Plant Science Research Center

Shanghai, China

Plant Science Research Center

Shanghai, China
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Chao L.-M.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Liu Y.-Q.,University of Shanghai for Science and Technology | Chen D.-Y.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Xue X.-Y.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Plant | Year: 2017

Plant reproductive organs are vulnerable to heat, but regulation of heat-shock responses in inflorescence is largely uncharacterized. Here, we report that two of the SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) transcriptional factors in Arabidopsis, SPL1 and SPL12, act redundantly in thermotolerance at the reproductive stage. The spl1-1 spl12-1 inflorescences displayed hypersensitivity to heat stress, whereas overexpression of SPL1 or SPL12 enhanced the thermotolerance in both Arabidopsis and tobacco. RNA sequencing revealed 1939 upregulated and 1479 downregulated genes in wild-type inflorescence upon heat stress, among which one-quarter (1,040) was misregulated in spl1-1 spl12-1, indicating that SPL1 and SPL12 contribute greatly to the heat-triggered transcriptional reprogramming in inflorescence. Notably, heat stress induced a large number of abscisic acid (ABA) responsive genes, of which ∼39% were disturbed in heat induction in spl1-1 spl12-1 inflorescence. Preapplication of ABA and overexpression of SPL1 restored the inflorescence thermotolerance in spl1-1 spl12-1 and in the ABA biosynthesis mutant aba2-1, but not in the pyl sextuple mutant defective in ABA receptors PYR1/PYL1/PYL2/PYL4/PYL5/PYL8. Thus, inflorescence thermotolerance conferred by SPL1 and SPL2 involves PYL-mediated ABA signaling. The molecular network consisting of SPL1 and SPL12 illustrated here shed new light on the mechanisms of plant thermotolerance at the reproductive stage. © 2017 The Authors


Fang X.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Li J.-X.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Huang J.-Q.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Xiao Y.-L.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | And 3 more authors.
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2017

Terpene synthases (TPSs) are responsible for the extremely diversified and complex structure of terpenoids. Amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS) has a high (90%) fidelity in generating the sesquiterpene precursor for the biosynthesis of artemisinin, an antimalarial drug, however, little is known about how active site residues of ADS are involved in carbocation rearrangement and cyclization reactions. Here, we identify seven residues that are key to most of the catalytic steps in ADS. By structural modeling and amino acid sequence alignments of ADS with two functionally relevant sesquiterpene synthases from Artemisia annua, we performed site-directed mutagenesis and found that a single substitution, T296V, impaired the ring closure activity almost completely, and tetra-substitutions (L374Y/L404V/L405I/G439S) led to an enzyme generating 80% monocyclic bisabolyltype sesquiterpenes, whereas a double mutant (T399L/T447G) showed compromised activity in regioselective deprotonation to yield 34.7 and 37.7% normal and aberrant deprotonation products, respectively. Notably, Thr296, Leu374, Gly439, Thr399, and Thr447, which play a major role in directing catalytic cascades, are located around conserved metal-binding motifs and function through impacting the folding of the substrate/ intermediate, implying that residues surrounding the two motifs could be valuable targets for engineering TPS activity. Using this knowledge, we substantially increased amorpha- 4,11-diene production in a near-additive manner by engineering Thr399 and Thr447 for product release. Our results provide new insight for the rational design of enzyme activity using synthetic biology. © 2017 The Author(s).


Yang C.-Q.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Fang X.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Wu X.-M.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Mao Y.-B.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology | Year: 2012

Plant secondary metabolites play critical roles in plant-environment interactions. They are synthesized in different organs or tissues at particular developmental stages, and in response to various environmental stimuli, both biotic and abiotic. Accordingly, corresponding genes are regulated at the transcriptional level by multiple transcription factors. Several families of transcription factors have been identified to participate in controlling the biosynthesis and accumulation of secondary metabolites. These regulators integrate internal (often developmental) and external signals, bind to corresponding cis-elements - which are often in the promoter regions - to activate or repress the expression of enzyme-coding genes, and some of them interact with other transcription factors to form a complex. In this review, we summarize recent research in these areas, with an emphasis on newly-identified transcription factors and their functions in metabolism regulation. © 2012 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Hong G.-J.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Hong G.-J.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Xue X.-Y.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Xue X.-Y.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 4 more authors.
Plant Cell | Year: 2012

