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  • Author or Editor: Xian Li x
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Northwestern Yunnan is situated in the southern part of the Hengduan Mountains, which is a complex and varied natural environment. Consequently, this region supports a great diversity of endemic plants. Using field investigation in combination with analysis of relevant literature and available data, this paper presents a regional ethnobotanical study of this area. Results indicated that northwestern Yunnan has an abundance of wild ornamental plants: this study identified 262 endemic species (belonging to 64 genera and 28 families) with potential ornamental value. The distinguishing features of these wild plants, their characteristics and habitats are analyzed; the ornamental potential of most plants stems from their wildflowers, but some species also have ornamental fruits and foliage. Among the endemic genera, Pedicularis and Rhododendron have particularly high numbers of ornamental wild species, while Aconitum, Gentiana, Corydalis, Silene, Delphinium, Cremanthodium, and Saussurea also contain significant numbers of wild ornamental species. It is suggested that cultivation of these species may be beneficial, both commercially and to help conserve endangered endemic plant species.

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A full-length cDNA (ArMY1) encoding myrosinase (β-thioglucoside glucohydrolase, EC 3.2.3.1) was cloned from horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) root. ArMY1 has an open reading frame of 1614 nucleotides with a deduced protein of 538 amino acids and molecular mass of 61.6 kD. ArMY1 shows highest overall amino acid identity (72%) with Arabidopsis thaliana myrosinase TGG2. ArMY1 mRNA signal of about 1.95 kb was detected in the leaves and roots of horseradish, but not in the leaves of broccoli. Heterologous expression of ArMY1 in baculovirus-infected Sf9 cells resulted in an immunologically active recombinant ArMY1 protein when probed with myrosinase-specific monoclonal antibody 3D7 with apparent mass 65 kD. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ArMY1 does not cluster with any of the current myrosinase subfamilies, i.e., the MA, MB, and MC subfamilies, and may represent a novel myrosinase subfamily in root tissue. This is the first report of cloning of myrosinase cDNA from horseradish root. It provides important sequence information that will enable further studies of myrosinase expression patterns and their interaction with myrosinase–binding proteins and other myrosinase-associated proteins.

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To clarify the cause of low sucrose accumulation in seedless `Crest Earl's' netted muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group)] fruit induced by CPPU, the activity level of sucrose metabolizing enzymes was compared between seeded and seedless fruit. CPPU promoted growth of the ovary in both pollinated and nonpollinated flowers until 10 days after anthesis (DAA), and thereafter the growth rate of nonpollinated fruit was lower than in the controls. Sucrose accumulation of seedless fruit remained lower than in seeded fruit, but there was no difference in fructose and glucose content between seeded and seedless fruit. Acid invertase activity declined sharply 20 DAA in seeded and seedless fruit, and was hardly detectable at 35 DAA, when sucrose accumulation began. Neutral invertase (NI) activity in both seeded and seedless fruit decreased from 20 DAA until 35 DAA; thereafter, NI activity in seeded fruit remained relatively constant, with a small but insignificant increase in maturity. Sucrose synthase (SS-c: sucrose cleavage direction) activity in seeded fruit decreased from 20 to 30 DAA, and then increased as fruit matured, while SS-c activity in seedless fruit did not change during development. Sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activity in seeded fruit increased from 25 to 30 DAA and remained relatively constant until harvest. SPS activity in seedless fruit declined gradually from 30 to 45 DAA, then remained at a low level. Sucrose synthase (SS-s: sucrose synthesis direction) activity in seeded fruit increased rapidly after 30 DAA, concomitant with sucrose accumulation. In contrast, SS-s activity in seedless fruit increased only slightly after 30 DAA indicating levels of SS-s activity are closely related to sucrose accumulation in parthenocarpic seedless muskmelons. Chemical name used: [1-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-3-phenylurea] (CPPU).

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An investigation was conducted to determine how pollination and CPPU treatment influence endogenous IAA and ABA content in netted muskmelon [Cucumis melo L. (Reticulatus Group) `Crest Earl's'], and to clarify their roles in fruit set and development in relation to these endogenous plant hormones. CPPU treatment at anthesis significantly increased the fresh weight of ovaries, whether the flowers were pollinated or not, but from 6 days after anthesis (DAA) the growth rate in the nonpollinated + CPPU treatment tended to be lower than the growth rates in the pollination treatment plots. Ovaries of nonpollinated flowers not treated with CPPU failed to grow and turned brown within 4 DAA. IAA content in the placenta of fruit from pollinated flowers increased rapidly from the day of anthesis to 2 DAA and remained at relatively high levels. IAA content in the placenta of parthenocarpic fruit induced to develop by CPPU treatment was lower than that of fruit from pollinated flowers but the pattern was almost the same as that in fruit of pollinated flowers. Conversely, IAA content in the placenta of fruit from nonpollinated flowers not treated with CPPU decreased sharply after anthesis. IAA content in the mesocarp of CPPU-treated fruit, whether or not the flowers were pollinated, increased significantly from the day of anthesis to 2 DAA, then decreased to almost the same level as that of the pollination-only treatment by 10 DAA, while the IAA content of nonpollinated CPPU-treated fruit declined even further. IAA content in the mesocarp of fruit from nonpollinated flowers not treated with CPPU decreased sharply. ABA contents in both the placenta and mesocarp of muskmelon that would set decreased after anthesis while the ABA content of muskmelon that would not set increased rapidly. Results suggest that pollination and CPPU treatment increased endogenous IAA content and decreased endogenous ABA content to promote the set and growth of fruit during early development. Chemical names used: [1-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-3-phenylurea] (CPPU); indole-3-acetic acid (IAA); abscisic acid (ABA).

