[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic variation describes heritable differences that are not attributable to changes in DNA sequence. There is the potential for pure epigenetic variation that occurs in the absence of any genetic change or for more complex situations that involve both genetic and epigenetic differences. Methylation of cytosine residues provides one mechanism for the inheritance of epigenetic information. A genome-wide profiling of DNA methylation in two different genotypes of Zea mays (ssp. mays), an organism with a complex genome of interspersed genes and repetitive elements, allowed the identification and characterization of examples of natural epigenetic variation. The distribution of DNA methylation was profiled using immunoprecipitation of methylated DNA followed by hybridization to a high-density tiling microarray. The comparison of the DNA methylation levels in the two genotypes, B73 and Mo17, allowed for the identification of approximately 700 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Several of these DMRs occur in genomic regions that are apparently identical by descent in B73 and Mo17 suggesting that they may be examples of pure epigenetic variation. The methylation levels of the DMRs were further studied in a panel of near-isogenic lines to evaluate the stable inheritance of the methylation levels and to assess the contribution of cis- and trans- acting information to natural epigenetic variation. The majority of DMRs that occur in genomic regions without genetic variation are controlled by cis-acting differences and exhibit relatively stable inheritance. This study provides evidence for naturally occurring epigenetic variation in maize, including examples of pure epigenetic variation that is not conditioned by genetic differences. The epigenetic differences are variable within maize populations and exhibit relatively stable trans-generational inheritance. The detected examples of epigenetic variation, including some without tightly linked genetic variation, may contribute to complex trait variation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The iPlant Collaborative (iPlant) is a United States National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project that aims to create an innovative, comprehensive, and foundational cyberinfrastructure in support of plant biology research (PSCIC, 2006). iPlant is developing cyberinfrastructure that uniquely enables scientists throughout the diverse fields that comprise plant biology to address Grand Challenges in new ways, to stimulate and facilitate cross-disciplinary research, to promote biology and computer science research interactions, and to train the next generation of scientists on the use of cyberinfrastructure in research and education. Meeting humanity's projected demands for agricultural and forest products and the expectation that natural ecosystems be managed sustainably will require synergies from the application of information technologies. The iPlant cyberinfrastructure design is based on an unprecedented period of research community input, and leverages developments in high-performance computing, data storage, and cyberinfrastructure for the physical sciences. iPlant is an open-source project with application programming interfaces that allow the community to extend the infrastructure to meet its needs. iPlant is sponsoring community-driven workshops addressing specific scientific questions via analysis tool integration and hypothesis testing. These workshops teach researchers how to add bioinformatics tools and/or datasets into the iPlant cyberinfrastructure enabling plant scientists to perform complex analyses on large datasets without the need to master the command-line or high-performance computational services.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ChromDB website (http://www.chromdb.org) displays chromatin-associated proteins, including RNAi-associated proteins, for a broad range of organisms. Our primary focus is to display sets of highly curated plant genes predicted to encode proteins associated with chromatin remodeling. Our intent is to make this intensively curated sequence information available to the research and teaching communities in support of comparative analyses toward understanding the chromatin proteome in plants, especially in important crop species such as corn and rice. Model animal and fungal proteins are included in the database to facilitate a complete, comparative analysis of the chromatin proteome and to make the database applicable to all chromatin researchers and educators. Chromatin biology and chromatin remodeling are complex processes involving a multitude of proteins that regulate the dynamic changes in chromatin structure which either repress or activate transcription. We strive to organize ChromDB data in a straightforward and comparative manner to help users understand the complement of proteins involved in packaging DNA into chromatin.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2008; 36(Database issue):D298-302. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a unicellular green alga whose lineage diverged from land plants over 1 billion years ago. It is a model system for studying chloroplast-based photosynthesis, as well as the structure, assembly, and function of eukaryotic flagella (cilia), which were inherited from the common ancestor of plants and animals, but lost in land plants. We sequenced the approximately 120-megabase nuclear genome of Chlamydomonas and performed comparative phylogenomic analyses, identifying genes encoding uncharacterized proteins that are likely associated with the function and biogenesis of chloroplasts or eukaryotic flagella. Analyses of the Chlamydomonas genome advance our understanding of the ancestral eukaryotic cell, reveal previously unknown genes associated with photosynthetic and flagellar functions, and establish links between ciliopathy and the composition and function of flagella.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a unicellular green alga whose lineage diverged from land plants over 1 billion years ago. It is a model system for studying
chloroplast-based photosynthesis, as well as the structure, assembly, and function of eukaryotic flagella (cilia), which were
