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)
Contact dermatitis in Alstroemeria workers.
Hand dermatitis is common in workers in the horticultural industry. This study determined the prevalence of hand dermatitis in workers of Alstroemeria cultivation, investigated how many workers had been sensitized by tulipalin A (the allergen in Alstroemeria) and took stock of a wide range of determinants of hand dermatitis. The 12-month period prevalence of major hand dermatitis amounted to 29.5% whereas 7.4% had minor dermatitis. Of these workers, 52.1% were sensitized for tulipalin A. Several personal and work-related determinants played a role in the multifactorial aetiology of hand dermatitis. Factors which showed a significant relationship with major hand dermatitis were: female sex, atopic dermatitis, chapped hands and the frequency of washing hands. It may be concluded that the Alstroemeria workers are a population at risk of developing contact dermatitis and it might be useful to carry out an educational campaign to lower the high prevalence. (+info)
A family of S-methylmethionine-dependent thiol/selenol methyltransferases. Role in selenium tolerance and evolutionary relation.
Several plant species can tolerate high concentrations of selenium in the environment, and they accumulate organoselenium compounds. One of these compounds is Se-methylselenocysteine, synthesized by a number of species from the genus Astragalus (Fabaceae), like A. bisulcatus. An enzyme has been previously isolated from this organism that catalyzes methyl transfer from S-adenosylmethionine to selenocysteine. To elucidate the role of the enzyme in selenium tolerance, the cDNA coding for selenocysteine methyltransferase from A. bisulcatus was cloned and sequenced. Data base searches revealed the existence of several apparent homologs of hitherto unassigned function. The gene for one of them, yagD from Escherichia coli, was cloned, and the protein was overproduced and purified. A functional analysis showed that the YagD protein catalyzes methylation of homocysteine, selenohomocysteine, and selenocysteine with S-adenosylmethionine and S-methylmethionine as methyl group donors. S-Methylmethionine was now shown to be also the physiological methyl group donor for the A. bisulcatus selenocysteine methyltransferase. A model system was set up in E. coli which demonstrated that expression of the plant and, although to a much lesser degree, of the bacterial methyltransferase gene increases selenium tolerance and strongly reduces unspecific selenium incorporation into proteins, provided that S-methylmethionine is present in the medium. It is postulated that the selenocysteine methyltransferase under selective pressure developed from an S-methylmethionine-dependent thiol/selenol methyltransferase. (+info)
The preprophase band: possible involvement in the formation of the cell wall.
Numerous vesicles were observed among the microtubules of the "preprophase" band in prophase cells from root tips of Allium cepa. The content of these vesicles looks similar to the matrix of adjacent cell walls, and these vesicles often appear to be involved in exocytosis. In addition, the cell walls perpendicular to the plane of (beneath) the preprophase band are often differentially thickened compared to the walls lying parallel to the plane of the band. Our interpretation of these observations is that the preprophase band may direct or channel vesicles containing precursors of the cell wall to localized regions of wall synthesis. The incorporation of constituents of the cell wall into a narrow region defined by the position of the preprophase band may be a mechanism that ensures unidirecitonal growth of meristematic cells. (+info)
Kocuria palustris sp. nov. and Kocuria rhizophila sp. nov., isolated from the rhizoplane of the narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia).
Two Gram-positive, aerobic spherical actinobacteria were isolated from the rhizoplane of narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia) collected from a floating mat in the Soroksar tributary of the Danube river, Hungary. Sequence comparisons of the 16S rDNA indicated these isolates to be phylogenetic neighbours of members of the genus Kocuria, family Micrococcaceae, in which they represent two novel lineages. The phylogenetic distinctness of the two organisms TA68T and TAGA27T was supported by DNA-DNA similarity values of less than 55% between each other and with the type strains of Kocuria rosea, Kocuria kristinae and Kocuria varians. Chemotaxonomic properties supported the placement of the two isolates in the genus Kocuria. The diagnostic diamino acid of the cell-wall peptidoglycan is lysine, the interpeptide bridge is composed of three alanine residues. Predominant menaquinone was MK-7(H2). The fatty acid pattern represents the straight-chain saturated iso-anteiso type. Main fatty acid was anteiso-C15:0. The phospholipids are diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol and an unknown component. The DNA base composition of strains TA68T and TAGA27T is 69.4 and 69.6 mol% G+C, respectively. Genotypic, morphological and physiological characteristics are used to describe two new species of Kocuria, for which we propose the names Kocuria palustris, type strain DSM 11925T and Kocuria rhizophila, type strain DSM 11926T. (+info)
Kodamaea nitidulidarum, Candida restingae and Kodamaea anthophila, three new related yeast species from ephemeral flowers.
