Publications by authors named "Alessio Aprile"

29 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Influence of Bagging on the Development and Quality of Fruits.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Feb 13;10(2). Epub 2021 Feb 13.

College of Horticulture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China.

Fruit quality is certainly influenced by biotic and abiotic factors, and a main quality attribute is the external appearance of the fruit. Various possible agronomical approaches are able to regulate the fruit microenvironment and, consequently, improve fruit quality and market value. Among these, fruit bagging has recently become an integral part of fruits' domestic and export markets in countries such as Japan, China, Korea Australia and the USA because it is a safe and eco-friendly technique to protect fruits from multiple stresses, preserving or improving the overall quality. Despite increasing global importance, the development of suitable bagging materials and, above all, their use in the field is quite laborious, so that serious efforts are required to enhance and standardize bagging material according to the need of the crops/fruits. This review provides information about the effects of bagging technique on the fruit aspect and texture, which are the main determinants of consumer choice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10020358DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918571PMC
February 2021

Secondary Metabolites in -Plant Interaction.

Pathogens 2020 Aug 20;9(9). Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

During their evolutionary history, plants have evolved the ability to synthesize and accumulate small molecules known as secondary metabolites. These compounds are not essential in the primary cell functions but play a significant role in the plants' adaptation to environmental changes and in overcoming stress. Their high concentrations may contribute to the resistance of the plants to the bacterium , which has recently re-emerged as a plant pathogen of global importance. Although it is established in several areas globally and is considered one of the most dangerous plant pathogens, no cure has been developed due to the lack of effective bactericides and the difficulties in accessing the xylem vessels where the pathogen grows and produces cell aggregates and biofilm. This review highlights the role of secondary metabolites in the defense of the main economic hosts of and identifies how knowledge about biosynthetic pathways could improve our understanding of disease resistance. In addition, current developments in non-invasive techniques and strategies of combining molecular and physiological techniques are examined, in an attempt to identify new metabolic engineering options for plant defense.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9090675DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559865PMC
August 2020

Editorial for Special Issue "Heavy Metals Accumulation, Toxicity, and Detoxification in Plants".

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Jun 9;21(11). Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, I-73100 Lecce, Italy.

"Heavy metals" is a collective term widely applied for the group of metals and metalloids with an atomic density above 4 g/cm [...].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21114103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312012PMC
June 2020

Biochemical Changes in Leaves of cv. Sangiovese Infected by Bois Noir Phytoplasma.

Pathogens 2020 Apr 7;9(4). Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Bois noir is a disease associated with the presence of phytoplasma ' Phytoplasma solani' belonging to the Stolbur group (subgroup 16SrXII-A), which has a heavy economic impact on grapevines. This study focused on the changes induced by phytoplasma in terms of the profile and amount of secondary metabolites synthesized in the phenylpropanoid pathway in leaves of L. red-berried cultivar Sangiovese. Metabolic alterations were assessed according to the disease progression through measurements of soluble sugars, chlorophyll, and phenolic compounds produced by plant hosts, in response to disease on symptomatic and asymptomatic Bois noir-positive plants. Significant differences were revealed in the amount of soluble sugars, chlorophyll, and accumulation/reduction of some compounds synthesized in the phenylpropanoid pathway of Bois noir-positive and negative grapevine leaves. Our results showed a marked increase in phenolic and flavonoid production and a parallel decrease in lignin content in Bois noir-positive compared to negative leaves. Interestingly, some parameters (chlorophyll , soluble sugars, total phenolic or flavonoids content, proanthocyanidins, quercetin) differed between Bois noir-positive and negative leaves regardless of symptoms, indicating measurable biochemical changes in asymptomatic leaves. Our grapevine cultivar Sangiovese results highlighted an extensive modulation of the phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway as a defense mechanism activated by the host plant in response to Bois noir disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040269DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7238227PMC
April 2020

Combined Effect of Cadmium and Lead on Durum Wheat.

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Nov 24;20(23). Epub 2019 Nov 24.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA), Salento University, Via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) are two toxic heavy metals (HMs) whose presence in soil is generally low. However, industrial and agricultural activities in recent years have significantly raised their levels, causing progressive accumulations in plant edible tissues, and stimulating research in this field. Studies on toxic metals are commonly focused on a single metal, but toxic metals occur simultaneously. The understanding of the mechanisms of interaction between HMs during uptake is important to design agronomic or genetic strategies to limit contamination of crops. To study the single and combined effect of Cd and Pb on durum wheat, a hydroponic experiment was established to examine the accumulation of the two HMs. Moreover, the molecular mechanisms activated in the roots were investigated paying attention to transcription factors (bHLH family), heavy metal transporters and genes involved in the biosynthesis of metal chelators (nicotianamine and mugineic acid). Cd and Pb are accumulated following different molecular strategies by durum wheat plants, even if the two metals interact with each other influencing their respective uptake and translocation. Finally, we demonstrated that some genes ( and ) were induced in the durum wheat roots only in response to Cd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20235891DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6929116PMC
November 2019

Molecular Effects of and Drought Combined Stress in Olive Trees.

