Publications by authors named "Zhong-Hua Chen"

137 Publications

Mechanical stress acclimation in plants: Linking hormones and somatic memory to thigmomorphogenesis.

Plant Cell Environ 2022 Jan 5. Epub 2022 Jan 5.

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.

A single event of mechanical stimulation is perceived by mechanoreceptors that transduce rapid transient signalling to regulate gene expression. Prolonged mechanical stress for days to weeks culminates in cellular changes that strengthen the plant architecture leading to thigmomorphogenesis. The convergence of multiple signalling pathways regulates mechanically induced tolerance to numerous biotic and abiotic stresses. Emerging evidence showed prolonged mechanical stimulation can modify the baseline level of gene expression in naive tissues, heighten gene expression, and prime disease resistance upon a subsequent pathogen encounter. The phenotypes of thigmomorphogenesis can persist throughout growth without continued stimulation, revealing somatic-stress memory. Epigenetic processes regulate TOUCH gene expression and could program transcriptional memory in differentiating cells to program thigmomorphogenesis. We discuss the early perception, gene regulatory and phytohormone pathways that facilitate thigmomorphogenesis and mechanical stress acclimation in Arabidopsis and other plant species. We provide insights regarding: (1) the regulatory mechanisms induced by single or prolonged events of mechanical stress, (2) how mechanical stress confers transcriptional memory to induce cross-acclimation to future stress, and (3) why thigmomorphogenesis might resemble an epigenetic phenomenon. Deeper knowledge of how prolonged mechanical stimulation programs somatic memory and primes defence acclimation could transform solutions to improve agricultural sustainability in stressful environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pce.14252DOI Listing
January 2022

Stress signaling convergence and nutrient crosstalk determine zinc-mediated amelioration against cadmium toxicity in rice.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2021 Dec 31;230:113128. Epub 2021 Dec 31.

Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Crop Germplasm Resource, Department of Agronomy, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, PR China. Electronic address:

Consumption of rice (Oryza sativa L.) is one of the major pathways for heavy metal bioaccumulation in humans over time. Understanding the molecular responses of rice to heavy metal contamination in agriculture is useful for eco-toxicological assessment of cadmium (Cd) and its interaction with zinc (Zn). In certain crops, the impacts of Cd stress or Zn nutrition on the biophysical chemistry and gene expression have been widely investigated, but their molecular interactions at transcriptomic level, particularly in rice roots, are still elusive. Here, hydroponic investigations were carried out with two rice genotypes (Yinni-801 and Heizhan-43), varying in Cd contents in plant tissues to determine their transcriptomic responses upon Cd (15 µM) and Cd+Zn (50 µM) treatments. High throughput RNA-sequencing analysis confirmed that 496 and 2407 DEGs were significantly affected by Cd and Cd+Zn, respectively, among which 1016 DEGs were commonly induced in both genotypes. Multitude of DEGs fell under the category of protein kinases, such as calmodulin (CaM) and calcineurin B-like protein-interacting protein kinases (CBL), indicating a dynamic shift in hormonal signal transduction and Ca involvement with the onset of treatments. Both genotypes expressed a mutual regulation of transcription factors (TFs) such as WRKY, MYB, NAM, AP2, bHLH and ZFP families under both treatments, whereas genes econding ABC transporters (ABCs), high affinity K transporters (HAKs) and Glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), were highly up-regulated under Cd+Zn in both genotypes. Zinc addition triggered more signaling cascades and detoxification related genes in regulation of immunity along with the suppression of Cd-induced DEGs and restriction of Cd uptake. Conclusively, the effective integration of breeding techniques with candidate genes identified in this study as well as economically and technologically viable methods, such as Zn nutrient management, could pave the way for selecting cultivars with promising agronomic qualities and reduced Cd for sustainable rice production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.113128DOI Listing
December 2021

The mA RNA Modification Modulates Gene Expression and Fibrosis-Related Pathways in Hypertrophic Scar.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2021 15;9:748703. Epub 2021 Nov 15.

Department of Medicine, Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Wuxi Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wuxi, China.

To systematically analyze the overall mA modification pattern in hyperplastic scars (HS). The mA modification patterns in HS and normal skin (NS) tissues were described by mA sequencing and RNA sequencing, and subsequently bioinformatics analysis was performed. The mA-related RNA was immunoprecipitated and verified by real-time quantitative PCR. The appearance of 14,791 new mA peaks in the HS sample was accompanied by the disappearance of 7,835 peaks. The unique mA-related genes in HS were thus associated with fibrosis-related pathways. We identified the differentially expressed mRNA transcripts in HS samples with hyper-methylated or hypo-methylated mA peaks. This study is the first to map the mA transcriptome of human HS, which may help clarify the possible mechanism of mA-mediated gene expression regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.748703DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8634666PMC
November 2021

Molecular response and evolution of plant anion transport systems to abiotic stress.

Plant Mol Biol 2021 Nov 30. Epub 2021 Nov 30.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia.

