Publications by authors named "Zhiyuan Fu"

32 Publications

A synergy between the push-pull electronic effect and twisted conformation for high-contrast mechanochromic AIEgens.

Mater Horiz 2021 Feb 15;8(2):630-638. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

AIE Research Center, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Baoji University of Arts and Sciences, Baoji 721013, China.

Mechanochromic (MC) luminogens in response to external stimulus have shown promising applications as pressure sensors and memory devices. Meanwhile, research on their underlying mechanism is still in the initial stage. Here, three pyridinium-functionalized tetraphenylethylenes bearing n-pentyloxy, hydrogen and nitro groups, namely TPE-OP, TPE-H and TPE-NO, are designed to systematically investigate the influence of the push-pull electronic effect and molecular conformation on MC luminescence. Upon anisotropic grinding and isotropic hydrostatic compression, TPE-OP with strong intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) affords the best MC behavior among them. Analysis of three polymorphs of TPE-H clearly indicates that planarization of the molecular conformation plays an important role in their bathochromic shifts under mechanical stimuli. Theoretical calculations also verify that high twisting stress of AIEgens can be released under high pressure. This study presents a mechanistic insight into MC behaviour and an effective strategy to achieve high-contrast MC luminescence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0mh01251cDOI Listing
February 2021

Directed movement changes coexistence outcomes in heterogeneous environments.

Ecol Lett 2021 Nov 24. Epub 2021 Nov 24.

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, Davis, California, USA.

Understanding mechanisms of coexistence is a central topic in ecology. Mathematical analysis of models of competition between two identical species moving at different rates of symmetric diffusion in heterogeneous environments show that the slower mover excludes the faster one. The models have not been tested empirically and lack inclusions of a component of directed movement toward favourable areas. To address these gaps, we extended previous theory by explicitly including exploitable resource dynamics and directed movement. We tested the mathematical results experimentally using laboratory populations of the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. Our results not only support the previous theory that the species diffusing at a slower rate prevails in heterogeneous environments but also reveal that moderate levels of a directed movement component on top of the diffusive movement allow species to coexist. Our results broaden the theory of species coexistence in heterogeneous space and provide empirical confirmation of the mathematical predictions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13925DOI Listing
November 2021

Contrasting plant responses to multivariate environmental variations among species with divergent elevation shifts.

Ecol Appl 2021 Oct 22:e02488. Epub 2021 Oct 22.

Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 74078, USA.

The general predictions of climate impacts on species shifts (e.g., upward shift) cannot directly inform local species conservation, because local-scale studies find divergent patterns instead of a general one. For example, our previous study found three shift patterns with elevation (strong down-, moderate down-, and up-slope shifts) in temperate mountain forests. The divergent shifts are hypothesized to arise from both multivariate environmental variations with elevation and corresponding species-specific responses. To test this hypothesis, we sampled soils and leaves to measure elevation variations in soil conditions and determined plant responses using discriminations against heavier isotopes, carbon ( C) and nitrogen ( N). Functional traits of the species studied were also extracted from a public trait dataset. We found that: (1) With low soil water contents at low elevations, only the leaves of up-shifters had lower C discriminations at low vs. high elevations; (2) With low soil P contents at high elevations, only the leaves of moderate down-shifters had higher N discriminations at high vs. low elevations; (3) The leaves of strong down-shifters did not show significant elevation patterns of the discriminations; (4) The contrasting responses among the three types of shifters agree with their functional dissimilarity, suggested by their separate locations in a multitrait space. Taken together, the divergent shifts are associated with the elevation variations in environmental conditions and contrasting plant responses. The contrasting responses could result from the functional dissimilarity among species. Therefore, a detailed understanding of both local environmental variations and species-specific responses can facilitate accurate predictions of species shifts to inform local species conservation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eap.2488DOI Listing
October 2021

Mining novel kernel size-related genes by pQTL mapping and multi-omics integrative analysis in developing maize kernels.

Plant Biotechnol J 2021 08 4;19(8):1489-1491. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crops Science/Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops/College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pbi.13634DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8384594PMC
August 2021

Global transcriptional profiling between inbred parents and hybrids provides comprehensive insights into ear-length heterosis of maize (Zea mays).

BMC Plant Biol 2021 Feb 26;21(1):118. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crops Science, College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450018, China.

Background: Maize (Zea mays) ear length, which is an important yield component, exhibits strong heterosis. Understanding the potential molecular mechanisms of ear-length heterosis is critical for efficient yield-related breeding.