inherited from the common ancestor of plants and animals, but lost in land plants. We sequenced the ∼120-megabase nuclear
genome of Chlamydomonas and performed comparative phylogenomic analyses, identifying genes encoding uncharacterized proteins that are likely associated
with the function and biogenesis of chloroplasts or eukaryotic flagella. Analyses of the Chlamydomonas genome advance our understanding of the ancestral eukaryotic cell, reveal previously unknown genes associated with photosynthetic
and flagellar functions, and establish links between ciliopathy and the composition and function of flagella.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The smallest known eukaryotes, at approximately 1-mum diameter, are Ostreococcus tauri and related species of marine phytoplankton. The genome of Ostreococcus lucimarinus has been completed and compared with that of O. tauri. This comparison reveals surprising differences across orthologous chromosomes in the two species from highly syntenic chromosomes in most cases to chromosomes with almost no similarity. Species divergence in these phytoplankton is occurring through multiple mechanisms acting differently on different chromosomes and likely including acquisition of new genes through horizontal gene transfer. We speculate that this latter process may be involved in altering the cell-surface characteristics of each species. In addition, the genome of O. lucimarinus provides insights into the unique metal metabolism of these organisms, which are predicted to have a large number of selenocysteine-containing proteins. Selenoenzymes are more catalytically active than similar enzymes lacking selenium, and thus the cell may require less of that protein. As reported here, selenoenzymes, novel fusion proteins, and loss of some major protein families including ones associated with chromatin are likely important adaptations for achieving a small cell size.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2007; 104(18):7705-10. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cucurbita moschata, a cucurbit species responsive to inductive short-day (SD) photoperiods, and Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) were used to test whether long-distance movement of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) mRNA or FT is required for floral induction. Ectopic expression of FT by ZYMV was highly effective in mediating floral induction of long-day (LD)-treated plants. Moreover, the infection zone of ZYMV was far removed from floral meristems, suggesting that FT transcripts do not function as the florigenic signal in this system. Heterografting demonstrated efficient transmission of a florigenic signal from flowering Cucurbita maxima stocks to LD-grown C. moschata scions. Real-time RT-PCR performed on phloem sap collected from C. maxima stocks detected no FT transcripts, whereas mass spectrometry of phloem sap proteins revealed the presence of Cm-FTL1 and Cm-FTL2. Importantly, studies on LD- and SD-treated C. moschata plants established that Cmo-FTL1 and Cmo-FTL2 are regulated by photoperiod at the level of movement into the phloem and not by transcription. Finally, mass spectrometry of florally induced heterografted C. moschata scions revealed that C. maxima FT, but not FT mRNA, crossed the graft union in the phloem translocation stream. Collectively, these studies are consistent with FT functioning as a component of the florigenic signaling system in the cucurbits.
The Plant Cell 06/2007; 19(5):1488-506. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the draft genome of the black cottonwood tree, Populus trichocarpa. Integration of shotgun sequence assembly with genetic mapping enabled chromosome-scale reconstruction of the genome. More than 45,000 putative protein-coding genes were identified. Analysis of the assembled genome revealed a whole-genome duplication event; about 8000 pairs of duplicated genes from that event survived in the Populus genome. A second, older duplication event is indistinguishably coincident with the divergence of the Populus and Arabidopsis lineages. Nucleotide substitution, tandem gene duplication, and gross chromosomal rearrangement appear to proceed substantially more slowly in Populus than in Arabidopsis. Populus has more protein-coding genes than Arabidopsis, ranging on average from 1.4 to 1.6 putative Populus homologs for each Arabidopsis gene. However, the relative frequency of protein domains in the two genomes is similar. Overrepresented exceptions in Populus include genes associated with lignocellulosic wall biosynthesis, meristem development, disease resistance, and metabolite transport.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe features of RNA silencing and associated epigenetic imprints that illustrate potential roles for RNA interference (RNAi) in maintenance and transmission of epigenetic states between cells, throughout a plant, and perhaps even across sexual generations. Three types of transgenes can trigger RNAi of homologous endogenous plant genes: (1) "sense" transgenes that overexpress translatable transcripts, (2) inverted repeat (IR) transgenes that produce double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), and (3) antisense transgenes. Each mode of RNAi produces a different characteristic developmental silencing pattern. Single-copy transgenes are sufficient for sense-RNAi and antisense-RNAi, but not inverted repeat-RNAi. A single premature termination codon dramatically attenuates sense-RNAi, but it has no effect on antisense or inverted repeat-RNAi. We report here that antisense transgenes altered by removal of nonsense codons generate silencing patterns characteristic of sense-RNAi. Duplication of a sense overexpression transgene results in two types of epigenetic events: (1) complete loss of silencing and (2) altered developmental pattern of silencing. We also report that duplicating only the transgene promoter results in complete loss of silencing, whereas duplicating only transcribed sequences produces the second class, which are vein-based patterns. We infer that the latter class is due to systemic RNA silencing signals that interact with certain epigenetic states of the transgene to imprint it with information generated at a distance elsewhere in the plant.
Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 02/2006; 71:481-5.