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  • Author or Editor: Li-fang Lu x
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Cold stress is one of the most important environmental factors affecting crop growth and agricultural production. Induced changes of gene expression and metabolism are critical for plants responding and acclimating to cold stress. Banana (Musa sp.) is one of the most important food crops in the tropical and subtropical countries of the world. Banana, which originated from tropical regions, is sensitive to cold, which can result in serious losses in commercial banana production. To investigate the response of the banana to cold stress conditions, changes in protein expression were analyzed using a comparative proteomics approach. ‘Brazil’ banana (Musa acuminata AAA group) is a common banana cultivar in southern China. ‘Brazil’ banana plantlets were exposed to 5 °C for 24 hours and then total crude protein was extracted from treatment and control leaves by phenol extraction, separated with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and subsequently identified by mass spectrometry (MS). Out of the more than 400 protein spots reproducibly detected, only 41 protein spots exhibited a change in intensity by at least 2-fold, with 26 proteins increasing and 15 proteins decreasing expression. Of these, 28 differentially expressed proteins were identified by MS. The identified proteins, including well-known and novel cold-responsive proteins, are involved in several cellular processes, including antioxidation and antipathogen, photosynthesis, chaperones, protein synthesis, signal transduction, energy metabolism, and other cellular functions. Proteins related to antioxidation, pathogen resistance, molecular chaperones, and energy metabolism were up-regulated, and proteins related to ethylene synthesis, protein synthesis, and epigenetic modification were down-regulated in response to cold temperature treatment. The banana plantlets incubated at cold temperatures demonstrated major changes in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, defense against diseases, and energy supply. Increased antioxidation capability in banana was also discovered in plantain, which has greater cold tolerance than banana in response to cold stress conditions. Therefore, we hypothesized that an increased antioxidation ability could be a common characteristic of banana and plantain in response to cold stress conditions. These findings may provide a better understanding of the physiological processes of banana in response to cold stress conditions.

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Leaf color mutants play an important role in our understanding of chlorophyll biosynthesis and catabolism. In this study, we obtained a yellow-green leaf mutant hy in an ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenized population of chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis). The hy phenotype was controlled by a recessive allele at a single locus. The intrinsic photochemical activity of photosystem II (PSII) is impaired in hy, suggesting that absorbed light energy is not efficiently transferred from the light-harvesting complexes antenna to the PSII reaction centers and dissipated as heat or fluorescence. We measured chlorophyll content and chlorophyll precursors and analyzed the expression of key genes in the chlorophyll synthetic pathway in hy and wild type. The mutation phenotype was consistent with inhibited expression of chlorophyll a oxygenase (CAO) gene in the chlorophyll synthetic pathway. In mutant hy, CAO cDNA was cloned so that a C to T mutation at 1099 bp caused a conserved proline (Pro) to serine (Ser) mutation at the 367th amino acid in C-domain, which changed the secondary structure of CAO protein. We speculate that the mutation amino acid changed in the C-domain may affect the catalytic function in mutant CAO.

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Many reports indicate that an abundance of really interesting new gene (RING) play key roles in regulating defense responses against abiotic and biotic stresses in plants. In this study, the cloning and functional characterization of a RING gene, MaRING2, in banana (Musa acuminata) fruit are reported. MaRING2 belongs to the NEP1-interacting protein (NIP) RING-H2 finger protein family. Gene expression profiles revealed that MaRING2 was cold responsive and induced by abscisic acid (ABA) treatment during cold storage. In this study, the MaRING2 under control of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S (CaMV 35S) promoter was transformed to tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) using agrobacterium (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)-mediated transformation. The resultant MaRING2-overexpressing transgenic plants (35S:MaRING2) exhibited significantly increased tolerance to low temperatures and were hypersensitive to exogenous ABA in terms of germination and early seedling growth. In addition, overexpression of MaRING2 enhanced the expression of stress-responsive genes under normal (before cold stress) or cold conditions. These results demonstrate the biological role of MaRING2 in conferring cold tolerance. Taken together, these results suggest that MaRING2, a C3H2C3-type RING protein, is a positive regulator of the ABA-dependent stress response.

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The characterization of aroma of the 14 main apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) cultivars in Xinjiang was evaluated using high-performance solid-phase microextraction (HP-SPME) with gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). A total of 208 volatiles that include 80 esters, 25 aldehydes, 15 terpenes, 21 ketones, 39 alcohols, 27 olefins, and 1 acid were identified from these cultivars. The compounds propyl acetate, 3-methyl-1-butanol acetate, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol acetate, d-limonene, β-linalool, hexanal, hexyl acetate, butyl acetate, β-myrcene, ethyl butanoate, and β-cis-ocimene were the major compounds responsible for aroma in these cultivars. GC-MS results showed that Kuchexiaobaixing, Guoxiyuluke, and seven other cultivars were characterized by a high level of esters and were considered to be fruity apricot aroma. ‘Luotuohuang’ and ‘Heiyexing’ accumulate high levels of terpenes and exhibited an outstanding floral aroma. Higher levels of alcohols and aldehydes were observed in ‘Danxing’, ‘Sumaiti’, and ‘Kumaiti’. The latter are considered green aroma cultivars. These three types of cultivars with different aroma characteristics can be significantly differentiated by using the principal component analysis (PCA) method. The contributions of volatiles to the apricot aroma were assessed by using the partial least squares regression (PLSR) model. Esters, terpenes, and C6 components were shown to be responsible for the fruity, floral, and green character of fresh apricots, respectively.

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