Separation of shoot and floral identity in Arabidopsis.
The overall morphology of an Arabidopsis plant depends on the behaviour of its meristems. Meristems derived from the shoot apex can develop into either shoots or flowers. The distinction between these alternative fates requires separation between the function of floral meristem identity genes and the function of an antagonistic group of genes, which includes TERMINAL FLOWER 1. We show that the activities of these genes are restricted to separate domains of the shoot apex by different mechanisms. Meristem identity genes, such as LEAFY, APETALA 1 and CAULIFLOWER, prevent TERMINAL FLOWER 1 transcription in floral meristems on the apex periphery. TERMINAL FLOWER 1, in turn, can inhibit the activity of meristem identity genes at the centre of the shoot apex in two ways; first by delaying their upregulation, and second, by preventing the meristem from responding to LEAFY or APETALA 1. We suggest that the wild-type pattern of TERMINAL FLOWER 1 and floral meristem identity gene expression depends on the relative timing of their upregulation. (+info
Activation of systemic acquired silencing by localised introduction of DNA.
BACKGROUND: In plants, post-transcriptional gene silencing results in RNA degradation after transcription. Among tobacco transformants carrying a nitrate reductase (Nia) construct under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (35S-Nia2), one class of transformants spontaneously triggers Nia post-transcriptional gene silencing (class II) whereas another class does not (class I). Non-silenced plants of both classes become silenced when grafted onto silenced stocks, indicating the existence of a systemic silencing signal. Graft-transmitted silencing is maintained in class II but not in class I plants when removed from silenced stocks, indicating similar requirements for spontaneous triggering and maintenance. RESULTS: Introduction of 35S-Nia2 DNA by the gene transfer method called biolistics led to localised acquired silencing (LAS) in bombarded leaves of wild-type, class I and class II plants, and to systemic acquired silencing (SAS) in class II plants. SAS occurred even if the targeted leaf was removed 2 days after bombardment, indicating that the systemic signal is produced, transmitted and amplified rapidly. SAS was activated by sense, antisense and promoterless Nia2 DNA constructs, indicating that transcription is not required although it does stimulate SAS. CONCLUSIONS: SAS was activated by biolistic introduction of promoterless constructs, indicating that the DNA itself is a potent activator of post-transcriptional gene silencing. The systemic silencing signal invaded the whole plant by cell-to-cell and long-distance propagation, and reamplification of the signal. (+info
Gene silencing: plants and viruses fight it out.
Plants can become 'immune' to attack by viruses by degrading specific viral RNA, but some plant viruses have evolved the general capacity to suppress this resistance mechanism. (+info
Loss-of-function mutations in the rice homeobox gene OSH15 affect the architecture of internodes resulting in dwarf plants.
The rice homeobox gene OSH15 (Oryza sativa homeobox) is a member of the knotted1-type homeobox gene family. We report here on the identification and characterization of a loss-of-function mutation in OSH15 from a library of retrotransposon-tagged lines of rice. Based on the phenotype and map position, we have identified three independent deletion alleles of the locus among conventional morphological mutants. All of these recessive mutations, which are considered to be null alleles, exhibit defects in internode elongation. Introduction of a 14 kbp genomic DNA fragment that includes all exons, introns and 5'- and 3'- flanking sequences of OSH15 complemented the defects in internode elongation, confirming that they were caused by the loss-of-function of OSH15. Internodes of the mutants had abnormal-shaped epidermal and hypodermal cells and showed an unusual arrangement of small vascular bundles. These mutations demonstrate a role for OSH15 in the development of rice internodes. This is the first evidence that the knotted1-type homeobox genes have roles other than shoot apical meristem formation and/or maintenance in plant development. (+info
An Arabidopsis 14-3-3 protein can act as a transcriptional activator in yeast.
The 14-3-3 proteins are a group of highly conserved and widely distributed eukaryotic proteins with diverse functions. One 14-3-3 protein, AFT1 from Arabidopsis thaliana, was found to be able to activate transcription in yeast. When fused to the DNA-binding domain of a bacterial protein LexA, AFT1 can activate transcription of reporter genes that contain LexA operator sequences in their promoters. Although the in vivo function of AFT1 is not completely known, its similarity to previously identified proteins found in transcription complexes of Arabidopsis and maize suggests that AFT1 and some other 14-3-3 proteins may activate gene expression in other systems as well. (+info
Magnesium ion-induced changes in the binding mode of adenylates to chloroplast coupling factor 1.