Key Message: We propose that anion channels are essential players for green plants to respond and adapt to the abiotic stresses associated changing climate via reviewing the literature and analyzing the molecular evolution, comparative genetic analysis, and bioinformatics analysis of the key anion channel gene families. Climate change-induced abiotic stresses including heatwave, elevated CO, drought, and flooding, had a major impact on plant growth in the last few decades. This scenario could lead to the exposure of plants to various stresses. Anion channels are confirmed as the key factors in plant stress responses, which exist in the green lineage plants. Numerous studies on anion channels have shed light on their protein structure, ion selectivity and permeability, gating characteristics, and regulatory mechanisms, but a great quantity of questions remain poorly understand. Here, we review function of plant anion channels in cell signaling to improve plant response to environmental stresses, focusing on climate change related abiotic stresses. We investigate the molecular response and evolution of plant slow anion channel, aluminum-activated malate transporter, chloride channel, voltage-dependent anion channel, and mechanosensitive-like anion channel in green plant. Furthermore, comparative genetic and bioinformatic analysis reveal the conservation of these anion channel gene families. We also discuss the tissue and stress specific expression, molecular regulation, and signaling transduction of those anion channels. We propose that anion channels are essential players for green plants to adapt in a diverse environment, calling for more fundamental and practical studies on those anion channels towards sustainable food production and ecosystem health in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11103-021-01216-xDOI Listing
November 2021

To exclude or to accumulate? Revealing the role of the sodium HKT1;5 transporter in plant adaptive responses to varying soil salinity.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2021 Dec 19;169:333-342. Epub 2021 Nov 19.

School of Science, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia.

Arid/semi-arid and coastal agricultural areas of the world are especially vulnerable to climate change-driven soil salinity. Salinity tolerance in plants is a complex trait, with salinity negatively affecting crop yield. Plants adopt a range of mechanisms to combat salinity, with many transporter genes being implicated in Na-partitioning processes. Within these, the high-affinity K (HKT) family of transporters play a critical role in K and Na homeostasis in plants. Among HKT transporters, Type I transporters are Na-specific. While Arabidopsis has only one Na  -specific HKT (AtHKT1;1), cereal crops have a multiplicity of Type I and II HKT transporters. AtHKT1; 1 (Arabidopsis thaliana) and HKT1; 5 (cereal crops) 'exclude' Na from the xylem into xylem parenchyma in the root, reducing shoot Na and hence, confer sodium tolerance. However, more recent data from Arabidopsis and crop species show that AtHKT1;1/HKT1;5 alleles have a strong genetic association with 'shoot sodium accumulation' and concomitant salt tolerance. The review tries to resolve these two seemingly contradictory effects of AtHKT1;1/HKT1;5 operation (shoot exclusion vs shoot accumulation), both conferring salinity tolerance and suggests that contrasting phenotypes are attributable to either hyper-functional or weak AtHKT1;1/HKT1;5 alleles/haplotypes and are under strong selection by soil salinity levels. It also suggests that opposite balancing mechanisms involving xylem ion loading in these contrasting phenotypes exist that require transporters such as SOS1 and CCC. While HKT1; 5 is a crucial but not sole determinant of salinity tolerance, investigation of the adaptive benefit(s) conferred by naturally occurring intermediate HKT1;5 alleles will be important under a climate change scenario.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2021.11.030DOI Listing
December 2021

Molecular Evolution of Calcium Signaling and Transport in Plant Adaptation to Abiotic Stress.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Nov 15;22(22). Epub 2021 Nov 15.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith 2751, Australia.

Adaptation to unfavorable abiotic stresses is one of the key processes in the evolution of plants. Calcium (Ca) signaling is characterized by the spatiotemporal pattern of Ca distribution and the activities of multi-domain proteins in integrating environmental stimuli and cellular responses, which are crucial early events in abiotic stress responses in plants. However, a comprehensive summary and explanation for evolutionary and functional synergies in Ca signaling remains elusive in green plants. We review mechanisms of Ca membrane transporters and intracellular Ca sensors with evolutionary imprinting and structural clues. These may provide molecular and bioinformatics insights for the functional analysis of some non-model species in the evolutionarily important green plant lineages. We summarize the chronological order, spatial location, and characteristics of Ca functional proteins. Furthermore, we highlight the integral functions of calcium-signaling components in various nodes of the Ca signaling pathway through conserved or variant evolutionary processes. These ultimately bridge the Ca cascade reactions into regulatory networks, particularly in the hormonal signaling pathways. In summary, this review provides new perspectives towards a better understanding of the evolution, interaction and integration of Ca signaling components in green plants, which is likely to benefit future research in agriculture, evolutionary biology, ecology and the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms222212308DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8618852PMC
November 2021

High intrinsic water use efficiency is underpinned by high stomatal aperture and guard cell potassium flux in C3 and C4 grasses grown at glacial CO2 and low light.

J Exp Bot 2021 Oct 28. Epub 2021 Oct 28.

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag, Penrith, Australia.

We compared how stomatal morphology and physiology control intrinsic leaf water use efficiency (iWUE) in two C3 and six C4 grasses grown at ambient (400 µmol mol -1) or glacial CO2 (180 µmol mol -1) and high (1000 µmol m -2 s -1) or low light intensity (200 µmol m -2 s -1). C4 grasses tended to have higher iWUE and CO2 assimilation rates, and lower stomatal conductance (gs), operational stomatal aperture (aop) and guard cell K + influx rate relative to C3 grasses, while stomatal size (SS) and stomatal density (SD) did not vary according to the photosynthetic type. Overall, iWUE and gs depended most on aop and density of open stomata. In turn, aop correlated with K + influx, stomatal opening speed on transition to high light and SS. Species with higher SD had smaller and faster-opening stomata. Although C4 grasses operated with lower gs and aop at ambient CO2, they showed a greater potential to open stomata relative to maximal stomatal conductance (gmax), indicating heightened stomatal sensitivity and control. We uncovered promising links between aop, gs, iWUE and K + influx among C4 grasses, and differential K + influx responses of C4 guard cells to low light, revealing molecular targets for improving iWUE in C4 crops.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab477DOI Listing
October 2021

Insight into the role of dermal white adipose tissue loss in dermal fibrosis.

