[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sugarcane is a major crop used for food and bioenergy production. Modern cultivars are hybrids derived from crosses between Saccharum officinarum and Saccharum spontaneum. Hybrid cultivars combine favorable characteristics from ancestral species and contain a genome that is highly polyploid and aneuploid, containing 100-130 chromosomes. These complex genomes represent a huge challenge for molecular studies and for the development of biotechnological tools that can facilitate sugarcane improvement. Here, we describe full-length enriched cDNA libraries for Saccharum officinarum, Saccharum spontaneum, and one hybrid genotype (SP803280) and analyze the set of open reading frames (ORFs) in their genomes (i.e., their ORFeomes). We found 38,195 (19%) sugarcane-specific transcripts that did not match transcripts from other databases. Less than 1.6% of all transcripts were ancestor-specific (i.e., not expressed in SP803280). We also found 78,008 putative new sugarcane transcripts that were absent in the largest sugarcane expressed sequence tag database (SUCEST). Functional annotation showed a high frequency of protein kinases and stress-related proteins. We also detected natural antisense transcript expression, which mapped to 94% of all plant KEGG pathways; however, each genotype showed different pathways enriched in antisense transcripts. Our data appeared to cover 53.2% (17,563 genes) and 46.8% (937 transcription factors) of all sugarcane full-length genes and transcription factors, respectively. This work represents a significant advancement in defining the sugarcane ORFeome and will be useful for protein characterization, single nucleotide polymorphism and splicing variant identification, evolutionary and comparative studies, and sugarcane genome assembly and annotation.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107351. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose:
The Center of Toxins, Immune-response and Cell Signaling (CeTICS) is an emerging center that studies biochemical, molecular, and cellular mechanisms of toxins that have therapeutic potential. That aims to understand the short-term and long-term behavior of biological systems based on analysis of signaling networks. This is an interdisciplinary project, coupled to the heterogeneous, high-throughput data produced by modern large scale techniques in genomics and proteomics, which implies the necessity of data organization and integration to carry out scientific knowledge. Based on the project goals, we are developing a platform to provide a uniform conceptual schema to minimize -omics data representation. As well as a suitable semantics for interdisciplinary research that allows quantitative and qualitative -omics integrative analyses and mathematical modeling of signaling networks.
The CeTICSdb platform, in its present conceptual database model, allows different integration approaches, construction and simulation of dynamic models based on high-throughput omics data. In addition, it also allows retrieval, storage, management, and integration of experimental and simulated results. Further development of CeTICSdb’ database structure and data integration tools is planned to reduce gaps between behavior of experimental models and virtual simulated models.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Sugarcane is the source of sugar in all tropical and subtropical countries and is becoming increasingly important for bio-based fuels. However, its large (10 Gb), polyploid, complex genome has hindered genome based breeding efforts. Here we release the largest and most diverse set of sugarcane genome sequences to date, as part of an on-going initiative to provide a sugarcane genomic information resource, with the ultimate goal of producing a gold standard genome.
Results: Three hundred and seventeen chiefly euchromatic BACs were sequenced. A reference set of one thousand four hundred manually-annotated protein-coding genes was generated. A small RNA collection and a RNA-seq library were used to explore expression patterns and the sRNA landscape. In the sucrose and starch metabolism pathway, 16 non-redundant enzyme-encoding genes were identified. One of the sucrose pathway genes, sucrose-6-phosphate phosphohydrolase, is duplicated in sugarcane and sorghum, but not in rice and maize. A diversity analysis of the s6pp duplication region revealed haplotype-structured sequence composition. Examination of hom(e)ologous loci indicate both sequence structural and sRNA landscape variation. A synteny analysis shows that the sugarcane genome has expanded relative to the sorghum genome, largely due to the presence of transposable elements and uncharacterized intergenic and intronic sequences.
