[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drought stress is an important environmental factor limiting plant productivity. In this study, we screened drought-resistant transgenic plants from 65 promoter-pyrabactin resistance 1-like (PYL) abscisic acid (ABA) receptor gene combinations and discovered that pRD29A::PYL9 transgenic lines showed dramatically increased drought resistance and drought-induced leaf senescence in both Arabidopsis and rice. Previous studies suggested that ABA promotes senescence by causing ethylene production. However, we found that ABA promotes leaf senescence in an ethylene-independent manner by activating sucrose nonfermenting 1-related protein kinase 2s (SnRK2s), which subsequently phosphorylate ABA-responsive element-binding factors (ABFs) and Related to ABA-Insensitive 3/VP1 (RAV1) transcription factors. The phosphorylated ABFs and RAV1 up-regulate the expression of senescence-associated genes, partly by up-regulating the expression of Oresara 1. The pyl9 and ABA-insensitive 1-1 single mutants, pyl8-1pyl9 double mut
Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HDA6 is a RPD3-like histone deacetylase. In Arabidopsis, it mediates transgene and some endogenous target transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) via histone deacetylation and DNA methylation. Here, we characterized two hda6 mutant alleles that were recovered as second-site suppressors of the DNA demethylation mutant ros1-1. Although both alleles derepressed 35S::NPTII and RD29A::LUC in the ros1-1 background, they had distinct effects on the expression of these two transgenes. In accordance to expression profiles of two transgenes, the alleles have distinct opposite methylation profiles on two reporter gene promoters. Furthermore, both alleles could interact in vitro and in vivo with the DNA methyltransferase1 with differential interactive strength and patterns. Although these alleles accumulated different levels of repressive/active histone marks, DNA methylation but not histone modifications in the two transgene promoters was found to correlate with the level of derepression of the reporter genes between the two had6 alleles. Our study reveals that mutations in different domains of HDA6 convey different epigenetic status that in turn controls the expression of the transgenes as well as some endogenous loci.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recently developed CRISPR/Cas9 system is a promising technology for targeted genome editing in a variety of species including plants. However, the first generation systems were designed to target one or two gene loci at a time. We designed a new multiplex CRISPR/Cas9 system that allows the co-expression of six sgRNA modules in one binary vector using a simple (three steps) cloning strategy in Arabidopsis. The transcription of the sgRNA modules is under the control of three different RNA Polymerase III-dependent promoters. We tested the efficiency of the new multiplex system by targeting six of the fourteen PYL families of ABA receptor genes in a single transformation experiment. One line with mutations in all six targeted PYLs was identified from 15 T1 plants. The mutagenesis frequency for the six individual PYL targets in the T1 lines ranged from 13 to 93 %. In the presence of ABA, the transgenic line identified as containing mutations in all six PYL genes produced the highest germination rate in the T2 progeny (37 %). Among these germinated seedlings, half of the analyzed plants (15/30) were homozygous mutants for at least four targeted genes and two plants (6.7 %) contained homozygous mutations in five of the targeted PYLs and the other targeted PYL had biallelic mutations. Homozygous sextuple mutants were identified in the T3 progeny and characterized together with previously described triple and sextuple PYL mutants. We anticipate that the application of this multiplex CRISPR/Cas9 system will strongly facilitate functional analysis of genes pathways and families.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Plant Cell Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) is an important de novo DNA methylation pathway in plants. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) generated by Dicers from RNA polymerase IV (Pol IV) transcripts are thought to guide sequence-specific DNA methylation. To gain insight into the mechanism of RdDM, we performed whole-genome bisulfite sequencing of a collection of Arabidopsis mutants, including plants deficient in Pol IV (nrpd1) or Dicer (dcl1/2/3/4) activity. Unexpectedly, of the RdDM target loci that required Pol IV and/or Pol V, only 16% were fully dependent on Dicer activity. DNA methylation was partly or completely independent of Dicer activity at the remaining Pol IV- and/or Pol V-dependent loci, despite the loss of 24-nt siRNAs. Instead, DNA methylation levels correlated with the accumulation of Pol IV-dependent 25-50 nt RNAs at most loci in Dicer mutant plants. Our results suggest that RdDM in plants is largely guided by a previously unappreciated class of Dicer-independent non-coding RNAs, and that siRNAs are required to maintain DNA methylation at only a subset of loci.Cell Research advance online publication 8 December 2015; doi:10.1038/cr.2015.145.