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He Lisi, Su Jiale, Liu Xiaoqing, Li Chang and Chen Shangping

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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Lijian Liang, Yanming Deng, Xiaobo Sun, Xinping Jia and Jiale Su

Nitric oxide (NO) is well known for its multifaceted physiological roles as a signaling molecule in plants. Previous studies have indicated that exogenous application of NO may be useful for alleviating chilling injury (CI) in fruits and vegetables. However, the potential role and mechanism of NO in mitigating chilling stress in anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum) remain unclear. In this study, physiological and biochemical analysis were performed to investigate the effects of exogenous NO in alleviating CI in anthurium. Anthurium seedling plants were treated with the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) at four concentrations (0, 0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 mm) and stored at 12/5 °C (day/night) for 15 day. The results showed that exogenous SNP mitigated the adverse effects of chilling on anthurium, and the most effective concentration was 0.2 mm. In addition, NO effectively improved the CI index, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, electrolyte leakage, photochemical efficiency (F v/F m), and chlorophyll loss of anthurium during low temperatures. Pretreatment with SNP also increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX); the content of antioxidants including glutathione (GSH), ascorbic acid (AsA), and phenolics; and reduced the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide and O2 . SNP pretreatment at 0.2 mm also significantly promoted the accumulation of proline, increased the activity of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS), and reduced the activity of proline dehydrogenase (PDH), when compared with control (0 mm SNP→Chilling) under chilling stress. These results indicated that NO could enhance the chilling tolerance of anthurium by elicitation of an antioxidant response and proline accumulation for maintaining cell membrane integrity.

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Xiaobo Sun, Yanming Deng, Lijian Liang, Xinping Jia, Zheng Xiao and Jiale Su

Aquaporin (AQP) proteins can transport water and other small molecules through cellular membranes and are one of the first targets of stress-induced signaling in plants. A number of AQP genes have been identified from glycophytes, and their functions have been studied. However, the reports on AQPs from halophytes and their precise role in abiotic stress response are still rare. In this study, we have identified a PIP1 subgroup AQP gene, designated SbPIP1, from the euhalophyte Salicornia bigelovii and characterized it by overexpressing in tobacco plants. SbPIP1 transcript was induced by cold, but suppressed by NaCl and polyethylene glycol (PEG). Transient expression of GFP (green fluorescent protein)-SbPIP fusion protein indicated its localization in the plasma membrane. Overexpression of SbPIP1 in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants increased their drought tolerance. Leaf protoplasts from transgenic tobacco plants absorbed water more quickly than those from wild type (WT) plants when they were put into hypotonic solution. In addition, the transgenic tobacco plants possessed higher relative water content (RWC) and proline content, but lower levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and less ion leakage (IL) when compared with WT under the treatment of the different concentrations of PEG. Taken together, our results demonstrate that heterologous expression of SbPIP1 in tobacco plants confers them drought stress tolerance by reducing membrane injury and increasing the ability to retain water.