Conclusion: This release of sugarcane genomic sequences will advance our understanding of sugarcane genetics andcontribute to the development of molecular tools for breeding purposes and gene discovery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many plant species of great economic value (e.g., potato, wheat, cotton, and sugarcane) are polyploids. Despite the essential roles of autopolyploid plants in human activities, our genetic understanding of these species is still poor. Recent progress in instrumentation and biochemical manipulation has led to the accumulation of an incredible amount of genomic data. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time a successful genetic analysis in a highly polyploid genome (sugarcane) by the quantitative analysis of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) allelic dosage and the application of a new data analysis framework. This study provides a better understanding of autopolyploid genomic structure and is a sound basis for genetic studies. The proposed methods can be employed to analyse the genome of any autopolyploid and will permit the future development of high-quality genetic maps to assist in the assembly of reference genome sequences for polyploid species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Commercial sugarcane (Saccharum hybrid) is a highly polyploid and aneuploid grass that stores large amounts of sucrose in its stem. We have measured circadian rhythms of sense and antisense transcription in a commercial cultivar (RB855453) using a custom oligoarray with 14,521 probes that hybridize to sense transcripts (SS) and 7,380 probes that hybridize to antisense transcripts (AS).We estimated that 32% of SS probes and 22% AS probes were rhythmic. This is a higher proportion of rhythmic probes than the usually found in similar experiments in other plant species. Orthologs and inparalogs of Arabidopsis thaliana, sugarcane, rice, maize and sorghum were grouped in ortholog clusters. When ortholog clusters were used to compare probes among different datasets, sugarcane also showed a higher proportion of rhythmic elements than the other species. Thus, it is possible that a higher proportion of transcripts are regulated by the sugarcane circadian clock. Thirty-six percent of the identified AS/SS pairs had significant correlated time courses and 64% had uncorrelated expression patterns. The clustering of transcripts with similar function, the anticipation of daily environmental changes and the temporal compartmentation of metabolic processes were some properties identified in the circadian sugarcane transcriptome. During the day, there was a dominance of transcripts associated with photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism, including sucrose and starch synthesis. During the night, there was dominance of transcripts associated with genetic processing, such as histone regulation and RNA polymerase, ribosome and protein synthesis. Finally, the circadian clock also regulated hormone signalling pathways: a large proportion of auxin and ABA signalling components were regulated by the circadian clock in an unusual biphasic distribution.
PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e71847. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Saccharinae, especially sugarcane, Miscanthus and sorghum, present remarkable characteristics for bioenergy production. Biotechnology of these plants will be important for a sustainable feedstock supply. Herein, we review knowledge useful for their improvement and synergies gained by their parallel study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) is the most promising crop for renewable energy. Among the diverse stresses that affect plant productivity, drought stress frequently causes losses in sugarcane fields. Although several studies have addressed plant responses to drought using controlled environments, plant responses under field conditions are largely unknown. Recently, microRNA (miRNA)-mediated post-transcriptional regulation has been described as an important and decisive component in vegetal development and stress resistance modulation. The role of miRNAs in sugarcane responses to drought under field conditions is currently not known. Two sugarcane cultivars differing in drought tolerance were grown in the field with and without irrigation (rainfed) for 7 months. By using small RNA deep sequencing, we were able to identify 18 miRNA families comprising 30 mature miRNA sequences. Among these families, we found 13 mature miRNAs that were differentially expressed in drought-stressed plants. Seven miRNAs were differentially expressed in both cultivars. The target genes for many of the differentially expressed mature miRNAs were predicted, and some of them were validated by quantitative reverse transcription PCR. Among the targets, we found transcription factors, transporters, proteins associated with senescence, and proteins involved with flower development. All of these data increase our understanding of the role of miRNAs in the complex regulation of drought stress in field-grown sugarcane, providing valuable tools to develop new sugarcane cultivars tolerant to drought stress.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drought is a major abiotic stress that affects crop productivity worldwide. Sugarcane can withstand periods of water scarcity during the final stage of culm maturation, during which sucrose accumulation occurs. Meanwhile, prolonged periods of drought can cause severe plant losses.
In a previous study, we evaluated the transcriptome of drought-stressed plants to better understand sugarcane responses to drought. Among the up-regulated genes was Scdr1 (sugarcane drought-responsive 1). The aim of the research reported here was to characterize this gene. Scdr1 encodes a putative protein containing 248 amino acids with a large number of proline (19%) and cysteine (13%) residues. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ScDR1is in a clade with homologs from other monocotyledonous plants, separate from those of dicotyledonous plants. The expression of Scdr1 in different varieties of sugarcane plants has not shown a clear association with drought tolerance.