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Two complementary DNA fragments encoding expansin genes Ad-EXP1 and Ad-EXP2 were isolated from ripening kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Bruno) by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction amplification using a pair of degenerate primers. The homology between these two expansin family members was 50% in nucleotide sequence and 74% in amino acid sequence. It was revealed that Ad-EXP1 and Ad-EXP2 belong to subgroups A and B of an expansin gene family respectively. However, gene expression of these two members shared similar patterns. Both were upregulated by ethylene treatment and downregulated by acetylsalicylic acid treatment. The study suggests that members of both subgroups A and B of the expansin family are involved in kiwifruit fruit ripening.

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Single-slope, energy-efficient solar greenhouses in China use solar energy as the sole source of light and heat for winter crop production in the region between latitudes 32°N and 43°N. The use of solar greenhouses has greatly reduced energy demand and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Solar greenhouses are the best structure for growing winter horticultural crops in China, and have been adopted by countries such as Japan, Korea, and Russia. Increased proliferation of efficient solar greenhouses in China may contribute to solving worldwide problems such as the energy crisis and global climate change. This article summarizes the structure, function, application, and ecological benefits of energy-efficient, single-slope solar greenhouses in China, based on 20 years of systematic studies. We hope this technology can be applied to regions of similar climate to help reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

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The Chinese Incense-cedar (Calocedrus macrolepis Kruz), an important wood and ornamental tree, is native to southwest China and also in northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. As a result of ecological degradation in these areas, Chinese Incense-cedar was considered a vulnerable species according to the criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. In the current report, we developed and characterized 13 novel microsatellite markers for this species using the protocol of fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats. Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 36 individuals from nine geographical populations. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to nine with an average of 6.08. The observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.0000 to 1.0000 and from 0.1549 to 0.8912 with averages of 0.6688 and 0.6815, respectively. Four of the 13 loci were significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected. These polymorphic microsatellite markers would be useful tools for investigating genetic population structure and diversity to establish conservation strategy for this interesting and vulnerable species.

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs (20–25 nucleotides) that regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally. However, identification and characterization of miRNAs remain limited for conifer species. In this study, we applied transcriptome-wide miRNAs sequencing to a conifer species Platycladus orientalis, which is highly adaptable to a wide range of environmental adversities, including drought, barren soil, and mild salinity. A total of 17,181,542 raw reads were obtained from the Illumina sequencing platform; 31 conserved and 91 novel miRNAs were identified, and their unique characteristics were further analyzed. Ten randomly selected miRNAs were validated by quantificational real-time polymerase chain reaction. Through miRNA target predictions based on psRNATarget, 2331 unique mRNAs were predicted to be targets of P. orientalis miRNAs that involved in 187 metabolic pathways in KEGG database. These targets included not only important transcription factors (e.g., class III homeodomain leucine zipper targeted by por-miR166d) but also indispensable nontranscriptional factor proteins (i.e., por-miR482a-3p regulated nucleotide-binding site leucine-rich repeat protein). Interestingly, six miRNAs (por-miR16, -miR44, -miR60-5p, -miR69–3p, -miR166b-5p, and -miR395c) were found in adaptation-related pathways (e.g., drought), indicating their possible involved in this species’ stress-tolerance characteristics. The present study provided essential information for understanding the regulatory role of miRNAs in P. orientalis and sheds light on their possible use in tree improvement for stress tolerance.

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Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb., commonly known as “burning bush,” is an extremely popular landscape plant in the United States as a result of its brilliant showy red leaves in fall. However, E. alatus is also seriously invasive because of its prolific seed production and effective seed dispersal by birds. Thus, development of sterile, non-invasive, seedless triploid E. alatus is in high demand. In this article, we report successful production of triploid E. alatus using endosperm tissues as explants. In our study, ≈50% of immature endosperm explants and 14% of mature endosperm explants formed compact, green calli after culture in the dark for 8 weeks and then under light for 4 weeks on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 2.2 μM BA and 2.7 μM α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). Approximately 5.6% of the immature endosperm-derived calli and 13.4% of mature endosperm-derived calli initiated shoots within 8 weeks after they were cultured on MS medium with 4.4 μM benzyladenine (BA) and 0.5 μM indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). Eighty-five percent of shoots rooted after culture on woody plant medium (WPM) containing 4.9 μM IBA for 2 weeks and then on hormone-free WPM medium containing 2.0 g·L−1 activated charcoal for 4 weeks. Eight independently regenerated triploid plants have been identified. Triploid plant regeneration rates observed were 0.42% from immature endosperm explants and 0.34% from mature endosperm explants, respectively, based on the number of endosperm explants cultured. Because triploid plants cannot produce viable seeds, and thus are sterile and non-invasive, some triploid E. alatus plant lines reported here can be used to replace the currently used invasive counterparts. Chemical names used: benzyladenine (BA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), and α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).

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