J Cell Physiol 2021 Oct 5. Epub 2021 Oct 5.

Department of Medicine, The Hospital Affiliated to Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu, China.

The loss of dermal white adipose tissue (dWAT) is vital to the formation of dermal fibrosis (DF), but the specific mechanism is not well understood. A few studies are reviewed to explore the role of dWAT in the formation of DF. Recent findings indicated that the adipocytes-to-myofibroblasts transition in dWAT reflects the direct contribution to the DF formation. While adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) contained in dWAT express antifibrotic cytokines, the loss of ADSCs leads to skin protection decreased, which indirectly exacerbates DF and tissue damage. Therefore, blocking or reversing the adipocytes-to-myofibroblasts transition or improving the survival of ADSCs in dWAT and the expression of antifibrotic cytokines may be an effective strategy for the treatment of DF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.30552DOI Listing
October 2021

Reduced apoplastic barriers in tissues of shoot-proximal rhizomes of Oryza coarctata are associated with Na + sequestration.

J Exp Bot 2021 Oct 4. Epub 2021 Oct 4.

Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, III Cross Street, Taramani Institutional Area, Chennai, India.

Oryza coarctata is the only wild rice species with significant salinity tolerance. The present work examines the role of the substantial rhizomatous tissues of O. coarctata in conferring salinity tolerance. Transition to an erect phenotype (shoot emergence) from prostrate growth of rhizome tissues is characterized by marked lignification and suberization of supporting sclerenchymatous tissue, epidermis and bundle sheath cells in aerial shoot proximal nodes and internodes in O. coarctata. With salinity however, aerial shoot proximal internodal tissues show reductions in lignification and suberization, most likely related to re-direction of carbon flux towards synthesis of osmporotectant proline. Concurrent with hypolignification and reduced suberization, the aerial rhizomatous biomass of O. coarctata appears to have evolved mechanisms to store Na + in these specific tissues under salinity. This was confirmed by histochemical staining, RT-qPCR expression patterns of genes involved in lignification/suberization, Na +, K + contents of internodal tissues as well as non-invasive microelectrode ion flux measurements of NaCl-induced net Na +, K + and H + flux profiles of aerial nodes. In O. coarctata, aerial proximal internodes appear to act as 'traffic controllers', sending required amounts of Na +, K + into developing leaves for osmotic adjustment and turgor-driven growth while more deeply positioned internodes assume a Na + buffering/storage role.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab440DOI Listing
October 2021

The Effect of Oxycodone on Post-operative Pain and Inflammatory Cytokine Release in Elderly Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Gastrectomy.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 1;8:700025. Epub 2021 Sep 1.

Shaoxing University School of Medicine, Shaoxing, China.

To evaluate the effect of oxycodone on post-operative pain and inflammation in elderly patients undergoing laparoscopic gastrectomy. Sixty patients who were of both sexes, American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status (ASA-PS) Class I or II, over 65 years of age and undergoing an elective laparoscopic radical gastrectomy were randomly divided into two groups: an oxycodone group (Group O) including 20 males and 10 females and a sufentanil group (Group S) including 21 males and 9 females. The post-operative analgesia regimen was as follows: 40 mg of parecoxib sodium and 0.1 mg/kg of oxycodone was intravenously injected into Group O before the abdomen closure, while 40 mg of parecoxib sodium and 0.1 μg/kg of sufentanil was injected intravenously into Group S. Both groups were infiltrated with 20 ml of 1% ropivacaine at the end of the operation. The level of serum IL-6 and IL-10 were assayed immediately at the following timepoints: at the conclusion of surgery (T1), 1 h (T2), 6 h (T3), and 24 h (T4) after the completion of the surgery. The numerical rating scale (NRS), the Ramsay sedation score, analgesic-related adverse events, post-operative pulmonary inflammation events and the post-operative stay were recorded. Compared with Group S, the serum IL-6 concentrations of Group O decreased at T and T, while the serum IL-10 concentrations increased ( < 0.05). In Group O, the serum IL-6 concentrations at T and T were lower than those at T ( < 0.05). The incidence of post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) and pulmonary inflammation in Group O was lower than that in Group S ( < 0.05). At each time point, the NRS of visceral pain in Group O was lower than that in Group S. At 6 and 24 h after extubation, the NRS of incision pain in Group O was lower than that in Group S ( < 0.05). Oxycodone can regulate the level of inflammatory cytokines and reduce post-operative inflammatory response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.700025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8440846PMC
September 2021

Revealing the Role of the Calcineurin B-Like Protein-Interacting Protein Kinase 9 (CIPK9) in Rice Adaptive Responses to Salinity, Osmotic Stress, and K Deficiency.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Jul 23;10(8). Epub 2021 Jul 23.

International Research Centre for Environmental Membrane Biology, Foshan University, Foshan 528000, China.

In plants, calcineurin B-like (CBL) proteins and their interacting protein kinases (CIPK) form functional complexes that transduce downstream signals to membrane effectors assisting in their adaptation to adverse environmental conditions. This study addresses the issue of the physiological role of CIPK9 in adaptive responses to salinity, osmotic stress, and K deficiency in rice plants. Whole-plant physiological studies revealed that rice mutant lacks a functional CIPK9 gene and displayed a mildly stronger phenotype, both under saline and osmotic stress conditions. The reported difference was attributed to the ability of to maintain significantly higher stomatal conductance (thus, a greater carbon gain). plants contained much less K in their tissues, implying the role of CIPK9 in K acquisition and homeostasis in rice. roots also showed hypersensitivity to ROS under conditions of low K availability suggesting an important role of HO signalling as a component of plant adaptive responses to a low-K environment. The likely mechanistic basis of above physiological responses is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10081513DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8399971PMC
July 2021

Multi-Omics Analysis Reveals the Mechanism Underlying the Edaphic Adaptation in Wild Barley at Evolution Slope (Tabigha).

