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    Jan 2014
    Professor
    Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV) · Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia Celular
    Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
    Jul 2012 - Mar 2014
    Arabidopsis-Geminiivrus Interactome
    Salk Institute · Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
    La Jolla, California, United States
    Aug 2007 - Jun 2012
    Estudo do transcriptoma associado ao déficit hídrico e desenvolvimento de imunoprecipitação de cromatina em cana de açúcar para estudos de redes regulatórias transcricionais
    Universidade de São Paulo
    São Paulo, Brazil
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    Milton Y Nishiyama Jr
    Carlos Hotta
    Lucas Araújo Castro e Silva
    Rosangela Maria Simeão
    Wanderley Dantas dos Santos
    Felipe Freitas De Castro
    Ronni Anderson Gonçalves da Silva
    Juliana Felix
    Fabio Vicente
    Pedro Marcus P Vidigal
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    Milton Y Nishiyama Jr
    Carlos Hotta
    Robert Schmitz
    Lucas Araújo Castro e Silva
    Luciana Coutinho de Oliveira
    Murilo Siqueira Alves
    Pedro A. Reis
    Margareth Alves
    Claudine Carvalho
    Matthew D Schultz
    Research
    Research Items
    Despite the relevance of the eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress response as an integrator of multiple stress signals into an adaptive response, knowledge about these ER-mediated cytoprotective pathways in soybean (Glycine max) is lacking. Here, we searched for genes involved in the highly conserved unfolded protein response (UPR) and ER stress-induced plant-specific cell death signaling pathways in the soybean genome. Previously characterized Arabidopsis UPR genes were used as prototypes for the identification of the soybean orthologs and the in silico assembly of the UPR in soybean, using eggNOG v4.0 software. Functional studies were also conducted by analyzing the transcriptional activity of soybean UPR transducers. As a result of this search, we have provided a complete profile of soybean UPR genes with significant predicted protein similarities to A. thaliana UPR-associated proteins. Both arms of the plant UPR were further examined functionally, and evidence is presented that the soybean counterparts are true orthologs of previously characterized UPR transducers in Arabidopsis. The bZIP17/bZI28 orthologs (GmbZIP37 and GmbZIP38) and ZIP60 ortholog (GmbZIP68) from soybean have similar structural organizations as their Arabidopsis counterparts, were induced by ER stress and activated an ERSE- and UPRE-containing BiP promoter. Furthermore, the transcript of the putative substrate of GmIREs, GmbZIP68, harbors a canonical site for IRE1 endonuclease activity and was efficiently spliced under ER stress conditions. In a reverse approach, we also examined the Arabidopsis genome for components of a previously characterized ER stress-induced cell death signaling response in soybean. With the exception of GmERD15, which apparently does not possess an Arabidopsis ortholog, the Arabidopsis genome harbors conserved GmNRP, GmNAC81, GmNAC30 and GmVPE sequences that share significant structural and sequence similarities with their soybean counterparts. These results suggest that the NRP/GmNAC81 + GmNAC30/VPE regulatory circuit may transduce cell death signals in plant species other than soybean. Our in silico analyses, along with current and previous functional data, permitted generation of a comprehensive overview of the ER stress response in soybean as a framework for functional prediction of ER stress signaling components and their possible connections with multiple stress responses.
    We have sequenced the genome of the commercial sugarcane variety SP80 3280 using a shotgun approach. Commercial sugarcane is a highly polyploid and aneuploid species with a <10 Gbp genome. It is estimated that commercial sugarcane has 100 to 120 chromossomes, with 10 a 14 gene copies coming from Saccharum officinarum and S. spontaneum. Leaf DNA was broken into fragments of 500 bp to 1000 bp (average of 650 bp) and was sequenced using the Titanium 454 (Roche). A total of 27 runs were made, which generated 10.8 Gbp from 5 different shotgun libraries. When the 26 million reads were assembled using Newbler (40 bp coverage, 90% overlap), 1.1 million contigs were generated with an average of 830 bp and 18x coverage. We have been using the 9kbp sorghum gene GIGANTEA (SbGI) as a quality indicator of the assemblies. While 4 contigs would align to SbGI covering about 91% of the genome in the previous assembly, 3 contigs of the new assembly align to SbGI with 100% coverage as they would overlap between 50 to 100 bp. When we analyzed the flanking regions of this gene (3 kbp), only a 2kbp contig downstream the gene was found. A similar situation was observed in other analyzed genes. This is an indication that sorghum genome may be useful to identify coding regions in the sugarcane genome but may not be enough to identify their regulatory regions.
