 2012

Transposable elements (TEs) represent an important fraction of plant genomes and play a significant role in gene and genome evolution. Among all TE superfamilies discovered in plants, Mutator from maize (Zea mays) is the most active and mutagenic element. Mutator-like elements (MULEs) were identified in a wide range of plants. However, only few active MULEs have been reported, and the transposition mechanism of the elements is still poorly understood. In this study, an active MULE named Os3378 was discovered in rice (Oryza sativa) by a combination of computational and experimental approaches. The four newly identified Os3378 elements share more than 98% sequence identity between each other, and all of them encode transposases without any deletion derivatives, indicating their capability of autonomous transposition. Os3378 is present in the rice species with AA genome type but is absent in other non-AA genome species. A new insertion of Os3378 was identified in a rice somaclonal mutant Z418, and the element remained active in the descendants of the mutant for more than ten generations. Both germinal and somatic excision events of Os3378 were observed, and no footprint was detected after excision. Furthermore, the occurrence of somatic excision of Os3378 appeared to be associated with plant developmental stages and tissue types. Taken together, Os3378 is a unique active element in rice, which provides a valuable resource for further studying of transposition mechanism and evolution of MULEs. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Zhang C.H.,Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Genetics and molecular research : GMR | Year: 2012

We identified 131 AP2/ERF (APETALA2/ethylene-responsive factor) genes in material from peach using the gene sequences of AP2/ERF amino acids of Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae) as probes. Based on the number of AP2/ERF domains and individual gene characteristics, the AP2/ERF superfamily gene in peach can be classified broadly into three families, ERF (ethylene-responsive factor), RAV (related to ABI3/VP1), and AP2 (APETALA2), containing 104, 5, and 21 members, respectively, along with a solo gene (ppa005376m). The 104 genes in the ERF family were further divided into 11 groups based on the group classification made for Arabidopsis. The scaffold localizations of the AP2/ERF genes indicated that 129 AP2/ERF genes were all located on scaffolds 1 to 8, except for two genes, which were on scaffolds 17 and 10. Although the primary structure varied among AP2/ERF superfamily proteins, their tertiary structures were similar. Most ERF family genes have no introns, while members of the AP2 family have more introns than genes in the ERF and RAV families. All sequences of AP2 family genes were disrupted by introns into several segments of varying sizes. The expression of the AP2/ERF superfamily genes was highest in the mesocarp; it was far higher than in the other seven tissues that we examined, implying that AP2/ERF superfamily genes play an important role in fruit growth and development in the peach. These results will be useful for selecting candidate genes from specific subgroups for functional analysis.

Rajaei N.,University of Stockholm | Chiruvella K.K.,University of Stockholm | Lin F.,University of Stockholm | Lin F.,Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences | A strom S.U.,University of Stockholm
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

Transposable elements (TEs) have had a major influence on shaping both prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, largely through stochastic events following random or near-random insertions. In the mammalian immune system, the recombination activation genes1/2 (Rag1/2) recombinase has evolved from a transposase gene, demonstrating that TEs can be domesticated by the host. In this study, we uncovered a domesticated transposase, Kluyveromyces lactis hobo/Activator/Tam3 (hAT) transposase 1 (Kat1), operating at the fossil imprints of an ancient transposon, that catalyzes the differentiation of cell type. Kat1 induces mating-type switching from mating type a (MATa) to MATα in the yeast K. lactis. Kat1 activates switching by introducing two hairpin-capped DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the MATa1-MATa2 intergenic region, as we demonstrate both in vivo and in vitro. The DSBs stimulate homologous recombination with the cryptic hidden MAT left alpha (HMLα) locus resulting in a switch of the cell type. The sites where Kat1 acts in the MATa locus most likely are ancient remnants of terminal inverted repeats from a long-lost TE. The KAT1 gene is annotated as a pseudogene because it contains two overlapping ORFs. We demonstrate that translation of full-length Kat1 requires a programmed -1 frameshift. The frameshift limited Kat1 activity, because restoring the zero frame causes switching to the MATα genotype. Kat1 also was transcriptionally activated by nutrient limitation via the transcription factor mating type switch 1 (Mts1). A phylogenetic analysis indicated that KAT1 was domesticated specifically in the Kluyveromyces clade of the budding yeasts. We conclude that Kat1 is a highly regulated transposase-derived endonuclease vital for sexual differentiation. © 2014, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Min Yang Z.,Nanjing Agricultural University | Chen J.,Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Metallomics | Year: 2013

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate plant growth and development by silencing gene expression at post-transcriptional level. Recent studies have shown that miRNAs are the regulators of plant response to environmental stresses. Also, genome-wide profiling of small RNAs reveals that many miRNAs are in response to heavy metals. Identification of the targets of metal-regulated miRNAs demonstrated that most of the target genes are involved in diverse metabolic pathways including sulphate allocation and assimilation, phytohormone signalling, antioxidation, and miRNA biogenesis. Thus, the high-throughput sequencing of small RNAs provides a powerful tool for mining a number of known and unknown miRNAs in plants in response to metal stress. Here, we discuss recent studies focusing on the newly identified miRNAs and their potential targets in plants and propose a new scenario involving plant tolerance to metal toxicity as part of the dynamic network that defines the potential roles of miRNAs in plant adaptation to heavy metal stress. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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