Three new yeast species were discovered during studies of yeasts associated with ephemeral flowers in Brazil, Australia and Hawaii. Their physiological and morphological similarity to Kodamaea (Pichia) ohmeri suggested a possible relationship to that species, which was confirmed by rDNA sequencing. Kodamaea nitidulidarum and Candida restingae were found in cactus flowers and associated nitidulid beetles in sand dune ecosystems (restinga) of South-eastern Brazil. Over 350 strains of Kodamaea anthophila were isolated from Hibiscus and morning glory flowers (Ipomoea spp.) in Australia, and from associated nitidulid beetles and Drosophila hibisci. A single isolate came from a beach morning glory in Hawaii. Expansion of the genus Kodamaea to three species modified the existing definition of the genus only slightly. The type and isotype strains are as follows: K. nitidulidarum strains UFMG96-272T (h+; CBS 8491T) and UFMG96-394I (h-; CBS 8492I); Candida restingae UFMG96-276T (CBS 8493T); K. anthophila strains UWO(PS)95-602.1T (h+; CBS 8494T), UWO(PS)91-893.2I (h-; CBS 8495I) and UWO(PS)95-725.1I (h-; CBS 8496I). (+info)
The origin and evolution of green algal and plant actins.
The Viridiplantae are subdivided into two groups: the Chlorophyta, which includes the Chlorophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae, Ulvophyceae, and Prasinophyceae; and the Streptophyta, which includes the Charophyceae and all land plants. Within the Streptophyta, the actin genes of the angiosperms diverge nearly simultaneously from each other before the separation of monocots and dicots. Previous evolutionary analyses have provided limited insights into the gene duplications that have produced these complex gene families. We address the origin and diversification of land plant actin genes by studying the phylogeny of actins within the green algae, ferns, and fern allies. Partial genomic sequences or cDNAs encoding actin were characterized from Cosmarium botrytis (Zygnematales), Selaginella apoda (Selaginellales), Anemia phyllitidis (Polypodiales), and Psilotum triquetrum (Psilotales). Selaginella contains at least two actin genes. One sequence (Ac2) diverges within a group of fern sequences that also includes the Psilotum Ac1 actin gene and one gymnosperm sequence (Cycas revoluta Cyc3). This clade is positioned outside of the angiosperm actin gene radiation. The second Selaginella sequence (Ac1) is the sister to all remaining land plant actin sequences, although the internal branches in this portion of the tree are very short. Use of complete actin-coding regions in phylogenetic analyses provides support for the separation of angiosperm actins into two classes. N-terminal "signature" sequence analyses support these groupings. One class (VEG) includes actin genes that are often expressed in vegetative structures. The second class (REP) includes actin genes that trace their ancestry within the vegetative actins and contains members that are largely expressed in reproductive structures. Analysis of intron positions within actin genes shows that sequences from both Selaginella and Cosmarium contain the conserved 20-3, 152-1, and 356-3 introns found in many members of the Streptophyta. In addition, the Cosmarium actin gene contains a novel intron at position 76-1. (+info)
Characterization of an insertion sequence element associated with genetically diverse plant pathogenic Streptomyces spp.
Streptomycetes are common soil inhabitants, yet few described species are plant pathogens. While the pathogenicity mechanisms remain unclear, previous work identified a gene, nec1, which encodes a putative pathogenicity or virulence factor. nec1 and a neighboring transposase pseudogene, ORFtnp, are conserved among unrelated plant pathogens and absent from nonpathogens. The atypical GC content of nec1 suggests that it was acquired through horizontal transfer events. Our investigation of the genetic organization of regions adjacent to the 3' end of nec1 in Streptomyces scabies 84.34 identified a new insertion sequence (IS) element, IS1629, with homology to other IS elements from prokaryotic animal pathogens. IS1629 is 1,462 bp with 26-bp terminal inverted repeats and encodes a putative 431-amino-acid (aa) transposase. Transposition of IS1629 generates a 10-bp target site duplication. A 77-nucleotide (nt) sequence encompassing the start codon and upstream region of the transposase was identified which could function in the posttranscritpional regulation of transposase synthesis. A functional copy of IS1629 from S. turgidiscabies 94.09 (Hi-C-13) was selected in the transposon trap pCZA126, through its insertion into the lambda cI857 repressor. IS1629 is present in multiple copies in some S. scabies strains and is present in all S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies strains examined. A second copy of IS1629 was identified between ORFtnp and nec1 in S. acidiscabies strains. The diversity of IS1629 hybridization profiles was greatest within S. scabies. IS1629 was absent from the 27 nonpathogenic Streptomyces strains tested. The genetic organization and nucleotide sequence of the nec1-IS1629 region was conserved and identical among representatives of S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies. These findings support our current model for the unidirectional transfer of the ORFtnp-nec1-IS1629 locus from IS1629-containing S. scabies (type II) to S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies. (+info)