vegetative function [keywords]
- Functional near infrared spectroscopy as a probe of brain function in people with prolonged disorders of consciousness. [Journal Article]
- Neuroimage Clin 2016.:312-9.
Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-invasive technique which measures changes in brain tissue oxygenation. NIRS has been used for continuous monitoring of brain oxygenation during medical procedures carrying high risk of iatrogenic brain ischemia and also has been adopted by cognitive neuroscience for studies on executive and cognitive functions. Until now, NIRS has not been used to detect residual cognitive functions in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (pDOC). In this study we aimed to evaluate the brain function of patients with pDOC by using a motor imagery task while recording NIRS. We also collected data from a group of age and gender matched healthy controls while they carried out both real and imagined motor movements to command. We studied 16 pDOC patients in total, split into two groups: five had a diagnosis of Vegetative state/Unresponsive Wakefulness State, and eleven had a diagnosis of Minimally Conscious State. In the control subjects we found a greater oxy-haemoglobin (oxyHb) response during real movement compared with imagined movement. For the between group comparison, we found a main effect of hemisphere, with greater depression of oxyHb signal in the right > left hemisphere compared with rest period for all three groups. A post-hoc analysis including only the two pDOC patient groups was also significant suggesting that this effect was not just being driven by the control subjects. This study demonstrates for the first time the feasibility of using NIRS for the assessment of brain function in pDOC patients using a motor imagery task.
- Overexpression of OsMYB1R1-VP64 fusion protein increases grain yield in rice by delaying flowering time. [LETTER]
- FEBS Lett 2016 Aug 22.
VP64 is widely used as a transcriptional activator to investigate the biological function of genes, but its potential for application in genetic improvement of crops has not been fully investigated. Here, we characterized an OsMYB1R1-VP64 fusion protein that enhanced the grain yield of rice cultivar "Kita-ake" by 35%. OsMYB1R1-VP64 regulated grain yield of transgenic plants mainly by extending the vegetative growth stage. Further analysis indicated that OsMYB1R1-VP64 delayed flowering by downregulating expression of Heading date 3a (Hd3a) and RICE FLOWERING LOCUST 1 (RFT1) through repression of Early heading date 1 (Ehd1). The expression pattern of OsMYB1R1 was constitutive and rhythmically controlled. OsMYB1R1 protein had transcriptional activation activity and was localized to the nucleus. Our findings suggest that the OsMYB1R1-VP64 construct can be used to increase grain yield in rice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- Ubiquitous miR159 repression of MYB33/65 in Arabidopsis rosettes is robust and is not perturbed by a wide range of stresses. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Plant Biol 2016; 16(1):179.
The microR159 (miR159) - GAMYB pathway is conserved in higher plants, where GAMYB, expression promotes programmed cell death in seeds (aleurone) and anthers (tapetum). In cereals, restriction of GAMYB expression to seeds and anthers is mainly achieved transcriptionally, whereas in Arabidopsis this is achieved post-transcriptionally, as miR159 silences GAMYB (MYB33 and MYB65) in vegetative tissues, but not in seeds and anthers. However, we cannot rule out a role for miR159-MYB33/65 pathway in Arabidopsis vegetative tissues; a loss-of-function mir159 Arabidopsis mutant displays strong pleiotropic defects and numerous reports have documented changes in miR159 abundance during stress and hormone treatments. Hence, we have investigated the functional role of this pathway in vegetative tissues.It was found that the miR159-MYB33/65 pathway was ubiquitously present throughout rosette development. However, miR159 appears to continuously repress MYB33/MYB65 expression to levels that have no major impact on rosette development. Inducible inhibition of miR159 resulted in MYB33/65 de-repression and associated phenotypic defects, indicating that a potential role in vegetative development is only possible through MYB33 and MYB65 if miR159 levels decrease. However, miR159 silencing of MYB33/65 appeared extremely robust; no tested abiotic stress resulted in strong miR159 repression. Consistent with this, the stress responses of an Arabidopsis mutant lacking the miR159-MYB33/65 pathway were indistinguishable from wild-type. Moreover, expression of viral silencing suppressors, either via transgenesis or viral infection, was unable to prevent miR159 repression of MYB33/65, highlighting the robustness of miR159-mediated silencing.Despite being ubiquitously present, molecular, genetic and physiological analysis failed to find a major functional role for the miR159-MYB33/65 pathway in Arabidopsis rosette development or stress response. Although it is likely that this pathway is important for a stress not tested here or in different plant species, our findings argue against the miR159-MYB33/65 pathway playing a major conserved role in general stress response. Finally, in light of the robustness of miR159-mediated repression of MYB33/65, it appears unlikely that low fold-level changes of miR159 abundance in response to stress would have any major physiological impact in Arabidopsis.