Plants (Basel) 2019 Oct 23;8(11). Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Due to global climate change, complex combinations of stresses are expected to occur, among which the interaction between pathogens and drought stress may have a significant effect on growth and yield. In this study, the ()-resistant Leccino and the susceptible one Cellina di Nardò were subjected to (a) individual drought stress, (b) infection and (c) combination of both stress conditions. Here we report the physiological response to stresses in water content in leaves and the modulation in the expression level of seven genes responsive to plant water status and pathogen infection. In -resistant plants, higher expression levels are reported for genes belonging to ROS-scavenging systems and for genes involved in pathogen stress (pathogenesis-related, , and leucine-rich repeat genes, ). However, and were not further induced by water deficit. Interestingly, the genes related to drought response (aquaporin, , dehydration responsive element binding, , and dehydrin, ), which induction was higher in Cellina di Nardò compared to Leccino during drought stress, was poorly induced in -susceptible plants when occur. Conversely, was induced by presence in Leccino. These results were consistent with observations on water content. Indeed, response was similar in Leccino regardless kind of stress or combination, whereas a strong reduction was observed in -susceptible plants infected by or in presence of combined stresses. Thus, the reported findings indicate that resistance of Leccino to could be linked to its lower resistance to water stress, probably leading to the activation of alternative defense pathways that support the plant in response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants8110437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6918294PMC
October 2019

Nutraceutical Properties of Mulberries Grown in Southern Italy (Apulia).

Antioxidants (Basel) 2019 Jul 16;8(7). Epub 2019 Jul 16.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA), Salento University, Via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

In this work, for the first time, were analyzed mulberry genotypes grown in Apulia (Southern Italy, Salento region) were analyzed. Two local varieties of ( and ) and one of were characterized for content in simple sugars, organic acids, phenols, anthocyanins; fruit antioxidant activity (AA) was also evaluated by three different methods (2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, DPPH; 2,2'-Azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), ABTS; and Ferric reducing antioxidant potential, FRAP test). The results showed that the sugars amount ranged between 6.29 and 7.66 g/100 g fresh weight (FW) while the malic and citric acids content was low, at about 0.1-1 g/100 g FW. Mulberries are a good source of phenols which are present in higher values in and (485 and 424 mg Gallic Acid Equivalent (GAE)/ 100 g FW, respectively). The high performance liquid chromatography/diode array detector/mass spectrometry (HPLC/DAD/MS) analysis identified 5 main anthocyanin compounds present in different concentrations in each variety of mulberry: cyanidin 3-sophoroside, cyanidin 3-glucoside, cyanidin 3-rutinoside, pelargonidin 3-glucoside, pelargonidin 3-rutinoside. The highest concentration of anthocyanins was determined in (about 300 mg/100 g FW) while the lowest content (about 25 mg/100 g FW) was measured in showed a good AA in comparison with the different genotypes with all the used methods; its AA was equal to 33, 26 and 21 μmols Trolox/g FW when using DPPH, ABTS and FRAP tests, respectively. All genotypes showed an anti-inflammatory activity (measured by cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitory assay) which was also compared with two commercial anti-inflammatory drugs. The data obtained support the high biological qualities of mulberry fruits and their diffusion in human nutrition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox8070223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6680737PMC
July 2019

Xylem cavitation susceptibility and refilling mechanisms in olive trees infected by Xylella fastidiosa.

Sci Rep 2019 07 3;9(1):9602. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, via Prov.le Monteroni 165, 73100, Lecce, Italy.

In olive trees, Xylella fastidiosa colonizes xylem vessels and compromises water transport causing the olive quick decline syndrome (OQDS). The loss of hydraulic conductivity could be attributed to vessel occlusions induced both by the bacteria biofilm and by plant responses (tyloses, gums, etc.) that could trigger embolism. The ability of the infected plants to detect embolism and to respond, by activating mechanisms to restore the hydraulic conductivity, can influence the severity of the disease symptomatology. In order to investigate these mechanisms in the X. fastidiosa-resistant olive cultivar Leccino and in the susceptible Cellina di Nardò, sections of healthy olive stems were analysed by laser scanning microscope to calculate the cavitation vulnerability index. Findings indicated that the cultivar Leccino seems to be constitutively less susceptible to cavitation than the susceptible one. Among the vascular refilling mechanisms, starch hydrolysis is a well-known strategy to refill xylem vessels that suffered cavitation and it is characterized by a dense accumulation of starch grains in the xylem parenchima; SEM-EDX analysis of stem cross-sections of infected plants revealed an aggregation of starch grains in the Leccino xylem vessels. These observations could indicate that this cultivar, as well as being anatomically less susceptible to cavitation, it also could be able to activate more efficient refilling mechanisms, restoring vessel's hydraulic conductivity. In order to verify this hypothesis, we analysed the expression levels of some genes belonging to families involved in embolism sensing and refilling mechanisms: aquaporins, sucrose transporters, carbohydrate metabolism and enzymes related to starch breakdown, alpha and beta-amylase. The obtained genes expression patterns suggested that the infected plants of the cultivar Leccino strongly modulates the genes involved in embolism sensing and refilling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46092-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6610111PMC
July 2019

Phenolic Profile and Antioxidant Activity of Italian Monovarietal Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

Antioxidants (Basel) 2019 Jun 5;8(6). Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA), Salento University, Via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

In the last years, the interest in Italian monovarietal oils has increased due to their specific organoleptic qualities. Extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) are rich in phenolic compounds, secondary metabolites well known and studied for their nutraceutical properties. However, among EVOOs, there is great variability in phenolic composition due to the origin, the production technique, and mainly, the genotype. The aim of this work was to evaluate the different phenolic profiles and the antioxidant activities of monovarietal oils. The results confirm this variability. In fact, the overall content of oleuropein varies up to four times between the different genotypes (from 33.80 to 152.32 mg/kg oil), while the oleocanthal content is significant only in two oils. The antioxidant activity, determined with 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assays, is correlated with the content of total phenolic substances, with half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC) values for the DPPH test ranging from 160 to 91 mg of oil, while the ORAC test shows values between 5.45 and 8.03 μmol Trolox equivalent (TE)/g oil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox8060161DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6617199PMC
June 2019

Evaluation of Phytochemical and Antioxidant Properties of 15 Italian L. Cultivar Leaves.

