Publications by authors named "Marcelo Carnier Dornelas"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A genome sequence resource for the genus Passiflora, the genome of the wild diploid species Passiflora organensis.

Plant Genome 2021 Jul 23:e20117. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Dep. de Genética, Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz", Univ. de São Paulo, Piracicaba, 13418-900, Brazil.

The genus Passiflora comprises a large group of plants popularly known as passionfruit, much appreciated for their exotic flowers and edible fruits. The species (∼500) are morphologically variable (e.g., growth habit, size, and color of flowers) and are adapted to distinct tropical ecosystems. In this study, we generated the genome of the wild diploid species Passiflora organensis Gardner by adopting a hybrid assembly approach. Passiflora organensis has a small genome of 259 Mbp and a heterozygosity rate of 81%, consistent with its reproductive system. Most of the genome sequences could be integrated into its chromosomes with cytogenomic markers (satellite DNA) as references. The repeated sequences accounted for 58.55% of the total DNA analyzed, and the Tekay lineage was the prevalent retrotransposon. In total, 25,327 coding genes were predicted. Passiflora organensis retains 5,609 singletons and 15,671 gene families. We focused on the genes potentially involved in the locus determining self-incompatibility and the MADS-box gene family, allowing us to infer expansions and contractions within specific subfamilies. Finally, we recovered the organellar DNA. Structural rearrangements and two mitoviruses, besides relics of other mobile elements, were found in the chloroplast and mt-DNA molecules, respectively. This study presents the first draft genome assembly of a wild Passiflora species, providing a valuable sequence resource for genomic and evolutionary studies on the genus, and support for breeding cropped passionfruit species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tpg2.20117DOI Listing
July 2021

Plant design gets its details: Modulating plant architecture by phase transitions.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2021 Jun 26;163:1-14. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Biology Institute, Plant Biology Department, Rua Monteiro Lobato, 255 CEP 13, 083-862, Campinas, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

Plants evolved different strategies to better adapt to the environmental conditions in which they live: the control of their body architecture and the timing of phase change are two important processes that can improve their fitness. As they age, plants undergo two major phase changes (juvenile to adult and adult to reproductive) that are a response to environmental and endogenous signals. These phase transitions are accompanied by alterations in plant morphology and also by changes in physiology and the behavior of gene regulatory networks. Six main pathways involving environmental and endogenous cues that crosstalk with each other have been described as responsible for the control of plant phase transitions: the photoperiod pathway, the autonomous pathway, the vernalization pathway, the temperature pathway, the GA pathway, and the age pathway. However, studies have revealed that sugar is also involved in phase change and the control of branching behavior. In this review, we discuss recent advances in plant biology concerning the genetic and molecular mechanisms that allow plants to regulate phase transitions in response to the environment. We also propose connections between phase transition and plant architecture control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2021.03.046DOI Listing
June 2021

Large vs small genomes in Passiflora: the influence of the mobilome and the satellitome.

Planta 2021 Apr 1;253(4):86. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Laboratory of Plant Cytogenetics and Evolution, Department of Botany, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Main Conclusions: While two lineages of retrotransposons were more abundant in larger Passiflora genomes, the satellitome was more diverse and abundant in the smallest genome analysed. Repetitive sequences are ubiquitous and fast-evolving elements responsible for size variation and large-scale organization of plant genomes. Within Passiflora genus, a tenfold variation in genome size, not attributed to polyploidy, is known. Here, we applied a combined in silico and cytological approach to study the organization and diversification of repetitive elements in three species of this genus representing its known range in genome size variation. Sequences were classified in terms of type and repetitiveness and the most abundant were mapped to chromosomes. We identified long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons as the most abundant elements in the three genomes, showing a considerable variation among species. Satellite DNAs (satDNAs) were less representative, but highly diverse between subgenera. Our results clearly confirm that the largest genome species (Passiflora quadrangularis) presents a higher accumulation of repetitive DNA sequences, specially Angela and Tekay elements, making up most of its genome. Passiflora cincinnata, with intermediate genome and from the same subgenus, showed similarity with P. quadrangularis regarding the families of repetitive DNA sequences, but in different proportions. On the other hand, Passiflora organensis, the smallest genome, from a different subgenus, presented greater diversity and the highest proportion of satDNA. Altogether, our data indicates that while large genomes evolved by an accumulation of retrotransposons, the smallest genome known for the genus has evolved by diversification of different repeat types, particularly satDNAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00425-021-03598-0DOI Listing
April 2021

Transposable element discovery and characterization of LTR-retrotransposon evolutionary lineages in the tropical fruit species Passiflora edulis.