The overexpression of Scdr1 in transgenic tobacco plants increased their tolerance to drought, salinity and oxidative stress, as demonstrated by increased photosynthesis, water content, biomass, germination rate, chlorophyll content and reduced accumulation of ROS. Physiological parameters, such as transpiration rate (E), net photosynthesis (A), stomatal conductance (gs) and internal leaf CO(2) concentration, were less affected by abiotic stresses in transgenic Scdr1 plants compared with wild-type plants. Overall, our results indicated that Scdr1 conferred tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses, highlighting the potential of this gene for biotechnological applications.
PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e44697. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sugarcane is an important sugar and energy crop that can be used efficiently for biofuels production. The development of sugarcane cultivars tolerant to drought could allow for the expansion of plantations to sub-prime regions. Knowledge on the mechanisms underlying drought responses and its relationship with carbon partition would greatly help to define routes to increase yield. In this work we studied sugarcane responses to drought using a custom designed oligonucleotide array with 21,901 different probes. The oligoarrays were designed to contain probes that detect transcription in both sense and antisense orientation. We validated the results obtained using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). A total of 987 genes were differentially expressed in at least one sample of sugarcane plants submitted to drought for 24, 72 and 120 h. Among them, 928 were sense transcripts and 59 were antisense transcripts. Genes related to Carbohydrate Metabolism, RNA Metabolism and Signal Transduction were selected for gene expression validation by qPCR that indicated a validation percentage of 90%. From the probes presented on the array, 75% of the sense probes and 11.9% of the antisense probes have signal above background and can be classified as expressed sequences. Our custom sugarcane oligonucleotide array provides sensitivity and good coverage of sugarcane transcripts for the identification of a representative proportion of natural antisense transcripts (NATs) and sense-antisense transcript pairs (SATs). The antisense transcriptome showed, in most cases, co-expression with respective sense transcripts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sugarcane cultivars derive from interspecific hybrids obtained by crossing Saccharum officinarum and Saccharum spontaneum and provide feedstock used worldwide for sugar and biofuel production. The importance of sugarcane as a bioenergy feedstock
has increased interest in the generation of new cultivars optimised for energy production. Cultivar improvement has relied
largely on traditional breeding methods, which may be limited by the complexity of inheritance in interspecific polyploid
hybrids, and the time-consuming process of selection of plants with desired agronomic traits. In this sense, molecular genetics
can assist in the process of developing improved cultivars by generating molecular markers that can be used in the breeding
process or by introducing new genes into the sugarcane genome. For meeting each of these, and additional goals, biotechnologists
would benefit from a reference genome sequence of a sugarcane cultivar. The sugarcane genome poses challenges that have not
been addressed in any prior sequencing project, due to its highly polyploid and aneuploid genome structure with a complete
set of homeologous genes predicted to range from 10 to 12 copies (alleles) and to include representatives from each of two
different species. Although sugarcane’s monoploid genome is about 1 Gb, its highly polymorphic nature represents another significant
challenge for obtaining a genuine assembled monoploid genome. With a rich resource of expressed-sequence tag (EST) data in
the public domain, the present article describes tools and strategies that may aid in the generation of a reference genome
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, efforts to improve sugarcane have focused on the development of biotechnology for this crop. It has become clear that sugarcane lacks tools for the biotechnological route of improvement and that the initial efforts in sequencing ESTs had limited impact for breeding. Until recently, the models used by breeders in statistical genetics approaches have been developed for diploid organisms, which are not ideal for a polyploid genome such as that of sugarcane. Breeding programs are dealing with decreasing yield gains. The contribution of multiple alleles to complex traits such as yield is a basic question underlining the breeding efforts that could only be addressed by the development of specific tools for this grass. However, functional genomics has progressed and gene expression profiling is leading to the definition of gene networks. The sequencing of the sugarcane genome, which is underway, will greatly contribute to numerous aspects of research on grasses. We expect that both the transgenic and the marker-assisted route for sugarcane improvement will contribute to increased sugar, stress tolerance, and higher yield and that the industry for years to come will be able to rely on sugarcane as the most productive energy crop.