Adv Sci (Weinh) 2021 10 13;8(20):e2101374. Epub 2021 Aug 13.

College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China.

At the microsite "Evolution Slope", Tabigha, Israel, wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum) populations adapted to dry Terra Rossa soil, and its derivative abutting wild barley population adapted to moist and fungi-rich Basalt soil. However, the mechanisms underlying the edaphic adaptation remain elusive. Accordingly, whole genome bisulfite sequencing, RNA-sequencing, and metabolome analysis are performed on ten wild barley accessions inhabiting Terra Rossa and Basalt soil. A total of 121 433 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and 10 478 DMR-genes are identified between the two wild barley populations. DMR-genes in CG context (CG-DMR-genes) are enriched in the pathways related with the fundamental processes, and DMR-genes in CHH context (CHH-DMR-genes) are mainly associated with defense response. Transcriptome and metabolome analysis reveal that the primary and secondary metabolisms are more active in Terra Rossa and Basalt wild barley populations, respectively. Multi-omics analysis indicate that sugar metabolism facilitates the adaptation of wild barley to dry Terra Rossa soil, whereas the enhancement of phenylpropanoid/phenolamide biosynthesis is beneficial for wild barley to inhabit moist and fungi pathogen-rich Basalt soil. The current results make a deep insight into edaphic adaptation of wild barley and provide elite genetic and epigenetic resources for developing barley with high abiotic stress tolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/advs.202101374DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8529432PMC
October 2021

Fibroblasts: Heterogeneous Cells With Potential in Regenerative Therapy for Scarless Wound Healing.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2021 20;9:713605. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Wuxi Clinical Medicine School of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Wuxi, China.

In recent years, research on wound healing has become increasingly in-depth, but therapeutic effects are still not satisfactory. Occasionally, pathological tissue repair occurs. Influencing factors have been proposed, but finding the turning point between normal and pathological tissue repair is difficult. Therefore, we focused our attention on the most basic level of tissue repair: fibroblasts. Fibroblasts were once considered terminally differentiated cells that represent a single cell type, and their heterogeneity was not studied until recently. We believe that subpopulations of fibroblasts play different roles in tissue repair, resulting in different repair results, such as the formation of normal scars in physiological tissue repair and fibrosis or ulcers in pathological tissue repair. It is also proposed that scarless healing can be achieved by regulating fibroblast subpopulations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.713605DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8329665PMC
July 2021

A β-ketoacyl carrier protein reductase confers heat tolerance via the regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis and stress signaling in rice.

New Phytol 2021 10 30;232(2):655-672. Epub 2021 Jul 30.

College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, 311121, China.

Heat stress is a major environmental threat affecting crop growth and productivity. However, the molecular mechanisms associated with plant responses to heat stress are poorly understood. Here, we identified a heat stress-sensitive mutant, hts1, in rice. HTS1 encodes a thylakoid membrane-localized β-ketoacyl carrier protein reductase (KAR) involved in de novo fatty acid biosynthesis. Phylogenetic and bioinformatic analysis showed that HTS1 probably originated from streptophyte algae and is evolutionarily conserved in land plants. Thermostable HTS1 is predominantly expressed in green tissues and strongly induced by heat stress, but is less responsive to salinity, cold and drought treatments. An amino acid substitution at A254T in HTS1 causes a significant decrease in KAR enzymatic activity and, consequently, impairs fatty acid synthesis and lipid metabolism in the hts1 mutant, especially under heat stress. Compared to the wild-type, the hts1 mutant exhibited heat-induced higher H O accumulation, a larger Ca influx to mesophyll cells, and more damage to membranes and chloroplasts. Also, disrupted heat stress signaling in the hts1 mutant depresses the transcriptional activation of HsfA2s and the downstream target genes. We suggest that HTS1 is critical for underpinning membrane stability, chloroplast integrity and stress signaling for heat tolerance in rice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.17619DOI Listing
October 2021

YAP/STAT3 promotes the immune escape of larynx carcinoma by activating VEGFR1-TGFβ signaling to facilitate PD-L1 expression in M2-like TAMs.

Exp Cell Res 2021 08 24;405(2):112655. Epub 2021 May 24.

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430030, PR China. Electronic address:

Larynx carcinoma (LC) is the most prevalent head and neck cancer among adults. LC xenograft mouse model was generated to verify the effect of VEGF on macrophage polarization and tumor growth in vivo. EdU assay was performed to measure the cell proliferation. Transwell assay was applied to assess cell migration. The expression of YAP and STAT3 was also significantly increased in LC tumor tissues. Moreover, both YAP and STAT3 overexpression in LC cells promoted the proliferation, migration, as well as the secretion of PD-L1 in M2-like TAMs. Mechanistically, the interaction between YAP and STAT3 facilitated the transcription of VEGF. Moreover, with a co-culture system, VEGF secretion in LC cells enhanced PD-L1 expression in M2-like TAMs via activating VEGFR1-TGFβ signaling pathway. Furthermore, VEGF secreted from LC cells also promoted the tumor growth of LC in vivo. We revealed that dysregulated YAP/STAT3 activity in LC cells could enhance the secretion of VEGF, which then functioned on M2-like TAMs via activating VEGFR1-TGFββ pathway to promote the expression of PD-L1 and immunosuppressive function of M2-like TAMs. Therefore, VEGF and PD-L1 might have a pivotal crosstalk between M2-like TAMs and LC cells, which provided a novel therapeutic target in regulating the metastasis of LC in future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2021.112655DOI Listing
August 2021

The Smad Dependent TGF-β and BMP Signaling Pathway in Bone Remodeling and Therapies.