Mol Biol Rep 2019 Dec 24;46(6):6117-6133. Epub 2019 Sep 24.

Departamento de Genética, Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz", Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, 13418-900, Brazil.

A significant proportion of plant genomes is consists of transposable elements (TEs), especially LTR retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) which are known to drive genome evolution. However, not much information is available on the structure and evolutionary role of TEs in the Passifloraceae family (Malpighiales order). Against this backdrop, we identified, characterized, and inferred the potential genomic impact of the TE repertoire found in the available genomic resources for Passiflora edulis, a tropical fruit species. A total of 250 different TE sequences were identified (96% Class I, and 4% Class II), corresponding to ~ 19% of the P. edulis draft genome. TEs were found preferentially in intergenic spaces (70.4%), but also overlapping genes (30.6%). LTR-RTs accounted for 181 single elements corresponding to ~ 13% of the draft genome. A phylogenetic inference of the reverse transcriptase domain of the LTR-RT revealed association of 37 elements with the Copia superfamily (Angela, Ale, Tork, and Sire) and 128 with the Gypsy (Del, Athila, Reina, CRM, and Galadriel) superfamily, and Del elements were the most frequent. Interestingly, according to insertion time analysis, the majority (95.9%) of the LTR-RTs were recently inserted into the P. edulis genome (< 2.0 Mya), and with the exception of the Athila lineage, all LTR-RTs are transcriptionally active. Moreover, functional analyses disclosed that the Angela, Del, CRM and Tork lineages are conserved in wild Passiflora species, supporting the idea of a common expansion of Copia and Gypsy superfamilies. Overall, this is the first study describing the P. edulis TE repertoire, and it also lends weight to the suggestion that LTR-RTs had a recent expansion into the analyzed gene-rich region of the P. edulis genome, possibly along WGD (Whole genome duplication) events, but are under negative selection due to their potential deleterious impact on gene regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11033-019-05047-4DOI Listing
December 2019

FT/TFL1: Calibrating Plant Architecture.

Front Plant Sci 2019 13;10:97. Epub 2019 Feb 13.

Laboratório de Biotecnologia Vegetal, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil.

There is a very large diversity in plant architecture in nature. Over the past few years, novel theoretical concepts and analytical methods have emerged as powerful tools to understand important aspects of plant architecture. Plant architecture depends on the relative arrangement of three types of organs: leaves, shoots, and flowers. During plant development, the architecture is modulated by the balance of two homologous proteins: FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (TFL1). The FT/TFL1 balance defines the plant growth habit as indeterminate or determinate by modulating the pattern of formation of vegetative and reproductive structures in the apical and axillary meristems. Here, we present a summarized review of plant architecture and primarily focus on the balance and its effect on plant form and development. We also propose passion fruit as a suitable model plant to study the effect of genes on plant architecture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.00097DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6381015PMC
February 2019

A gene-rich fraction analysis of the Passiflora edulis genome reveals highly conserved microsyntenic regions with two related Malpighiales species.

Sci Rep 2018 08 29;8(1):13024. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Departamento de Genética, Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz", Universidade de São Paulo, 13418-900, Piracicaba, Brazil.

Passiflora edulis is the most widely cultivated species of passionflowers, cropped mainly for industrialized juice production and fresh fruit consumption. Despite its commercial importance, little is known about the genome structure of P. edulis. To fill in this gap in our knowledge, a genomic library was built, and now completely sequenced over 100 large-inserts. Sequencing data were assembled from long sequence reads, and structural sequence annotation resulted in the prediction of about 1,900 genes, providing data for subsequent functional analysis. The richness of repetitive elements was also evaluated. Microsyntenic regions of P. edulis common to Populus trichocarpa and Manihot esculenta, two related Malpighiales species with available fully sequenced genomes were examined. Overall, gene order was well conserved, with some disruptions of collinearity identified as rearrangements, such as inversion and translocation events. The microsynteny level observed between the P. edulis sequences and the compared genomes is surprising, given the long divergence time that separates them from the common ancestor. P. edulis gene-rich segments are more compact than those of the other two species, even though its genome is much larger. This study provides a first accurate gene set for P. edulis, opening the way for new studies on the evolutionary issues in Malpighiales genomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31330-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115403PMC
August 2018

Exploring the role of auxin in the androgynophore movement in Passiflora.