Molecules 2019 May 24;24(10). Epub 2019 May 24.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Olive leaf extracts are of special interest due to their proven therapeutic effects. However, they are still considered a by-product of the table olive and the oil industries. In order to learn possible ways of exploiting this waste for health purposes, we investigated the phytochemical profiles and antioxidant activities in the leaves of 15 Italian L. cultivars grown in the same pedoclimatic conditions. The phenolic profiles and amounts of their seven representative compounds were analyzed using HPLC ESI/MS-TOF. The antioxidant activities were determined using three different antioxidant assays (DPPH, ORAC, and superoxide anion scavenging assay). Wide ranges of total phenolic content (11.39-48.62 g GAE kg dry weight) and antioxidant activities (DPPH values: 8.67-29.89 µmol TE mg dry weight, ORAC values: 0.81-4.25 µmol TE mg dry weight, superoxide anion scavenging activity values: 27.66-48.92 µmol TE mg dry weight) were found in the cultivars. In particular, the cultivars Itrana, Apollo, and Maurino, showed a high amount of total phenols and antioxidant activity, and therefore represent a suitable natural source of biological compounds for use in terms of health benefits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules24101998DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6572269PMC
May 2019

Antioxidant Activity and Anthocyanin Contents in Olives ( Cellina di Nardò) during Ripening and after Fermentation.

Antioxidants (Basel) 2019 May 18;8(5). Epub 2019 May 18.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA), Salento University, Via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

The olive tree "Cellina di Nardò" (CdN) is one of the most widespread cultivars in Southern Italy, mainly grown in the Provinces of Lecce, Taranto, and Brindisi over a total of about 60,000 hectares. Although this cultivar is mainly used for oil production, the drupes are also suitable and potentially marketable as table olives. When used for this purpose, olives are harvested after complete maturation, which gives to them a naturally black color due to anthocyanin accumulation. This survey reports for the first time on the total phenolic content (TPC), anthocyanin characterization, and antioxidant activity of CdN olive fruits during ripening and after fermentation. The antioxidant activity (AA) was determined using three different methods. Data showed that TPC increased during maturation, reaching values two times higher in completely ripened olives. Anthocyanins were found only in mature olives and the concentrations reached up to 5.3 g/kg dry weight. AA was determined for the four ripening stages, and was particularly high in the totally black olive fruit, in accordance with TPC and anthocyanin amounts. Moreover, the CdN olives showed a higher TPC and a greater AA compared to other black table olives produced by cultivars commonly grown for this purpose. These data demonstrate the great potential of black table CdN olives, a product that combines exceptional organoleptic properties with a remarkable antioxidant capacity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox8050138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562514PMC
May 2019

Accumulation of Azelaic Acid in Xylella fastidiosa-Infected Olive Trees: A Mobile Metabolite for Health Screening.

Phytopathology 2019 Feb 19;109(2):318-325. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.

Monitoring Xylella fastidiosa is critical for eradicating or at least containing this harmful pathogen. New low-cost and rapid methods for early detection capability are very much needed. Metabolomics may play a key role in diagnosis; in fact, mobile metabolites could avoid errors in sampling due to erratically distributed pathogens. Of the various different mobile signals, we studied dicarboxylic azelaic acid (AzA) which is a key molecule for biotic stress plant response but has not yet been associated with pathogens in olive trees. We found that infected Olea europaea L. plants of cultivars Cellina di Nardò (susceptible to X. fastidiosa) and Leccino (resistant to the pathogen) showed an increase in AzA accumulation in leaf petioles and in sprigs by approximately seven- and sixfold, respectively, compared with plants negative to X. fastidiosa or affected by other pathogens. No statistically significant variation was found between the X. fastidiosa population level and the amount of AzA in either of the plant tissues, suggesting that AzA accumulation was almost independent of the amount of pathogen in the sample. Furthermore, the association of AzA with X. fastidiosa seemed to be reliable for samples judged as potentially false-negative by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (cycle threshold [C] > 33), considering both the absolute value of AzA concentration and the values normalized on negative samples, which diverged significantly from control plants. The accumulation of AzA in infected plants was partially supported by the differential expression of two genes (named OeLTP1 and OeLTP2) encoding lipid transport proteins (LTPs), which shared a specific domain with the LTPs involved in AzA activity in systemic acquired resistance in other plant species. The expression level of OeLTP1 and OeLTP2 in petiole samples showed significant upregulation in samples positive to X. fastidiosa of both cultivars, with higher expression levels in positive samples of Cellina di Nardò compared with Leccino, whereas the two transcripts had a low expression level (C > 40) in negative samples of the susceptible cultivar. Although the results derived from the quantification of AzA cannot confirm the presence of the erratically distributed X. fastidiosa, which can be definitively assessed by traditional methods, we believe they represent a fast and cheap screening method for large-scale monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-07-18-0236-FIDOI Listing
February 2019

Activation of a gene network in durum wheat roots exposed to cadmium.

BMC Plant Biol 2018 Oct 16;18(1):238. Epub 2018 Oct 16.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, via Prov.le Monteroni 165, 73100, Lecce, Italy.