    The completion of the genome sequencing of the Arabidopsis thaliana model system provided a powerful molecular tool for comparative analysis of gene families present in the genome of economically relevant plant species. In this investigation, we used the sequences of the Arabidopsis Hsp70 gene family to identify and annotate the Citrus Hsp70 genes represented in the CitEST database. Based on sequence comparison analysis, we identified 18 clusters that were further divided into 5 subgroups encoding four mitochondrial mtHsp70s, three plastid csHsp70s, one ER luminal Hsp70 BiP, two HSP110/SSE-related proteins and eight cytosolic Hsp/Hsc70s. We also analyzed the expression profile by digital Northern of each Hsp70 transcript in different organs and in response to stress conditions. The EST database revealed a distinct population distribution of Hsp70 ESTs among isoforms and across the organs surveyed. The Hsp70-5 isoform was highly expressed in seeds, whereas BiP, mitochondrial and plastid HSp70 mRNAs displayed a similar expression profile in the organs analyzed, and were predominantly represented in flowers. Distinct Hsp70 mRNAs were also differentially expressed during Xylella infection and Citrus tristeza viral infection as well as during water deficit. This in silico study sets the groundwork for future investigations to fully characterize functionally the Citrus Hsp70 family and underscores the relevance of Hsp70s in response to abiotic and biotic stresses in Citrus.
    Despite the potential of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response to accommodate adaptive pathways, its integration with other environmental-induced responses is poorly understood in plants. We have previously demonstrated that the ER-stress sensor binding protein (BiP) from soybean exhibits an unusual response to drought. The members of the soybean BiP gene family are differentially regulated by osmotic stress and soybean BiP confers tolerance to drought. While these results may reflect crosstalk between the osmotic and ER-stress signaling pathways, the lack of mutants, transcriptional response profiles to stresses and genome sequence information of this relevant crop has limited our attempts to identify integrated networks between osmotic and ER stress-induced adaptive responses. As a fundamental step towards this goal, we performed global expression profiling on soybean leaves exposed to polyethylene glycol treatment (osmotic stress) or to ER stress inducers. The up-regulated stress-specific changes unmasked the major branches of the ER-stress response, which include enhancing protein folding and degradation in the ER, as well as specific osmotically regulated changes linked to cellular responses induced by dehydration. However, a small proportion (5.5%) of total up-regulated genes represented a shared response that seemed to integrate the two signaling pathways. These co-regulated genes were considered downstream targets based on similar induction kinetics and a synergistic response to the combination of osmotic- and ER-stress-inducing treatments. Genes in this integrated pathway with the strongest synergistic induction encoded proteins with diverse roles, such as plant-specific development and cell death (DCD) domain-containing proteins, an ubiquitin-associated (UBA) protein homolog and NAC domain-containing proteins. This integrated pathway diverged further from characterized specific branches of ER-stress as downstream targets were inversely regulated by osmotic stress. The present ER-stress- and osmotic-stress-induced transcriptional studies demonstrate a clear predominance of stimulus-specific positive changes over shared responses on soybean leaves. This scenario indicates that polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced cellular dehydration and ER stress elicited very different up-regulated responses within a 10-h stress treatment regime. In addition to identifying ER-stress and osmotic-stress-specific responses in soybean (Glycine max), our global expression-profiling analyses provided a list of candidate regulatory components, which may integrate the osmotic-stress and ER-stress signaling pathways in plants.
    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.
    The molecular chaperone binding protein (BiP) participates in the constitutive function of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and protects the cell against stresses. In this study, we investigated the underlying mechanism by which BiP protects plant cells from stress-induced cell death. We found that enhanced expression of BiP in soybean (Glycine max) attenuated ER stress- and osmotic stress-mediated cell death. Ectopic expression of BiP in transgenic lines attenuated the leaf necrotic lesions that are caused by the ER stress inducer tunicamycin and also maintained shoot turgidity upon polyethylene glycol-induced dehydration. BiP-mediated attenuation of stress-induced cell death was confirmed by the decreased percentage of dead cell, the reduced induction of the senescence-associated marker gene GmCystP, and reduced DNA fragmentation in BiP-overexpressing lines. These phenotypes were accompanied by a delay in the induction of the cell death marker genes N-RICH PROTEIN-A (NRP-A), NRP-B, and GmNAC6, which are involved in transducing a cell death signal generated by ER stress and osmotic stress through the NRP-mediated signaling pathway. The prosurvival effect of BiP was associated with modulation of the ER stress- and osmotic stress-induced NRP-mediated cell death signaling, as determined in transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) lines with enhanced (sense) and suppressed (antisense) BiP levels. Enhanced expression of BiP prevented NRP- and NAC6-mediated chlorosis and the appearance of senescence-associated markers, whereas silencing of endogenous BiP accelerated the onset of leaf senescence mediated by NRPs and GmNAC6. Collectively, these results implicate BiP as a negative regulator of the stress-induced NRP-mediated cell death response.
