BMC Plant Biology

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ISSN / EISSN : 1471-2229 / 1471-2229
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Mariana Ferreira Alves, Fabio Pinheiro, Carlos Eduardo Pereira Nunes, Francisco Prosdocimi, Deise Schroder Sarzi, Carolina Furtado, Juliana Lischka Sampaio Mayer
Published: 12 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03118-y

Abstract:
Background Pogoniopsis schenckii Cogn. is a mycoheterotrophic orchid that can be used as a model to understand the influence of mycoheterotrophy at different stages of the reproductive cycle. We aimed to verify the presence of endophytic and epiphytic fungi at each stage of the reproductive process and investigated how the breeding system may relate to genetic structure and diversity of populations. In this study we performed anatomical and ultrastructural analyses of the reproductive organs, field tests to confirm the breeding system, and molecular analysis to assess genetic diversity and structure of populations. Results During the development of the pollen grain, embryo sac and embryogenesis, no fungal infestation was observed. The presence of endophytic fungal hyphae was observed just within floral stems and indehiscent fruit. Beyond assuring the presence of fungus that promote seed germination, specific fungi hyphae in the fruit may affect other process, such as fruit ripening. As other mycoheterotrophic orchids, P. schenckii is autogamous, which may explain the low genetic diversity and high genetic structure in populations. Conclusions We discuss an interesting interaction: fungal hyphae in the indehiscent fruit. These fungal hyphae seem to play different roles inside fruit tissues, such as acting in the fruit maturation process and increasing the proximity between fungi and plant seeds even before dispersion occurs. As other mycoheterotrophic orchids, P. schenckii is autogamous, which may explain the low genetic diversity and high genetic structure in populations. Altogether, our findings provide important novel information about the mechanisms shaping ecology and evolution of fragmented populations of mycoheterotrophic plant.
Dan Jiang, Bin Lu, Liantao Liu, Wenjing Duan, Yanjun Meng, Jin Li, Ke Zhang, Hongchun Sun, Yongjiang Zhang, Hezhong Dong, et al.
Published: 10 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-19; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03082-7

Abstract:
Background As damage to the ecological environment continues to increase amid unreasonable amounts of irrigation, soil salinization has become a major challenge to agricultural development. Melatonin (MT) is a pleiotropic signal molecule and indole hormone, which alleviates the damage of abiotic stress to plants. MT has been confirmed to eliminate reactive oxygen species (ROS) by improving the antioxidant system and reducing oxidative damage under adversity. However, the mechanism by which exogenous MT mediates salt tolerance by regulating the photosynthetic capacity and ion balance of cotton seedlings still remains unknown. In this study, the regulatory effects of MT on the photosynthetic system, osmotic modulators, chloroplast, and anatomical structure of cotton seedlings were determined under 0–500 μM MT treatments with salt stress induced by treatment with 150 mM NaCl. Results Salt stress reduces the chlorophyll content, net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, intercellular CO2 concentration, transpiration rate, PSII photochemical efficiency, PSII actual photochemical quantum yield, the apparent electron transfer efficiency, stomata opening, and biomass. In addition, it increases non-photochemical quenching. All of these responses were effectively alleviated by exogenous treatment with MT. Exogenous MT reduces oxidative damage and lipid peroxidation by reducing salt-induced ROS and protects the plasma membrane from oxidative toxicity. MT also reduces the osmotic pressure by reducing the salt-induced accumulation of Na+ and increasing the contents of K+ and proline. Exogenous MT can facilitate stomatal opening and protect the integrity of cotton chloroplast grana lamella structure and mitochondria under salt stress, protect the photosynthetic system of plants, and improve their biomass. An anatomical analysis of leaves and stems showed that MT can improve xylem and phloem and other properties and aides in the transportation of water, inorganic salts, and organic substances. Therefore, the application of MT attenuates salt-induced stress damage to plants. Treatment with exogenous MT positively increased the salt tolerance of cotton seedlings by improving their photosynthetic capacity, stomatal characteristics, ion balance, osmotic substance biosynthetic pathways, and chloroplast and anatomical structures (xylem vessels and phloem vessels). Conclusions Our study attributes help to protect the structural stability of photosynthetic organs and increase the amount of material accumulation, thereby reducing salt-induced secondary stress. The mechanisms of MT-induced plant tolerance to salt stress provide a theoretical basis for the use of MT to alleviate salt stress caused by unreasonable irrigation, fertilization, and climate change.
Sameh Boukail, Mercy Macharia, Mara Miculan, Alberto Masoni, Alessandro Calamai, Enrico Palchetti,
Published: 9 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-12; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03111-5