Current Opinion in Biotechnology 10/2011; 23(2):265-70. · 8.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increasing number of plant scientists, including breeders, agronomists, physiologists and molecular biologists, are working towards the development of new and improved energy crops. Research is increasingly focused on how to design crops specifically for bioenergy production and increased biomass generation for biofuel purposes. The most important biofuel to date is bioethanol produced from sugars (sucrose and starch). Second generation bioethanol is also being targeted for studies to allow the use of the cell wall (lignocellulose) as a source of carbon. If a crop is to be used for bioenergy production, the crop should be high yielding, fast growing, low lignin content and requiring relatively small energy inputs for its growth and harvest. Obtaining high yields in nonprime agricultural land is a key for energy crop development to allow sustainability and avoid competition with food production. Sugarcane is the most efficient bioenergy crop of tropical and subtropical regions, and biotechnological tools for the improvement of this crop are advancing rapidly. We focus this review on the studies of sugarcane genes associated with sucrose content, biomass and cell wall metabolism and the preliminary physiological characterization of cultivars that contrast for sugar and biomass yield.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The protein kinase YakA is responsible for the growth arrest and induction of developmental processes that occur upon starvation of Dictyostelium cells. yakA- cells are aggregation deficient, have a faster cell cycle and are hypersensitive to oxidative and nitrosoative stress. With the aim of isolating members of the YakA pathway, suppressors of the death induced by nitrosoative stress in the yakA- cells were identified. One of the suppressor mutations occurred in keaA, a gene identical to DG1106 and similar to Keap1 from mice and the Kelch protein from Drosophila, among others that contain Kelch domains.
A mutation in keaA suppresses the hypersensitivity to oxidative and nitrosoative stresses but not the faster growth phenotype of yakA- cells. The growth profile of keaA deficient cells indicates that this gene is necessary for growth. keaA deficient cells are more resistant to nitrosoative and oxidative stress and keaA is necessary for the production and detection of cAMP. A morphological analysis of keaA deficient cells during multicellular development indicated that, although the mutant is not absolutely deficient in aggregation, cells do not efficiently participate in the process. Gene expression analysis using cDNA microarrays of wild-type and keaA deficient cells indicated a role for KeaA in the regulation of the cell cycle and pre-starvation responses.
KeaA is required for cAMP signaling following stress. Our studies indicate a role for kelch proteins in the signaling that regulates the cell cycle and development in response to changes in the environmental conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sugarcane is a proven biofuel feedstock and accounts for about 40% of the biofuel production worldwide. It has a more favorable energy input/output ratio than that of corn, the other major biofuel feedstock. The rich resource of genetic diversity and the plasticity of autopolyploid genomes offer a wealth of opportunities for the application of genomics and technologies to address fundamental questions in sugarcane towards maximizing biomass production. In a workshop on sugarcane engineering held at Rutgers University, we identified research areas and emerging technologies that could have significant impact on sugarcane improvement. Traditional plant physiological studies and standardized phenotypic characterization of sugarcane are essential for dissecting the developmental processes and patterns of gene expression in this complex polyploid species. Breeder friendly DNA markers associated with target traits will enhance selection efficiency and shorten the long breeding cycles. Integration of cold tolerance from Saccharum spontaneum and Miscanthus has the potential to expand the geographical range of sugarcane production from tropical and subtropical regions to temperate zones. The Flex-stock and mix-stock concepts could be solutions for sustaining local biorefineries where no single biofuel feedstock could provide consistent year-round supplies. The ever increasing capacities of genomics and biotechnologies pave the way for fully exploring these potentials to optimize sugarcane for biofuel production.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sucrose is the major product of photosynthesis in many higher plants. It is transported from the source tissue through the
phloem to various sink tissues to support plant growth, development and reproduction. Knowledge on the signal transduction
pathways involved in sucrose synthesis in mature leaves is limited. Using a microarray approach, we analyzed the expression
profiles of 1920 sugarcane genes encoding signal transduction elements, transcription factors and stress-related proteins.