Front Mol Biosci 2021 5;8:593310. Epub 2021 May 5.

Institute of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, The Hospital Affiliated to Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.

Bone remodeling is a continuous process that maintains the homeostasis of the skeletal system, and it depends on the homeostasis between bone-forming osteoblasts and bone-absorbing osteoclasts. A large number of studies have confirmed that the Smad signaling pathway is essential for the regulation of osteoblastic and osteoclastic differentiation during skeletal development, bone formation and bone homeostasis, suggesting a close relationship between Smad signaling and bone remodeling. It is known that Smads proteins are pivotal intracellular effectors for the members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP), acting as transcription factors. Smad mediates the signal transduction in TGF-β and BMP signaling pathway that affects both osteoblast and osteoclast functions, and therefore plays a critical role in the regulation of bone remodeling. Increasing studies have demonstrated that a number of Smad signaling regulators have potential functions in bone remodeling. Therefore, targeting Smad dependent TGF-β and BMP signaling pathway might be a novel and promising therapeutic strategy against osteoporosis. This article aims to review recent advances in this field, summarizing the influence of Smad on osteoblast and osteoclast function, together with Smad signaling regulators in bone remodeling. This will facilitate the understanding of Smad signaling pathway in bone biology and shed new light on the modulation and potential treatment for osteoporosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2021.593310DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8131681PMC
May 2021

Molecular Interaction and Evolution of Jasmonate Signaling With Transport and Detoxification of Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Plants.

Front Plant Sci 2021 14;12:665842. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia.

An increase in environmental pollution resulting from toxic heavy metals and metalloids [e.g., cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), and lead (Pb)] causes serious health risks to humans and animals. Mitigation strategies need to be developed to reduce the accumulation of the toxic elements in plant-derived foods. Natural and genetically-engineered plants with hyper-tolerant and hyper-accumulating capacity of toxic minerals are valuable for phytoremediation. However, the molecular mechanisms of detoxification and accumulation in plants have only been demonstrated in very few plant species such as and rice. Here, we review the physiological and molecular aspects of jasmonic acid and the jasmonate derivatives (JAs) in response to toxic heavy metals and metalloids. Jasmonates have been identified in, limiting the accumulation and enhancing the tolerance to the toxic elements, by coordinating the ion transport system, the activity of antioxidant enzymes, and the chelating capacity in plants. We also propose the potential involvement of Ca signaling in the stress-induced production of jasmonates. Comparative transcriptomics analyses using the public datasets reveal the key gene families involved in the JA-responsive routes. Furthermore, we show that JAs may function as a fundamental phytohormone that protects plants from heavy metals and metalloids as demonstrated by the evolutionary conservation and diversity of these gene families in a large number of species of the major green plant lineages. Using ATP-Binding Cassette G (ABCG) transporter subfamily of six representative green plant species, we propose that JA transporters in Subgroup 4 of ABCGs may also have roles in heavy metal detoxification. Our paper may provide guidance toward the selection and development of suitable plant and crop species that are tolerant to toxic heavy metals and metalloids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2021.665842DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8079949PMC
April 2021

Explore combined use of transcranial direct current stimulation and cognitive training on executive function after stroke.

J Rehabil Med 2021 Mar 9;53(3):jrm00162. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Rehabilitation Medicine, the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.

Objective: To explore the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation combined with cognitive training on executive function and activities of daily living performance among stroke patients.

Methods: A total of 50 subjects were enrolled and randomly allocated into 2 groups of 25 each. The real-transcranial direct current stimulation group was simultaneously subjected to transcranial direct current stimulation and cognitive training, while the sham-transcranial direct current stimulation group was simultaneously subjected to sham transcranial direct current stimulation and cognitive training. At baseline, and after treatment, each subject was assessed with the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Stroop Color-Word Test (SCWT), Digital Symbol Test (DST), Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Activities of Daily Living Scale (ADLs).

Results: After treatment, the gains in most indices of WCST, SCWT, DST, MMSE, MoCA and ADLs in the real-transcranial direct current stimulation group were significantly higher than those in the sham-transcranial direct current stimulation group (p<0.05). Nonetheless, no significant differences were noted in the gains in SCWT (including only Part A time and error, and Part B time) and activities of daily living (including only basic activities of daily living) between the 2 groups (p>>0.05).

Conclusion: Transcranial direct current stimulation combined with cognitive training was found to significantly enhance executive function and instrumental activities of daily living performance among stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/16501977-2807DOI Listing
March 2021

Sodium sequestration confers salinity tolerance in an ancestral wild rice.

Physiol Plant 2021 Jul 23;172(3):1594-1608. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia.