Genet Mol Biol 2015 Jul-Sep;38(3):301-7. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Campinas, SP, Brazil.

The flowers of the species belonging to the genus Passiflorashow a range of features that are thought to have arisen as adaptations to different pollinators. Some Passiflora species belonging to the subgenus Decaloba sect. Xerogona, show touch-sensitive motile androgynophores. We tested the role of auxin polar transport in the modulation of the androgynophore movement by applying auxin (IAA) or an inhibitor of auxin polar transport (NPA) in the flowers. We recorded the movement of the androgynophore during mechano-stimulation and analyzed the duration, speed, and the angle formed by the androgynophore before and after the movement, and found that both IAA and NPA increase the amplitude of the movement in P. sanguinolenta. We hypothesize that auxin might have a role in modulating the fitness of these Decaloba species to different pollination syndromes and demonstrate that an interspecific hybrid between insect- and hummingbird-pollinated Xerogona species present a heterosis effect on the speed of the androgynophore movement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-475738320140377DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4612604PMC
October 2015

Cellular and molecular changes associated with competence acquisition during passion fruit somatic embryogenesis: ultrastructural characterization and analysis of SERK gene expression.

Protoplasma 2016 Mar 26;253(2):595-609. Epub 2015 May 26.

Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. P.H. Rolfs, Viçosa, MG, 36570-900, Brazil.

The integration of cellular and molecular data is essential for understanding the mechanisms involved in the acquisition of competence by plant somatic cells and the cytological changes that underlie this process. In the present study, we investigated the dynamics and fate of Passiflora edulis Sims cotyledon explants that were committed to somatic embryogenesis by characterizing the associated ultrastructural events and analysing the expression of a putative P. edulis ortholog of the Somatic Embryogenesis Receptor-like Kinase (SERK) gene. Embryogenic calli were obtained from zygotic embryo explants cultured on Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 6-benzyladenine. Callus formation was initiated by the division of cells derived from the protodermal and subprotodermal cells on the abaxial side of the cotyledons. The isodiametric protodermal cells of the cotyledon explants adopted a columnar shape and became meristematic at the onset of PeSERK expression, which was not initially detected in explant cells. Therefore, we propose that these changes represent the first observable steps towards the acquisition of a competent state within this regeneration system. PeSERK expression was limited to the early stages of somatic embryogenesis; the expression of this gene was confined to proembryogenic zones and was absent in the embryos after the globular stage. Our data also demonstrated that the dynamics of the mobilization of reserve compounds correlated with the differentiation of the embryogenic callus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00709-015-0837-yDOI Listing
March 2016

SCI1 is a component of the auxin-dependent control of cell proliferation in Arabidopsis upper pistil.

Plant Sci 2014 Dec 16;229:122-130. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto 14040-901, Brazil. Electronic address:

To characterize the recently described SCI1 (stigma/style cell cycle inhibitor 1) gene relationship with the auxin pathway, we have taken the advantage of the Arabidopsis model system and its available tools. At first, we have analyzed the At1g79200 T-DNA insertion mutants and constructed various transgenic plants. The loss- and gain-of-function plants displayed cell number alterations in upper pistils that were controlled by the amino-terminal domain of the protein. These data also confirmed that this locus holds the functional homolog (AtSCI1) of the Nicotiana tabacum SCI1 gene. Then, we have provided some evidences the auxin synthesis/signaling pathways are required for downstream proper AtSCI1 control of cell number: (a) its expression is downregulated in yuc2yuc6 and npy1 auxin-deficient mutants, (b) triple (yuc2yuc6sci1) and double (npy1sci1) mutants mimicked the auxin-deficient phenotypes, with no synergistic interactions, and (c) the increased upper pistil phenotype in these last mutants, which is a consequence of an increased cell number, was able to be complemented by AtSCI1 overexpression. Taken together, our data strongly suggests SCI1 as a component of the auxin signaling transduction pathway to control cell proliferation/differentiation in stigma/style, representing a molecular effector of this hormone on pistil development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2014.09.003DOI Listing
December 2014

Flower development in Coffea arabica L.: new insights into MADS-box genes.

Plant Reprod 2014 Jun 9;27(2):79-94. Epub 2014 Apr 9.

