[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Arabidopsis thaliana, XIPOTL1 encodes a phosphoethanolamine N-methyltransferase with a central role in phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis via the methylation pathway. To gain further insights into the mechanisms that regulate XIPOTL1 expression, the effect of upstream open reading frame 30 (uORF30) on the translation of the major ORF (mORF) in the presence or absence of endogenous choline (Cho) or phosphocholine (PCho) was analysed in Arabidopsis seedlings. Dose-response assays with Cho or PCho revealed that both metabolites at physiological concentrations are able to induce the translational repression of a mORF located downstream of the intact uORF30, without significantly altering its mRNA levels. PCho profiles showed a correlation between increased endogenous PCho levels and translation efficiency of a uORF30-containing mORF, while no correlation was detectable with Cho levels. Enhanced expression of a uORF30-containing mORF and decreased PCho levels were observed in the xipotl1 mutant background relative to wild type, suggesting that PCho is the true mediator of uORF30-driven translational repression. In Arabidopsis, endogenous PCho content increases during plant development and affects root meristem size, cell division, and cell elongation. Because XIPOTL1 is preferentially expressed in Arabidopsis root tips, higher PCho levels are found in roots than shoots, and there is a higher sensitivity of this tissue to translational uORF30-mediated control, it is proposed that root tips are the main site for PCho biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.
Journal of Experimental Botany 07/2012; 63(14):5203-21. · 5.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upstream open reading frames (uORFs) are common in eukaryotic transcripts, but those that encode conserved peptides occur in less than 1% of transcripts. The peptides encoded by three plant conserved peptide uORF (CPuORF) families are known to control translation of the downstream ORF in response to a small signal molecule (sucrose, polyamines, and phosphocholine). In flowering plants, transcription factors are statistically over-represented among genes that possess CPuORFs, and in general it appeared that many CPuORF genes also had other regulatory functions, though the significance of this suggestion was uncertain (Hayden and Jorgensen, 2007). Five years later the literature provides much more information on the functions of many CPuORF genes. Here we reassess the functions of 27 known CPuORF gene families and find that 22 of these families play a variety of different regulatory roles, from transcriptional control to protein turnover, and from small signal molecules to signal transduction kinases. Clearly then, there is indeed a strong association of CPuORFs with regulatory genes. In addition, 16 of these families play key roles in a variety of different biological processes. Most strikingly, the core sucrose response network includes three different CPuORFs, creating the potential for sophisticated balancing of the network in response to three different molecular inputs. We propose that the function of most CPuORFs is to modulate translation of a downstream major ORF (mORF) in response to a signal molecule recognized by the conserved peptide and that because the mORFs of CPuORF genes generally encode regulatory proteins, many of them centrally important in the biology of plants, CPuORFs play key roles in balancing such regulatory networks.
Frontiers in Plant Science 01/2012; 3:191. · 3.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transitive RNAi is a posttranscriptional mechanism of gene silencing that is based on the phenomenon of “transitivity.” This
term refers to the spreading of silencing outside of the initial target sequence and is associated with transgene-induced
posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS). Transitive RNAi is triggered by placing an inverted repeat sequence immediately
3′ of the sense transgene that is to be targeted. Placement of the inverted repeat in this region is thought to increase the
efficiency by which RDR6 initiates copying of the transgene to generate double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). In a proof-of-concept
approach, we showed that select subsets of genes can be manipulated with transitive RNAi in a high-throughput forward mutagenesis
approach (Plant J 61:873–882, 2010). Laser microdissection of Arabidopsis mesophyll cells and en masse cloning of the resulting cDNA libraries into transitive RNAi vectors demonstrated that approximately
15% of genes in the pilot study could generate visible phenotypes, resulting in photosynthetic defects. The capacity for transitive
RNAi to silence multiple members of gene family members demonstrated the utility of this approach for forward mutagenesis
of redundant gene functions. Targeted silencing of a focused population of gene transcripts by transitive RNAi provides an
efficient and complementary approach to procedures that target the entire genome. The ability of RNAi to target closely related
genes holds promise for its use in forward mutagenesis of polyploid plants, which exhibit high levels of genetic redundancy.
Advantages of transitive RNAi as a forward genetic approach, as well as potential drawbacks to this method, are discussed.
-Laser microdissection-Mutagenesis-Transitive RNAi
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The perspective presented here is that modern genetics is at a similar stage of development as were early formulations of quantum mechanics theory in the 1920s and that in 2010 we are at the dawn of a new revolution in genetics that promises to enrich and deepen our understanding of the gene and the genome. The interrelationships and interdependence of two views of the gene - the molecular biological view and the epigenetic view - are explored, and it is argued that the classical molecular biological view is incomplete without incorporation of the epigenetic perspective and that in a sense the molecular biological view has been evolving to include the epigenetic view. Intriguingly, this evolution of the molecular view toward the broader and more inclusive epigenetic view of the gene has an intriguing, if not precise, parallel in the evolution of concepts of atomic physics from Newtonian mechanics to quantum mechanics that are interesting to consider.