Abstract:
Background The climate crisis threatens sustainability of crop production worldwide. Crop diversification may enhance food security while reducing the negative impacts of climate change. Proso millet (Panicum milaceum L.) is a minor cereal crop which holds potential for diversification and adaptation to different environmental conditions. In this study, we assembled a world collection of proso millet consisting of 88 varieties and landraces to investigate its genomic and phenotypic diversity for seed traits, and to identify marker-trait associations (MTA). Results Sequencing of restriction-site associated DNA fragments yielded 494 million reads and 2,412 high quality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs were used to study the diversity in the collection and perform a genome wide association study (GWAS). A genotypic diversity analysis separated accessions originating in Western Europe, Eastern Asia and Americas from accessions sampled in Southern Asia, Western Asia, and Africa. A Bayesian structure analysis reported four cryptic genetic groups, showing that landraces accessions had a significant level of admixture and that most of the improved proso millet materials clustered separately from landraces. The collection was highly diverse for seed traits, with color varying from white to dark brown and width spanning from 1.8 to 2.6 mm. A GWAS study for seed morphology traits identified 10 MTAs. In addition, we identified three MTAs for agronomic traits that were previously measured on the collection. Conclusion Using genomics and automated seed phenotyping, we elucidated phylogenetic relationships and seed diversity in a global millet collection. Overall, we identified 13 MTAs for key agronomic and seed traits indicating the presence of alleles with potential for application in proso breeding programs.
Qiong Fu, Jie Deng, Min Chen, Yan Zhong, Guo-Hui Lu,
Published: 8 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03101-7

Abstract:
Background Rivers and streams facilitate movement of individuals and their genes across the landscape and are generally recognized as dispersal corridors for riparian plants. Nevertheless, some authors have reported directly contrasting results, which may be attributed to a complex mixture of factors, such as the mating system and dispersal mechanisms of propagules (seed and pollen), that make it difficult to predict the genetic diversity and population structure of riparian species. Here, we investigated a riparian self-fertilizing herb Caulokaempferia coenobialis, which does not use anemochory or zoochory for seed dispersal; such studies could contribute to an improved understanding of the effect of rivers or streams on population genetic diversity and structure in riparian plants. Using polymorphic ISSR and cpDNA loci, we studied the effect at a microgeographic scale of different stream systems (a linear stream, a dendritic stream, and complex transverse hydrological system) in subtropical monsoon forest on the genetic structure and connectivity of C. coenobialis populations across Dinghu Mountain (DH) and Nankun Mountain (NK). Results The results indicate that the most recent haplotypes (DH: H7, H8; NK: h6, h7, h11, h12) are not shared among local populations of C. coenobialis within each stream system. Furthermore, downstream local populations do not accumulate genetic diversity, whether in the linear streamside local populations across DH (H: 0.091 vs 0.136) or the dendritic streamside local populations across NK (H: 0.079 vs 0.112, 0.110). Our results show that the connectivity of local C. coenobialis populations across DH and NK can be attributed to historical gene flows, resulting in a lack of spatial genetic structure, despite self-fertilization. Selfing C. coenobialis can maintain high genetic diversity (H = 0.251; I = 0.382) through genetic differentiation (G ST = 0.5915; F ST = 0.663), which is intensified by local adaptation and neutral mutation and/or genetic drift in local populations at a microgeographic scale. Conclusion We suggest that streams are not acting as corridors for dispersal of C. coenobialis, and conservation strategies for maintaining genetic diversity of selfing species should be focused on the protection of all habitat types, especially isolated fragments in ecosystem processes.
Yujiao Wang, , Chunjie Fan, Yongcheng Wei, Jingxiang Meng, Zhen Li, Chonglu Zhong
Published: 8 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03083-6