Centro de Biologia Molecular e Engenharia Genética, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Cidade Universitária "Zeferino Vaz", Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil,

Coffea arabica L. shows peculiar characteristics during reproductive development, such as flowering asynchrony, periods of floral bud dormancy, mucilage secretion and epipetalous stamens. The MADS-box transcription factors are known to control several developmental processes in plants, including flower and fruit development. Significant differences are found among plant species regarding reproductive development and little is known about the role of MADS-box genes in Coffea reproductive development. Thus, we used anatomical and comparative molecular analyses to explore the flowering process in coffee. The main morphological changes during flower development in coffee were observed by optical and scanning electron microscopy. Flowering asynchrony seems to be related to two independent processes: the asynchronous development of distinct buds before the reproductive induction and the asynchronous development of floral meristems within each bud after the reproductive induction. A total of 23 C. arabica MADS-box genes were characterized by sequence comparison with putative Arabidopsis orthologs and their expression profiles were analyzed by RT-PCR in different tissues. The expression of the ABC model orthologs in Coffea during floral development was determined by in situ hybridization. The APETALA1 (AP1) ortholog is expressed only late in the perianth, which is also observed for the APETALA3 and TM6 orthologs. Conversely, the PISTILLATA ortholog is widely expressed in early stages, but restrict to stamens and carpels in later stages of flower development, while the expression of the AGAMOUS ortholog is always restricted to fertile organs. The AP1 and PISTILLATA orthologs are also expressed at specific floral organs, such as bracts and colleters, respectively, suggesting a potential role in the development of such structures. Altogether, the results from our comprehensive expression analyses showed significant differences between the spatiotemporal expression profiles of C. arabica MADS-box genes and their orthologs, which suggests differential functionalization in coffee. Moreover, these differences might also partially explain the particular characteristics of floral development in coffee, such as mucilage secretion and formation of epipetalous stamens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00497-014-0242-2DOI Listing
June 2014

Rapid touch-stimulated movement in the androgynophore of Passiflora flowers (subgen. Decaloba; Sect. Xerogona): an adaptation to enhance cross-pollination?

Plant Signal Behav 2014 30;9(1):e27932. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

Universidade Estadual de Campinas; Instituto de Biologia; Departamento de Biologia Vegetal; Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Plant touch-sensitive organs have been described since Darwin's observations and are related to a quick response to environment stimuli. Sensitive flower organs have been associated to an increase in the chances of cross pollination but there are few studies regarding this topic. Here we describe for the first time the kinetic of the androgynophore movement of 4 Passiflora species (P. sanguinolenta, P. citrina, P. capsularis, and P. rubra). For that, we collected flowers and recorded the movement after mechano-stimulating the androgynophore. From the recordings, we described the movement regarding its response and sensibility to mechanical stimulus and calculated the duration, speed, and the angle formed by the androgynophore before and after the movement. From our data we were able to propose a link to the pollination habit of these species. The movement of the androgynophore in these Passiflora is a noteworthy floral feature that might lead us to another astonishing example of a mechanism that evolved among angiosperms to assure sexual reproduction.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091215PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/psb.27932DOI Listing
April 2015

Interplay between cell growth and cell cycle in plants.

J Exp Bot 2014 Jun 11;65(10):2703-14. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, CEP 13083-862, Brazil.

The growth of organs and whole plants depends on both cell growth and cell-cycle progression, but the interaction between both processes is poorly understood. In plants, the balance between growth and cell-cycle progression requires coordinated regulation of four different processes: macromolecular synthesis (cytoplasmic growth), turgor-driven cell-wall extension, mitotic cycle, and endocycle. Potential feedbacks between these processes include a cell-size checkpoint operating before DNA synthesis and a link between DNA contents and maximum cell size. In addition, key intercellular signals and growth regulatory genes appear to target at the same time cell-cycle and cell-growth functions. For example, auxin, gibberellin, and brassinosteroid all have parallel links to cell-cycle progression (through S-phase Cyclin D-CDK and the anaphase-promoting complex) and cell-wall functions (through cell-wall extensibility or microtubule dynamics). Another intercellular signal mediated by microtubule dynamics is the mechanical stress caused by growth of interconnected cells. Superimposed on developmental controls, sugar signalling through the TOR pathway has recently emerged as a central control point linking cytoplasmic growth, cell-cycle and cell-wall functions. Recent progress in quantitative imaging and computational modelling will facilitate analysis of the multiple interconnections between plant cell growth and cell cycle and ultimately will be required for the predictive manipulation of plant growth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/ert354DOI Listing
June 2014

Evolutionary, genetic, environmental and hormonal-induced plasticity in the fate of organs arising from axillary meristems in Passiflora spp.

