Dynamic localization of rop GTPases to the tonoplast during vacuole development.
Vacuoles are essential pleomorphic organelles that undergo dynamic changes during cell growth and differentiation in plants. How developmental signals are linked to vacuole biogenesis and development is poorly understood. In this report, we show that a Rop GTPase is localized to developing vacuoles in pea (Pisum sativum cv Extra Early Alaska). Rop belongs to the RHO family of Ras-related small GTP-binding proteins that are key molecular switches in a wide variety of eukaryotic signal transduction pathways. Using indirect immunofluorescence and an anti-Rop antibody, we showed that Rop proteins accumulate to high levels in rapidly growing tapetal cells of pea anthers. In these cells, Rop is localized to an endomembrane system that exists as dynamic pleomorphic networks: a perinuclear fine network decorated with punctate dots, a network composed of small spheres and tubules, and interconnected chambers. Colocalization with a tonoplast annexin VCaB42 shows that these dynamic networks represent the tonoplast. Our results suggest that the dynamic Rop-containing tonoplast networks represent a unique stage of vacuole development. The specific localization of Rop to developing vacuoles supports a role for Rop in signal transduction that mediates vacuole development in plants. (+info)
A florigenic effect of sucrose in Fuchsia hybrida is blocked by gibberellin-induced assimilate competition.
The use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-selected ion monitoring along with a (13)C internal standard has allowed sensitive measurements of the sucrose (Suc) content of individual shoot apices of Fuchsia hybrida. With intact plants, as the photosynthetic irradiance increased, so did shoot apex Suc content, reaching saturation at about 500 micromol m(-2) s(-1). These same plants flowered at the higher irradiances, remaining vegetative in 10-h short days at an irradiance of 230 micromol m(-2) s(-1). The strong correlation (r = 0.93) in these studies between flowering and shoot apex Suc content indicates a role for Suc as a stimulus to flowering in this species. However, Suc is not the long-day (LD) "florigen" of F. hybrida because 2 to 4 LD given as a 14-h low-irradiance photoperiod extension (10-15 micromol m(-2) s(-1)) induced flowering but without increase in shoot apex Suc content. Flowering induced by either pathway, the LD- or the Suc-mediated one, was inhibited by applying gibberellin (GA) to the shoot tip. Such inhibition of flowering by GA, at least for the LD pathway, was associated with a reduced apex Suc content, enhanced elongation of subapical stem tissue, and a reduced import into the shoot apex of leaf-sourced assimilate. Thus, our findings show how GA inhibits flowering of F. hybrida and confirm the importance of nutrient diversion in regulating flowering. (+info)
Cloning of an Arabidopsis patatin-like gene, STURDY, by activation T-DNA tagging.
Activation T-DNA tagging can generate dominant gain-of-function mutants by overexpression of a particular endogenous gene. We identified an activation-tagged mutant, sturdy, exhibiting a stiff inflorescence stem, thicker leaves, shorter siliques, larger seeds, round-shaped flowers, and delayed growth. It is most important that unlike its wild-type counterpart, this mutant is less prone to lodging. Cloning of STURDY revealed that in sturdy, there is an open reading frame containing a single intron encoding a patatin-like homolog. The T-DNA is inserted into the 3' region of the second exon. The mutant phenotype was shown to be the result of overexpression of STURDY by mRNA analysis and transgenic studies. Preliminary histological studies have revealed an increase in cell number in the inflorescence stem of mutant plants; however, additional studies are needed to better understand the overexpression phenotype. (+info)
Petunia Ap2-like genes and their role in flower and seed development.
We have isolated three Apetala2 (Ap2)-like genes from petunia and studied their expression patterns by in situ hybridization. PhAp2A has a high sequence similarity to the A function gene Ap2 from Arabidopsis and a similar expression pattern during flower development, suggesting that they are cognate orthologs. PhAp2B and PhAp2C encode for AP2-like proteins that belong to a different subgroup of the AP2 family of transcription factors and exhibit divergent, nearly complementary expression patterns during flower development compared with PhAp2A. In contrast, all three PhAp2 genes are strongly expressed in endosperm. The phenotype of the petunia A-type mutant blind cannot be attributed to mutations in the petunia Ap2 homologs identified in this study, and reverse genetics strategies applied to identify phap2a mutants indicate that PhAp2A might not be essential for normal perianth development in petunia. Nevertheless, we show that PhAp2A is capable of restoring the homeotic transformations observed in flowers and seed of the ap2-1 mutant of Arabidopsis. Although the interspecific complementation proves that PhAp2A encodes a genuine Ap2 ortholog from petunia, additional factors may be involved in the control of perianth identity in this species. (+info)
Optimisation of transgene action at the post-transcriptional level: high quality parthenocarpic fruits in industrial tomatoes.
