Anticoagulant from Taraxacum platycarpum.
An anticoagulant was purified from a Chinese herb, Taraxacum platycarpum. Its activity was heat-labile, and was decreased by incubation with subtilisin Carlburg or proteinase K, indicating that the active component was a protein. The protein had a molecular mass of 31 kDa by gel filtration and 33 kDa by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, so it probably was a monomer. When present at the concentration of 70, 255, and 873 nM, respectively, the protein doubled the thrombin time, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time. It inhibited thrombin and kallikrein, but did not hydrolyze fibrinogen. The protein bound the anion-binding exosite of thrombin, competing with the fibrinogen binding site. In addition, the protein caused the murine macrophage cell line Raw 264.7 to produce cyclooxygenase-2, nitric oxide synthase, nitric oxide, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. (+info
Taraxinic acid, a hydrolysate of sesquiterpene lactone glycoside from the Taraxacum coreanum NAKAI, induces the differentiation of human acute promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells.
The present work was performed to elucidate the active moiety of a sesquiterpene lactone, taraxinic acid-1'-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (1). from Taraxacum coreanum NAKAI on the cytotoxicity of various cancer cells. Based on enzymatic hydrolysis and MTT assay, the active moiety should be attributed to the aglycone taraxinic acid (1a). rather than the glycoside (1). Taraxinic acid exhibited potent antiproliferative activity against human leukemia-derived HL-60. In addition, this compound was found to be a potent inducer of HL-60 cell differentiation as assessed by a nitroblue tetrazolium reduction test, esterase activity assay, phagocytic activity assay, morphology change, and expression of CD 14 and CD 66 b surface antigens. These results suggest that taraxinic acid induces the differentiation of human leukemia cells to monocyte/macrophage lineage. Moreover, the expression level of c-myc was down-regulated during taraxinic acid-dependent HL-60 cell differentiation, whereas p21(CIP1) and p27(KIP1) were up-regulated. Taken together, our results suggest that taraxinic acid may have potential as a therapeutic agent in human leukemia. (+info
Genetic structure of a population sample of apomictic dandelions.
In Northern Europe, dandelion populations consist solely of triploid or higher polyploid apomicts. Without a regular sexual cycle or lateral gene transmission, a clonal structure is expected for Taraxacum apomicts, although this was not found by compatibility analysis. In this study, we investigate whether this observation could be suported by performing independent tests based on data from hypervariable microsatellite markers as well as more conservative data based on allozymes and matrilinear cpDNA markers. In addition, population genetic methods were used to test departure from panmictic expectations, which is expected for clonal populations. Results indicated that many data sets, again, did not agree with expectations from clonal evolution because only small groups of genotypes exhibit no marker incompatibility. Population genetic analysis revealed that virtually all genotypes, but not individuals, agreed with random segregation and genotypic equilibria. Exceptions were genotypes with rare allozyme alleles or nearly identical microsatellite genotypes. Consequently, a population sample of apomictic dandelions essentially harbours genotypes that resulted from segregation and/or recombination and only a few genotypes that may have differentiated by somatic mutations. (+info
Chemical constituents of Taraxacum formosanum.
Three new compounds, taraxacine-A (1), taraxacine-B (2) and taraxafolin (3) together with twenty-five known compounds, which include two beta-carboline alkaloids, two indole alkaloids, two chlorophylls, two flavonoids, one coumarin, two triterpenoids, one monoterpenoid, one ionone, four steroids and eight benzenoids, were isolated and characterized from the fresh aerial parts of Taraxacum formosanum. Structures of new compounds were determined by spectral analysis. (+info
Altered gene expression in three plant species in response to treatment with Nep1, a fungal protein that causes necrosis.
Nep1 is an extracellular fungal protein that causes necrosis when applied to many dicotyledonous plants, including invasive weed species. Using transmission electron microscopy, it was determined that application of Nep1 (1.0 micro g mL(-)(1), 0.1% [v/v] Silwet-L77) to Arabidopsis and two invasive weed species, spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), caused a reduction in the thickness of the cuticle and a breakdown of chloroplasts 1 to 4 h after treatment. Membrane breakdown was most severe in cells closest to the surface of application. Differential display was used to isolate cDNA clones from the three species showing differential expression in response to Nep1 treatment. Differential gene expression was observed for a putative serpin (CmSER-1) and a calmodulin-like (CmCAL-1) protein from spotted knapweed, and a putative protein phosphatase 2C (ToPP2C-1) and cytochrome P-450 (ToCYP-1) protein from dandelion. In addition, differential expression was observed for genes coding for a putative protein kinase (AtPK-1), a homolog (AtWI-12) of wound-induced WI12, a homolog (AtLEA-1) of late embryogenesis abundant LEA-5, a WRKY-18 DNA-binding protein (AtWRKY-18), and a phospholipase D (AtPLD-1) from Arabidopsis. Genes showing elevated mRNA levels in Nep1-treated (5 micro g mL(-)(1), 0.1% [v/v] Silwet-L77) leaves 15 min after Nep1 treatment included CmSER-1 and CmCAL-1 for spotted knapweed, ToCYP-1 and CmCAL-1 for dandelion, and AtPK-1, AtWRKY-18, AtWI-12, and AtLEA-1 for Arabidopsis. Levels of mRNA for AtPLD-1 (Arabidopsis) and ToPP2C-1 (dandelion) decreased rapidly in Silwet-L77-treated plants between 15 min and 4 h of treatment, but were maintained or decreased more slowly over time in Nep1-treated (5 micro g mL(-)(1), 0.1% [v/v] Silwet-L77) leaves. In general, increases in mRNA band intensities were in the range of two to five times, with only ToCYP-1 in dandelion exceeding an increase of 10 times. The identified genes have been shown to be involved or are related to gene families that are involved in plant stress responses, including wounding, drought, senescence, and disease resistance. (+info
Formation of unreduced megaspores (diplospory) in apomictic dandelions (Taraxacum officinale, s.l.) is controlled by a sex-specific dominant locus.