Arabidopsis thaliana flowers emit volatile terpenes, which may function in plant-insect interactions. Here, we report that Arabidopsis MYC2, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, directly binds to promoters of the sesquiterpene synthase genes TPS21 and TPS11 and activates their expression. Expression of TPS21 and TPS11 can be induced by the phytohormones gibberellin (GA) and jasmonate (JA), and both inductions require MYC2. The induction of TPS21 and TPS11 results in increased emission of sesquiterpene, especially (E)-β-caryophyllene. DELLAs, the GA signaling repressors, negatively affect sesquiterpene biosynthesis, as the sesquiterpene synthase genes were repressed in plants overaccumulating REPRESSOR OF GA1-3 (RGA), one of the Arabidopsis DELLAs, and upregulated in a penta DELLA-deficient mutant. Yeast two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that DELLAs, represented by RGA, directly interact with MYC2. In yeast cells, the N terminus of MYC2 was responsible for binding to RGA. MYC2 has been proposed as a major mediator of JA signaling and crosstalk with abscisic acid, ethylene, and light signaling pathways. Our results demonstrate that MYC2 is also connected to GA signaling in regulating a subset of genes. In Arabidopsis inflorescences, it integrates both GA and JA signals into transcriptional regulation of sesquiterpene synthase genes and promotes sesquiterpene production. © 2012 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


Xue X.-Y.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Xue X.-Y.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Zhao B.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Zhao B.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 10 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2014

The miR156-targeted SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN LIKE (SPL) transcription factors function as an endogenous age cue in regulating plant phase transition and phase-dependent morphogenesis, but the control of SPL output remains poorly understood. In Arabidopsis thaliana the spatial pattern of trichome is a hallmark of phase transition and governed by SPLs. Here, by dissecting the regulatory network controlling trichome formation on stem, we show that the miR171-targeted LOST MERISTEMS 1 (LOM1), LOM2 and LOM3, encoding GRAS family members previously known to maintain meristem cell polarity, are involved in regulating the SPL activity. Reduced LOM abundance by overexpression of miR171 led to decreased trichome density on stems and floral organs, and conversely, constitutive expression of the miR171-resistant LOM (rLOM) genes promoted trichome production, indicating that LOMs enhance trichome initiation at reproductive stage. Genetic analysis demonstrated LOMs shaping trichome distribution is dependent on SPLs, which positively regulate trichome repressor genes TRICHOMELESS 1 (TCL1) and TRIPTYCHON (TRY). Physical interaction between the N-terminus of LOMs and SPLs underpins the repression of SPL activity. Importantly, other growth and developmental events, such as flowering, are also modulated by LOM-SPL interaction, indicating a broad effect of the LOM-SPL interplay. Furthermore, we provide evidence that MIR171 gene expression is regulated by its targeted LOMs, forming a homeostatic feedback loop. Our data uncover an antagonistic interplay between the two timing miRNAs in controlling plant growth, phase transition and morphogenesis through direct interaction of their targets. © 2014 Xue et al.


Li J.-X.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Li J.-X.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Fang X.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Zhao Q.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | And 11 more authors.
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2013

Most TPSs (terpene synthases) contain plasticity residues that are responsible for diversified terpene products and functional evolution, which provide a potential for improving catalytic efficiency. Artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone from Artemisia annua L., is widely used for malaria treatment and progress has been made in engineering the production of artemisinin or its precursors. In the present paper, we report a new sesquiterpene synthase from A. annua, AaBOS (A. annua α-bisabolol synthase), which has high sequence identity with AaADS (A. annua amorpha-4, 11-diene synthase), a key enzyme in artemisinin biosynthesis. Comparative analysis of the two enzymes by domain-swapping and structure-based mutagenesis led to the identification of several plasticity residues, whose alteration changed the product profile of AaBOS to include γ -humulene as the major product. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we solved the crystal structures of AaBOS and a γ-humulene-producing AaBOS mutant (termed AaBOS-M2). Among the plasticity residues, position 399, located in the substrate-binding pocket, is crucial for both enzymes. In AaBOS, substitution of threonine for leucine (AaBOSL339T) is required for γ-humulene production; whereas in AaADS, replacing the threonine residue with serine (AaADST399S) resulted in a substantial increase in the activity of amorpha-4, 11-diene production, probably as a result of accelerated product release. The present study demonstrates that substitution of plasticity residues has potential for improving catalytic efficiency of the enzyme. © 2013 Biochemical Society.


PubMed | CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences and Plant Science Research Center
Type: | Journal: Science bulletin | Year: 2016

Plants synthesize and accumulate large amount of specialized (or secondary) metabolites also known as natural products, which provide a rich source for modern pharmacy. In China, plants have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Recent development of molecular biology, genomics and functional genomics as well as high-throughput analytical chemical technologies has greatly promoted the research on medicinal plants. In this article, we review recent advances in the elucidation of biosynthesis of specialized metabolites in medicinal plants, including phenylpropanoids, terpenoids and alkaloids. These natural products may share a common upstream pathway to form a limited numbers of common precursors, but are characteristic in distinct modifications leading to highly variable structures. Although this review is focused on traditional Chinese medicine, other plants with a great medicinal interest or potential are also discussed. Understanding of their biosynthesis processes is critical for producing these highly value molecules at large scale and low cost in microbes and will benefit to not only human health but also plant resource conservation.