Abstract:
Background MYB transcription factors are a kind of DNA binding protein that can specifically interact with the promoter region. Members of MYB TFs are widely involved in plant growth and development, secondary metabolism, stress response, and hormone signal transduction. However, there is no report of comprehensive bioinformatics analysis on the MYB family of Casuarina equisetifolia. Results In this study, bioinformatics methods were used to screen out 182 MYB transcription factors from the Casuarina equisetifolia genome database, including 69 1R-MYB, 107 R2R3-MYB, 4 R1R2R3-MYB, and 2 4R-MYB. The C. equisetifolia R2R3-MYB genes were divided into 29 groups based on the phylogenetic topology and the classification of the MYB superfamily in Arabidopsis thaliana, while the remaining MYB genes (1R-MYB, R1R2R3-MYB, and 4R-MYB) was divided into 19 groups. Moreover, the conserved motif and gene structure analysis shown that the members of the CeqMYBs were divided into the same subgroups with mostly similar gene structures. In addition, many conserved amino acids in the R2 and R3 domains of CeqMYBs by WebLogo analysis, especially tryptophan residues (W), with 3 conserved W in R2 repeat and 2 conserved W in R3 repeat. Combining promoter and GO annotation analysis, speculated on the various biological functions of CeqMYBs, thus 32 MYB genes were selected to further explore its response to salt stress by using qPCR analysis technique. Most CeqMYB genes were differentially regulated following multiple salt treatments. Conclusions Seven genes (CeqMYB164, CeqMYB4, CeqMYB53, CeqMYB32, CeqMYB114, CeqMYB71 and CeqMYB177) were assigned to the “response to salt stress” by GO annotation. Among them, the expression level of CeqMYB4 was up-regulated under various salt treatments, indicating CeqMYB4 might participated in the response to salt stress. Our results provide important information for the biological function of C. equisetifolia, as well as offer candidate genes for further study of salt stress mechanism.
Published: 7 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-19; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03110-6

Abstract:
Background Grapevine cultivars of the Pinot family represent clonally propagated mutants with major phenotypic and physiological differences, such as different colour or shifted ripening time, as well as changes in important viticultural traits. Specifically, the cultivars ‘Pinot Noir’ (PN) and ‘Pinot Noir Precoce’ (PNP, early ripening) flower at the same time, but vary in the beginning of berry ripening (veraison) and, consequently, harvest time. In addition to genotype, seasonal climatic conditions (i.e. high temperatures) also affect ripening times. To reveal possible regulatory genes that affect the timing of veraison onset, we investigated differences in gene expression profiles between PN and PNP throughout berry development with a closely meshed time series and over two separate years. Results The difference in the duration of berry formation between PN and PNP was quantified to be approximately two weeks under the growth conditions applied, using plant material with a proven PN and PNP clonal relationship. Clusters of co-expressed genes and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were detected which reflect the shift in the timing of veraison onset. Functional annotation of these DEGs fit to observed phenotypic and physiological changes during berry development. In total, we observed 3,342 DEGs in 2014 and 2,745 DEGs in 2017 between PN and PNP, with 1,923 DEGs across both years. Among these, 388 DEGs were identified as veraison-specific and 12 were considered as berry ripening time regulatory candidates. The expression profiles revealed two candidate genes for ripening time control which we designated VviRTIC1 and VviRTIC2 (VIT_210s0071g01145 and VIT_200s0366g00020, respectively). These genes likely contribute the phenotypic differences observed between PN and PNP. Conclusions Many of the 1,923 DEGs show highly similar expression profiles in both cultivars if the patterns are aligned according to developmental stage. In our work, putative genes differentially expressed between PNP and PN which could control ripening time as well as veraison-specific genes were identified. We point out connections of these genes to molecular events during berry development and discuss potential candidate genes which may control ripening time. Two of these candidates were observed to be differentially expressed in the early berry development phase. Several down-regulated genes during berry ripening are annotated as auxin response factors / ARFs. Conceivably, general changes in auxin signaling may cause the earlier ripening phenotype of PNP.
Zhi Wang, Caihong Zhong, Dawei Li, Chunlin Yan, ,
Published: 6 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03099-y

