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Liu H.,CAS Institute of Botany | Guo S.,CAS Institute of Botany | Xu Y.,CAS Institute of Botany | Li C.,CAS Institute of Botany | And 6 more authors.
Plant Physiology

Inflorescence and spikelet development determine grain yields in cereals. Although multiple genes are known to be involved in the regulation of floral organogenesis, the underlying molecular network remains unclear in cereals. Here, we report that the rice (Oryza sativa) microRNA396d (OsmiR396d) and its Os Growth Regulating Factor (OsGRF) targets, together with Os Growth Regulating Factor-Interacting Factor1 (OsGIF1), are involved in the regulation of floral organ development through the rice JMJD2 family jmjC gene 706 (OsJMJ706) and crinkly4 receptor-like kinase (OsCR4). Transgenic knockdown lines of OsGRF6, a predicted target of OsmiR396d, and overexpression lines of OsmiR396d showed similar defects in floral organ development, including open husks, long sterile lemmas, and altered floral organ morphology. These defects were almost completely rescued by overexpression of OsGRF6. OsGRF6 and its ortholog OsGRF10 were the most highly expressed OsGRF family members in young inflorescences, and the grf6/grf10 double mutant displayed abnormal florets. OsGRF6/OsGRF10 localized to the nucleus, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that both OsGRF6 and OsGRF10 bind the GA response element in the promoters of OsJMJ706 and OsCR4, which were reported to participate in the regulation of floral organ development. In addition, OsGRF6 and OsGRF10 could transactivate OsJMJ706 and OsCR4, an activity that was enhanced in the presence of OsGIF1, which can bind both OsGRF6 and OsGRF10. Together, our results suggest that OsmiR396d regulates the expression of OsGRF genes, which function with OsGIF1 in floret development through targeting of JMJ706 and OsCR4. This work thus reveals a microRNA-mediated regulation module for controlling spikelet development in rice. © 2014 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved. Source

Liu X.-L.,China Agricultural University | Liu L.,CAS Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology | Niu Q.-K.,China Agricultural University | Xia C.,China Agricultural University | And 7 more authors.
Plant Journal

In flowering plants, the growth of pollen tubes is essential for the delivery of sperm to the egg cells. Although many factors (including cell-wall properties) are involved in this process, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms that regulate the growth of pollen tubes. We report here the characterization of an Arabidopsis mutant male gametophyte defective 4 (mgp4) that is severely defective in pollen tube growth. The mgp4 mutation also impairs root growth of pollen-rescued mgp4 mutant plants generated by expressing MGP4 cDNA under the control of a pollen grain/tube-specific promoter. The MGP4 gene encodes a putative xylosyltransferase and is expressed in many organs/tissues, including pollen tubes and roots. MGP4 protein expressed in Pichia pastoris exhibited xylosyltransferase activity and transferred d-xylose onto l-fucose. The pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II), isolated from 7-day-old pollen-rescued mutant seedlings, exhibited a 30% reduction in 2-O-methyl d-xylose residues. Furthermore, an exogenous supply of boric acid enhanced RG-II dimer formation and partially restored the root growth of the pollen-rescued mutant seedlings. Taken together, these results suggest that MGP4 plays important roles in pollen tube and root growth by acting as a xylosyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of pectic RG-II. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Li Q.,Peking University | Xiao G.,Peking University | Zhu Y.-X.,Peking University | Zhu Y.-X.,National Center for Plant Gene Research Beijing
Molecular Plant

Alternative splicing (AS) is a vital genetic mechanism that enhances the diversity of eukaryotic transcriptomes. Here, we generated 8.3 Gb high-quality RNA-sequencing data from cotton (Gossypium raimondii) and performed a systematic, comparative analysis of AS events. We mapped 85% of the RNA-sequencing data onto the reference genome and identified 154368 splice junctions with 16437 as events in 10197 genes. Intron retention constituted the majority (40%) of all AS events in G. raimondii. Comparison across 11 eukaryote species showed that intron retention is the most common AS type in higher plants. Although transposable elements (TEs) were found in only 2.9% of all G. raimondii introns, they are present in 43% of the retained introns, suggesting that TE-insertion may be an important mechanism for intron retention during AS. The majority of the TE insertions are concentrated 0-40 nt upstream of the 3′-splice site, substantially altering the distribution of branch points from preferred positions and reducing the efficiency of intron splicing by decreasing RNA secondary structure flexibility. Our data suggest that TE-insertion-induced changes in branch point-site distribution are important for intron retention-type AS. Our findings may help explain the vast differences in intron-retention frequencies between vertebrates and higher plants. © The Author 2014. Source

Li Q.,Peking University | Jin X.,Peking University | Zhu Y.-X.,Peking University | Zhu Y.-X.,National Center for Plant Gene Research Beijing
Journal of Genetics and Genomics

The plant genome possesses a large number of microRNAs (miRNAs) mainly 21-24 nucleotides in length. They play a vital role in regulation of target gene expression at various stages throughout the whole plant life cycle. Here we sequenced and analyzed ~10million non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) derived from fiber tissue of the allotetraploid cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) 7 days post-anthesis using ncRNA-seq technology. In terms of distinct reads, 24 nt ncRNA is by far the dominant species, followed by 21 nt and 23 nt ncRNAs. Using ab initio prediction, we identified and characterized a total of 562 candidate miRNA gene loci on the recently assembled D5 genome of the diploid cotton G. raimondii. Of all the 562 predicted miRNAs, 22 were previously discovered in cotton species and 187 had sequence conservation and homology to homologous miRNAs of other plant species. Nucleotide bias analysis showed that the 9th and 1st positions were significantly conserved among different types of miRNA genes. Among the 463 putative miRNA target genes, most significant up/down-regulation occurred in 10-20 days post-anthesis, indicating that miRNAs played an important role during the elongation and secondary cell wall synthesis stages of cotton fiber development. The discovery of new miRNA genes will help understand the mechanisms of miRNA generation and regulation in cotton. © 2012. Source

Niu Q.-K.,China Agricultural University | Liang Y.,China Agricultural University | Zhou J.-J.,China Agricultural University | Dou X.-Y.,China Agricultural University | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Plant

Pollen germination and embryogenesis are important to sexual plant reproduction. The processes require a large number of genes to be expressed. Transcription of eukaryotic nuclear genes is accomplished by three conserved RNA polymerases acting in association with a set of auxiliary general transcription factors (GTFs), including B-type GTFs. The roles of B-type GTFs in plant reproduction remain poorly understood. Here we report functional characterization of a novel plant-specific TFIIB-related gene PTF2 in Arabidopsis. Mutation in PTF2 caused failure of pollen germination. Pollen-rescue revealed that the mutation also disrupted embryogenesis and resulted in seed abortion. PTF2 is expressed prolifically in developing pollen and the other tissues with active cell division and differentiation, including embryo and shoot apical meristem. The PTF2 protein shares a lower amino acid sequence similarity with other known TFIIB and TFIIB-related proteins in Arabidopsis. It can interact with TATA-box binding protein 2 (TBP2) and bind to the double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) as the other known TFIIB and TFIIB-related proteins do. In addition, PTF2 can form a homodimer and interact with the subunits of RNA polymerases (RNAPs), implying that it may be involved in the RNAPs transcription. These results suggest that PTF2 plays crucial roles in pollen germination and embryogenesis in Arabidopsis, possibly by regulating gene expression through interaction with TBP2 and the subunits of RNAPs. © 2013 The Author. Source

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