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The in-gel protein kinase assay is a powerful method to measure the protein phosphorylation activity of specific protein kinases. Any protein substrate can be embedded in polyacrylamide gels where they can be phosphorylated by protein kinases that are separated in the gel under denaturing conditions and then renatured. The kinase activity can be visualized in situ in the gels by autoradiography. This method has been used to compare the activities of protein kinases in parallel samples or to identify their potential substrates. Here, we describe in detail an in-gel kinase assay to measure the activity of some protein kinases in plants.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C-REPEAT-BINDING FACTOR (CBF) pathway has important roles in plant responses to cold stress. How the CBF genes themselves are activated after cold acclimation remains poorly understood. In this study, we characterized cold tolerance of null mutant of RNA-DIRECTED DNA METHYLATION 4 (RDM4), which encodes a protein that associates with RNA polymerases Pol V and Pol II, and is required for RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) in Arabidopsis. The results showed that dysfunction of RDM4 reduced cold tolerance, as evidenced by decreased survival and increased electrolyte leakage. Mutation of RDM4 resulted in extensive transcriptomic reprogramming. CBFs and CBF regulon genes were down-regulated in rdm4 but not nrpe1 (the largest subunit of PolV) mutants, suggesting that the role of RDM4 in cold stress responses is independent of the RdDM pathway. Overexpression of RDM4 constitutively increased the expression of CBFs and regulon genes and decreased cold-induced membrane injury. A great proportion of genes affected by rdm4 overlapped with those affected by CBFs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation results suggested that RDM4 is important for Pol II occupancy at the promoters of CBF2 and CBF3. We present evidence of a considerable role for RDM4 in regulating gene expression at low temperature, including the CBF pathway in Arabidopsis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The action of phytohormones in plants requires the spatiotemporal regulation of their accumulation and responses at various levels. Recent studies reveal an emerging relationship between the function of phytohormones and epigenetic modifications. In particular, evidence suggests that auxin biosynthesis, transport, and signal transduction is modulated by microRNAs and epigenetic factors such as histone modification, chromatin remodeling, and DNA methylation. Furthermore, some phytohormones have been shown to affect epigenetic modifications. These findings are shedding light on the mode of action of phytohormones and opening up a new avenue of research on phytohormones as well as revealing mechanisms regulating the epigenetic modifications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is important for growth, development and stress responses in plants. Recent research has identified ABA receptors and signalling components that regulate seed germination and stomatal closure. However, proteins that regulate ABA signalling remain poorly understood. Here we use a forward-genetic screen to identify rbm25-1 and rbm25-2, two Arabidopsis mutants with increased sensitivity to growth inhibition by ABA. Using RNA-seq, we found that RBM25 controls the splicing of many pre-mRNAs. The protein phosphatase 2C HAB1, a critical component in ABA signalling, shows a dramatic defect in pre-mRNA splicing in rbm25 mutants. Ectopic expression of a HAB1 complementary DNA derived from wild-type mRNAs partially suppresses the rbm25-2 mutant phenotype. We suggest that RNA splicing is of particular importance for plant response to ABA and that the splicing factor RBM25 has a critical role in this response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Streptococcus-derived CRISPR/Cas9 system is being widely used to perform targeted gene modifications in plants. This customized endonuclease system has two components, the single-guide RNA (sgRNA) for target DNA recognition and the CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) for DNA cleavage. Ubiquitously expressed CRISPR/Cas9 systems (UC) generate targeted