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  • Author or Editor: Jie Li x
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Copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for plants and is the a.i. in pesticides for some pathogens and algae. Elevated doses of Cu can cause toxicity in plants. While silicon (Si) is reported to alleviate the toxicity of some heavy metals, its role in reducing the symptoms induced by excess Cu is unclear. Therefore, the role of Si in plant response to Cu stress was investigated in arabidopsis [Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heyn.]. Based on plant symptoms (a reduction of leaf chlorosis as well as increased shoot and root biomass) and a reduction of phenylalanine ammonia lyase [PAL (EC 4.3.1.5), a stress-induced enzyme] activity in the shoot, Si was found to alleviate copper stress. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analyses indicated that the RNA levels of two arabidopsis copper transporter genes, copper transporter 1 (COPT1) and heavy metal ATPase subunit 5 (HMA5) were induced by high levels of Cu, but were significantly decreased when Si levels were also elevated. Taken together, our findings indicate that Si addition can improve the resistance of arabidopsis to Cu stress, and this improvement operates on multiple levels, ranging from physiological changes to alterations of gene expression.

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The Himalayan yew, Taxus wallichiana Zucc., is an endangered species with a scatted distribution in the Eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. In the present study, 10 microsatellite markers from the genome of T. wallichiana were developed using the protocol of fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats (FIASCO). Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 28 samples from four wild populations of the Himalayan yew. The allele number of the microsatellites ranged from two to five with an average of 2.9 per allele. The observed and expected heterozygosity varied from 0.00 to 1.00 and from 0.3818 to 0.7552, respectively. Cross-species amplification in another two yew species showed eight of them holding promise for sister species. Two of the 10 loci (TG126 and TC49) significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected between the comparisons of these loci. These polymorphic microsatellite markers would be useful tools for population genetics studies and assessing genetic variations to establish conservation strategy of this endangered species.

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Petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) is an important ornamental plant, and its branch development has become a hot research topic. In this study, PhSDG8, an ortholog of SET domain group 8 (SDG8), was cloned from the petunia cultivar Mitchell Diploid. It had an open reading frame (ORF) of 5070 bp and encoded 1689 amino acids, with Suppressor variegation 3–9, Enhancer of zeste, Trithorax (SET), Zinc finger-cysteine and tryptophan conserved (Zf-CW), associated with SET (AWS) and Post SET domains. The predicted amino acid sequence of PhSDG8 was most closely related to Nicotiana sylvestris ASHH2 (NsASHH2). Expression analysis revealed that PhSDG8 expressed highest in the stems and lowest in the axil. Subcellular localization analysis showed that PhSDG8 was localized in the nucleus. Overexpression of PhSDG8 reduced the branch number of Arabidopsis thaliana sdg8-2. The silencing of PhSDG8 resulted in an increase in the number of branches of petunia and significant upregulation of PhUGT74E2. These results suggested that PhSDG8 may be a candidate gene for regulating the branching of petunia.

Open Access

Cold hardiness evaluation is important for screening woody species in cold areas. We compared cold hardiness by estimating the 50% lethal temperature (LT50) using electrolyte leakage test (ELLT50) and triphenyltetrazolium chloride test (TTCLT50) for 26 woody species in the Bashang region of China. One-year-old shoots were collected in January and exposed to five subfreezing temperatures in a programmable temperature and humidity chamber. LT50 was estimated by fitting relative electrolyte leakage and percentage of dead tissue against test temperature. For all tested species, triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining of the pith was weak and the cambium TTCLT50 was lower than the extreme minimum temperature (−37 °C) recorded in the region. The cambium TTCLT50 and the sd were lower than that for the phloem and xylem. The phloem TTCLT50 was lower than the xylem TTCLT50, and the two sds were similar. The ELLT50 showed no significant correlation with any TTCLT50. For most species, the ELLT50 was higher than the cambium and phloem TTCLT50 and was not significant different with the xylem TTCLT50. The ELLT50 showed higher sd than any tissue TTCLT50. Based on results obtained in this study, when choosing cold hardiness of single stem tissue as an indicator for screening woody species, the xylem should be considered first, followed by the phloem; the cambium and pith were unsuitable. The cold hardiness estimated by ELLT50 was more suitable as indicator for screening woody species than that of stem tissue in winter estimated by TTCLT50.