Background: Among cereals, durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum) accumulates cadmium (Cd) at higher concentration if grown in Cd-polluted soils. Since cadmium accumulation is a risk for human health, the international trade organizations have limited the acceptable concentration of Cd in edible crops. Therefore, durum wheat cultivars accumulating low cadmium in grains should be preferred by farmers and consumers. To identify the response of durum wheat to the presence of Cd, the transcriptomes of roots and shoots of Creso and Svevo cultivars were sequenced after a 50-day exposure to 0.5 μM Cd in hydroponic solution.

Results: No phytotoxic effects or biomass reduction was observed in Creso and Svevo plants at this Cd concentration. Despite this null effect, cadmium was accumulated in root tissues, in shoots and in grains suggesting a good cadmium translocation rate among tissues. The mRNA sequencing revealed a general transcriptome rearrangement after Cd treatment and more than 7000 genes were found differentially expressed in root and shoot tissues. Among these, the up-regulated genes in roots showed a clear correlation with cadmium uptake and detoxification. In particular, about three hundred genes were commonly up-regulated in Creso and Svevo roots suggesting a well defined molecular strategy characterized by the transcriptomic activation of several transcription factors mainly belonging to bHLH and WRKY families. bHLHs are probably the activators of the strong up-regulation of three NAS genes, responsible for the synthesis of the phytosiderophore nicotianamine (NA). Moreover, we found the overall up-regulation of the methionine salvage pathway that is tightly connected with NA synthesis and supply the S-adenosyl methionine necessary for NA biosynthesis. Finally, several vacuolar NA chelating heavy metal transporters were vigorously activated.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the exposure of durum wheat to cadmium activates in roots a complex gene network involved in cadmium translocation and detoxification from heavy metals. These findings are confident with a role of nicotianamine and methionine salvage pathway in the accumulation of cadmium in durum wheat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12870-018-1473-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6192290PMC
October 2018

Phylogenetic analysis of viruses in Tuscan Vitis vinifera sylvestris (Gmeli) Hegi.

PLoS One 2018 18;13(7):e0200875. Epub 2018 Jul 18.

Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto, Pisa, Italy.

The health status of the native grapevine Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris (Gmeli) Hegi in natural areas in Europe has received little attention. A survey was carried out on wild grapevines in Tuscany (Italy), where isolates of the Grapevine rupestris stem pitting virus (GRSPaV), Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 1 and 3 (GLRaV-1 and GLRaV-3) and Grapevine virus A (GVA) were detected. The complete coat protein (CP) region of these isolates was sequenced to investigate the relationship of the viral variants from Tuscan wild grapevines with isolates from different geographical origins. According to the phylogenetic analyses, GLRaV-1 and GLRaV-3 isolates from Tuscan wild grapevines clustered with isolates from cultivated grapevines with nucleotide sequence identities ranging from 66% to 87% and from 72.5% to 99% respectively, without any correlation between the distribution and geographical origin. Conversely, GRSPaV and GVA isolates clustered together with other Italian isolates from V. vinifera with nucleotide sequence identities ranging from 71.14% to 96.12% and from 73.5% to 92%, respectively. Our analysis of the whole amino acid sequences revealed a high conservation level for the studied proteins explained by a selective pressure on this genomic region, probably due to functional constraints imposed on CP, such as specific interactions with cellular receptors in the insect vectors necessary for successful transmission. In addition, analyses of genetic recombination suggest no significant point mutations that might play a significant role in genetic diversification. The dN/dS ratio also estimated a low number of non-silent mutations, highlighting the purifying selective pressure. The widespread distribution of the Rugose wood complex (GRSPaV and GVA associated disease) in comparison with the Grapevine Leafroll associated viruses (GLRaV-1 and -3) could explain the major geographical correlation found for the viral variants detected in Tuscany.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200875PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051638PMC
January 2019

Salvia clandestina L.: unexploited source of danshensu.

Nat Prod Res 2019 Feb 19;33(3):439-442. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

a Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento , Lecce , Italy.

We report the characterisation of Salvia clandestina L. shoots and roots aqueous extract using HPLC-ESI/MS-TOF. Among the 29 compounds detected, we observed the presence of danshensu (3-(3,4-dihydroxy-phenyl) 2-hydroxy-propinic acid), a powerful antioxidant and a cardio-protective agent. The danshensu content found in the shoots of S. clandestina was considerable (4.96 mg g DW) if compared with previous studies on S. miltiorrhiza Bunge, the main source of this compound. We also determined the total phenolic concentration and we evaluated their antioxidant activity by ABTS, FRAP and Superoxide anion scavenging methods. All the three assays confirmed a greater antioxidant activity for the shoots in comparison to roots. S. clandestina shoots may represent a valuable and natural unexploited source of danshensu and other phenolic compounds, so that it may be useful for future applications in functional foods and pharmaceutical industries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2018.1452015DOI Listing
February 2019

Xylella fastidiosa induces differential expression of lignification related-genes and lignin accumulation in tolerant olive trees cv. Leccino.