Wild rice Oryza rufipogon, a progenitor of cultivated rice Oryza sativa L., possesses superior salinity tolerance and is a potential donor for breeding salinity tolerance traits in rice. However, a mechanistic basis of salinity tolerance in this donor species has not been established. Here, we examined salinity tolerance from the early vegetative stage to maturity in O. rufipogon in comparison with a salt-susceptible (Koshihikari) and a salt-tolerant (Reiziq) variety of O. sativa. We assessed their phylogeny and agronomical traits, photosynthetic performance, ion contents, as well as gene expression in response to salinity stress. Salt-tolerant O. rufipogon exhibited efficient leaf photosynthesis and less damage to leaf tissues during the course of salinity treatment. In addition, O. rufipogon showed a significantly higher tissue Na accumulation that is achieved by vacuolar sequestration compared to the salt tolerant O. sativa indica subspecies. These findings are further supported by the upregulation of genes involved with ion transport and sequestration (e.g. high affinity K transporter 1;4 [HKT1;4], Na /H exchanger 1 [NHX1] and vacuolar H -ATPase c [VHA-c]) in salt-tolerant O. rufipogon as well as by the close phylogenetic relationship of key salt-responsive genes in O. rufipogon to these in salt-tolerant wild rice species such as O. coarctata. Thus, the high accumulation of Na in the leaves of O. rufipogon acts as a cheap osmoticum to minimize the high energy cost of osmolyte biosynthesis and excessive reactive oxygen species production. These mechanisms demonstrated that O. rufipogon has important traits that can be used for improving salinity tolerance in cultivated rice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ppl.13352DOI Listing
July 2021

Smart glass impacts stomatal sensitivity of greenhouse Capsicum through altered light.

J Exp Bot 2021 04;72(8):3235-3248

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

Optical films that alter light transmittance may reduce energy consumption in high-tech greenhouses, but their impact on crop physiology remains unclear. We compared the stomatal responses of Capsicum plants grown hydroponically under control glass (70% diffuse light) or the smart glass (SG) film ULR-80, which blocked >50% of short-wave radiation and ~9% of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). SG had no significant effects on steady-state (gs) or maximal (gmax) stomatal conductance. In contrast, SG reduced stomatal pore size and sensitivity to exogenous abscisic acid (ABA), thereby increasing rates of leaf water loss, guard cell K+ and Cl- efflux, and Ca2+ influx. SG induced faster stomatal closing and opening rates on transition between low (100 µmol m-2 s-1) and high PAR (1500 µmol m-2 s-1), which compromised water use efficiency relative to control plants. The fraction of blue light (0% or 10%) did not affect gs in either treatment. Increased expression of stomatal closure and photoreceptor genes in epidermal peels of SG plants is consistent with fast stomatal responses to light changes. In conclusion, stomatal responses of Capsicum to SG were more affected by changes in light intensity than spectral quality, and re-engineering of the SG should maximize PAR transmission, and hence CO2 assimilation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab028DOI Listing
April 2021

Origins and Stepwise Expansion of R2R3-MYB Transcription Factors for the Terrestrial Adaptation of Plants.

Front Plant Sci 2020 23;11:575360. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

College of Horticulture, Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Haixia Applied Plant Systems Biology, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, China.

The R2R3-MYB transcription factors play critical roles in various processes in embryophytes (land plants). Here, we identified genes encoding R2R3-MYB proteins from rhodophytes, glaucophytes, Chromista, chlorophytes, charophytes, and embryophytes. We classified the R2R3-MYB genes into three subgroups (I, II, and III) based on their evolutionary history and gene structure. The subgroup I is the most ancient group that includes members from all plant lineages. The subgroup II was formed before the divergence of charophytes and embryophytes. The subgroup III genes form a monophyletic group and only comprise members from land plants with conserved exon-intron structure. Each subgroup was further divided into multiple clades. The subgroup I can be divided into I-A, I-B, I-C, and I-D. The I-A, I-B, and I-C are the most basal clades that have originated before the divergence of Archaeplastida. The I-D with the II and III subgroups form a monophyletic group, containing only green plants. The II and III subgroups form another monophyletic group with Streptophyta only. Once on land, the subgroup III genes have experienced two rounds of major expansions. The first round occurred before the origin of land plants, and the second round occurred after the divergence of land plants. Due to significant gene expansion, the subgroup III genes have become the predominant group of R2R3-MYBs in land plants. The highly unbalanced pattern of birth and death evolution of R2R3-MYB genes indicates their important roles in the successful adaptation and massive radiation of land plants to occupy a multitude of terrestrial environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.575360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785938PMC
December 2020

Treating the primary in low burden metastatic prostate cancer: Where do we stand?

Medicine (Baltimore) 2020 Dec;99(51):e23715

Department of Oncology, Taizhou First People's Hospital (Huangyan Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University), Taizhou, Zhejiang, China.

Abstract: On the basis of endocrine therapy for patients with low burden metastatic prostate cancer (LBMP), the clinical efficacy and quality of life were compared between prostate-only directed radiotherapy (PODT) and prostate and metastasis radiotherapy (PMRT).From November 2009 to November 2015, total 91 patients newly diagnosed with LBMP were retrospectively analyzed, of which 52 patients received PODT and 39 patients received PMRT. The biochemical failure free interval (IBF), prostate specific survival (PCSS), and overall survival (OS) time were compared between the 2 groups, and expanded prostate cancer index composite (EPIC) scale was used to evaluate the difference in quality of life between the 2 groups.The median IBF of the PODT group was 31 months, which was significantly lower than the 39 months of the PMRT group (P < .05); the 5-year OS and PCSS were 58.9%, 65.3% in PODT group, and 58.9%, 71.79% in PMRT group, respectively. There was no significant between the 2 groups (P > .05); the side effects of acute radiotherapy in PMRT group were significantly higher than PODT group (P < .05), especially in bone marrow suppression and gastrointestinal reactions; The scores of urinary system function and intestinal system function in PMRT group were significantly higher than PODT group at the end of radiotherapy, 3 months after radiotherapy, and 6 months after radiotherapy (P < .05). The score of sexual function in PMRT group was significantly lower than that in PODT group after radiotherapy (P < .05), and higher than that in PORT group at other follow-up time points (P < .05). The hormone function was decreased at each follow-up time point in 2 groups, and there was no significant difference between the 2 groups (P > .05).Patients with LBMP receiving PMRT can improve IBF, but cannot increase PCSS and OS, and increase the incidence of acute radiation injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000023715DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748322PMC
December 2020