Results: Here, a joint netted pattern, including six parent-hybrid triplets, was designed on the basis of two maize lines harboring long (T121 line) and short (T126 line) ears. Global transcriptional profiling of young ears (containing meristem) was performed. Multiple comparative analyses revealed that 874 differentially expressed genes are mainly responsible for the ear-length variation between T121 and T126 lines. Among them, four key genes, Zm00001d049958, Zm00001d027359, Zm00001d048502 and Zm00001d052138, were identified as being related to meristem development, which corroborated their roles in the superior additive genetic effects on ear length in T121 line. Non-additive expression patterns were used to identify candidate genes related to ear-length heterosis. A non-additively expressed gene (Zm00001d050649) was associated with the timing of meristematic phase transition and was determined to be the homolog of tomato SELF PRUNING, which assists SINGLE FLOWER TRUSS in driving yield-related heterosis, indicating that Zm00001d050649 is a potential contributor to drive heterotic effect on ear length.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that inbred parents provide genetic and heterotic effects on the ear lengths of their corresponding F hybrids through two independent pathways. These findings provide comprehensive insights into the transcriptional regulation of ear length and improve the understanding of ear-length heterosis in maize.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12870-021-02890-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908659PMC
February 2021

Palladium-catalyzed allylic alkylation dearomatization of β-naphthols and indoles with -difluorinated cyclopropanes.

Chem Commun (Camb) 2021 Feb;57(10):1262-1265

State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines (SKLNM) and Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, P. R. China.

A palladium-catalyzed allylic alkylation dearomatization of β-naphthols and indoles with gem-difluorinated cyclopropanes has been developed. This reaction provided an efficient route to access 2-fluoroallylic β-naphthalenones and indolenines bearing quaternary carbon centers in good yields with high Z-selectivity via C-C bond activation, C-F bond cleavage and the dearomatization process, benefiting from the wide substrate scope and good functional group tolerance. Moreover, 2-fluoroallylic furanoindoline and pyrroloindolines were achieved in good efficiency via cascade allylic alkylation, dearomatization and cyclization processes in the presence of Et3B.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0cc07529aDOI Listing
February 2021

The photo-inhibition of camphor leaves ( L.) by NaCl stress based on physiological, chloroplast structure and comparative proteomic analysis.

PeerJ 2020 7;8:e9443. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China of Jiangsu Province & Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Restoration, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.

Background: The distribution and use of camphor ( L.) trees are constrained by increasing soil salinity in south-eastern China along the Yangtze River. However, the response mechanism of this species to salinity, especially in team of photosynthesis, are unknown.

Methods: Here, we analysed themorphological, physiological, ultrastructural, and proteomic traits of camphor seedlings under NaCl (103.45 mM) treatment in pot experiments for 80 days.

Results: The growth was limited because of photosynthetic inhibition, with the most significant disturbance occurring within 50 days. Salinity caused severe reductions in the leaf photosynthetic rate ( ), stomatal conductance ( ), maximal chlorophyll fluorescence (F), maximum quantum yield of PSII (F/F), non-photochemical quenching (NPQ), relative quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry (ΦPSII), photochemical quenching coefficient (qP) and photo-pigment contents (chlorophyll a (Cha), chlorophyll b (Chb), total chlorophyll (Chl)); weakened the antioxidant effects, including those of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD); and injured chloroplasts. The physiologicalresults indicated that the main reason for photo-inhibition was oxidative factors induced by NaCl. The proteomic results based on isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) further confirmedthat photosynthesis was the most significant disrupted process by salinity ( < 0.01) and there were 30 downregulated differentially expression proteins (DEPs) and one upregulated DEP related to restraint of the photosynthetic system, which affected photosystem I, photosystem II, the Cytochrome b6/f complex, ATP synthase and the light-harvesting chlorophyll protein complex. In addition, 57 DEPs were related to photo-inhibition by redox effect and 6 downregulated DEPs, including O2 evolving complex 33kD family protein (gi-224094610) and five other predicted proteins (gi-743921083, gi-743840443, gi-743885735, gi-743810316 and gi-743881832) were directly affected. This study provides new proteomic information and explains the possible mechanisms of photo-inhibition caused by salinity on .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9443DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7486828PMC
August 2020

Cytosolic malate dehydrogenase 4 modulates cellular energetics and storage reserve accumulation in maize endosperm.

Plant Biotechnol J 2020 12 14;18(12):2420-2435. Epub 2020 Jun 14.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crops Science/Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops/College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

Cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (MDH) is a key enzyme that regulates the interconversion between malate and oxaloacetate (OAA). However, its role in modulating storage compound accumulation in maize endosperm is largely unknown. Here, we characterized a novel naturally occurring maize mdh4-1 mutant, which produces small, opaque kernels and exhibits reduced starch but enhanced lysine content. Map-based cloning, functional complementation and allelism analyses identified ZmMdh4 as the causal gene. Enzymatic assays demonstrated that ZmMDH4 predominantly catalyses the conversion from OAA to malate. In comparison, the activity of the mutant enzyme, which lacks one glutamic acid (Glu), was completed abolished, demonstrating that the Glu residue was essential for ZmMDH4 function. Knocking down ZmMdh4 in vivo led to a substantial metabolic shift towards glycolysis and a dramatic disruption in the activity of the mitochondrial complex I, which was correlated with transcriptomic alterations. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ZmMdh4 regulates the balance between mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis, ATP production and endosperm development, through a yet unknown feedback regulatory mechanism in mitochondria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pbi.13416DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680550PMC
December 2020

ZmEHD1 Is Required for Kernel Development and Vegetative Growth through Regulating Auxin Homeostasis.

Plant Physiol 2020 03 19;182(3):1467-1480. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops, College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, 450002 Zhengzhou, China.