Open Access

This study aimed to investigate the flowering biological characteristics, floral organ characteristics, and pollen morphology of Camellia weiningensis Y.K. Li. These features of adult C. weiningensis plants were observed via light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Pollen viability and stigma receptivity were detected using 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazole chloride (TTC) staining and the benzidine–hydrogen peroxide reaction method. C. weiningensis is monoecious, with alternate leaves and glabrous branchlets. Its flowering period lasts 2 to 4 months, and the flowering time of individual plants lasts ≈50 days, with the peak flowering period from the end of February to the middle of March. It is a “centralized flowering” plant that attracts a large number of pollinators. Individual flowers are open for 12 to 13 days, mostly between 1230 and 1630 hr, and include four to six sepals, six to eight petals, ≈106 stamens, an outer ring of ≈24.6-mm-long stamens, an inner ring of ≈13.4-mm-long stamens, one pistil, and nine to 12 ovules. The flowers are light pink. The style is two- to three-lobed and 16.6 mm long, showing a curly “Y” shape. The contact surface of the style is covered with papillary cells and displays abundant secretory fluid and a full shape, facilitating pollen adhesion. The pollen is rhombohedral cone-shaped, and there are germ pores (tremoids). The groove of the germ pore is slender and extends to the two poles (nearly reaching the two poles). The pollen is spherical in equatorial view and trilobate in polar view. The pollen vitality was highest at the full flowering stage, and the stigma receptivity was greatest on days 2 to 3 of flowering. The best concentration of sucrose medium for pollen germination was 100 g/L. The number of pollen grains per anther was ≈2173, and the pollen-to-ovule ratio was 23,034:1. C. weiningensis is cross-pollinated. Seventy-two hours after cross-pollination, the pollen tube reached the base, and a small part entered the ovary. The time when the pollen tube reached the base after pollination was later than that in commonly grown Camellia oleifera. The results of this study might lay an important foundation for the flowering management, pollination time selection, and cross-breeding of C. weiningensis.

Open Access

Camellia weiningensis is a typical woody edible oil tree species in the northwest alpine area of Guizhou Province, China, but its embryological development is not fully elucidated. Here, we assessed flower bud differentiation, microsporogenesis, and male-female gametophyte development in this species. We performed cytological observations of flower bud development in C. weiningensis through conventional paraffin sectioning, scanning electron microscopy, and stereomicroscopy to establish the corresponding relationships between the external morphology and internal structure. The flowers were hermaphroditic and exhibited a short flower bud differentiation time. Although pistil development occurred later than stamen development, both organs matured synchronously before flowering. The anther contained four sacs that exhibited a butterfly shape in transverse sections. The anther wall comprised the epidermis, anther chamber inner wall, two middle layers, and a glandular tapetum (from outside to inside). Microspore mother cells formed a tetrahedral tetrad through meiosis, mature pollen was two-celled with three germination pores, and the ovary comprised three to five chambers (three chambers predominated). Multiple ovules were invertedly attached to the axial placentation and exhibited double integuments and a thin nucellus. The embryo sac exhibited Allium-type development, and the mature embryo sac was seven-celled and eight-nucleated. In C. weiningensis, embryonic development does not exhibit abnormalities, and stamen development occurs earlier than pistil development. During flower bud development, the inner development process of male and female cells can be judged according to their external morphological characteristics. Our results may provide a theoretical basis for regulating flowering in and the cross-breeding of C. weiningensis.

