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  • Author or Editor: He Li x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Soluble acid invertase [SAI (Enzyme Commission 3.2.1.26)] plays an important role in catalyzing the hydrolysis of sucrose into hexoses and regulates floral development. Full-length cDNAs encoding RhSAI1 and RhSAI2 isoforms were cloned from Rhododendron hybrid ‘Yuqilin’ and they exhibited high amino acid sequence identity (89%) to each other. The protein sequences contain highly conserved motifs present in all SAIs, including the β-fructosidase motif N-D-P-(D/N), a putative active site W-E-C-(I/V)-D, and R-D-P. The expression of RhSAI1 and RhSAI2 genes was under spatial and temporal control. Expression of both RhSAI1 and RhSAI2 genes was most abundant in stems, and expression was lowest in roots and leaves, respectively. The expression of RhSAI2 was significantly lower than that of RhSAI1 in all organs. During floral development, RhSAI1 was highly expressed at the earliest stage (Stage I), decreased until Stage III, and increased again at the terminal stage. The pattern of RhSAI2 expression was distinctly different, showing a continuous increase during floral development. Consistent with the levels of RhSAI1 expression, SAI activity decreased during floral development and was inversely correlated with the soluble sugar content. Abundant expression of RhSAI1 at the transcriptional level in addition to high SAI activity during the initial stages of floral development may play a vital role in supplying the energy needed for rapid cell division and growth of flowers.

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Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is an ecologically and economically valuable species that has been widely cultivated as a new berry crop rich in nutritional and medicinal compounds. RNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq) simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were developed to evaluate the genetic relationships among 91 plants of 31 cultivars from two subspecies, mongolica and sinensis, as well as intraspecific hybrids between them. A total of 7540 RNA-Seq SSRs were identified as potential molecular markers, in which AG/CT (27.57%) was the most abundant unit type. AT/AT (9.93%), and AAG/CTT (11.95%) are the other main repeat motifs. A total of 110 primer pairs were randomly selected for validation of amplification. Seventeen SSR loci, located in genes encoding metabolic processes and cellulose synthases, were identified to be polymorphic among different sea buckthorn cultivars. These SSR loci generated 48 alleles, ranging from 2 to 5 per locus. Cluster analysis based on the proportion of shared alleles and unweighted pair group method with arithmetic average (UPGMA) algorithm divided all the genotypes into two main groups, with all of the ssp. sinensis cultivars (native to China) and hybrids in one group and ssp. mongolica cultivars (introduced from Russia) in the other group, which was in good agreement with their taxonomic classification. The RNA-Seq SSRs developed in this study have a potential use in the conservation of sea buckthorn germplasm and marker-assisted breeding (MAB).

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To examine whether 1 mm of spermidine (Spd) modifies plant ethylene production in response to short-term salt stress, cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings were grown in nutrient solution with or without 75 mm NaCl stress for 3 days, and the leaves were sprayed with 1 mm Spd or water (control). We investigate the effects of the treatments on ethylene production, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) content, 1-(malonylamino) cycolpvopane-1-carboxylic acid (MACC) content, activities of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (ACS), and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase (ACO) and gene expression of acs2, aco1, and aco2 in the cucumber leaves. The results indicate that ethylene production was increased significantly under salt stress as did ACC and MACC content, the activities of ACS and ACO, and the transcriptional level of acs2, whereas the gene expression of aco1 and aco2 was somewhat decreased. However, exogenous Spd treatment depressed the content of ACC and MACC, ACS activity, and the level of acs2 transcripts in the leaves of salt-stressed cucumber. Although the activity of ACO and gene expressions of aco1 and aco2 increased by Spd, ethylene emission was inhibited. Our results suggest that application of exogenous Spd could reverse salinity-induced ethylene production by inhibiting the transcription and activity of ACS under salt stress. We conclude that exogenous Spd could modify the biosynthesis of ethylene to enhance the tolerance of cucumber seedlings to salt stress.