BACKGROUND: Genetic engineering of parthenocarpy confers to horticultural plants the ability to produce fruits under environmental conditions that curtail fruit productivity and quality. The DefH9-iaaM transgene, whose predicted action is to confer auxin synthesis specifically in the placenta, ovules and derived tissues, has been shown to confer parthenocarpy to several plant species (tobacco, eggplant, tomato) and varieties. RESULTS: UC82 tomato plants, a typical cultivar used by the processing industry, transgenic for the DefH9-iaaM gene produce parthenocarpic fruits that are malformed. UC82 plants transgenic for the DefH9-RI-iaaM, a DefH9-iaaM derivative gene modified in its 5'ULR by replacing 53 nucleotides immediately upstream of the AUG initiation codon with an 87 nucleotides-long sequence derived from the rolA intron sequence, produce parthenocarpic fruits of high quality. In an in vitro translation system, the iaaM mRNA, modified in its 5'ULR is translated 3-4 times less efficiently than the original transcript. An optimal expressivity of parthenocarpy correlates with a reduced transgene mRNA steady state level in DefH9-RI-iaaM flower buds in comparison to DefH9-iaaM flower buds. Consistent with the known function of the iaaM gene, flower buds transgenic for the DefH9-RI-iaaM gene contain ten times more IAA than control untransformed flower buds, but five times less than DefH9-iaaM flower buds. CONCLUSIONS: By using an auxin biosynthesis transgene downregulated at the post-transcriptional level, an optimal expressivity of parthenocarpy has been achieved in a genetic background not suitable for the original transgene. Thus, the method allows the generation of a wider range of expressivity of the desired trait in transgenic plants. (+info)
Evidence for an evolutionarily conserved interaction between cell wall biosynthesis and flowering in maize and sorghum.
BACKGROUND: Factors that affect flowering vary among different plant species, and in the grasses in particular the exact mechanism behind this transition is not fully understood. The brown midrib (bm) mutants of maize (Zea mays L.), which have altered cell wall composition, have different flowering dynamics compared to their wild-type counterparts. This is indicative of a link between cell wall biogenesis and flowering. In order to test whether this relationship also exists in other grasses, the flowering dynamics in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) were investigated. Sorghum is evolutionarily closely related to maize, and a set of brown midrib (bmr) mutants similar to the maize bm mutants is available, making sorghum a suitable choice for study in this context. RESULTS: We compared the flowering time (time to half-bloom) of several different bmr sorghum lines and their wild-type counterparts. This revealed that the relationship between cell wall composition and flowering was conserved in sorghum. Specifically, the mutant bmr7 flowered significantly earlier than the corresponding wild-type control, whereas the mutants bmr2, bmr4, bmr6, bmr12, and bmr19 flowered later than their wild-type controls. CONCLUSION: The change in flowering dynamics in several of the brown midrib sorghum lines provides evidence for an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that links cell wall biosynthesis to flowering dynamics. The availability of the sorghum bmr mutants expands the germplasm available to investigate this relationship in further detail. (+info)
Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Crocus sativus L. stigma and petal extracts in mice.
BACKGROUND: Crocus sativus L. (saffron) is used in folk medicine, for example as an antiedematogenic agent. We aimed to evaluate the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity of saffron extracts in mice. RESULTS: We used aqueous and ethanolic maceration extracts of Crocus sativus L. stigma and petals. Antinociceptive activity was examined using the hot plate and writhing tests. The effect of extracts against acute inflammation was studied using xylene induced ear edema in mice. The activity of the extracts against chronic inflammation was assessed by formalin-induced edema in the rat paw. In the hot plate tests, intraperitoneal injection of both extracts showed no significant antinociceptive activity in mice. The extracts exhibited antinociceptive activity against acetic acid induced writhing. Naloxone partially blocked only the antinociceptive activity of the stigma aqueous extract. Only the stigma extracts showed weak to moderate effect against acute inflammation. In chronic inflammation, both aqueous and ethanolic stigma extracts, as well as ethanolic petal extract, exerted anti-inflammatory effects. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that aqueous and ethanolic extracts of saffron stigma and petal have an antinociceptive effect, as well as acute and/or chronic anti-inflammatory activity. (+info)
Inheritance of flower color in periwinkle: orange-red corolla and white eye.
The commonly found flower colors in periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)--pink, white, red-eyed, and pale pink center--are reported to be governed by the epistatic interaction between four genes--A, R, W, and I. The mode of inheritance of an uncommon flower color, orange-red corolla and white eye, was studied by crossing an accession possessing this corolla color with a white flowered variety (Nirmal). The phenotype of the F(1) plants and segregation data of F(2) and backcross generations suggested the involvement of two more interacting and independently inherited genes, one (proposed symbol E) determining the presence or absence of red eye and another (proposed symbol O) determining orange-red corolla. (+info)