Mech Dev 2013 Jan 29;130(1):61-9. Epub 2012 May 29.

Universidade Estadual de Campinas, UNICAMP, Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Cidade Universitaria Zeferino Vaz, Campinas, SP, Brazil.

Tendrils can be found in different plant species. In legumes such as pea, tendrils are modified leaves produced by the vegetative meristem but in the grape vine, a same meristem is used to either form a tendril or an inflorescence. Passiflora species originated in ecosystems in which there is dense vegetation and competition for light. Thus climbing on other plants in order to reach regions with higher light using tendrils is an adaptive advantage. In Passiflora species, after a juvenile phase, every leaf has a subtending vegetative meristem, and a separate meristem that forms both flowers and a tendril. Thus, flowers are formed once a tendril is formed yet whether or not this flower will reach bloom depends on the environment. For example, in Passiflora edulis flowers do not develop under shaded conditions, so that tendrils are needed to bring the plant to positions were flowers can develop. This separate meristem generally forms a single tendril in different Passiflora species yet the number and position of flowers formed from the same meristem diverges among species. Here we display the variation among species as well as variation within a single species, P. edulis. We also show that the number of flowers within a specific genotype can be modulated by applying Cytokinins. Finally, this separate meristem is capable of transforming into a leaf-producing meristem under specific environmental conditions. Thus, behind what appears to be a species-specific rigid program regarding the fate of this meristem, our study helps to reveal a plasticity normally restrained by genetic, hormonal and environmental constraints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mod.2012.05.006DOI Listing
January 2013

PASSIOMA: Exploring Expressed Sequence Tags during Flower Development in Passiflora spp.

Comp Funct Genomics 2012 22;2012:510549. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Rua Monteiro Lobato 255, 13083-860 Campinas, SP, Brazil.

The genus Passiflora provides a remarkable example of floral complexity and diversity. The extreme variation of Passiflora flower morphologies allowed a wide range of interactions with pollinators to evolve. We used the analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) as an approach for the characterization of genes expressed during Passiflora reproductive development. Analyzing the Passiflora floral EST database (named PASSIOMA), we found sequences showing significant sequence similarity to genes known to be involved in reproductive development such as MADS-box genes. Some of these sequences were studied using RT-PCR and in situ hybridization confirming their expression during Passiflora flower development. The detection of these novel sequences can contribute to the development of EST-based markers for important agronomic traits as well as to the establishment of genomic tools to study the naturally occurring floral diversity among Passiflora species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/510549DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3318222PMC
August 2012

Plants on the move: towards common mechanisms governing mechanically-induced plant movements.

Plant Signal Behav 2011 Dec;6(12):1979-86

Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil

One may think that plants seem relatively immobile. Nevertheless, plants not only produce movement but these movements can be quite rapid such as the closing traps of carnivorous plants, the folding up of leaflets in some Leguminosae species and the movement of floral organs in order to increase cross pollination. We focus this review on thigmotropic and thigmonastic movements, both in vegetative and reproductive parts of higher plants. Ultrastructural studies revealed that most thigmotropic and thigmonastic movements are caused by differentially changing cell turgor within a given tissue. Auxin has emerged as a key molecule that modulates proton extrusion and thus causing changes in cell turgor by enhancing the activity of H(+)ATPase in cell membranes. Finding conserved molecules and/or operational molecular modules among diverse types of movements would help us to find universal mechanisms controlling movements in plants and thus improve our understanding about the evolution of such phenomena.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/psb.6.12.18192DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337191PMC
December 2011

A genomic approach to study anthocyanin synthesis and flower pigmentation in passionflowers.

J Nucleic Acids 2011 5;2011:371517. Epub 2011 May 5.

Departamento de Biologia Vegetal. Rua Monteiro Lobato 970, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Cidade Universitária Zeferino Vaz, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil.