The roles of C-terminal Eps15 homology domain (EHD) proteins in clathrin-mediated endocytosis in plants are poorly understood. Here, we isolated a maize () mutant, designated , which showed defects in kernel development and vegetative growth. Positional cloning and transgenic analysis revealed that encodes an EHD protein. Internalization of the endocytic tracer FM4-64 was substantially reduced in the mutant and knockout mutants. We further demonstrated that ZmEHD1 and the ZmAP2 σ subunit physically interact at the plasma membrane. Auxin distribution and ZmPIN1a-YFP localization were altered in the mutant. Kernel indole-3-acetic acid levels were substantially lower in the mutant than in wild-type maize. Exogenous application of 1-naphthaleneacetic acid, but not GA or 2-naphthaleneacetic acid, rescued the seed germination and seedling emergency phenotypic defects of mutants. Taken together, these results indicate that ZmEHD1 regulates auxin homeostasis by mediating clathrin-mediated endocytosis through its interaction with the ZmAP2 σ subunit, which is crucial for kernel development and vegetative growth of maize.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1104/pp.19.01336DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7054883PMC
March 2020

Pre-rRNA processing and its response to temperature stress in maize.

J Exp Bot 2020 02;71(4):1363-1374

College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

Ribosome biogenesis is a fundamental process in all eukaryotic cells and is coupled with the processing and maturation of pre-rRNAs. Maize is a primary staple crop across the world, but little is known about the exact pre-rRNA processing sites and pathways in this species. In this study, we present a detailed model of the pathway by identifying the critical endonucleolytic cleavage sites and determining the pre-rRNA intermediates by circular reverse-transcription PCR and northern blot analysis. We demonstrate that two pathways coexist in maize to promote the processing of 35S pre-rRNA, and that the processing of 27SA pre-rRNA can proceed via two different pathways, which are distinguished based on the order of ITS1 removal and ITS2 cleavage. Compared with yeast and mammals, this new 27SA pre-rRNA processing mechanism is unique to maize and other higher plants. In addition, we demonstrate that maize can modulate pre-rRNA processing levels in response to chilling and heat stress, as indicated by a significant reduction of the P-A3 intermediate. Our study provides information that will facilitate future research on ribosome biogenesis and pre-rRNA processing in maize.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erz488DOI Listing
February 2020

Effects of sulfuric, nitric, and mixed acid rain on Chinese fir sapling growth in Southern China.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2018 Sep 26;160:154-161. Epub 2018 May 26.

Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Jiangsu Province Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Restoration, Nanjing Forestry University, 159 Longpan Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210037, China. Electronic address:

The influence of acid rain on plant growth includes direct effects on foliage as well as indirect soil-mediated effects that cause a reduction in root growth. In addition, the concentration of NO in acid rain increases along with the rapid growth of nitrogen deposition. In this study, we investigated the impact of simulated acid rain with different SO/NO (S/N) ratios, which were 1:0, 5:1, 1:1, 1:5 and 0:1, on Chinese fir sapling growth from March 2015 to April 2016. Results showed that Chinese fir sapling height growth rate (HGR) and basal diameter growth rate (DGR) decreased as acid rain pH decreased, and also decreased as the percentage of NO increased in acid rain. Acid rain pH significantly decreased the Chlorophyll a (Chla) and Chlorophyll b (Chlb) content, and Chla and Chlb contents with acid rain S/N 1:5 were significantly lower than those with S/N 1:0 at pH 2.5. The chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, maximal efficiency of Photosystem II photochemistry (Fv/Fm) and non-photochemical quenching coefficient (NPQ), with most acid rain treatments were significantly lower than those with CK treatments. Root activities first increased and then decreased as acid rain pH decreased, when acid rain S/N ratios were 1:1, 1:5 and 0:1. Redundancy discriminant analysis (RDA) showed that the Chinese fir DGR and HGR had positive correlations with Chla, Chlb, Fv/Fm ratio, root activity, catalase and superoxide dismutase activities in roots under the stress of acid rain with different pH and S/N ratios. The structural equation modelling (SEM) results showed that acid rain NO concentration and pH had stronger direct effects on Chinese fir sapling HGR and DGR, and the direct effects of acid rain NO concentration and pH on HGR were lower than those on DGR. Our results suggest that the ratio of SO to NO in acid rain is an important factor which could affect the sustainable development of monoculture Chinese fir plantations in southern China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2018.04.071DOI Listing
September 2018

Proteomic analysis reveals that auxin homeostasis influences the eighth internode length heterosis in maize (Zea mays).