- Developmental Functions of miR156-Regulated SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) Genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Genet 2016 Aug; 12(8):e1006263.
Correct developmental timing is essential for plant fitness and reproductive success. Two important transitions in shoot development-the juvenile-to-adult vegetative transition and the vegetative-to-reproductive transition-are mediated by a group of genes targeted by miR156, SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN (SBP) genes. To determine the developmental functions of these genes in Arabidopsis thaliana, we characterized their expression patterns, and their gain-of-function and loss-of-function phenotypes. Our results reveal that SBP-LIKE (SPL) genes in Arabidopsis can be divided into three functionally distinct groups: 1) SPL2, SPL9, SPL10, SPL11, SPL13 and SPL15 contribute to both the juvenile-to-adult vegetative transition and the vegetative-to-reproductive transition, with SPL9, SP13 and SPL15 being more important for these processes than SPL2, SPL10 and SPL11; 2) SPL3, SPL4 and SPL5 do not play a major role in vegetative phase change or floral induction, but promote the floral meristem identity transition; 3) SPL6 does not have a major function in shoot morphogenesis, but may be important for certain physiological processes. We also found that miR156-regulated SPL genes repress adventitious root development, providing an explanation for the observation that the capacity for adventitious root production declines as the shoot ages. miR156 is expressed at very high levels in young seedlings, and declines in abundance as the shoot develops. It completely blocks the expression of its SPL targets in the first two leaves of the rosette, and represses these genes to different degrees at later stages of development, primarily by promoting their translational repression. These results provide a framework for future studies of this multifunctional family of transcription factors, and offer new insights into the role of miR156 in Arabidopsis development.
- A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought. [Journal Article]
- Nat Commun 2016.:12473.
Droughts are increasing in severity and frequency, yet the mechanisms that strengthen ecosystem resilience to this stress remain poorly understood. Here, we test whether positive interactions in the form of a mutualism between mussels and dominant cordgrass in salt marshes enhance ecosystem resistance to and recovery from drought. Surveys spanning 250 km of southeastern US coastline reveal spatially dispersed mussel mounds increased cordgrass survival during severe drought by 5- to 25-times. Surveys and mussel addition experiments indicate this positive effect of mussels on cordgrass was due to mounds enhancing water storage and reducing soil salinity stress. Observations and models then demonstrate that surviving cordgrass patches associated with mussels function as nuclei for vegetative re-growth and, despite covering only 0.1-12% of die-offs, markedly shorten marsh recovery periods. These results indicate that mutualisms, in supporting stress-resistant patches, can play a disproportionately large, keystone role in enhancing ecosystem resilience to climatic extremes.
- Suppressor of fusion, a Fusarium oxysporum homolog of Ndt80, is required for nutrient-dependent regulation of anastomosis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Fungal Genet Biol 2016 Aug 13.