The effect of Mg2+ on the binding of adenylates to isolated chloroplast coupling factor 1 (CF1) was studied using CD spectrometry and ultrafiltration. At adenylate concentrations smaller than 100 muM, one mole of CF1 binds three moles of ATP (or ADP) regardless of the presence of Mg2+. In the presence of Mg2+, the first two ATP's bind to CF1 independently with the same binding constant of 2.5 X 10(-1) muM-1, then the third ATP binds with a much higher affinity of 10 muM-1. In the absence of Mg2+, the first ATP binds to CF1 with a binding constant of 2.5 X 10(-1) muM-1 then the other two ATP's bind less easily with the same binding constant of 4.0 X 10(-2) muM-1. The binding mode of ADP to CF1 is quite similar to that of ATP. In the presence of Mg2+, the binding constants of the first two ADP's are both 7.6 X 10(-2) muM-1, that of the third ADP being 4.0 muM-1. In the absence of Mg2+, the binding constant of the first ADP is 7.6 X 10(-2) muM-1, the constants of the other two ADP's both being 4.0 X 10(-2) muM-1. AMP caused a negligible change in CD. (+info
Isolation and characterization of two mouse L cell lines resistant to the toxic lectin ricin.
Two variant mouse L cell lines (termed CL 3 and CL 6) have been selected for resistant to ricin, a galactose-binding lectin with potent cytotoxic activity. The resistant lines exhibit a 50 to 70% decrease in ricin binding and a 300- to 500-fold increase in resistance to the toxic effects of ricin. Crude membrane preparations of CL 3 cells have increased sialic acid content (200% of control), while the galactose, mannose, and hexosamine content is within normal limits. Both the glycoproteins and glycolipids of CL 3 cells have increased sialic acid, with the GM3:lactosylceramide ratios for parent L and CL 3 cells being 0.29 and 1.5, respectively. In contrast, the membranes of CL 6 cells have a decrease in sialic acid, galactose, and hexosamine content with mannose being normal. Both cell lines have specific alterations in glycosyltransferase activities which can account for the observed membrane sugar changes. CL 3 cells have increased CMP-sialic acid:glycoprotein sialyltransferase and GM3 synthetase activities, while CL 6 cells have decrease UDP-GlcNAc:glycoproteinN-acetylglucosaminyltransferase and DPU-galactose:glycoprotein galactosyltransferase activities. The increased sialic acid content of CL 3 cells serves to mask ricin binding sites, since neuraminidase treatment of this cell line restores ricin binding to essentially normal levels. However, the fact that neuraminidase-treated CL 3 cells are still 45-fold resistant to ricin indicates that either a special class of productive ricin binding sites is not being exposed or that the cell line has a second mechanism for ricin resistance. (+info
Functional expression of the plant alternative oxidase affects growth of the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
We have investigated the extent to which functional expression of the plant alternative oxidase (from Sauromatum guttatum) in Schizosaccharomyces pombe affects yeast growth. When cells are cultured on glycerol, the maximum specific growth rate is decreased from 0.13 to 0.11 h-1 while growth yield is lowered by 20% (from 1. 14 x 10(8) to 9.12 x 10(7) cells ml-1). Kinetic studies suggest that the effect on growth is mitochondrial in origin. In isolated mitochondria we found that the alternative oxidase actively competes with the cytochrome pathway for reducing equivalents and contributes up to 24% to the overall respiratory activity. Metabolic control analysis reveals that the alternative oxidase exerts a considerable degree of control (22%) on total electron flux. Furthermore, the negative control exerted by the alternative oxidase on the flux ratio of electrons through the cytochrome and alternative pathways is comparable with the positive control exerted on this flux-ratio by the cytochrome pathway. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to report a phenotypic effect because of plant alternative oxidase expression. We suggest that the effect on growth is the result of high engagement of the non-protonmotive alternative oxidase in yeast respiration that, consequently, lowers the efficiency of energy conservation and hence growth. (+info