In apomictic dandelions, Taraxacum officinale, unreduced megaspores are formed via a modified meiotic division (diplospory). The genetic basis of diplospory was investigated in a triploid (3x = 24) mapping population of 61 individuals that segregated approximately 1:1 for diplospory and meiotic reduction. This population was created by crossing a sexual diploid (2x = 16) with a tetraploid diplosporous pollen donor (4x = 32) that was derived from a triploid apomict. Six different inheritance models for diplospory were tested. The segregation ratio and the tight association with specific alleles at the microsatellite loci MSTA53 and MSTA78 strongly suggest that diplospory is controlled by a dominant allele D on a locus, which we have named DIPLOSPOROUS (DIP). Diplosporous plants have a simplex genotype, Ddd or Dddd. MSTA53 and MSTA78 were weakly linked to the 18S-25S rDNA locus. The D-linked allele of MSTA78 was absent in a hypotriploid (2n = 3x - 1) that also lacked one of the satellite chromosomes. Together these results suggest that DIP is located on the satellite chromosome. DIP is female specific, as unreduced gametes are not formed during male meiosis. Furthermore, DIP does not affect parthenogenesis, implying that several independently segregating genes control apomixis in dandelions. (+info
Nuclear-cytoplasmic male-sterility in diploid dandelions.
Male-sterility was found in diploid dandelions from two widely separated populations from France, and its inheritance was analysed by crossing a diploid male-sterile dandelion to diploid sexuals and triploid apomicts. Nuclear genetic variation, found in full-sib families, segregated for male-fertility, partial male-sterility, and full male-sterility, and also segregated for small-sized versus normally sized pollen. The crossing results are best explained by a cytoplasmic male-sterility factor in combination with two dominant restorer genes. Involvement of the cytoplasmic male-sterility factor was further investigated by chloroplast haplotyping. Male-sterility was exclusively associated with a rare chloroplast haplotype (designated 16b). This haplotype was found in seven male-sterile plants and one (apparently restored) male-fertile individual but does not occur in 110 co-existing male-fertile plants and not in several hundreds of individuals previously haplotyped. Apomicts with cytoplasmic male sterility were generated in some test crosses. This raises the question as to whether the male sterility found in natural dandelion apomicts, is of cytoplasmic or of nuclear genetic nature. As many breeding systems in Taraxacum are involved in shaping population structure, it will be difficult to predict the evolutionary consequences of nuclear-cytoplasmic male-sterility for this species complex. (+info
The role of tetraploids in the sexual-asexual cycle in dandelions (Taraxacum).
Apomictic plants often produce pollen that can function in crosses with related sexuals. Moreover, facultative apomicts can produce some sexual offspring. In dandelions, Taraxacum, a sexual-asexual cycle between diploid sexuals and triploid apomicts, has been described, based on experimental crosses and population genetic studies. Little is known about the actual hybridization processes in nature. We therefore studied the sexual-asexual cycle in a mixed dandelion population in the Netherlands. In this population, the frequencies of sexual diploids and triploids were 0.31 and 0.68, respectively. In addition, less than 1% tetraploids were detected. Diploids were strict sexuals, triploids were obligate apomicts, but tetraploids were most often only partly apomictic, lacking certain elements of apomixis. Tetraploid seed fertility in the field was significantly lower than that of apomictic triploids. Field-pollinated sexual diploids produced on average less than 2% polyploid offspring, implying that the effect of hybridization in the 2x-3x cycle in Taraxacum will be low. Until now, 2x-3x crosses were assumed to be the main pathway of new formation of triploid apomicts in the sexual-asexual cycle in Taraxacum. However, tetraploid pollen donors produced 28 times more triploid offspring in experimental crosses with diploid sexuals than triploid pollen donors. Rare tetraploids may therefore act as an important bridge in the formation of new triploid apomicts. (+info