J Plant Physiol 2018 Jan 10;220:60-68. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, via Prov.le Monteroni 165, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Recently, Xylella fastidiosa was reported in Italy, associated with the "Olive Quick Decline Syndrome". The cv. Leccino exhibits an evident tolerance with a slow disease progression compared with the other cultivars. Between the mechanisms proposed to explain the putative tolerance of some hosts to X. fastidiosa diseases, lignin deposition plays an important role. Analysis of phenolic compounds in healthy and infected Leccino and Cellina di Nardò leaves showed, in the two cultivars, a reduction of hydroxytyrosol glucoside (usually associated with drought and cold stress) and, only in Leccino, an increase of quinic acid, precursor of lignin. To determine if lignin biosynthesis is involved in defence response, we investigated the expression of genes coding for entry-point enzymes in different branches of the phenylpropanoid pathway. In stems of Cellina di Nardò infected plants, Cinnamate-4-Hydroxylase (C4H) and 4-Coumarate:CoA Ligase (4CL) resulted strongly down-regulated, indicating a plant disease response since the inhibition of C4H is reported to promote the accumulation of benzoic acid and salicylic acid as defence signals. Instead, in the cv. Leccino, Cinnamoyl-CoA Reductase (CCR, reported to be strongly induced during the formation of lignin defence response associated) was up-regulated in the stem of infected plants; moreover, Polyphenol oxidase (PPO), coding for an enzyme involved in the hydroxytyrosol biosynthesis, was down-regulated. The quantification of lignin in healthy and infected branches of both cultivars, showed a significant increase of total lignin in infected Leccino compared with the sensitive cultivar; moreover, histochemical observations of stem sections exhibited a different lignin distribution in the sclerenchyma and in the xylem tissue of infected Leccino plants compared to sections of healthy ones. Results suggest a critical role for lignin in X. fastidiosa tolerance of cv. Leccino.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jplph.2017.10.007DOI Listing
January 2018

Cadmium Concentration in Grains of Durum Wheat (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum).

J Agric Food Chem 2017 Aug 19;65(30):6240-6246. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento , via Prov.le Monteroni 165, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Heavy metal excess in soil represents a critical problem for crop productivity. Among these pollutants, cadmium (Cd) is one of the most dangerous in terms of food-chain contamination. Two durum wheat near-isogenic lines (NILs) and 12 commercial varieties (cultivars Arcangelo, Aureo, Aziziah, Cappelli, Cirillo, Creso, Iride, Maestrale, Parsifal, Russello, Strongfield, and Svevo) of durum wheat were exposed to a nontoxic level of Cd to evaluate its concentration in grains, roots, and shoots, as well as effects on biomass production. Cultivar Iride showed the most interesting behavior because it stored large amounts of Cd in the roots, preventing its translocation to grains. On the contrary, Cirillo and Svevo genotypes were characterized by a high Cd concentration in the grains. Furthermore, a molecular characterization employing the ScOPC20 marker associated with the Cd uptake locus has shown the absence of the expected fragment in the Iride variety and in other varieties characterized by low Cd concentration, as well as the presence of it in high Cd-accumulating cultivars.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b01946DOI Listing
August 2017

Glutathione S-transferase related detoxification processes are correlated with receptor-mediated vacuolar sorting mechanisms.

Plant Cell Rep 2017 Sep 2;36(9):1361-1373. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

DISTEBA, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100, Lecce, Italy.

Key Message: Triticum durum Glutathione S-transferase Z1 is specifically responsive to glyphosate. Its expression influences the receptor-mediated vacuolar sorting mechanisms involved in tolerance mechanisms. A zeta subfamily glutathione S-transferase gene from Triticum durum (cv Cappelli) (TdGSTZ1) was characterized as part of a complex detoxification mechanism. The effect of different abiotic stresses on TdGSTZ1 revealed that the gene is unexpectedly responsive to glyphosate (GLY) herbicide despite it should not be part of tolerance mechanisms. Its role in the non-target-site mechanism of GLY resistance was then investigated. To analyze the GLY and the TdGSTZ1 overexpression effects on vacuolar sorting mechanisms, we performed transient transformation experiments in Nicotiana tabacum protoplasts using two vacuolar markers, AleuGFPgl133 and GFPgl133Chi, labeling the Sar1 dependent or independent sorting, respectively. We observed that the adaptive reaction of tobacco protoplasts vacuolar system to the treatment with GLY could be partially mimicked by the overexpression of TdGSTZ1 gene. To confirm the influence of GLY on the two vacuolar markers accumulation and the potential involvement of the secretion pathway activity in detoxification events, Arabidopsis thaliana transgenic plants overexpressing the non-glycosylated versions of the two markers were analyzed. The results suggested that GLY treatment specifically altered different vacuolar sorting characteristics, suggesting an involvement of the receptor-mediated AleuGFP sorting mechanism in GLY resistance. Finally, the expression analysis of selected genes confirmed that the non-target-site GLY resistance mechanisms are related to vacuolar sorting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00299-017-2159-3DOI Listing
September 2017

Wounding tomato fruit elicits ripening-stage specific changes in gene expression and production of volatile compounds.

J Exp Bot 2015 Mar 22;66(5):1511-26. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy.

Fleshy fruits develop from an unripe organ that needs to be protected from damage to a ripe organ that attracts frugivores for seed dispersal through production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Thus, different responses to wounding damage are predicted. The aim of this study was to discover whether wound-induced changes in the transcriptome and VOC production alter as tomato transitions from unripe to ripe. Transcript changes were analysed 3h post-wounding using microarray analysis in two commercial salad-tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cultivars: Luna Rossa and AVG, chosen for their high aroma production. This was followed by quantitative PCR on Luna Rossa genes involved in VOC biosynthesis and defence responses. VOCs elicited by wounding at different ripening stages were analysed by solid phase micro extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Approximately 4000 differentially expressed genes were identified in the cultivar AVG and 2500 in Luna Rossa. In both cultivars the majority of genes were up-regulated and the most affected pathways were metabolism of terpenes, carotenoids, and lipids. Defence-related genes were mostly up-regulated in immature stages of development, whereas expression of genes related to VOCs changed at riper stages. More than 40 VOCs were detected and profiles changed with ripening stage. Thus, both transcriptome and VOC profiles elicited by wounding depend on stage of ripening, indicating a shift from defence to attraction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/eru516DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339607PMC
March 2015

The up-regulation of elongation factors in the barley leaf and the down-regulation of nucleosome assembly genes in the crown are both associated with the expression of frost tolerance.