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The use of grafted seedlings in vegetable crops has increased in recent years to enhance the resistance to biological and abiotic stresses, and improve yields. However, incompatibility restricts the wide application of grafting. In this study, two pumpkin (Cucurbita) cultivars, with great differences in grafting affinity and symbiotic affinity, were used as rootstocks and cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings were used as the scion. The effects of compatibility or incompatibility on histological aspects, antioxidant enzyme activities, phenylpropanoid contents, and chlorophyll fluorescence were studied. The results showed that compatible graft combinations present a stronger resistance to the oxidative damage resulting from grafting and had relatively weak phenylpropanoid metabolisms. The results also indicated that the chlorophyll fluorescence levels of incompatible combinations were lower, except compared with the original fluorescence. Finally, a necrotic layer existed earlier in compatible graft combinations. These differences at the morphological, physiological, and cellular levels may govern compatibility and incompatibility, and may provide valuable information for determining the symbiotic affinity of grafted seedlings at an early stage.

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GA20-oxidase (GA20-ox) is a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of gibberellic acid (GA). To investigate its role in plant growth and development, we suppressed MdGA20-ox gene expression in apple (Malus domestica cv. Hanfu) plants by RNA interference (RNAi). After 20 weeks of growth in the greenhouse, significant phenotype differences were observed between transgenic lines and the nontransgenic control. Suppression of MdGA20-ox gene expression resulted in lower plant height, shorter internode length, and higher number of nodes compared with the nontransgenic control. The expression of MdGA20-ox in transgenic plants was significantly suppressed, and the active GA content in transgenic lines was lower than that in the nontransgenic control. These results demonstrated that the MdGA20-ox gene plays an important role in vegetative growth, and therefore it is possible to develop dwarfed or compact scion apple cultivars by MdGA20-ox gene silencing.

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The use of resistant rootstocks is an inevitable trend in the development and production of grapes (Vitis sp.). The present study analyzed differences in the metabolites in grape seeds of different rootstock combinations (1103P, 5C, SO4, 3309C, 140R, and control) grafted onto ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ (CS) wine grape (Vitis vinifera) scions (control, CS/CS, self-rooted grafting vines) using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and nontargeted metabolomic techniques. Principal component analysis (PCA), partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), and orthogonal-partial least squares discriminant analysis identified 30 significant metabolites and 22 metabolic pathways in the seeds of CS that differed significantly from the control seeds. This study revealed that rootstocks influence metabolite concentrations and metabolic pathways (alanine–aspartate–glutamate pathway, arginine-proline pathway, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle) in the scion onto which they are grafted. The rootstocks increased the concentration of delphinidin-3-(6-acetylglucoside), peonidin 3-(6-p-coumarylglucoside), L-threonine, and D-tartaric in CS seeds. Appropriate rootstock combinations can be used to improve the quality of grape seeds by changing the concentrations of amino acids, organic acids, polyphenols, and vitamin B. This study provides a theoretical basis for selecting grape rootstocks and provides important insights for improving the quality of commercial products derived from grape seeds.

Open Access

Tree peony (Paeonia sp.) is a popular traditional ornamental plant in China. Among the nine wild species, Paeonia rockii displays wide-ranging, deep purple variegation at the base of the petals, whereas Paeonia ostii exhibits purely white petals. Overall, the posttranscriptional regulation involved in tree peony flower opening and pigmentation remains unclear. To identify potential microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in flower variegation, six small RNA libraries of P. ostii and P. rockii petals at three different opening stages were constructed and sequenced. Using Illumina-based sequencing, 22 conserved miRNAs and 27 novel miRNAs were identified in P. rockii and P. ostii petals. Seventeen miRNAs were differentially expressed during flower development, and several putative target genes of these miRNAs belonged to transcription factor families, such as Myb domain (MYB), and basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. Furthermore, an integrative analysis of the expression profiles of miRNAs and their corresponding target genes revealed that variegation formation might be regulated by miR159c, miR168, miR396a, and novel_miR_05, which target the MYB transcription factors, chalcone synthase (CHS), and ABC transporter. Our preliminary study is the first report of miRNAs involved in Paeonia flower pigmentation. It provides insight regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of flower pigmentation in tree peony.