    Background The Geminiviridae family encompasses a group of single-stranded DNA viruses with twinned and quasi-isometric virions, which infect a wide range of dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous plants and are responsible for significant economic losses worldwide. Geminiviruses are divided into nine genera, according to their insect vector, host range, genome organization, and phylogeny reconstruction. Using rolling-circle amplification approaches along with high-throughput sequencing technologies, thousands of full-length geminivirus and satellite genome sequences were amplified and have become available in public databases. As a consequence, many important challenges have emerged, namely, how to classify, store, and analyze massive datasets as well as how to extract information or new knowledge. Data mining approaches, mainly supported by machine learning (ML) techniques, are a natural means for high-throughput data analysis in the context of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. Results Here, we describe the development of a data warehouse enriched with ML approaches, designated geminivirus.org. We implemented search modules, bioinformatics tools, and ML methods to retrieve high precision information, demarcate species, and create classifiers for genera and open reading frames (ORFs) of geminivirus genomes. Conclusions The use of data mining techniques such as ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) to feed our database, as well as algorithms based on machine learning for knowledge extraction, allowed us to obtain a database with quality data and suitable tools for bioinformatics analysis. The Geminivirus Data Warehouse (geminivirus.org) offers a simple and user-friendly environment for information retrieval and knowledge discovery related to geminiviruses. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-017-1646-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    The onset of leaf senescence is a highly regulated developmental change that is controlled by both genetics and the environment. Senescence is triggered by massive transcriptional reprogramming, but functional information about its underlying regulatory mechanisms is limited. In the current investigation, we performed a functional analysis of the soybean (Glycine max) osmotic stress- and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced NAC transcription factor GmNAC81 during natural leaf senescence using overexpression studies and reverse genetics. GmNAC81-overexpressing lines displayed accelerated flowering and leaf senescence but otherwise developed normally. The precocious leaf senescence of GmNAC81-overexpressing lines was associated with greater chlorophyll loss, faster photosynthetic decay and higher expression of hydrolytic enzyme-encoding GmNAC81 target genes, including the vacuolar processing enzyme (VPE), an executioner of vacuole-triggered programmed cell death (PCD). Conversely, VIGS-mediated silencing of GmNAC81 delayed leaf senescence and was associated with reductions in chlorophyll loss, lipid peroxidation and the expression of GmNAC81 direct targets. Promoter–reporter studies revealed that the expression pattern of GmNAC81 was associated with senescence in soybean leaves. Our data indicate that GmNAC81 is a positive regulator of age-dependent senescence and may integrate osmotic stress- and ER stress-induced PCD responses with natural leaf senescence through the GmNAC81/VPE regulatory circuit.
    Background The developmental and cell death domain (DCD)-containing asparagine-rich proteins (NRPs) were first identified in soybean (Glycine max) as transducers of a cell death signal derived from prolonged endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, osmotic stress, drought or developmentally-programmed leaf senescence via the GmNAC81/GmNAC30/GmVPE signaling module. In spite of the relevance of the DCD/NRP-mediated signaling as a versatile adaptive response to multiple stresses, mechanistic knowledge of the pathway is lacking and the extent to which this pathway may operate in the plant kingdom has not been investigated. Results Here, we demonstrated that the DCD/NRP-mediated signaling also propagates a stress-induced cell death signal in other plant species with features of a programmed cell death (PCD) response. In silico analysis revealed that several plant genomes harbor conserved sequences of the pathway components, which share functional analogy with their soybean counterparts. We showed that GmNRPs, GmNAC81and VPE orthologs from Arabidopsis, designated as AtNRP-1, AtNRP-2, ANAC036 and gVPE, respectively, induced cell death when transiently expressed in N. benthamiana leaves. In addition, loss of AtNRP1 and AtNRP2 function attenuated ER stress-induced cell death in Arabidopsis, which was in marked contrast with the enhanced cell death phenotype displayed by overexpressing lines as compared to Col-0. Furthermore, atnrp-1 knockout mutants displayed enhanced sensitivity to PEG-induced osmotic stress, a phenotype that could be complemented with ectopic expression of either GmNRP-A or GmNRP-B. In addition, AtNRPs, ANAC036 and gVPE were induced by osmotic and ER stress to an extent that was modulated by the ER-resident molecular chaperone binding protein (BiP) similarly as in soybean. Finally, as putative downstream components of the NRP-mediated cell death signaling, the stress induction of AtNRP2, ANAC036 and gVPE was dependent on the AtNRP1 function. BiP overexpression also conferred tolerance to water stress in Arabidopsis, most likely due to modulation of the drought-induced NRP-mediated cell death response. Conclusion Our results indicated that the NRP-mediated cell death signaling operates in the plant kingdom with conserved regulatory mechanisms and hence may be target for engineering stress tolerance and adaptation in crops. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-016-0843-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    The understanding of the regulatory networks that drive sugarcane physiology and agronomic traits becomes increasingly necessary for the improvement of sugarcane. We are interested in understanding the regulation of carbon partitioning, sugar content, fibre yield and drought tolerance. Different field and greenhouse experiments have been done to obtain physiological and technological data. We collected sugarcane samples from leaf and internode tissues and analysed transcriptome and biochemical changes. Data are being integrated in the SUCEST-FUN database (http://sucest-fun.org) where several tools are available to interrogate the data focusing on different aspects. We have identified 10 262 differences in gene expression when cultivars and tissues with contrasting sucrose content were compared, 12 249 changes related to drought stress and 3524 when ancestral sugarcane species were compared to a commercial sugarcane cultivar with differing fibre deposition patterns. We are developing techniques to implement sugarcane regulatory network studies using a systems biology approach. We are identifying antisense transcripts related to the traits of interest, gene upstream and downstream promoters, and active promoters using Chip-seq combined with 454 sequencing. We are sequencing the sugarcane genome using the 454 platform and the Whole Genome Shotgun and BAC approaches. With the 454 WGS sequencing, we already obtained 10.8 Gb of data. Using sugarcane 454 sequences, we were able to confirm gene structure and to clone promoter sequences. The transcriptomic and genomic techniques that are being developed in our group associated with the physiological data are resulting in a more comprehensive understanding of sugar content, fibre and drought regulation.