Funct Integr Genomics 2014 Sep 18;14(3):493-506. Epub 2014 May 18.

Department of Molecular Biology, Crop Research Institute, v.v.i., Drnovská 507, 161 06, Prague 6, Czech Republic,

We report a series of microarray-based leaf and crown transcriptome comparisons involving three barley cultivars (cvs. Luxor, Igri and Atlas 68) which express differing degrees of frost tolerance. The transcripts were obtained following the exposure of seedlings to low (above and below zero) temperatures, aiming to identify those genes and signalling/metabolic pathways which are associated with frost tolerance. Both the leaves and the crowns responded to low temperature by the up-regulation of a suite of abscisic acid (ABA)-responsive genes, most of which have already been recognized as components of the plant low temperature response. The inter-cultivar comparison indicated that genes involved in maintaining the leaf's capacity to synthesize protein and to retain chloroplast activity were important for the expression of frost tolerance. In the crown, the repression of genes associated with nucleosome assembly and transposon regulation were the most relevant transcriptional changes associated with frost tolerance, highlighting the role of gene repression in the cold acclimation response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10142-014-0377-0DOI Listing
September 2014

Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of a pale-green durum wheat mutant shows variations in photosystem components and metabolic deficiencies under drought stress.

BMC Genomics 2014 Feb 12;15:125. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Agrotecnio Center, Av, Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, Lleida E-25198, Spain.

Background: Leaf pigment content is an important trait involved in environmental interactions. In order to determine its impact on drought tolerance in wheat, we characterized a pale-green durum wheat mutant (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum) under contrasting water availability conditions.

Results: The pale-green mutant was investigated by comparing pigment content and gene/protein expression profiles to wild-type plants at anthesis. Under well-watered (control) conditions the mutant had lower levels of chlorophylls and carotenoids, but higher levels of xanthophyll de-epoxidation compared to wild-type. Transcriptomic analysis under control conditions showed that defense genes (encoding e.g. pathogenesis-related proteins, peroxidases and chitinases) were upregulated in the mutant, suggesting the presence of mild oxidative stress that was compensated without altering the net rate of photosynthesis. Transcriptomic analysis under terminal water stress conditions, revealed the modulation of antioxidant enzymes, photosystem components, and enzymes representing carbohydrate metabolism and the tricarboxylic acid cycle, indicating that the mutant was exposed to greater oxidative stress than the wild-type plants, but had a limited capacity to respond. We also compared the two genotypes under irrigated and rain-fed field conditions over three years, finding that the greater oxidative stress and corresponding molecular changes in the pale-green mutant were associated to a yield reduction.

Conclusions: This study provides insight on the effect of pigment content in the molecular response to drought. Identified genes differentially expressed under terminal water stress may be valuable for further studies addressing drought resistance in wheat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-15-125DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3937041PMC
February 2014

Different stress responsive strategies to drought and heat in two durum wheat cultivars with contrasting water use efficiency.

BMC Genomics 2013 Nov 22;14:821. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Prov,le Lecce Monteroni, I-73100 Lecce, Italy.

Background: Durum wheat often faces water scarcity and high temperatures, two events that usually occur simultaneously in the fields. Here we report on the stress responsive strategy of two durum wheat cultivars, characterized by different water use efficiency, subjected to drought, heat and a combination of both stresses.

Results: The cv Ofanto (lower water use efficiency) activated a large set of well-known drought-related genes after drought treatment, while Cappelli (higher water use efficiency) showed the constitutive expression of several genes induced by drought in Ofanto and a modulation of a limited number of genes in response to stress. At molecular level the two cvs differed for the activation of molecular messengers, genes involved in the regulation of chromatin condensation, nuclear speckles and stomatal closure. Noteworthy, the heat response in Cappelli involved also the up-regulation of genes belonging to fatty acid β-oxidation pathway, glyoxylate cycle and senescence, suggesting an early activation of senescence in this cv. A gene of unknown function having the greatest expression difference between the two cultivars was selected and used for expression QTL analysis, the corresponding QTL was mapped on chromosome 6B.

Conclusion: Ofanto and Cappelli are characterized by two opposite stress-responsive strategies. In Ofanto the combination of drought and heat stress led to an increased number of modulated genes, exceeding the simple cumulative effects of the two single stresses, whereas in Cappelli the same treatment triggered a number of differentially expressed genes lower than those altered in response to heat stress alone. This work provides clear evidences that the genetic system based on Cappelli and Ofanto represents an ideal tool for the genetic dissection of the molecular response to drought and other abiotic stresses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-14-821DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046701PMC
November 2013

Novel durum wheat genes up-regulated in response to a combination of heat and drought stress.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2012 Jul 21;56:72-8. Epub 2012 Apr 21.

Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali, Università del Salento, Via Prov. le Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

We report the effect of heat, drought and combined stress on the expression of a group of genes that are up-regulated under these conditions in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum subsp. durum) plants. Modulation of gene expression was studied by cDNA-AFLP performed on RNAs extracted from flag leaves. By this approach, we identified several novel durum wheat genes whose expression is modulated under different stress conditions. We focused on a group of hitherto undescribed up-regulated genes in durum wheat, among these, 7 are up-regulated by heat, 8 by drought stress, 15 by combined heat and drought stress, 4 are up-regulated by both heat and combined stress, and 3 by both drought and combined stress. The functional characterization of these genes will provide new data that could help the developing of strategies aimed at improving durum wheat tolerance to field stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2012.04.006DOI Listing
July 2012

Expression of the H+-ATPase AHA10 proton pump is associated with citric acid accumulation in lemon juice sac cells.

Funct Integr Genomics 2011 Dec 10;11(4):551-63. Epub 2011 May 10.

Department of Biotechnology and Environmental Science, University of Salento, Lecce, Prov.le Lecce-Monteroni, Italy.

The sour taste of lemons (Citrus limon (L.) Burm.) is determined by the amount of citric acid in vacuoles of juice sac cells. Faris is a "sweet" lemon variety since it accumulates low levels of citric acid. The University of California Riverside Citrus Variety Collection includes a Faris tree that produces sweet (Faris non-acid; FNA) and sour fruit (Faris acid; FA) on different branches; it is apparently a graft chimera with layer L1 derived from Millsweet limetta and layer L2 from a standard lemon. The transcription profiles of Faris sweet lemon were compared with Faris acid lemon and Frost Lisbon (L), which is a standard sour lemon genetically indistinguishable from Faris in prior work with SSR markers. Analysis of microarray data revealed that the transcriptomes of the two sour lemon genotypes were nearly identical. In contrast, the transcriptome of Faris sweet lemon was very different from those of both sour lemons. Among about 1,000 FNA-specific, presumably pH-related genes, the homolog of Arabidopsis H(+)-ATPase proton pump AHA10 was not expressed in FNA, but highly expressed in FA and L. Since Arabidopsis AHA10 is involved in biosynthesis and acidification of vacuoles, the lack of expression of the AHA10 citrus homolog represents a very conspicuous molecular feature of the FNA sweet phenotype. In addition, high expression of several 2-oxoglutarate degradation-related genes in FNA suggests activation of the GABA shunt and degradation of valine and tyrosine as components of the mechanism that reduces the level of citric acid in sweet lemon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10142-011-0226-3DOI Listing
December 2011

Reactive oxygen species and transcript analysis upon excess light treatment in wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana vs a photosensitive mutant lacking zeaxanthin and lutein.

BMC Plant Biol 2011 Apr 11;11:62. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Università di Verona, Strada Le Grazie 15, Verona, Italy.

Background: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are unavoidable by-products of oxygenic photosynthesis, causing progressive oxidative damage and ultimately cell death. Despite their destructive activity they are also signalling molecules, priming the acclimatory response to stress stimuli.

Results: To investigate this role further, we exposed wild type Arabidopsis thaliana plants and the double mutant npq1lut2 to excess light. The mutant does not produce the xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin, whose key roles include ROS scavenging and prevention of ROS synthesis. Biochemical analysis revealed that singlet oxygen (1O2) accumulated to higher levels in the mutant while other ROS were unaffected, allowing to define the transcriptomic signature of the acclimatory response mediated by 1O2 which is enhanced by the lack of these xanthophylls species. The group of genes differentially regulated in npq1lut2 is enriched in sequences encoding chloroplast proteins involved in cell protection against the damaging effect of ROS. Among the early fine-tuned components, are proteins involved in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, chlorophyll catabolism, protein import, folding and turnover, synthesis and membrane insertion of photosynthetic subunits. Up to now, the flu mutant was the only biological system adopted to define the regulation of gene expression by 1O2. In this work, we propose the use of mutants accumulating 1O2 by mechanisms different from those activated in flu to better identify ROS signalling.

Conclusions: We propose that the lack of zeaxanthin and lutein leads to 1O2 accumulation and this represents a signalling pathway in the early stages of stress acclimation, beside the response to ADP/ATP ratio and to the redox state of both plastoquinone pool. Chloroplasts respond to 1O2 accumulation by undergoing a significant change in composition and function towards a fast acclimatory response. The physiological implications of this signalling specificity are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2229-11-62DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083342PMC
April 2011

Transcriptional responses of winter barley to cold indicate nucleosome remodelling as a specific feature of crown tissues.

Funct Integr Genomics 2011 Jun 1;11(2):307-25. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Department of Molecular Biology, Crop Research Institute, v.v.i., Drnovská 507, 161 06, Prague 6, Czech Republic.

We report a series of microarray-based comparisons of gene expression in the leaf and crown of the winter barley cultivar Luxor, following the exposure of young plants to various periods of low (above and below zero) temperatures. A transcriptomic analysis identified genes which were either expressed in both the leaf and crown, or specifically in one or the other. Among the former were genes responsible for calcium and abscisic acid signalling, polyamine synthesis, late embryogenesis abundant proteins and dehydrins. In the crown, the key organ for cereal overwintering, cold treatment induced transient changes in the transcription of nucleosome assembly genes, and especially H2A and HTA11, which have been implicated in cold sensing in Arabidopsis thaliana. In the leaf, various heat-shock proteins were induced. Differences in expression pattern between the crown and leaf were frequent for genes involved in certain pathways responsible for osmolyte production (sucrose and starch, raffinose, γ-aminobutyric acid metabolism), sugar signalling (trehalose metabolism) and secondary metabolism (lignin synthesis). The action of proteins with antifreeze activity, which were markedly induced during hardening, was demonstrated by a depression in the ice nucleation temperature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10142-011-0213-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098344PMC
June 2011

Response to zinc deficiency of two rice lines with contrasting tolerance is determined by root growth maintenance and organic acid exudation rates, and not by zinc-transporter activity.