Yu Z.-X.,Plant Science Research Center | Yu Z.-X.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Yu Z.-X.,Dalian University | Wang L.-J.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Plant | Year: 2015

Plant metabolites vary at different stages of their life cycle. Although it is well documented that environmental factors stimulate biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, the regulation by endogenous developmental cues remains poorly understood. The microRNA156 (miR156)-targeted SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) factors function as a major age cue in regulating developmental phase transition and flowering. We show here that the miR156-targeted SPL transcription factor plays an important role in the spatiotemporal regulation of sesquiterpene biosynthesis. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the miR156-SPL module regulates the formation of (E)-β-caryophyllene in the flowering stage through modulating expression of the sesquiterpene synthase gene TPS21. We demonstrated that SPL9 directly binds to TPS21 promoter and activates its expression. In the perennial fragrant herb Pogostemon cablin, the accumulation of patchouli oil, largely composed of sesquiterpenes dominated by (-)-patchoulol, is also age-regulated, and the SPL promotes biosynthesis of sesquiterpenes in elder plants by upregulating patchoulol synthase (PatPTS) gene expression. As miR156-SPLs are highly conserved in plants, our finding not only uncovers a molecular link between developmental timing and sesquiterpene production but also suggests a new strategy to engineer plants for accelerated growth with enhanced production of terpenoids. © 2015 The Author.


Yu Z.-X.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Yu Z.-X.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Li J.-X.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Li J.-X.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Plant | Year: 2012

Plants of Artemisia annua produce artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone widely used in malaria treatment. Amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS), a sesquiterpene synthase, and CYP71AV1, a P450 monooxygenase, are two key enzymes of the artemisinin biosynthesis pathway. Accumulation of artemisinin can be induced by the phytohormone jasmonate (JA). Here, we report the characterization of two JA-responsive AP2 family transcription factors - AaERF1 and AaERF2 - from A. annua L. Both genes were highly expressed in inflorescences and strongly induced by JA. Yeast one-hybrid and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) showed that they were able to bind to the CRTDREHVCBF2 (CBF2) and RAV1AAT (RAA) motifs present in both ADS and CYP71AV1 promoters. Transient expression of either AaERF1 or AaERF2 in tobacco induced the promoter activities of ADS or CYP71AV1, and the transgenic A. annua plants overexpressing either transcription factor showed elevated transcript levels of both ADS and CYP71AV1, resulting in increased accumulation of artemisinin and artemisinic acid. By contrast, the contents of these two metabolites were reduced in the RNAi transgenic lines in which expression of AaERF1 or AaERF2 was suppressed. These results demonstrate that AaERF1 and AaERF2 are two positive regulators of artemisinin biosynthesis and are of great value in genetic engineering of artemisinin production. © 2011 The Author Published by the Molecular Plant Shanghai Editorial Office in association with Oxford University Press on behalf of CSPB and IPPE, SIBS, CAS.


Yang C.-Q.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Wu X.-M.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Ruan J.-X.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | Hu W.-L.,CAS Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology | And 4 more authors.
Phytochemistry | Year: 2013

Cotton plants accumulate gossypol and related sesquiterpene aldehydes, which function as phytoalexins against pathogens and feeding deterrents to herbivorous insects. However, to date little is known about the biosynthesis of volatile terpenes in this crop. Herein is reported that 5 monoterpenes and 11 sesquiterpenes from extracts of a glanded cotton cultivar, Gossypium hirsutum cv. CCRI12, were detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). By EST data mining combined with Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE), full-length cDNAs of three terpene synthases (TPSs), GhTPS1, GhTPS2 and GhTPS3 were isolated. By in vitro assays of the recombinant proteins, it was found that GhTPS1 and GhTPS2 are sesquiterpene synthases: the former converted farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) into β-caryophyllene and α-humulene in a ratio of 2:1, whereas the latter produced several sesquiterpenes with guaia-1(10),11-diene as the major product. By contrast, GhTPS3 is a monoterpene synthase, which produced α-pinene, β-pinene, β-phellandrene and trace amounts of other monoterpenes from geranyl pyrophosphate (GPP). The TPS activities were also supported by Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) in the cotton plant. GhTPS1 and GhTPS3 were highly expressed in the cotton plant overall, whereas GhTPS2 was expressed only in leaves. When stimulated by mechanical wounding, Verticillium dahliae (Vde) elicitor or methyl jasmonate (MeJA), production of terpenes and expression of the corresponding synthase genes were induced. These data demonstrate that the three genes account for the biosynthesis of volatile terpenes of cotton, at least of this Upland cotton. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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