    Modern sugarcane cultivars are complex hybrids resulting from crosses among several Saccharum species. Traditional breeding methods have been employed extensively in different countries over the past decades to develop varieties with increased sucrose yield and resistance to pests and diseases. Conventional variety improvement, however, may be limited by the narrow pool of suitable genes. Thus, molecular genetics is seen as a promising tool to assist in the process of developing improved varieties. The SUCEST-FUN Project (http://sucest-fun.org) aims to associate function with sugarcane genes using a variety of tools, in particular those that enable the study of the sugarcane transcriptome. An extensive analysis has been conducted to characterise, phenotypically, sugarcane genotypes with regard to their sucrose content, biomass and drought responses. Through the analysis of different cultivars, genes associated with sucrose content, yield, lignin and drought have been identified. Currently, tools are being developed to determine signalling and regulatory networks in grasses, and to sequence the sugarcane genome, as well as to identify sugarcane promoters. This is being implemented through the SUCEST-FUN (http://sucest-fun.org) and GRASSIUS databases (http://grassius.org), the cloning of sugarcane promoters, the identification of cis-regulatory elements (CRE) using Chromatin Immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-Seq) and the generation of a comprehensive Signal Transduction and Transcription gene catalogue (SUCAST Catalogue).
    We performed an inventory of soybean NAC transcription factors, in which 101 NAC domain-containing proteins were annotated into 15 different subgroups, showing a clear relationship between structure and function. The six previously described GmNAC proteins (GmNAC1 to GmNAC6) were located in the nucleus and a transactivation assay in yeast confirmed that GmNAC2, GmNAC3, GmNAC4 and GmNAC5 function as transactivators. We also analyzed the expression of the six NAC genes in response to a variety of stress conditions. GmNAC2, GmNAC3 and GmNAC4 were strongly induced by osmotic stress. GmNAC3 and GmNAC4 were also induced by ABA, JA and salinity but differed in their response to cold. Consistent with an involvement in cell death programs, the transient expression of GmNAC1, GmNAC5 and GmNAC6 in tobacco leaves resulted in cell death and enhanced expression of senescence markers. Our results indicate that the described soybean NACs are functionally non-redundant transcription factors involved in response to abiotic stresses and in cell death events in soybean.
    NRPs (N-rich proteins) were identified as targets of a novel adaptive pathway that integrates endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and osmotic stress signals based on coordinate regulation and synergistic up-regulation by tunicamycin and polyethylene glycol treatments. This integrated pathway diverges from the molecular chaperone-inducing branch of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in several ways. While UPR-specific targets were inversely regulated by ER and osmotic stresses, NRPs required both signals for full activation. Furthermore, BiP (binding protein) overexpression in soybean prevented activation of the UPR by ER stress inducers, but did not affect activation of NRPs. We also found that this integrated pathway transduces a PCD signal generated by ER and osmotic stresses that result in the appearance of markers associated with leaf senescence. Overexpression of NRPs in soybean protoplasts induced caspase-3-like activity and promoted extensive DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, transient expression of NRPs in planta caused leaf yellowing, chlorophyll loss, malondialdehyde production, ethylene evolution, and induction of the senescence marker gene CP1. This phenotype was alleviated by the cytokinin zeatin, a potent senescence inhibitor. Collectively, these results indicate that ER stress induces leaf senescence through activation of plant-specific NRPs via a novel branch of the ER stress response.
    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.
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