Prior exposure of Arabidopsis seedlings to mechanical stress heightens jasmonic acid-mediated defense against necrotrophic pathogens.

BMC Plant Biol 2020 Dec 7;20(1):548. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia.

Background: Prolonged mechanical stress (MS) causes thigmomorphogenesis, a stress acclimation response associated with increased disease resistance. What remains unclear is if; 1) plants pre-exposed to a short period of repetitive MS can prime defence responses upon subsequent challenge with necrotrophic pathogens, 2) MS mediates plant immunity via jasmonic acid (JA) signalling, and 3) a short period of repetitive MS can cause long-term changes in gene expression resembling a stress-induced memory. To address these points, 10-days old juvenile Arabidopsis seedlings were mechanically stressed for 7-days using a soft brush and subsequently challenged with the necrotrophic pathogens, Alternaria brassicicola, and Botrytis cinerea. Here we assessed how MS impacted structural cell wall appositions, disease symptoms and altered gene expression in response to infection.

Results: The MS-treated plants exhibited enhanced cell wall appositions and jasmonic acid (JA) accumulation that correlated with a reduction in disease progression compared to unstressed plants. The expression of genes involved in JA signalling, callose deposition, peroxidase and phytoalexin biosynthesis and reactive oxygen species detoxification were hyper-induced 4-days post-infection in MS-treated plants. The loss-of-function in JA signalling mediated by the JA-insensitive coronatine-insensitive 1 (coi1) mutant impaired the hyper-induction of defense gene expression and promoted pathogen proliferation in MS-treated plants subject to infection. The basal expression level of PATHOGENESIS-RELATED GENE 1 and PLANT DEFENSIN 1.2 defense marker genes were constitutively upregulated in rosette leaves for 5-days post-MS, as well as in naïve cauline leaves that differentiated from the inflorescence meristem well after ceasing MS.

Conclusion: This study reveals that exposure of juvenile Arabidopsis plants to a short repetitive period of MS can alter gene expression and prime plant resistance upon subsequent challenge with necrotrophic pathogens via the JA-mediated COI1 signalling pathway. MS may facilitate a stress-induced memory to modulate the plant's response to future stress encounters. These data advance our understanding of how MS primes plant immunity against necrotrophic pathogens and how that could be utilised in sustainable agricultural practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12870-020-02759-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7720613PMC
December 2020

Evolution of rapid blue-light response linked to explosive diversification of ferns in angiosperm forests.

New Phytol 2021 05 7;230(3):1201-1213. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia.

Ferns appear in the fossil record some 200 Myr before angiosperms. However, as angiosperm-dominated forest canopies emerged in the Cretaceous period there was an explosive diversification of modern (leptosporangiate) ferns, which thrived in low, blue-enhanced light beneath angiosperm canopies. A mechanistic explanation for this transformative event in the diversification of ferns has remained elusive. We used physiological assays, transcriptome analysis and evolutionary bioinformatics to investigate a potential connection between the evolution of enhanced stomatal sensitivity to blue light in modern ferns and the rise of angiosperm-dominated forests in the geological record. We demonstrate that members of the largest subclade of leptosporangiate ferns, Polypodiales, have significantly faster stomatal response to blue light than more ancient fern lineages and a representative angiosperm. We link this higher sensitivity to levels of differentially expressed genes in blue-light signaling, particularly in the cryptochrome (CRY) signaling pathway. Moreover, CRYs of the Polypodiales examined show gene duplication events between 212.9-196.9 and 164.4-151.8 Ma, when angiosperms were emerging, which are lacking in other major clades of extant land plants. These findings suggest that evolution of stomatal blue-light sensitivity helped modern ferns exploit the shady habitat beneath angiosperm forest canopies, fueling their Cretaceous hyperdiversification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.17135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048903PMC
May 2021

Metalloid hazards: From plant molecular evolution to mitigation strategies.

J Hazard Mater 2021 05 6;409:124495. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia; Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:

Metalloids such as boron and silicon are key elements for plant growth and crop productivity. However, toxic metalloids such as arsenic are increasing in the environment due to inputs from natural sources and human activities. These hazardous metalloids can cause serious health risks to humans and animals if they enter the food chain. Plants have developed highly regulated mechanisms to alleviate the toxicity of metalloids during their 500 million years of evolution. A better understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the transport and detoxification of toxic metalloids in plants will shed light on developing mitigation strategies. Key transporters and regulatory proteins responsive to toxic metalloids have been identified through evolutionary and molecular analyses. Moreover, knowledge of the regulatory proteins and their pathways can be used in the breeding of crops with lower accumulation of metalloids. These findings can also assist phytoremediation by the exploration of plants such as fern species that hyperaccumulate metalloids from soils and water, and can be used to engineer plants with elevated uptake and storage capacity of toxic metalloids. In summary, there are solutions to remediate contamination due to toxic metalloids by combining the research advances and industrial technologies with agricultural and environmental practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124495DOI Listing
May 2021

Evolution of environmental stress responses in plants.