Sci Rep 2018 05 8;8(1):7159. Epub 2018 May 8.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science/Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops/College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Ear height is an important maize morphological trait that influences plant lodging resistance in the field, and is based on the number and length of internodes under the ear. To explore the effect of internodes on ear height, the internodes under the ear were analysed in four commercial hybrids (Jinsai6850, Zhengdan958, Xundan20, and Yuyu22) from different heterotic groups in China. The eighth internode, which is the third aboveground extended internode, exhibited high-parent or over high-parent heterosis and contributed considerably to ear height. Thus, the proteome of the eighth internode was examined. Sixty-six protein spots with >1.5-fold differences in accumulation (P < 0.05) among the four hybrids were identified by mass spectrometry and data analyses. Most of the differentially accumulated proteins exhibited additive accumulation patterns, but with epistatic effects on heterosis performance. Proteins involved in phenylpropanoid and benzoxazinoid metabolic pathways were observed to influence indole-3-acetic acid biosynthesis and polar auxin transport during internode development. Moreover, indole-3-acetic acid content was positively correlated with the eighth internode length, but negatively correlated with the extent of the heterosis of the eighth internode length.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-23874-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5940786PMC
May 2018

Maize Urb2 protein is required for kernel development and vegetative growth by affecting pre-ribosomal RNA processing.

New Phytol 2018 05 26;218(3):1233-1246. Epub 2018 Feb 26.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops, College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Ribosome biogenesis is a fundamental process in eukaryotic cells. Although Urb2 protein has been implicated in ribosome biogenesis in yeast, the Urb2 domain is loosely conserved between plants and yeast, and the function of Urb2 protein in plants remains unknown. Here, we isolated a maize mutant, designated as urb2, with defects in kernel development and vegetative growth. Positional cloning and transgenic analysis revealed that urb2 encodes an Urb2 domain-containing protein. Compared with the wild-type (WT), the urb2 mutant showed decreased ratios of 60S/40S and 80S/40S and increased ratios of polyribosomes. The pre-rRNA intermediates of 35/33S rRNA, P-A3 and 18S-A3 were significantly accumulated in the urb2 mutant. Transcriptome profiling of the urb2 mutant indicated that ZmUrb2 affects the expression of a number of ribosome-related genes. We further demonstrated that natural variations in ZmUrb2 are significantly associated with maize kernel length. The overall results indicate that, by affecting pre-rRNA processing, the Urb2 protein is required for ribosome biogenesis in maize.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.15057DOI Listing
May 2018

Comparative effects of simulated acid rain of different ratios of SO to NO on fine root in subtropical plantation of China.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Mar 10;618:336-346. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Jiangsu Province Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Restoration, Nanjing Forestry University, 159 Longpan Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210037, China. Electronic address:

The influence of acid rain on forest trees includes direct effects on foliage as well as indirect soil-mediated effects that cause a reduction in fine-root growth. In addition, the concentration of NO in acid rain increases with the rapidly growing of nitrogen deposition. In this study, we investigated the impact of simulated acid rain with different SO/NO (S/N) ratios, which were 5:1 (S), 1:1 (SN) and 1:5 (N), on fine-root growth from March 2015 to February 2016. Results showed that fine roots were more sensitive to the effects of acid rain than soils in the short-term. Both soil pH and fine root biomass (FRB) significantly decreased as acid rain pH decreased, and also decreased with the percentage of NO increased in acid rain. Acid rain pH significantly influenced soil total carbon and available potassium in summer. Higher acidity level (pH=2.5), especially of the N treatments, had the strongest inhibitory impact on soil microbial activity after summer. The structural equation modelling results showed that acid rain S/N ratio and pH had stronger direct effects on FRB than indirect effects via changed soil and fine root properties. Fine-root element contents and antioxidant enzymes activities were significantly affected by acid rain S/N ratio and pH during most seasons. Fine-root Al ion content, Ca/Al, Mg/Al ratios and catalase activity were used as better indicators than soil parameters for evaluating the effects of different acid rain S/N ratios and pH on forests. Our results suggest that the ratio of SO to NO in acid rain is an important factor which could affect fine-root growth in subtropical forests of China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.073DOI Listing
March 2018

Accessing 1,3-Dienes via Palladium-Catalyzed Allylic Alkylation of Pronucleophiles with Skipped Enynes.

Org Lett 2017 09 24;19(18):4710-4713. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines (SKLNM) and Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University , Nanjing 210009, P. R. China.

An unprecedented palladium-catalyzed allylic alkylation of pronucleophiles with unactivated skipped enynes has been developed. This method provides a straightforward access to a wide array of 1,3-dienes without the need to preinstall leaving groups or employ extra oxidants. The reaction exhibited high atom economy, good functional group tolerance, excellent regioselectivities, and scalability. With DO as cosolvent, deuterium could be incorporated in high efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.7b01960DOI Listing
September 2017

Similarity of plant functional traits and aggregation pattern in a subtropical forest.

Ecol Evol 2017 06 26;7(12):4086-4098. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Restoration in Jiangsu Province Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China Nanjing Forestry University Nanjing China.