Frontiers in Plant Science 01/2011; 2:10. · 3.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel technique is described that targets specific populations of transcripts for homology-based gene silencing using transitive RNAi. This approach is designed to target a subset of the transcriptome in order to identify genes involved in a particular localized process, such as photosynthesis. As a proof-of-concept approach, mesophyll cells from Arabidopsis thaliana were laser-microdissected from whole leaves to generate a focused cDNA library that was bi-directionally cloned into a transitive RNAi vector that had been designed to induce silencing of homologous, endogenous genes. Approximately 15% of the transformant plants identified from both sense and antisense libraries exhibited visible phenotypes indicative of photosynthetic defects. Amplification from the genome and sequencing of cDNA inserts identified candidate genes underlying the phenotypes. For 10 of 11 such mutants, re-transformation with an RNAi construct corresponding to the candidate gene recapitulated the original mutant phenotype, and reduction of corresponding endogene transcripts was confirmed. In addition, one of the re-transformed transgenes also silenced transcripts of closely related family members, thereby demonstrating the utility of this approach for mutagenesis of redundant gene functions. Preliminary results using tissue-specific transitive RNAi forward mutagenesis of the Arabidopsis vegetative shoot apical meristem demonstrate the broad applicability of this forward mutagenesis technique for a variety of plant cell types.
The Plant Journal 12/2009; 61(5):873-82. · 6.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cosuppression is a classical form of eukaryotic post-transcriptional gene silencing. It was first reported in transgenic petunia, where a sense transgene meant to overexpress the host Chalcone Synthase-A (CHS-A) gene caused the degradation of the homologous transcripts and the loss of flower pigmentation. In this work, we used deep sequencing technology to characterize in detail the small RNA population generated from the CHS-A sequence in cosuppressed transgenic petunia. Unexpectedly, two distinct small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were found to vastly predominate. Our demonstration that they guide prominent cleavage events in CHS-A mRNA provides compelling and previously lacking evidence of a causative association between induction of individual siRNAs and an example of cosuppression. The preferential accumulation of these siRNAs provides new insights about sense cosuppression that may apply to other natural and engineered RNA silencing events.
[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: Sequence analysis of left and right border integration sites of independent, single-copy T-DNA inserts in Arabidopsis thaliana revealed three previously unrecognized concomitants of T-DNA integration. First, genomic pre-insertion sites shared sequence similarity not only with the T-DNA left and right border regions, as was previously reported, but also at high frequency with the inverted complement of the T-DNA right border region. Second, palindromic sequences were frequently found to overlap or lie adjacent to genomic target sites, suggesting a high recombinogenic potential for palindromic elements during T-DNA integration and a possible role during the primary contact between the T-DNA and the target DNA. Third, "filler" DNA sequences between genomic pre-insertion site DNA and T-DNA often derive from sequences in the T-DNA left and right border regions that are clustered around palindromic sequences in these T-DNA regions, suggesting that these palindromic elements are "hot spots" for filler DNA formation. The discovery of inverted sequence similarities at the right border suggests a previously unrecognized mode of T-DNA integration that involves heteroduplex formation at both T-DNA borders and with opposite strands of the target DNA. Scanning for sequence similarities in both direct and inverted orientation may increase the probability and/or effectiveness of anchoring the T-DNA to the target DNA. Variations on this scheme may also account for inversion events at the target site of T-DNA integration and inverted T-DNA repeat formation, common sequence organization patterns associated with T-DNA integration.
[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. · 9.58 Impact Factor
[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. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upstream open reading frames (uORFs) can mediate translational control over the largest, or major ORF (mORF) in response to starvation, polyamine concentrations, and sucrose concentrations. One plant uORF with conserved peptide sequences has been shown to exert this control in an amino acid sequence-dependent manner but generally it is not clear what kinds of genes are regulated, or how extensively this mechanism is invoked in a given genome.
By comparing full-length cDNA sequences from Arabidopsis and rice we identified 26 distinct homology groups of conserved peptide uORFs, only three of which have been reported previously. Pairwise Ka/Ks analysis showed that purifying selection had acted on nearly all conserved peptide uORFs and their associated mORFs. Functions of predicted mORF proteins could be inferred for 16 homology groups and many of these proteins appear to have a regulatory function, including 6 transcription factors, 5 signal transduction factors, 3 developmental signal molecules, a homolog of translation initiation factor eIF5, and a RING finger protein. Transcription factors are clearly overrepresented in this data set when compared to the frequency calculated for the entire genome (p = 1.2 x 10(-7)). Duplicate gene pairs arising from a whole genome duplication (ohnologs) with a conserved uORF are much more likely to have been retained in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) than are ohnologs of other genes (39% vs 14% of ancestral genes, p = 5 x 10(-3)). Two uORF groups were found in animals, indicating an ancient origin of these putative regulatory elements.
Conservation of uORF amino acid sequence, association with homologous mORFs over long evolutionary time periods, preferential retention after whole genome duplications, and preferential association with mORFs coding for transcription factors suggest that the conserved peptide uORFs identified in this study are strong candidates for translational controllers of regulatory genes.
[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: Plasmodesmata are intercellular organelles in plants that allow the passage of molecules between plant cells. Movement through plasmodesmata may allow transcription factors expressed in one cell to move into adjacent cells, thereby regulating gene expression non-cell autonomously. The two animations illustrate (i) movement of a protein through an individual plasmodesma and (ii) an experiment to detect the movement of the transcription factor through plasmodesmata from the L1 layer of a plant meristem into the L2 and L3 layers. These two animations would be useful in teaching plant biology or plant development or a cell biology class discussing mechanisms of intercellular 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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Errors are prevalent in cDNA sequences but the extent to which sequence collections differ in frequencies and types of errors has not been investigated systematically. cDNA quality control, or cQC, was developed to evaluate the quality of cDNA sequence collections and to revise those sequences that differ from a higher quality genomic sequence. After removing rRNA, vector, bacterial insertion sequence and chimeric cDNA contaminants, small-scale nucleotide discrepancies were found in 51% of cDNA sequences from one Arabidopsis cDNA collection, 89% from a second Arabidopsis collection and 75% from a rice collection. These errors created premature termination codons in 4 and 42% of cDNA sequences in the respective Arabidopsis collections and in 7% of the rice cDNA sequences.