gene modifications with high efficiency but only those produced in reproductive cells are transmitted to the next generation. We report the design and characterization of a germ-line-specific Cas9 system (GSC) for Arabidopsis gene modification in male gametocytes, constructed using a SPOROCYTELESS (SPL) genomic expression cassette. Four loci in two endogenous genes were targeted by both systems for comparative analysis. Mutations generated by the GSC system were rare in T1 plants but were abundant (30%) in the T2 generation. The vast majority (70%) of the T2 mutant population generated using the UC system were chimeras while the newly developed GSC system produced only 29% chimeras, with 70% of the T2 mutants being heterozygous. Analysis of two loci in the T2 population showed that the abundance of heritable gene mutations was 37% higher in the GSC system compared to the UC system and the level of polymorphism of the mutations was also dramatically increased with the GSC system. Two additional systems based on germ-line-specific promoters (pDD45-GT and pLAT52-GT) were also tested, and one of them was capable of generating heritable homozygous T1 mutant plants. Our results suggest that future application of the described GSC system will facilitate the screening for targeted gene modifications, especially lethal mutations in the T2 population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) plays important roles in plant development, and biotic and abiotic stress responses. In a recent study, we showed that endogenous NO negatively regulates abscisic (ABA) signaling in guard cells by inhibiting sucrose nonfermenting 1 (SNF1)-related protein kinase 2.6 (SnRK2.6)/open stomata 1(OST1) through S-nitrosylation. Application of NO breaks seed dormancy and alleviates the inhibitory effect of ABA on seed germination and early seedling growth, but it is unclear how NO functions at the stages of seed germination and early seedling development. Here, we show that like SnRK2.6, SnRK2.2 can be inactivated by S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) treatment through S-nitrosylation. SnRK2.2 and the closely related SnRK2.3 are known to play redundant roles in ABA inhibition of seed germination in Arabidopsis. We found that treatment with the NO donor SNP phenocopies the snrk2.2snrk2.3 double mutant in conferring ABA insensitivity at the stages of seed germination and early seedling growth. Our results suggest that NO negatively regulates ABA signaling in germination and early seedling growth through S-nitrosylation of SnRK2.2 and SnRK2.3.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: "Drying without dying" is an essential trait in land plant evolution. Unraveling how a unique group of angiosperms, the Resurrection Plants, survive desiccation of their leaves and roots has been hampered by the lack of a foundational genome perspective. Here we report the ∼1,691-Mb sequenced genome of Boea hygrometrica, an important resurrection plant model. The sequence revealed evidence for two historical genome-wide duplication events, a compliment of 49,374 protein-coding genes, 29.15% of which are unique (orphan) to Boea and 20% of which (9,888) significantly respond to desiccation at the transcript level. Expansion of early light-inducible protein (ELIP) and 5S rRNA genes highlights the importance of the protection of the photosynthetic apparatus during drying and the rapid resumption of protein synthesis in the resurrection capability of Boea. Transcriptome analysis reveals extensive alternative splicing of transcripts and a focus on cellular protection strategies. The lack of desiccation tolerance-specific genome organizational features suggests the resurrection phenotype evolved mainly by an alteration in the control of dehydration response genes.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the transition from water to land, plants had to cope with the loss of water through transpiration, the inevitable result of photosynthetic CO2 fixation on land [1, 2]. Control of transpiration became possible through the development of a new cell type: guard cells, which form stomata. In vascular plants, stomatal regulation is mediated by the stress hormone ABA, which triggers the opening of the SnR kinase OST1-activated anion channel SLAC1 [3, 4]. To understand the evolution of this regulatory circuit, we cloned both ABA-signaling elements, SLAC1 and OST1, from a charophyte alga, a liverwort, and a moss, and functionally analyzed the channel-kinase interactions. We were able to show that the emergence of stomata in the last common ancestor of mosses and vascular plants coincided with the origin of SLAC1-type channels capable of using the ancient ABA drought signaling kinase OST1 for regulation of stomatal closure.