The distribution of species and communities in relation to environmental heterogeneity is a central focus in ecology. Co-occurrence of species with similar functional traits is an indication that communities are determined in part by environmental filters. However, few studies have been designed to test how functional traits are selectively filtered by environmental conditions at local scales. Exploring the relationship between soil characteristics and plant traits is a step toward understanding the filtering hypothesis in determining plant distribution at local scale. Toward this end, we mapped all individual trees (diameter >1 cm) in a one-ha subtropical forest of China in 2007 and 2015. We measured topographic and detailed soil properties within the field site, as well as plant leaf functional traits and demographic rates of the seven most common tree species. A second one-ha study plot was established in 2015, to test and validate the general patterns that were drawn from first plot. We found that variation in species distribution at local scale can be explained by soil heterogeneity and plant functional traits. (From first plot). (1) Species dominant in habitats with high soil ammonium nitrogen and total phosphorus tended to have high specific leaf area (SLA) and relative growth rate (RGR). (2) Species dominant in low-fertility habitats tended to have high leaf dry matter content (LDMC), ratio of chlorophyll a and b (ratioab), and leaf thickness (LT). The hypothesis that functional traits are selected in part by environmental filters and determine plant distribution at local scale was confirmed by the data of the first plot and a second regional site showed similar species distribution patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478052PMC
June 2017

Identification of heterotic loci associated with grain yield and its components using two CSSL test populations in maize.

Sci Rep 2016 12 5;6:38205. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China.

Heterosis has widely been used to increase grain yield and quality. In this study, the genetic basis of heterosis on grain yield and its main components in maize were examined over 2 years in two locations in two test populations constructed from a set of 184 chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) and two inbred lines (Zheng58 and Xun9058). Of the 169 heterotic loci (HL) associated with grain yield and its five components identified in CSSL × Zheng58 and CSSL × Xun9058 test populations, only 25 HL were detected in both populations. The comparison of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) detected in the CSSL population with HL detected in the two test populations revealed that only 15.46% and 17.35% of the HL in the given populations respectively, shared the same chromosomal regions as that of the corresponding QTLs and showed dominant effects as well as pleiotropism with additive and dominant effects. In addition, most of the HL (74.23% and 74.49%) had overdominant effects. These results suggest that overdominance is the main contributor to the effects of heterosis on grain yield and its components in maize, and different HL are associated with heterosis for different traits in different hybrids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep38205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137037PMC
December 2016

Proteomic Analysis of Silk Viability in Maize Inbred Lines and Their Corresponding Hybrids.

PLoS One 2015 2;10(12):e0144050. Epub 2015 Dec 2.

Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crops Science/Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops/College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

A long period of silk viability is critical for a good seed setting rate in maize (Zea mays L.), especially for inbred lines and hybrids with a long interval between anthesis and silking. To explore the molecular mechanism of silk viability and its heterosis, three inbred lines with different silk viability characteristics (Xun928, Lx9801, and Zong3) and their two hybrids (Xun928×Zong3 and Lx9801×Zong3) were analyzed at different developmental stages by a proteomic method. The differentially accumulated proteins were identified by mass spectrometry and classified into metabolism, protein biosynthesis and folding, signal transduction and hormone homeostasis, stress and defense responses, and cellular processes. Proteins involved in nutrient (methionine) and energy (ATP) supply, which support the pollen tube growth in the silk, were important for silk viability and its heterosis. The additive and dominant effects at a single locus, as well as complex epistatic interactions at two or more loci in metabolic pathways, were the primary contributors for mid-parent heterosis of silk viability. Additionally, the proteins involved in the metabolism of anthocyanins, which indirectly negatively regulate local hormone accumulation, were also important for the mid-parent heterosis of silk viability. These results also might imply the developmental dependence of heterosis, because many of the differentially accumulated proteins made distinct contributions to the heterosis of silk viability at specific developmental stages.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144050PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668103PMC
June 2016

Identification and Characterization of microRNAs during Maize Grain Filling.

PLoS One 2015 7;10(5):e0125800. Epub 2015 May 7.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops, College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

The grain filling rate is closely associated with final grain yield of maize during the period of maize grain filling. To identify the key microRNAs (miRNAs) and miRNA-dependent gene regulation networks of grain filling in maize, a deep-sequencing technique was used to research the dynamic expression patterns of miRNAs at four distinct developmental grain filling stages in Zhengdan 958, which is an elite hybrid and cultivated widely in China. The sequencing result showed that the expression amount of almost all miRNAs was changing with the development of the grain filling and formed in seven groups. After normalization, 77 conserved miRNAs and 74 novel miRNAs were co-detected in these four samples. Eighty-one out of 162 targets of the conserved miRNAs belonged to transcriptional regulation (81, 50%), followed by oxidoreductase activity (18, 11%), signal transduction (16, 10%) and development (15, 9%). The result showed that miRNA 156, 393, 396 and 397, with their respective targets, might play key roles in the grain filling rate by regulating maize growth, development and environment stress response. The result also offered novel insights into the dynamic change of miRNAs during the developing process of maize kernels and assisted in the understanding of how miRNAs are functioning about the grain filling rate.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0125800PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4423906PMC
February 2016

Investigating the molecular genetic basis of heterosis for internode expansion in maize by microRNA transcriptomic deep sequencing.

Funct Integr Genomics 2015 May 14;15(3):261-70. Epub 2014 Nov 14.

Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops; College of Agronomy, Key Laboratory of Physiological Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Heterosis has been used widely in the breeding of maize and other crops and plays an important role in increasing yield, improving quality, and enhancing stress resistance, but its molecular mechanism is far from clear. To determine whether microRNA (miRNA)-dependent gene regulation is responsible for heterosis of elongating internodes below the ear and ear height in maize, a deep-sequencing strategy was applied to the elite hybrid Xundan20, which is currently cultivated widely in China, and its two parents. RNA was extracted from the eighth internode because it shows clear internode length heterosis. A total of 99 conserved maize miRNAs were detected in both the hybrid and parental lines. Most of these miRNAs were expressed nonadditively in the hybrid compared with its parental lines. These results indicated that miRNAs might participate in heterosis during internode expansion in maize and exert an influence on ear and plant height via the repression of their target genes. In total, eight novel miRNAs belonging to four miRNA families were predicted in the expanding internode. Global repression of miRNAs in the hybrid, which might result in enhanced gene expression, might be one reason why the hybrid shows longer internodes and taller seedlings compared with its parental lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10142-014-0411-2DOI Listing
May 2015

Quantitative trait loci for mercury accumulation in maize (Zea mays L.) identified using a RIL population.

PLoS One 2014 11;9(9):e107243. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crops Science, Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops, College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

To investigate the genetic mechanism of mercury accumulation in maize (Zea mays L.), a population of 194 recombinant inbred lines derived from an elite hybrid Yuyu 22, was used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for mercury accumulation at two locations. The results showed that the average Hg concentration in the different tissues of maize followed the order: leaves > bracts > stems > axis > kernels. Twenty-three QTLs for mercury accumulation in five tissues were detected on chromosomes 1, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10, which explained 6.44% to 26.60% of the phenotype variance. The QTLs included five QTLs for Hg concentration in kernels, three QTLs for Hg concentration in the axis, six QTLs for Hg concentration in stems, four QTLs for Hg concentration in bracts and five QTLs for Hg concentration in leaves. Interestingly, three QTLs, qKHC9a, qKHC9b, and qBHC9 were in linkage with two QTLs for drought tolerance. In addition, qLHC1 was in linkage with two QTLs for arsenic accumulation. The study demonstrated the concentration of Hg in Hg-contaminated paddy soil could be reduced, and maize production maintained simultaneously by selecting and breeding maize Hg pollution-safe cultivars (PSCs).
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0107243PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161392PMC
October 2015

The development and amino acid binding ability of nano-materials based on azo derivatives: theory and experiment.

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl 2014 May 7;38:101-6. Epub 2014 Feb 7.

Department of Chemistry, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China.

Two nano-material-containing azo groups have been designed and developed, and the binding ability of nano-materials with various amino acids has been characterized by UV-vis and fluorescence titrations. Results indicated that two nano-materials showed the strongest binding ability for homocysteine among twenty normal kinds of amino acids (alanine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, methionine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, arginine, glycine, serine, threonine, asparagine, phenylalanine, histidine, tryptophan, proline, lysine, glutamine, tyrosine and homocysteine). The reason for the high sensitivity for homocysteine was that two nano-materials containing an aldehyde group reacted with SH in homocysteine and afforded very stable thiazolidine derivatives. Theoretical investigation further illustrated the possible binding mode in host-guest interaction and the roles of molecular frontier orbitals in molecular interplay. Thus, the two nano-materials can be used as optical sensors for the detection of homocysteine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2014.01.049DOI Listing
May 2014

QTL analysis of Kernel-related traits in maize using an immortalized F2 population.

PLoS One 2014 28;9(2):e89645. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

College of Agronomy/Key Laboratory of Physiological Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

Kernel size and weight are important determinants of grain yield in maize. In this study, multivariate conditional and unconditional quantitative trait loci (QTL), and digenic epistatic analyses were utilized in order to elucidate the genetic basis for these kernel-related traits. Five kernel-related traits, including kernel weight (KW), volume (KV), length (KL), thickness (KT), and width (KWI), were collected from an immortalized F2 (IF2) maize population comprising of 243 crosses performed at two separate locations over a span of two years. A total of 54 unconditional main QTL for these five kernel-related traits were identified, many of which were clustered in chromosomal bins 6.04-6.06, 7.02-7.03, and 10.06-10.07. In addition, qKL3, qKWI6, qKV10a, qKV10b, qKW10a, and qKW7a were detected across multiple environments. Sixteen main QTL were identified for KW conditioned on the other four kernel traits (KL, KWI, KT, and KV). Thirteen main QTL were identified for KV conditioned on three kernel-shape traits. Conditional mapping analysis revealed that KWI and KV had the strongest influence on KW at the individual QTL level, followed by KT, and then KL; KV was mostly strongly influenced by KT, followed by KWI, and was least impacted by KL. Digenic epistatic analysis identified 18 digenic interactions involving 34 loci over the entire genome. However, only a small proportion of them were identical to the main QTL we detected. Additionally, conditional digenic epistatic analysis revealed that the digenic epistasis for KW and KV were entirely determined by their constituent traits. The main QTL identified in this study for determining kernel-related traits with high broad-sense heritability may play important roles during kernel development. Furthermore, digenic interactions were shown to exert relatively large effects on KL (the highest AA and DD effects were 4.6% and 6.7%, respectively) and KT (the highest AA effects were 4.3%).
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089645PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3938492PMC
November 2014

Synthesis and binding ability of molecular probes based on a phenanthroline derivative: theory and experiment.