Abstract:
Background Plant phylogeographic studies of species in subtropical China have mainly focused on rare and endangered species, whereas few studies have been conducted on taxa with relatively wide distribution, especially polyploid species. We investigated the cytotype and haplotype distribution pattern of the Actinidia chinensis complex, a widespread geographically woody liana with variable ploidy in subtropical China comprising two varieties, with three chloroplast fragments DNA (ndhF-rpl132, rps16-trnQ and trnE-trnT). Macroevolutionary, microevolutionary and niche modeling tools were also combined to disentangle the origin and the demographic history of the species or cytotypes. Results The ploidy levels of 3338 individuals from 128 populations sampled throughout the species distribution range were estimated with flow cytometry. The widespread cytotypes were diploids followed by tetraploids and hexaploids, whereas triploids and octoploids occurred in a few populations. Thirty-one chloroplast haplotypes were detected. The genetic diversity and genetic structure were found to be high between varieties (or ploidy races) chinensis and deliciosa. Our results revealed that these two varieties inhabit significantly different climatic niche spaces. Ecological niche models (ENMs) indicate that all varieties’ ranges contracted during the Last Inter Glacial (LIG), and expanded eastward or northward during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Conclusions Pliocene and Plio-Pleistocene climatic fluctuations and vicariance appear to have played key roles in shaping current population structure and historical demography in the A. chinensis complex. The polyploidization process also appears to have played an important role in the historical demography of the complex through improving their adaptability to environmental changes.
Xiangyang Li, Mengmeng Liao, Jiayu Huang, Zheng Xu, Zhanqiao Lin, Nenghui Ye, Zhisheng Zhang, Xinxiang Peng
Published: 6 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03112-4

Abstract:
Background Glycolate oxidase (GLO) is not only a key enzyme in photorespiration but also a major engine for H2O2 production in plants. Catalase (CAT)-dependent H2O2 decomposition has been previously reported to be involved in the regulation of IAA biosynthesis. However, it is still not known which mechanism contributed to the H2O2 production in IAA regulation. Results In this study, we found that in glo mutants of rice, as H2O2 levels decreased IAA contents significantly increased, whereas high CO2 abolished the difference in H2O2 and IAA contents between glo mutants and WT. Further analyses showed that tryptophan (Trp, the precursor for IAA biosynthesis in the Trp-dependent biosynthetic pathway) also accumulated due to increased tryptophan synthetase β (TSB) activity. Moreover, expression of the genes involved in Trp-dependent IAA biosynthesis and IBA to IAA conversion were correspondingly up-regulated, further implicating that both pathways contribute to IAA biosynthesis as mediated by the GLO-dependent production of H2O2. Conclusion We investigated the function of GLO in IAA signaling in different levels from transcription, enzyme activities to metabolic levels. The results suggest that GLO-dependent H2O2 signaling, essentially via photorespiration, confers regulation over IAA biosynthesis in rice plants.
Published: 5 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-11; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03100-8