Most of the plant pigments ranging from red to purple colors belong to the anthocyanin group of flavonoids. The flowers of plants belonging to the genus Passiflora (passionflowers) show a wide range of floral adaptations to diverse pollinating agents, including variation in the pigmentation of floral parts ranging from white to red and purple colors. Exploring a database of expressed sequence tags obtained from flower buds of two divergent Passiflora species, we obtained assembled sequences potentially corresponding to 15 different genes of the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway in these species. The obtained sequences code for putative enzymes are involved in the production of flavonoid precursors, as well as those involved in the formation of particular ("decorated") anthocyanin molecules. We also obtained sequences encoding regulatory factors that control the expression of structural genes and regulate the spatial and temporal accumulation of pigments. The identification of some of the putative Passiflora anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway genes provides novel resources for research on secondary metabolism in passionflowers, especially on the elucidation of the processes involved in floral pigmentation, which will allow future studies on the role of pigmentation in pollinator preferences in a molecular level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/371517DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137904PMC
November 2011

Analysis of alanine aminotransferase in various organs of soybean (Glycine max) and in dependence of different nitrogen fertilisers during hypoxic stress.

Amino Acids 2010 Oct 23;39(4):1043-53. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam-Golm, Germany.

Alanine aminotransferase (AlaAT) catalyses the reversible conversion of pyruvate and glutamate into alanine and oxoglutarate. In soybean, two subclasses were identified, each represented by two highly similar members. To investigate the role of AlaAT during hypoxic stress in soybean, changes in transcript level of both subclasses were analysed together with the enzyme activity and alanine content of the tissue. Moreover, the dependency of AlaAT activity and gene expression was investigated in relation to the source of nitrogen supplied to the plants. Using semi-quantitative PCR, GmAlaAT genes were determined to be highest expressed in roots and nodules. Under normal growth conditions, enzyme activity of AlaAT was detected in all organs tested, with lowest activity in the roots. Upon waterlogging-induced hypoxia, AlaAT activity increased strongly. Concomitantly, alanine accumulated. During re-oxygenation, AlaAT activity remained high, but the transcript level and the alanine content decreased. Our results show a role for AlaAT in the catabolism of alanine during the initial period of re-oxygenation following hypoxia. GmAlaAT also responded to nitrogen availability in the solution during waterlogging. Ammonium as nitrogen source induced both gene expression and enzyme activity of AlaAT more than when nitrate was supplied in the nutrient solution. The work presented here indicates that AlaAT might not only be important during hypoxia, but also during the recovery phase after waterlogging, when oxygen is available to the tissue again.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-010-0596-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945468PMC
October 2010

Abiotic and biotic stresses and changes in the lignin content and composition in plants.

J Integr Plant Biol 2010 Apr;52(4):360-76

Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CP 6109, 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil.

Lignin is a polymer of phenylpropanoid compounds formed through a complex biosynthesis route, represented by a metabolic grid for which most of the genes involved have been sequenced in several plants, mainly in the model-plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Populus. Plants are exposed to different stresses, which may change lignin content and composition. In many cases, particularly for plant-microbe interactions, this has been suggested as defence responses of plants to the stress. Thus, understanding how a stressor modulates expression of the genes related with lignin biosynthesis may allow us to develop study-models to increase our knowledge on the metabolic control of lignin deposition in the cell wall. This review focuses on recent literature reporting on the main types of abiotic and biotic stresses that alter the biosynthesis of lignin in plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-7909.2010.00892.xDOI Listing
April 2010

Characterization of a sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) gene homolog to the brassinosteroid insensitive1-associated receptor kinase 1 that is associated to sugar content.

Plant Cell Rep 2009 Mar 19;28(3):481-91. Epub 2008 Dec 19.

Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Brazil.

The present article reports on the characterization of ScBAK1, a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase from sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), expressed predominantly in bundle-sheath cells of the mature leaf and potentially involved in cellular signaling cascades mediated by high levels of sugar in this organ. In this report, it was shown that the ScBAK1 sequence was similar to the brassinosteroid insensitive1-associated receptor kinase1 (BAK1). The putative cytoplasmatic domain of ScBAK1 contains all the amino acids characteristic of protein kinases, and the extracellular domain contains five leucine-rich repeats and a putative leucine zipper. Transcripts of ScBAK1 were almost undetectable in sugarcane roots or in any other sink tissue, but accumulated abundantly in the mature leaves. The ScBAK1 expression was higher in the higher sugar content individuals from a population segregating for sugar content throughout the growing season. In situ hybridization in sugarcane leaves showed that the ScBAK1 mRNA accumulated at much higher levels in bundle-sheath cells than in mesophyll cells. In addition, using biolistic bombardment of onion epidermal cells, it was shown that ScBAK1-GFP fusions were localized in the plasma membrane as predicted for a receptor kinase. All together, the present data indicate that ScBAK1 might be a receptor involved in the regulation of specific processes in bundle-sheath cells and in sucrose synthesis in mature sugarcane leaves.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00299-008-0656-0DOI Listing
March 2009

Floral development in the tribe Cedreleae (Meliaceae, sub-family Swietenioideae): Cedrela and Toona.