We used individuals from a population segregating for sugar content and gene expression profiles were obtained from seven
individuals with highest and seven with lowest sugar content. Surprisingly, from the 24 differentially expressed genes, 19
were more expressed in plants containing low-sugar content. Three of these genes encoded 14-3-3 like proteins, which have
been found to reduce sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activity. Another encoded an SNF1-related protein similar to a protein
kinase that phosphorylates SPS in vitro making it a target for the interaction with 14-3-3 proteins. The up-regulation of eight stress related genes in the lower
sugar content plants supports a view that sugar levels modulate a complex signal transduction network that seems to involve
responses that are related to stress. Evidence that hormone signaling is related to the sucrose content was also found. These
data reinforced the usefulness of genomic approaches to uncover how sucrose metabolism can be regulated in sugarcane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sucrose content is a highly desirable trait in sugarcane as the worldwide demand for cost-effective biofuels surges. Sugarcane cultivars differ in their capacity to accumulate sucrose and breeding programs routinely perform crosses to identify genotypes able to produce more sucrose. Sucrose content in the mature internodes reach around 20% of the culms dry weight. Genotypes in the populations reflect their genetic program and may display contrasting growth, development, and physiology, all of which affect carbohydrate metabolism. Few studies have profiled gene expression related to sugarcane's sugar content. The identification of signal transduction components and transcription factors that might regulate sugar accumulation is highly desirable if we are to improve this characteristic of sugarcane plants.
We have evaluated thirty genotypes that have different Brix (sugar) levels and identified genes differentially expressed in internodes using cDNA microarrays. These genes were compared to existing gene expression data for sugarcane plants subjected to diverse stress and hormone treatments. The comparisons revealed a strong overlap between the drought and sucrose-content datasets and a limited overlap with ABA signaling. Genes associated with sucrose content were extensively validated by qRT-PCR, which highlighted several protein kinases and transcription factors that are likely to be regulators of sucrose accumulation. The data also indicate that aquaporins, as well as lignin biosynthesis and cell wall metabolism genes, are strongly related to sucrose accumulation. Moreover, sucrose-associated genes were shown to be directly responsive to short term sucrose stimuli, confirming their role in sugar-related pathways.
Gene expression analysis of sugarcane populations contrasting for sucrose content indicated a possible overlap with drought and cell wall metabolism processes and suggested signaling and transcriptional regulators to be used as molecular markers in breeding programs. Transgenic research is necessary to further clarify the role of the genes and define targets useful for sugarcane improvement programs based on transgenic plants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factors (TFs) are major players in gene regulatory networks and interactions between TFs and their target genes furnish spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression. Establishing the architecture of regulatory networks requires gathering information on TFs, their targets in the genome, and the corresponding binding sites. We have developed GRASSIUS (Grass Regulatory Information Services) as a knowledge-based Web resource that integrates information on TFs and gene promoters across the grasses. In its initial implementation, GRASSIUS consists of two separate, yet linked, databases. GrassTFDB holds information on TFs from maize (Zea mays), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), and rice (Oryza sativa). TFs are classified into families and phylogenetic relationships begin to uncover orthologous relationships among the participating species. This database also provides a centralized clearinghouse for TF synonyms in the grasses. GrassTFDB is linked to the grass TFome collection, which provides clones in recombination-based vectors corresponding to full-length open reading frames for a growing number of grass TFs. GrassPROMDB contains promoter and cis-regulatory element information for those grass species and genes for which enough data are available. The integration of GrassTFDB and GrassPROMDB will be accomplished through GrassRegNet as a first step in representing the architecture of grass regulatory networks. GRASSIUS can be accessed from www.grassius.org.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because of the economical relevance of sugarcane and its high potential as a source of biofuel, it is important to understand how this crop will respond to the foreseen increase in atmospheric [CO(2)]. The effects of increased [CO(2)] on photosynthesis, development and carbohydrate metabolism were studied in sugarcane (Saccharum ssp.). Plants were grown at ambient (approximately 370 ppm) and elevated (approximately 720 ppm) [CO(2)] during 50 weeks in open-top chambers. The plants grown under elevated CO(2) showed, at the end of such period, an increase of about 30% in photosynthesis and 17% in height, and accumulated 40% more biomass in comparison with the plants grown at ambient [CO(2)]. These plants also had lower stomatal conductance and transpiration rates (-37 and -32%, respectively), and higher water-use efficiency (c.a. 62%). cDNA microarray analyses revealed a differential expression of 35 genes on the leaves (14 repressed and 22 induced) by elevated CO(2). The latter are mainly related to photosynthesis and development. Industrial productivity analysis showed an increase of about 29% in sucrose content. These data suggest that sugarcane crops increase productivity in higher [CO(2)], and that this might be related, as previously observed for maize and sorghum, to transient drought stress.
Plant Cell and Environment 06/2008; 31(8):1116-27. · 5.91 Impact Factor