Abstract:
Background Growing large crop monocultures and heavily using pesticides enhances the evolution of pesticide-insensitive pests and pathogens. To reduce pesticide use in crop cultivation, the application of priming-active compounds (PrimACs) is a welcome alternative. PrimACs strengthen the plant immune system and could thus help to protect plants with lower amounts of pesticides. PrimACs can be identified, for example, by their capacity to enhance the respiratory activity of parsley cells in culture as determined by the oxygen transfer rate (OTR) using the respiration activity monitoring system (RAMOS) or its miniaturized version, µRAMOS. The latter was designed for with suspensions of bacteria and yeast cells in microtiter plates (MTPs). So far, RAMOS or µRAMOS have not been applied to adult plants or seedlings, which would overcome the limitation of (µ)RAMOS to plant suspension cell cultures. Results In this work, we introduce a modified µRAMOS for analysis of plant seedlings. The novel device allows illuminating the seedlings and records the respiratory activity in each well of a 48-well MTP. To validate the suitability of the setup for identifying novel PrimAC in Arabidopsis thaliana, seedlings were grown in MTP for seven days and treated with the known PrimAC salicylic acid (SA; positive control) and the PrimAC candidate methyl 1-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-oxocyclopentane-1-carboxylate (Tyr020). Twenty-eight h after treatment, the seedlings were elicited with flg22, a 22-amino acid peptide of bacterial flagellin. Upon elicitation, the respiratory activity was monitored. The evaluation of the OTR course reveals Tyr020 as a likely PrimAC. The priming-inducing activity of Tyr020 was confirmed using molecular biological analyses in A. thaliana seedlings. Conclusion We disclose the suitability of µRAMOS for identifying PrimACs in plant seedlings. The difference in OTR during a night period between primed and unprimed plants was distinguishable after elicitation with flg22. Thus, it has been shown that the µRAMOS device can be used for a reliable screening for PrimACs in plant seedlings.
Published: 5 July 2021
BMC Plant Biology, Volume 21, pp 1-20; doi:10.1186/s12870-021-03106-2

Abstract:
Background Sufficient low temperature accumulation is the key strategy to break bud dormancy and promote subsequent flowering in tree peony anti-season culturing production. Exogenous gibberellins (GAs) could partially replace chilling to accelerate dormancy release, and different kinds of GAs showed inconsistent effects in various plants. To understand the effects of exogenous GA3 and GA4 on dormancy release and subsequent growth, the morphological changes were observed after exogenous GAs applications, the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, and the contents of endogenous phytohormones, starch and sugar were measured, respectively. Results Morphological observation and photosynthesis measurements indicated that both GA3 and GA4 applications accelerated bud dormancy release, but GA3 feeding induced faster bud burst, higher shoot and more flowers per plant. Full-length transcriptome of dormant bud was used as the reference genome. Totally 124 110 459, 124 015 148 and 126 239 836 reads by illumina transcriptome sequencing were obtained in mock, GA3 and GA4 groups, respectively. Compared with the mock, there were 879 DEGs and 2 595 DEGs in GA3 and GA4 group, 1 179 DEGs in GA3 vs GA4, and 849 DEGs were common in these comparison groups. The significant enrichment KEGG pathways of 849 DEGs highlighted plant hormone signal transduction, starch and sucrose metabolism, cell cycle, DNA replication, etc. Interestingly, the contents of endogenous GA1, GA3, GA4, GA7 and IAA significantly increased, ABA decreased after GA3 and GA4 treatments by LC–MS/MS. Additionally, the soluble glucose, fructose and trehalose increased after exogenous GAs applications. Compared to GA4 treatment, GA3 induced higher GA1, GA3 and IAA level, more starch degradation to generate more monosaccharide for use, and promoted cell cycle and photosynthesis. Higher expression levels of dormancy-related genes, TFL, FT, EBB1, EBB3 and CYCD, and lower of SVP by GA3 treatment implied more efficiency of GA3. Conclusions Exogenous GA3 and GA4 significantly accelerated bud dormancy release and subsequent growth by increasing the contents of endogenous bioactive GAs, IAA, and soluble glucose such as fructose and trehalose, and accelerated cell cycle process, accompanied by decreasing ABA contents. GA3 was superior to GA4 in tree peony forcing culture, which might because tree peony was more sensitive to GA3 than GA4, and GA3 had a more effective ability to induce cell division and starch hydrolysis. These results provided the value data for understanding the mechanism of dormancy release in tree peony.
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