New Phytol 2010 Apr 22;186(2):400-14. Epub 2010 Jan 22.

Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), 1-1 Ohwashi, 305-8686 Tsukuba, Japan.

*Zinc (Zn)-deficient soils constrain rice (Oryza sativa) production and cause Zn malnutrition. The identification of Zn-deficiency-tolerant rice lines indicates that breeding might overcome these constraints. Here, we seek to identify processes underlying Zn-deficiency tolerance in rice at the physiological and transcriptional levels. *A Zn-deficiency-tolerant line RIL46 acquires Zn more efficiently and produces more biomass than its nontolerant maternal line (IR74) at low [Zn](ext) under field conditions. We tested if this was the result of increased expression of Zn(2+) transporters; increased root exudation of deoxymugineic acid (DMA) or low-molecular-weight organic acids (LMWOAs); and/or increased root production. Experiments were performed in field and controlled environment conditions. *There was little genotypic variation in transcript abundance of Zn-responsive root Zn(2+)-transporters between the RIL46 and IR74. However, root exudation of DMA and LMWOA was greater in RIL46, coinciding with increased root expression of putative ligand-efflux genes. Adventitious root production was maintained in RIL46 at low [Zn](ext), correlating with altered expression of root-specific auxin-responsive genes. *Zinc-deficiency tolerance in RIL46 is most likely the result of maintenance of root growth, increased efflux of Zn ligands, and increased uptake of Zn-ligand complexes at low [Zn](ext); these traits are potential breeding targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.03177.xDOI Listing
April 2010

Transcriptional profiling in response to terminal drought stress reveals differential responses along the wheat genome.

BMC Genomics 2009 Jun 24;10:279. Epub 2009 Jun 24.

CRA-Genomic Research Centre, Fiorenzuola d'Arda, Piacenza, Italy.

Background: Water stress during grain filling has a marked effect on grain yield, leading to a reduced endosperm cell number and thus sink capacity to accumulate dry matter. The bread wheat cultivar Chinese Spring (CS), a Chinese Spring terminal deletion line (CS_5AL-10) and the durum wheat cultivar Creso were subjected to transcriptional profiling after exposure to mild and severe drought stress at the grain filling stage to find evidences of differential stress responses associated to different wheat genome regions.

Results: The transcriptome analysis of Creso, CS and its deletion line revealed 8,552 non redundant probe sets with different expression levels, mainly due to the comparisons between the two species. The drought treatments modified the expression of 3,056 probe sets. Besides a set of genes showing a similar drought response in Creso and CS, cluster analysis revealed several drought response features that can be associated to the different genomic structure of Creso, CS and CS_5AL-10. Some drought-related genes were expressed at lower level (or not expressed) in Creso (which lacks the D genome) or in the CS_5AL-10 deletion line compared to CS. The chromosome location of a set of these genes was confirmed by PCR-based mapping on the D genome (or the 5AL-10 region). Many clusters were characterized by different level of expression in Creso, CS and CS_AL-10, suggesting that the different genome organization of the three genotypes may affect plant adaptation to stress. Clusters with similar expression trend were grouped and functional classified to mine the biological mean of their activation or repression. Genes involved in ABA, proline, glycine-betaine and sorbitol pathways were found up-regulated by drought stress. Furthermore, the enhanced expression of a set of transposons and retrotransposons was detected in CS_5AL-10.

Conclusion: Bread and durum wheat genotypes were characterized by a different physiological reaction to water stress and by a substantially different molecular response. The genome organization accounted for differences in the expression level of hundreds of genes located on the D genome or controlled by regulators located on the D genome. When a genomic stress (deletion of a chromosomal region) was combined with low water availability, a molecular response based on the activation of transposons and retrotransposons was observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-10-279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2713995PMC
June 2009

The expression of several Cbf genes at the Fr-A2 locus is linked to frost resistance in wheat.

Mol Genet Genomics 2005 Dec 1;274(5):506-14. Epub 2005 Oct 1.

Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2462, Martonvasar, Hungary.

The C-repeat binding factor (Cbf) gene family has been shown to have a critical role in the regulation of low-temperature stress response in Arabidopsis. In Triticum monococcum, a locus carrying a family of Cbf-like genes, orthologs of Arabidopsis Cbf genes, is tightly linked to the frost tolerance locus Fr-A ( m ) 2, representing candidates for the differences in frost tolerance mapped at this locus. In this work we show that several Cbf genes have dramatically different levels of induction after cold exposure in hexaploid wheat. The Cbf-transcription levels differ between substitution and single chromosome recombinant lines carrying different 5A chromosomes or chromosome segments of the chromosome 5A from frost-tolerant and frost-sensitive wheat varieties. When the expression of eight Cbf genes, previously mapped at the Fr-A2 locus was investigated with gene specific primers using real-time RT-PCR, three Cbf sequences (Cbf1A, Cbf1C, Cbf7) showed a significantly higher relative transcription level (more than fourfold change) in lines differing for the Fr-A2 region. Differences in Cbf expression were also associated with a variation in frost tolerance. These results suggest that the amount of some Cbf mRNAs might be a critical factor for determining the level of frost tolerance in wheat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00438-005-0047-yDOI Listing
December 2005