Ann Bot 2008 Jan 2;101(1):39-48. Epub 2007 Nov 2.

Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Av. Centenário 303, CEP 13400-970, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil.

Background And Aims: Floral development of Cedrela and Toona, the genera comprising the basal tribe Cedreleae of the sub-family Swietenioideae of Meliaceae, is described. The focus was on three endangered, ecologically and economically important species: Cedrela fissilis, Cedrela odorata and Toona ciliata. The aims of the study were to characterize the patterns of floral development in the tribe and to establish apomorphic and plesiomorphic floral characters in relation to other taxa within the family based on the current molecular phylogeny of Meliaceae.

Methods: A detailed floral structural and developmental study was completed using both scanning electron microscopy and visualization of microtome sections with a light microscope.

Key Results: Twelve floral developmental stages were identified. The initial development of the pentamerous flowers of both Toona and Cedrela is strikingly similar. The morphological differences observed between them are due to differential patterns of organ elongation and adnation/connation occurring late in development. Additionally, the formation of functionally male and female flowers was found to occur at specific positions within the inflorescence.

Conclusions: Due to the basal position of the tribe Cedreleae in the phylogeny of Meliaceae, functionally either male or female pentamerous flowers and the presence of (at least partially) free stamens may be considered plesiomorphic traits within the family. In contrast, sympetaly and the absence of nectaries in Cedrela species are synapomorphies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701842PMC
January 2008

The tropical cedar tree (Cedrela fissilis Vell., Meliaceae) homolog of the Arabidopsis LEAFY gene is expressed in reproductive tissues and can complement Arabidopsis leafy mutants.

Planta 2006 Jan 25;223(2):306-14. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura. Laboratório de Biotecnologia Vegetal, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Centenário, 303 CEP, 13400-970 Piracicaba, SP, Brazil.

A homolog of FLORICAULA/LEAFY, CfLFY (for Cedrela fissilis LFY), was isolated from tropical cedar. The main stages of the reproductive development in C. fissilis were documented by scanning electron microscopy and the expression patterns of CfLFY were studied during the differentiation of the floral meristems. Furthermore, the biological role of the CfLFY gene was assessed using transgenic Arabidopsis plants. CfLFY showed a high degree of similarity to other plant homologs of FLO/LFY. Southern analysis showed that CfLFY is a single-copy gene in the tropical cedar genome. Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization results showed that CfLFY was expressed in the reproductive buds during the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, as well as in floral meristems and floral organs but was excluded from the vegetative apex and leaves. Transgenic Arabidopsis lfy26 mutant lines expressing the CfLFY coding region, under the control of the LFY promoter, showed restored wild-type phenotype. Taken together, our results suggest that CfLFY is a FLO/LFY homolog probably involved in the control of tropical cedar reproductive development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00425-005-0086-yDOI Listing
January 2006

The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg.) homologue of the LEAFY/FLORICAULA gene is preferentially expressed in both male and female floral meristems.

J Exp Bot 2005 Jul 23;56(417):1965-74. Epub 2005 May 23.

Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Laboratório de Biotecnologia Vegetal, Av. Centenário, 303 CEP 13400-970 Piracicaba, SP, Brazil.

The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg.) is an important source of natural rubber in tropical regions and, as with many woody species, shows a long juvenile phase. To understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying the reproductive process in rubber trees, H. brasiliensis RRIM600 flower and inflorescence development have been characterized, the rubber tree FLORICAULA/LEAFY (FLO/LFY) orthologue, HbLFY, cloned, and its expression patterns were analysed during vegetative and reproductive development. The rubber tree, similar to other Euphorbiaceae species, produces lateral inflorescences containing male, female, and bisexual flowers. HbLFY is expressed in lateral meristems that give rise to inflorescences and in all flower meristems, consistent with a role in reproductive development. Complementation studies using Arabidopsis lfy mutants indicated that the biological function of LFY might be conserved among Brassicaceae and Euphorbiaceae species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/eri194DOI Listing
July 2005
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