Molecules 2013 Dec 3;18(12):14840-8. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Department of Chemistry, Xinxiang Medical University, Xinxiang 453003, Henan, China.

A fluorescent and colorimetric molecular probe containing phenol groups has been designed and synthesized. The anion binding ability was evaluated for biolgically important anions (F-, Cl-, Br-, I-, AcO- and H2PO4-) by theoretical investigation, UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy and 1H-NMR titration experiments. Results indicated the probe showed strong binding ability for H2PO4- without the interference of other anions tested and the interaction process was accompanied by color changes. Theoretical investigation analysis revealed that intramolecular hydrogen bonds existed in the structure of the probe and the roles of molecular frontier orbitals in molecular interplay were determined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules181214840DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6270029PMC
December 2013

Proteomic identification of genes associated with maize grain-filling rate.

PLoS One 2013 19;8(3):e59353. Epub 2013 Mar 19.

College of Agronomy, Key Laboratory of Physiological Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

Grain filling during the linear phase contributes most of the dry matter accumulated in the maize kernel, which in turn determines the final grain yield. Endosperms and embryos of three elite maize hybrids (Zhengdan 958, Nongda 108, and Pioneer 335) were sampled 17, 22, 25, and 28 days after pollination, during the linear phase of grain filling, for proteomic analysis to explore the regulatory factors critical for grain filling rate. In total, 39 and 43 protein spots that showed more than 2-fold changes in abundance at P<0.01 between any two sampling stages in the endosperm and embryo were analyzed by protein mass spectrometry. The changing patterns in expression index of these proteins in the endosperm were evenly distributed, whereas up-regulation patterns predominated (74%) in the embryo. Functional analysis revealed that metabolism was the largest category, represented by nine proteins in the endosperm and 12 proteins in the embryo, of the proteins that significantly changed in abundance. Glycolysis, a critical process both for glucose conversion into pyruvate and for release of free energy and reducing power, and proteins related to redox homeostasis were emphasized in the endosperm. Additionally, lipid, nitrogen, and inositol metabolism related to fatty acid biosynthesis and late embryogenesis abundant proteins were emphasized in the embryo. One protein related to cellular redox equilibrium, which showed a more than 50-fold change in abundance and was co-localized with a quantitative trait locus for grain yield on chromosome 1, was further investigated by transcriptional profile implying consistent expression pattern with protein accumulation. The present results provide a first step towards elucidation of the gene network responsible for regulation of grain filling in maize.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0059353PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3601958PMC
September 2013

Natural variation in the sequence of PSY1 and frequency of favorable polymorphisms among tropical and temperate maize germplasm.

Theor Appl Genet 2013 Apr 13;126(4):923-35. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Key Laboratory of Crop Genomics and Genetic Improvement (Ministry of Agriculture), National Maize Improvement Center of China, China Agricultural University, Haidian, 100193 Beijing, China.

Provitamin A (Pro-VA) is necessary for human vision and immune system health, especially in growing children. The first committed step in the maize carotenoid biosynthesis pathway is catalyzed by phytoene synthase 1 (encoded by PSY1) which controls the flux of substrates into the pathway. The flow of these substrates could be directed into production of the β-branch carotenoids (the step controlled largely by the lycopene epsilon cyclase gene), but terminated after the production of β-carotene, rather than allowing it to be converted into the next metabolite (the step controlled largely by the β-carotenoid hydroxylase gene). In this study, PSY1 was subjected to association mapping in two diverse maize populations, quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping in one segregating population, and expression analysis of lines polymorphic for sites within PSY1. The results indicated that a 378-bp InDel upstream of the transcription start site and a SNP in the fifth exon resulting in a Thr to Asn substitution, explaining 7 and 8 % of the total carotenoid variation, respectively, may be functional sites associated with total carotenoid levels in maize grain. Analysis of the evolution of PSY1 strongly suggests that there was positive selection for these polymorphic sites after the divergence of yellow maize from white maize.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00122-012-2026-0DOI Listing
April 2013

MicroRNA transcriptomic analysis of heterosis during maize seed germination.

PLoS One 2012 27;7(6):e39578. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

Heterosis has been utilized widely in the breeding of maize and other crops, and plays an important role in increasing yield, improving quality and enhancing stresses resistance, but the molecular mechanism responsible for heterosis is far from clear. To illustrate whether miRNA-dependent gene regulation is responsible for heterosis during maize germination, a deep-sequencing technique was applied to germinating embryos of a maize hybrid, Yuyu22, which is cultivated widely in China and its parental inbred lines, Yu87-1 and Zong3. The target genes of several miRNAs showing significant expression in the hybrid and parental lines were predicted and tested using real-time PCR. A total of 107 conserved maize miRNAs were co-detected in the hybrid and parental lines. Most of these miRNAs were expressed non-additively in the hybrid compared to its parental lines. These results indicated that miRNAs might participate in heterosis during maize germination and exert an influence via the decay of their target genes. Novel miRNAs were predicted follow a rigorous criterion and only the miRNAs detected in all three samples were treated as a novel maize miRNA. In total, 34 miRNAs belonged to 20 miRNA families were predicted in germinating maize seeds. Global repression of miRNAs in the hybrid, which might result in enhanced gene expression, might be one reason why the hybrid showed higher embryo germination vigor compared to its parental lines.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0039578PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384671PMC
March 2013

ZmcrtRB3 encodes a carotenoid hydroxylase that affects the accumulation of α-carotene in maize kernel.

