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Publications (6)22.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Microribonucleic acids (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that play important regulatory roles by down-regulating target transcripts in a sequence-specific manner. The miRBase Registry (Release 8.2) lists 732 miRNAs from flowering plant species, with the majority identified from Arabidopsis, rice and poplar where genome sequence is available. In the absence of genomic sequence and on the basis that sequences of many miRNAs are conserved amongst divergent plant species, we analysed approximately 120,000 Malus domestica cv. Royal Gala expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and identified ten distinct sequences that could be classified into seven conserved plant miRNA families (miR156, miR159, miR162, miR167, miR172, miR393 and miR398). Secondary structure predictions showed these sequences have the characteristic fold-back structures of precursor miRNAs, and northern analysis validated the presence of these miRNA families within Royal Gala tissues. A number of the miRNAs were expressed constitutively in all tissues tested (miR159, miR162 and miR172), while others showed more restricted patterns of expression, being expressed primarily in leaf (miR398), expressed in leaf and floral bud tissue but down-regulated during fruit development (miR156 and miR167) or expressed in fungal pathogen-infected leaf tissue (miR393). Potential targets for six of the miRNA families were identified from the EST dataset and completely sequenced complementary deoxyribonucleic acids. In general, these targets encode proteins shown to be the targets of corresponding miRNAs in other plant species. Demonstrating cleavage of a number of the putative target transcripts within the region of miRNA/messenger RNA complementarity provided further evidence of the functionality of the identified Royal Gala miRNAs.
    Tree Genetics & Genomes 03/2008; 4(2):343-358. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) are a relatively new, but economically important crop grown in many different parts of the world. Commercial success is driven by the development of new cultivars with novel consumer traits including flavor, appearance, healthful components and convenience. To increase our understanding of the genetic diversity and gene-based control of these key traits in Actinidia, we have produced a collection of 132,577 expressed sequence tags (ESTs). The ESTs were derived mainly from four Actinidia species (A. chinensis, A. deliciosa, A. arguta and A. eriantha) and fell into 41,858 non redundant clusters (18,070 tentative consensus sequences and 23,788 EST singletons). Analysis of flavor and fragrance-related gene families (acyltransferases and carboxylesterases) and pathways (terpenoid biosynthesis) is presented in comparison with a chemical analysis of the compounds present in Actinidia including esters, acids, alcohols and terpenes. ESTs are identified for most genes in color pathways controlling chlorophyll degradation and carotenoid biosynthesis. In the health area, data are presented on the ESTs involved in ascorbic acid and quinic acid biosynthesis showing not only that genes for many of the steps in these pathways are represented in the database, but that genes encoding some critical steps are absent. In the convenience area, genes related to different stages of fruit softening are identified. This large EST resource will allow researchers to undertake the tremendous challenge of understanding the molecular basis of genetic diversity in the Actinidia genus as well as provide an EST resource for comparative fruit genomics. The various bioinformatics analyses we have undertaken demonstrates the extent of coverage of ESTs for genes encoding different biochemical pathways in Actinidia.
    BMC Genomics 01/2008; 9:351. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The midgut is a key tissue in insect science. Physiological roles include digestion and peritrophic membrane function, as well as being an important target for insecticides. We used an expressed sequence tag (EST) approach to identify candidate genes and gene families involved in these processes in the light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Two cDNA libraries were constructed from dissected midgut of third to fifth instar larvae. Clustering analysis of 6416 expressed sequence tags produced 1178 tentative unique genes comprising 725 tentative contigs and 453 singletons. The sequences show similar codon usage to sequences from other lepidopterans, a Kozak consensus sequence similar to Drosophila and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected at a frequency of 1.35/kb. The identity of the most common Interpro families correlates well with major known functions of the midgut. Phylogenetic analysis was conducted on representative sequences from selected multigene families. Gene families include a broad range of digestive proteases, lipases and carbohydrases that appear to have degradative capacity against the major food components found in leaves, the diet of these larvae; and carboxylesterases, glutathione-S-transferases and cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, potentially involved in xenobiotic degradation. Two of the larger multigene families, serine proteases and lipases, expressed a high proportion of genes that are likely to be catalytically inactive.
    Insect Molecular Biology 01/2008; 16(6):675-90. · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ethylene is the major effector of ripening in many fleshy fruits. In apples (Malus x domestica) the addition of ethylene causes a climacteric burst of respiration, an increase in aroma, and softening of the flesh. We have generated a transgenic line of 'Royal Gala' apple that produces no detectable levels of ethylene using antisense ACC OXIDASE, resulting in apples with no ethylene-induced ripening attributes. In response to external ethylene these antisense fruits undergo a normal climacteric burst and produced increasing concentrations of ester, polypropanoid, and terpene volatile compounds over an 8-d period. A total of 186 candidate genes that might be involved in the production of these compounds were mined from expressed sequence tags databases and full sequence obtained. Expression patterns of 179 of these were assessed using a 15,720 oligonucleotide apple microarray. Based on sequence similarity and gene expression patterns we identified 17 candidate genes that are likely to be ethylene control points for aroma production in apple. While many of the biosynthetic steps in these pathways were represented by gene families containing two or more genes, expression patterns revealed that only a single member is typically regulated by ethylene. Only certain points within the aroma biosynthesis pathways were regulated by ethylene. Often the first step, and in all pathways the last steps, contained enzymes that were ethylene regulated. This analysis suggests that the initial and final enzymatic steps with the biosynthetic pathways are important transcriptional regulation points for aroma production in apple.
    Plant physiology 09/2007; 144(4):1899-912. · 6.56 Impact Factor
  • Acta horticulturae 01/2007; 753(1):219.
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    ABSTRACT: The domestic apple (Malus domestica; also known as Malus pumila Mill.) has become a model fruit crop in which to study commercial traits such as disease and pest resistance, grafting, and flavor and health compound biosynthesis. To speed the discovery of genes involved in these traits, develop markers to map genes, and breed new cultivars, we have produced a substantial expressed sequence tag collection from various tissues of apple, focusing on fruit tissues of the cultivar Royal Gala. Over 150,000 expressed sequence tags have been collected from 43 different cDNA libraries representing 34 different tissues and treatments. Clustering of these sequences results in a set of 42,938 nonredundant sequences comprising 17,460 tentative contigs and 25,478 singletons, together representing what we predict are approximately one-half the expressed genes from apple. Many potential molecular markers are abundant in the apple transcripts. Dinucleotide repeats are found in 4,018 nonredundant sequences, mainly in the 5'-untranslated region of the gene, with a bias toward one repeat type (containing AG, 88%) and against another (repeats containing CG, 0.1%). Trinucleotide repeats are most common in the predicted coding regions and do not show a similar degree of sequence bias in their representation. Bi-allelic single-nucleotide polymorphisms are highly abundant with one found, on average, every 706 bp of transcribed DNA. Predictions of the numbers of representatives from protein families indicate the presence of many genes involved in disease resistance and the biosynthesis of flavor and health-associated compounds. Comparisons of some of these gene families with Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) suggest instances where there have been duplications in the lineages leading to apple of biosynthetic and regulatory genes that are expressed in fruit. This resource paves the way for a concerted functional genomics effort in this important temperate fruit crop.
    Plant physiology 06/2006; 141(1):147-66. · 6.56 Impact Factor