Heterokaryon formation is an essential step in asexual recombination in Fusarium oxysporum. Filamentous fungi have an elaborate nonself recognition machinery to prevent formation and proliferation of heterokaryotic cells, called heterokaryon incompatibility (HI). In F. oxysporum the regulation of this machinery is not well understood. In Neurospora crassa, Vib-1, a putative transcription factor of the p53-like Ndt80 family of transcription factors, has been identified as global regulator of HI. In this study we investigated the role of the F. oxysporum homolog of Vib-1, called Suf, in vegetative hyphal and conidial anastomosis tube (CAT) fusion and HI. We identified a novel function for an Ndt80 homolog as a nutrient-dependent regulator of anastomosis. Strains carrying the SUF deletion mutation display a hyper-fusion phenotype during vegetative growth as well as germling development. In addition, conidial paring of incompatible SUF deletion strains led to more heterokaryon formation, which is independent of suppression of HI. Our data provides further proof for the divergence in the functions of different members Ndt80 family. We propose that Ndt80 homologs mediate responses to nutrient quality and quantity, with specific responses varying between species.
- Hopanoids play a role in stress tolerance and nutrient storage in the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Geobiology 2016 Aug 16.
Hopanes are abundant in ancient sedimentary rocks at discrete intervals in Earth history, yet interpreting their significance in the geologic record is complicated by our incomplete knowledge of what their progenitors, hopanoids, do in modern cells. To date, few studies have addressed the breadth of diversity of physiological functions of these lipids and whether those functions are conserved across the hopanoid-producing bacterial phyla. Here, we generated mutants in the filamentous cyanobacterium, Nostoc punctiforme, that are unable to make all hopanoids (shc) or 2-methylhopanoids (hpnP). While the absence of hopanoids impedes growth of vegetative cells at high temperature, the shc mutant grows faster at low temperature. This finding is consistent with hopanoids acting as membrane rigidifiers, a function shared by other hopanoid-producing phyla. Apart from impacting fitness under temperature stress, hopanoids are dispensable for vegetative cells under other stress conditions. However, hopanoids are required for stress tolerance in akinetes, a resting survival cell type. While 2-methylated hopanoids do not appear to contribute to any stress phenotype, total hopanoids and to a lesser extent 2-methylhopanoids were found to promote the formation of cyanophycin granules in akinetes. Finally, although hopanoids support symbiotic interactions between Alphaproteobacteria and plants, they do not appear to facilitate symbiosis between N. punctiforme and the hornwort Anthoceros punctatus. Collectively, these findings support interpreting hopanes as general environmental stress biomarkers. If hopanoid-mediated enhancement of nitrogen-rich storage products turns out to be a conserved phenomenon in other organisms, a better understanding of this relationship may help us parse the enrichment of 2-methylhopanes in the rock record during episodes of disrupted nutrient cycling.
- Overexpression of OsEm1 encoding a group I LEA protein confers enhanced drought tolerance in rice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2016 Aug 11.
Drought is the greatest threat for crops, including rice. In an effort to identify rice genes responsible for drought tolerance, a drought-responsive gene OsEm1 encoding a group I LEA protein, was chosen for this study. OsEm1 was shown at vegetative stages to be responsive to various abiotic stresses, including drought, salt, cold and the hormone ABA. In this study, we generated OsEm1-overexpressing rice plants to explore the function of OsEm1 under drought conditions. Overexpression of OsEm1 increases ABA sensitivity and enhances osmotic tolerance in rice. Compared with wild type, the OsEm1-overexpressing rice plants showed enhanced plant survival ratio at the vegetative stage; moreover, over expression of OsEm1 in rice increased the expression of other LEA genes, including RAB16A, RAB16C, RAB21, and LEA3, likely protecting organ integrity against harsh environments. Interestingly, the elevated level of OsEm1 had no different phenotype compared with wild type under normal condition. Our findings suggest that OsEm1 is a positive regulator of drought tolerance and is potentially promising for engineering drought tolerance in rice.
- Vision. [EDITORIAL]
- Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2016 Aug 13.
What you get is even more than what you see: "Nature's most exquisite creation" (Yong, 2016), a.k.a. " miracle of design" (Paley, 1802) has a long tradition of fascinating scientists and philosphers through the centuries. It was Charles Darwin himself who considered the evolution of such highly complex organ as the eye as "absurd in the highest possible degree" (Darwin, 1859) - yet, given that "numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor" (ibid), Darwin explained the evolution of the mammalian visual organs to be absolutely feasible. The results of this complex evolutionary process do not fail to fascinate to the present day. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.