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Ferric chelate reductase (FRO) is a critical enzyme for iron absorption in strategy I plants, reducing Fe3+ to Fe2+. To identify FRO family genes in the local Citrus junos cultivar Ziyang Xiangcheng and to reveal their expression model, the citrus (Citrus sp.) genome was searched for homologies of the published sequence CjFRO1. Five FROs were found, including CjFRO1; these were named CjFRO2, CjFRO3, CjFRO4, and CjFRO5, respectively, and cloned via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR. The deduced amino acid sequences of five CjFROs contained flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-binding motifs, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-binding motifs, and 6–10 transmembrane domains, with isoelectric points between 6.73 and 9.46, and molecular weights between 67.2 and 79.9 kD. CjFRO1 and CjFRO2 were predominantly found in the aboveground parts of C. junos, with CjFRO1 highly expressed in leaves, and CjFRO2 largely expressed in stems and leaves. CjFRO3 was less expressed in roots, stems, and leaves. CjFRO4 and CjFRO5 were predominately found in roots. Under iron-deficient conditions, CjFRO4 was significantly and specifically increased in the roots of C. junos, whereas CjFRO1 was upregulated in the roots and leaves.

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Zinc finger-homeodomains (ZF-HDs) are considered transcription factors that are involved in a variety of life activities in plants, but their function in regulating plant salt stress tolerance is unclear. The SL-ZH13 gene is significantly upregulated under salt stress treatment in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaves, per our previous study. In this study, to further understand the role that the SL-ZH13 gene played in the response process of tomato plants under salt stress, the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method was applied to down-regulate SL-ZH13 expression in tomato plants, and these plants were treated with salt stress to analyze the changes in salt tolerance. The silencing efficiency of SL-ZH13 was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. SL-ZH13-silenced plants wilted faster and sooner than control plants under the same salt stress treatment condition, and the main stem bending angle of SL-ZH13-silenced plants was smaller than that of control plants. Physiological analysis showed that the activities of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and proline content in SL-ZH13-silenced plants were lower than those in control plants at 1.5 and 3 hours after salt stress treatment. The malondialdehyde content of SL-ZH13-silenced plants was higher than that in control plants at 1.5 and 3 hours after salt stress treatment; H2O2 and O2 - accumulated much more in leaves of SL-ZH13-silenced plants than in leaves of control plants. These results suggested that silencing of the SL-ZH13 gene affected the response of tomato plants to salt stress and decreased the salt stress tolerance of tomato plants.

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Aspergillus niger is a common pathogenic fungus causing postharvest rot of fruit and vegetable, whereas the knowledge on virulence factors is very limited. Superoxide dismutase [SOD (EC 1.15.1.10)] is an important metal enzyme in fungal defense against oxidative damage. Thus, we try to study whether Cu/Zn-SOD is a virulence factor in A. niger. Cu/Zn-SOD encoding gene sodC was deleted in A. niger [MA70.15 (wild type)] by homologous recombination. The deletion of sodC led to decreased SOD activity in A. niger, suggesting that sodC did contribute to full enzyme activity. ΔsodC strain showed normal mycelia growth and sporulation compared with wild type. However, sodC deletion markedly increased the cell’s sensitivity to intracellular superoxide anion generator menadione. Besides, spore germination under menadione and H2O2 stresses were significantly retarded in ΔsodC mutant compared with wild type. Further results showed that sodC deletion induced higher superoxide anion production and higher content of H2O2 and malondialdehyde (MDA) compared with wild type, supporting the role of SOD in metabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, ΔsodC mutant had a reduced virulence on chinese white pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) as lesion development by ΔsodC was significantly less than wild type. The determination of superoxide anion, H2O2, and MDA in A. niger-infected pear showed that chinese white pear infected with ΔsodC accumulated less superoxide anion, H2O2, and MDA compared with that of wild type A. niger, implying that ΔsodC induced an attenuated response in chinese white pear during fruit–pathogen interaction. Our results indicate that sodC gene contributes to the full virulence of A. niger during infection on fruit. Aspergillus niger is one of the most common species found in fungal communities. It is an important fermentation industrial strain and is also known to cause the most severe symptoms in fruit during long-term storage (). Meanwhile, plants activate their signaling pathways to trigger defense responses to limit pathogen expansion. One of the earliest host responses after pathogen attack is oxidative burst, during which large quantities of ROS are generated by different host enzyme systems, such as glucose oxidase (). ROS such as singlet oxygen, superoxide anion, hydroxyl (OH), and H2O2 are released to hinder the advance of pathogens (). ROS can react with and damage cellular molecules, such as DNA, protein, and lipids, which will limit fungal propagation in the host plant ().

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