J Integr Plant Biol 2012 Apr;54(4):260-9

National Maize Improvement Center, Key Laboratory of Crop Genomics and Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, 100193 Beijing, China.

α-carotene is one of the important components of pro-vitamin A, which is able to be converted into vitamin A in the human body. One maize (Zea mays L.) ortholog of carotenoid hydroxylases in Arabidopsis thaliana, ZmcrtRB3, was cloned and its role in carotenoid hydrolyzations was addressed. ZmcrtRB3 was mapped in a quantitative trait locus (QTL) cluster for carotenoid-related traits on chromosome 2 (bin 2.03) in a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from By804 and B73. Candidate-gene association analysis identified 18 polymorphic sites in ZmcrtRB3 significantly associated with one or more carotenoid-related traits in 126 diverse yellow maize inbred lines. These results indicate that the enzyme ZmcrtRB3 plays a role in hydrolyzing both α- and β-carotenes, while polymorphisms in ZmcrtRB3 contributed more variation in α-carotene than that in β-carotene. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), SNP1343 in 5'untranslated region and SNP2172 in the second intron, consistently had effects on α-carotene content and composition with explained phenotypic variations ranging from 8.7% to 34.8%. There was 1.7- to 3.7-fold change between the inferior and superior haplotype for α-carotene content and composition. Thus, SNP1343 and SNP2172 are potential polymorphic sites to develop functional markers for applying marker-assisted selection in the improvement of pro-vitamin A carotenoids in maize kernels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-7909.2012.01106.xDOI Listing
April 2012

Proteomic analysis of heterosis during maize seed germination.

Proteomics 2011 Apr 25;11(8):1462-72. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

College of Agronomy, Key Laboratory of Physiological Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, P. R. China.

Heterosis is observed for most phenotypic traits and developmental stages in many plants. In this study, the embryos, from germinating seeds after 24 h of soaking, for five elite maize hybrids and their parents were selected to unravel the genetic basis of heterosis using 2-D proteomic method. In total, 257 (80.06%), 363 (58.74%), 351 (79.95%), 242 (54.50%), and 244 (46.30%) nonadditively expressed proteins were identified in hybrids Zhengdan 958, Nongda 108, Yuyu 22, Xundan 20, and Xundan 18, respectively. The nonadditive proteins were divided into above high-parent (++; 811, 55.66%), high-parent (+; 121, 8.30%), partial dominance (+-; 249, 17.09%), low-parent (-; 30, 2.06%), below low-parent (- -; 62, 4.26%), and D (different; 184, 12.63%) expression patterns. The observed patterns indicate the important roles of dominance, partial dominance, and overdominance in regulating seed germination in maize. Additionally, 54 different proteins were identified by mass spectrometry and classified into nine functional groups: metabolism (9), cell detoxification (8), unknown functional proteins (8), chaperones (7), signal transduction (6), development process (5), other (5), transporter (3), and stress response (3). Of these, the most interesting are those involved with germination-related hormone signal transduction and the abscisic acid and gibberellin regulation networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201000481DOI Listing
April 2011

Genetic analysis and characterization of a new maize association mapping panel for quantitative trait loci dissection.

Theor Appl Genet 2010 Aug 27;121(3):417-31. Epub 2010 Mar 27.

National Maize Improvement Center of China, Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, Yuanmingyuan West Road, Haidian, Beijing, 100193, China.

Association mapping based on the linkage disequilibrium provides a promising tool to identify genes responsible for quantitative variations underlying complex traits. Presented here is a maize association mapping panel consisting of 155 inbred lines with mainly temperate germplasm, which was phenotyped for 34 traits and genotyped using 82 SSRs and 1,536 SNPs. Abundant phenotypic and genetic diversities were observed within the panel based on the phenotypic and genotypic analysis. A model-based analysis using 82 SSRs assigned all inbred lines to two groups with eight subgroups. The relative kinship matrix was calculated using 884 SNPs with minor allele frequency > or = 20% indicating that no or weak relationships were identified for most individual pairs. Three traits (total tocopherol content in maize kernel, plant height and kernel length) and 1,414 SNPs with missing data < 20% were used to evaluate the performance of four models for association mapping analysis. For all traits, the model controlling relative kinship (K) performed better than the model controlling population structure (Q), and similarly to the model controlling both population structure and relative kinship (Q + K) in this panel. Our results suggest this maize panel can be used for association mapping analysis targeting multiple agronomic and quality traits with optimal association model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00122-010-1320-yDOI Listing
August 2010
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