Open Access

Five peach cultivars [Prunus persica (L.) Batch] with different maturity dates were subjected to sink–source manipulation by girdling to isolate 1-year-old fruit-bearing shoots. Four treatments were performed: fruit were removed (−fruit); one fruit (+1 fruit) and two fruit (+2 fruit) were kept inside two girdling cuts; and two fruit were kept outside two girdling cuts (−fruit*). Photosynthetic responses for the five cultivars were similar and did not show genotypic differences. Generally, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g s), and transpiration rate (E) were higher, and leaf temperature (Tl) was lower in +2 fruit than in +1 fruit, followed by −fruit and −fruit* which were not different. The results also indicated that water outflow from fruit into leaves did not influence photosynthesis, and lower photosynthesis in −fruit treatment was not due to water status of source leaves influenced by removing fruit. Pn tended to increase with Tl until Tl reached a critical level. Beyond the critical temperature level, Pn generally decreased. The critical Tl was roughly identified as 34–37 °C for the five cultivars. Both higher and lower substomatal CO2 (Ci) levels occurred in −fruit and −fruit* treatments than in +1 fruit and +2 fruit treatments, indicating that decreased Pn could be due to both nonstomatal and stomatal limitations. Further analysis of the relationship between Ci and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) showed that nonstomatal limitation under low sink demand took place mostly under high PAR. Thus, high light intensity, combined with Tl may play an important role in leaf photosynthetic regulation.

Free access

Ultraviolet-A (UV-A) is the main component of UV radiation in nature. However, its role on plant growth, to a large extent, remains unknown. In this study, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Beijing Cherry Tomato’) seedlings were cultivated in an controlled environment in which UV-A radiation was provided by UV-A fluorescent lamps (λmax = 369 nm) with a fluence rate of 2.28 W·m−2. The photoperiod of UV-A radiation was 0, 4, 8, and 16 hours, which corresponds to control, UV-A4, UV-A8, and UV-A16 treatments, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) was 220 μmol·m−2·s−1, which was provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a blue/red light ratio of 1:9, the photoperiod of PPFD was 16 hours. We showed that supplementing 8 and 16 hours of UV-A to visible radiation (400–700 nm) stimulated plant biomass production by 29% and 33%, respectively, compared with that of control. This resulted mainly from larger leaves (i.e., 22% and 31% in 8 and 16 hours UV-A, respectively), which facilitated light capture. Supplemental UV-A also enhanced photosynthetic capacity, as indicated by greater net photosynthesis rates in response to CO2 under saturating PPFD. Furthermore, the greatest stomatal conductance (g S) value was observed in UV-A16, followed by UV-A8, which correlated with the greater stomatal density in the corresponding treatments. Moreover, supplemental UV-A did not induce any stress, as the maximum quantum efficiency of photosynthetic system II (PSII) (F v/F m) remained ≈0.82 in all treatments. Similarly, chlorophyll content and leaf mass area (LMA) were also unaffected by UV-A radiation. Taken together, we conclude that supplementing reasonable levels of UV-A to visible radiation stimulates growth of indoor cultivated tomato seedlings.

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Photosynthetic physiology of Dendrobium nobile, Dendrobium pendulum, Dendrobium chrysotoxum, and Dendrobium densiflorum was studied. A bimodal diurnal variation of the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) was observed in the four Dendrobium species with the first peak [5.09 to 6.06 μmol (CO2) per m−2·s−1] ≈1100 hr and the second peak [3.83 to 4.58 μmol (CO2) per m−2·s−1] at 1500 hr. No CO2 fixation was observed at night. For all four Dendrobium species, the light compensation point (LCP) was 5 to 10 μmol·m−2·s−1, light saturation point (LSP) ranged from 800 to 1000 μmol·m−2·s−1, apparent quantum yield (AQY) was 0.02, and CO2 compensation points (CCP) and saturation point (CSP) were 60 to 85 μmol·mol−1 and 800 to 1000 μmol·mol−1, respectively. Carboxylation efficiency (CE) values ranged from 0.011 to 0.020. The optimum temperature for photosynthesis was between 26 and 30 °C. The measurement of Pn seasonal variation indicated that July to August had the higher Pn for Dendrobium species. Additionally, the chlorophyll a/b (Chl a/b) ratios of the leaves were 2.77 to 2.89. Measurement of key enzymes in the photosynthetic pathway indicated relatively high Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPCase) and glycolate oxidase (GO) activities but very low phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase) activities. It suggested that these four Dendrobium species are typical semishade C3 plants.

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