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  • Author or Editor: Na Liu x
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Prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha) is a native cool-season C3 grass that has shown potential as a low-input turfgrass. An increased understanding of the physiological and molecular responses of prairie junegrass to water-deficit conditions is important for developing cultivars with enhanced drought tolerance. The objective of this study was to characterize the antioxidative responses and candidate gene expression in prairie junegrass subjected to drought stress. Two drought-tolerant (TOL-1 and TOL-2) and two drought-susceptible (SUS-1 and SUS-2) genotypes of prairie junegrass were subjected to 7 days of drought stress. Leaf relative water content (RWC) of SUS-1 and SUS-2 was 72.1% and 73.8% and RWC of TOL-1 and TOL-2 was 90.1% and 85.4% in drought-stressed plants, respectively. Drought stress did not affect chlorophyll fluorescence, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidative enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidase, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), or glutathione reductase for tolerant or susceptible genotypes. The TOL-2 and SUS-2 genotypes were further examined for candidate gene expression. Drought stress did not alter expression levels of CAT and chloroplastic copper/zinc SOD (Cu/ZnSOD), but increased levels of APX in either genotype, compared with their relative controls. Expression of P5CS encoding Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase and P5CR encoding Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase for proline biosynthesis were up-regulated under drought stress for both genotypes; however, expression of P5CR was more strongly induced under drought stress for TOL-2, compared with its control. The expression of 1-FFT encoding fructan:fructan 1-fructosyltransferase, which is involved in fructan biosynthesis, was strongly induced under drought stress for TOL-2 but not detected under either control or drought stress conditions for SUS-2. These results indicate that the genes involved in proline and fructan biosynthesis may play an important role in drought tolerance in prairie junegrass.

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More axillary buds 1 (MAX1), initially identified in arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), is a key regulatory gene in strigolactone synthesis. CmMAX1, an ortholog of MAX1 was cloned from chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium cv. Jinba). It had an open reading frame of 1611 bp and encoded 536 amino acid of P450 protein, with a conserved heme-binding motif of PFG × GPR × C × G, as well as PERF and KExxR motifs. The predicted amino acid sequence of CmMAX1 was most closely related to the MAX1 ortholog identified in lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), NnMAX1, with 55.33% amino acid sequence similarity. Expression analysis revealed there was no significant difference of CmMAX1 expression among various tissues. Phosphorus (P) deficiency significantly improved the expression levels of CmMAX1. Strigolactone, auxin, and cytokinin negatively regulated the expression of CmMAX1. Overexpression of CmMAX1 reduced the branch numbers of arabidopsis max1-1. These results suggest that CmMAX1 may be a candidate gene for reducing the shoot branching of chrysanthemum.

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Verticillium wilt (caused by Verticillium dahliae), a soilborne disease, often causes significant reductions of yield in eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) production where crop rotation is limited. Rootstock replacement through grafting is considered an effective method to control this disease. This 2-year study investigated the eggplant yield, resistance to verticillium wilt, and allelochemicals in root exudates of eggplant grafted onto a tomato rootstock. Both disease incidence and disease severity on grafted eggplant were markedly lower than those of nongrafted eggplants. Fifteen days after V. dahliae inoculation, grafted eggplants did not exhibit any infection, whereas the disease incidence and disease severity index of the nongrafted eggplants were 68.3% and 37.8% in 2006 and 66.7% and 36.3% in 2007, respectively. Twenty-five days after inoculation, disease incidences on grafted eggplants were only 8.1% and 9.5% in 2006 and 2007, respectively, but those of the nongrafted eggplants increased to 100%. As a result, early yield, total yield, and average fruit weight were significantly increased by grafting when inoculated with V. dahliae in 2006 and 2007. Mycelium growth of V. dahliae was inhibited by the root exudates of grafted eggplants. In contrast, the root exudates of nongrafted eggplants enhanced the mycelium growth. The gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis revealed that the composition in the root exudates released by grafted eggplants differed not only from the nongrafted eggplants, but also from the tomato rootstock plants. Ten chemical classes were isolated and identified in root exudates of grafted eggplants. Carbazoles, amines, azulene, and fluorene were only detected in the grafted eggplants. The relative contents of ester compounds were the highest in the root exudates from the grafted eggplant followed by derivatives of benzene, whereas the relative contents of benzene derivatives were much higher than that of the ester compounds in the root exudates from the nongrafted eggplant and tomato rootstock.

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Salt-affected soils may retard plant growth and cause metabolic alterations. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of salinity in deep soil on root growth and metabolic changes of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). Tall fescue seeds (cv. Houndog V) were planted in polyvinylchloride (PVC) tubes (9 cm diameter × 45 cm long) for 2 months with three treatments of growth substances: (1) control, filled with peat-sand mixtures for full tubes (40 cm height, sand:organic fertilizers = 7:3, w/w); (2) T20, 20 cm saline soil covered with 20 cm organic fertilizers and sand; (3) T30, 30 cm saline soil covered with 10 cm organic fertilizers and sand. Turf quality and vertical shoot growth rate (VSGR) significantly decreased in T30, but not for T20, when compared with the control. Salinity in deep soil obviously inhibited the root growth as indicated by the lower root length, root projected area, root diameter, root fresh, and dry weight, but increased the level of amino acids (Asp, Glu, Ser, Gly, etc.) and soluble sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose). Root activity in top layer (0–10 cm) of saline soil increased while decreased in deeper layer (20–40 cm) when compared with the control. The increase of root activity and free amino acids in roots from upper layer and the accumulation of soluble sugars in roots from deeper soil layer under salinity conditions were the adaptive responses and regulative mechanisms that for supporting the above-ground plant growth in tall fescue when exposed to deep soil salinity conditions. These results also suggested that a 20 cm of improved mixture of organic fertilizers with sand on the top of saline soil could be sufficient to supply basic space for the normal growth of turfgrass with regular spray irrigation.

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The chloroplast genome of an albino mutant isolated from tissue culture of the bamboo Bambusa edulis Munro was examined to identify aberrations. A number of the chloroplast genes encoding ATP synthases, photosystem II subunits, NADH dehydrogenase, and ribosomal proteins had been deleted, at least partially, in the albino mutant. Comparison of the two-dimensional electrophoresis profiles of albino and green bamboos revealed three spots of reduced intensity, indicating repression of these proteins in the albino mutants. Mass spectroscopic analysis subsequently revealed that two of these proteins are 33-kDa subunits of the photosystem II oxygen-evolving protein complex (PsbO) and one is a 23-kDa subunit of photosystem II oxygen-evolving protein complex (PsbP). The genes encoding these two proteins were cloned from B. edulis, and were denoted BePsbO (accession no. EF669513) and BePsbP (accession no. EF669512). Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and two-dimensional gel analyses of BePsbO and BePsbP in green and albino bamboos grown in the light or dark revealed that the albino mutant, similar to its green counterpart, sensed the light signal, resulting in the induction of BePsbO and BePsbP transcription, but it did not accumulate the protein products. We conclude that the repression of protein-expressing BePsbO and BePsbP is because of a defect in post-transcriptional regulation in the albino mutant.

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