Plant Cell Environ 2020 12;43(12):2827-2831

Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pce.13922DOI Listing
December 2020

Effect of high light on canopy-level photosynthesis and leaf mesophyll ion flux in tomato.

Planta 2020 Oct 9;252(5):80. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia.

Main Conclusion: This study highlights the potential link between high light-induced canopy-level photosynthesis and mesophyll cell K, Cl, Ca, and H homeostasis in tomato. Light is a primary energy source for photosynthesis and a vital regulator of mineral nutrient uptake and distribution in plants. Plants need to optimize photosynthesis and nutrient balance in leaves for performance in fluctuating light conditions that are partially regulated by light-induced ion homeostatsis in the mesophyll cells. It is still elusive whether high light-induced leaf mesophyll ion fluxes affect leaf photosynthesis at different canopy levels in Solanum lycopersicum L. Leaf gas exchange and microelectrode ion flux (MIFE) measurements were employed to study the effects of prolonged light-induced canopy-level leaf physiological responses of tomato plants. High light resulted in a significant lowering in photosynthesis in the fully-exposed top canopy leaves of tomato, but not to mid- or low-canopy leaves. Leaf mesophyll K effluxes of all canopies were significantly decreased after three weeks of high light treatment. However, high light-induced leaf mesophyll Ca effluxes were significantly enhanced only in the top and mid canopies. Moreover, we found that photosynthetic parameters were significantly correlated with leaf mesophyll ion fluxes. We thus propose that canopy-level significant Ca efflux and K efflux of leaf mesophyll may serve as early indicators for light-induced regulation on photosynthesis. We conclude that light-induced differential photosynthetic performance and ion fluxes in leaves may implicate a requirement of more uniform light irradiance and spectra at different canopy levels of tall greenhouse tomato plants. This can be achieved through new innovative greenhouse lighting technologies and covering materials towards the enhancement of crop photosynthesis and yield.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00425-020-03493-0DOI Listing
October 2020

Triangulation of methods using insect cell lines to investigate insecticidal mode-of-action.

Pest Manag Sci 2021 Jan 11;77(1):492-501. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia.

Background: This study investigated three in vitro models to assist in elucidating possible mode-of-action, which could be adopted to evaluate insecticidal activity of complex, unknown, or multi-constituent formulations. We used a combination of absorbance spectrometry, confocal scanning laser microscopy and microelectrode ion flux estimation (MIFE) to provide insight into potential target sites for insecticides. This study used two insect cell lines and evaluated three pyrethroid insecticides.

Results: We observed that the two cell lines produced distinctly different responses. Drosophila melanogaster D.mel-S2 cell line was a useful model to monitor ion flux changes, resulting from insecticides with neural toxicity; however, it was less useful to determine some metabolic pathway indicators of toxic stress. Conversely, the Spodoptera frugiperda Sf9 cell line produced acute reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to insecticide treatments, but was not highly responsive in electrophysiological experiments. We also showed that the natural, multi-constituent botanical extract of pyrethrum elicited different Na , Cl and Ca ion fluxes than its synthetic, single constituent analogues, α-cypermethrin and esfenvalerate. These two methods used in combination with absorbance spectrometry measuring cell growth inhibition plus cell mortality assays shed some light on cytotoxic responses in differing model cell lines.

Conclusion: This research highlights the importance of using multiple cell types and interdisciplinary methods to provide a better insight into mode of insecticidal action. This is especially pertinent to novel biopesticide discovery, as the underlying mechanisms for toxicity in initial screening processes are likely to be unknown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ps.6046DOI Listing
January 2021

Overexpression of HvAKT1 improves drought tolerance in barley by regulating root ion homeostasis and ROS and NO signaling.

J Exp Bot 2020 10;71(20):6587-6600

Department of Agronomy, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zijingang Campus, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

Potassium (K+) is the major cationic inorganic nutrient utilized for osmotic regulation, cell growth, and enzyme activation in plants. Inwardly rectifying K+ channel 1 (AKT1) is the primary channel for root K+ uptake in plants, but the function of HvAKT1 in barley plants under drought stress has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we conducted evolutionary bioinformatics, biotechnological, electrophysiological, and biochemical assays to explore molecular mechanisms of HvAKT1 in response to drought in barley. The expression of HvAKT1 was significantly up-regulated by drought stress in the roots of XZ5-a drought-tolerant wild barley genotype. We isolated and functionally characterized the plasma membrane-localized HvAKT1 using Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation and Barley stripe mosaic virus-induced gene silencing of HvAKT1 in barley. Evolutionary bioinformatics indicated that the K+ selective filter in AKT1 originated from streptophyte algae and is evolutionarily conserved in land plants. Silencing of HvAKT1 resulted in significantly decreased biomass and suppressed K+ uptake in root epidermal cells under drought treatment. Disruption of HvAKT1 decreased root H+ efflux, H+-ATPase activity, and nitric oxide (NO) synthesis, but increased hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production in the roots under drought stress. Furthermore, we observed that overexpression of HvAKT1 improves K+ uptake and increases drought resistance in barley. Our results highlight the importance of HvAKT1 for root K+ uptake and its pleiotropic effects on root H+-ATPase, and H2O2 and NO in response to drought stress, providing new insights into the genetic basis of drought tolerance and K+ nutrition in barley.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/eraa354DOI Listing
October 2020
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