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  • Author or Editor: Yan Hong x
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The light-dependent coloration of the vital organs of horticultural crops affects multiple parts of production and sales. The simplicity of the metabolic pathways of anthocyanins and the characteristics of light-dependent coloration make chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ×morifolium) an ideal subject for studying the mechanism of light-regulated anthocyanin biosynthesis. In this study, real-time quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used in the analysis of the expression levels of anthocyanin biosynthesis genes in C. ×morifolium ‘Reagan’. The reference genes selected were those assumed to remain at constant levels in three flower color lines at five floral developmental stages and at two light conditions. Using digital gene expression technology, we selected nine reference genes with moderate expression in the chrysanthemum ray florets at various floral developmental stages under illuminated and dark conditions as the candidate reference genes for further study. After comprehensively analyzing the stability of gene expression with three distinct statistical algorithms, geNorm, NormFinder, and qBase plus, we found that F-box and PP2A were the most stable genes in all of the samples. In addition, we analyzed the relative expression level of the CmF3H gene in different samples to verify the reference genes that we selected. This study provides a consensus list of validated reference genes that will benefit future studies of the expression of chrysanthemum genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis and floral development under various light conditions. Moreover, this information will also promote the molecular breeding of horticultural crops for their color modification.

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Salvia miltiorrhiza (commonly known in China as Danshen) is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, and it is applied in the treatment of many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease. Commercial propagation of Danshen is carried out either through seed germination or in vitro regeneration (micropropagation). However, it is not clear if the different propagation methods affect the chemical properties of the derived plants. In the present study, we first established a highly efficient tissue culture system for Danshen propagation. The addition of 1.0 mg·L−1 6-benzyladenine (BA) and 0.1 mg·L−1 α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) to Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium was optimal for inducing adventitious shoots; the highest rate of rooting was recorded on MS medium with 0.2 mg·L−1 NAA, on which the survival rate of transplanted plantlets was 95%. Next, we assessed antioxidant properties in the different tissues of plants of the same age, derived from micropropagation or seed germination, and measured tanshinone, total phenol, and total flavonoid contents. Our results showed that tissues of micropropagated plantlets had higher antioxidant activities than tissues of seed-derived plantlets; the micropropagated plantlets also had higher tanshinone contents in their roots. Thus, a rapid and efficient micropropagation system was established for Danshen, and it can be used for cultivating this plant to obtain therapeutic compounds.

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The objective of the present study was to consider the regulatory role of exogenous nitric oxide (NO) supplementation in response to chilling stress impose alterations on different physiological parameters in melon seedlings. Melon seedlings were treated with sodium nitroprusside (SNP, an NO donor), hemoglobin (a NO scavenger), NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (an NO synthase inhibitor), and tungstate (a nitrite reductase inhibitor) under chilling stress conditions. The results showed that exogenous SNP improves the growth of melon seedlings under chilling stress conditions and ameliorates the harmful effects of chilling stress by increasing the levels of chlorophyll and soluble solutes, elevating the activity of sucrose phosphate synthase by enhancing the expression level of CmSPS. Moreover, exogenous NO significantly enhances the expression of genes and activities of antioxidant enzymes under chilling stress, resulting in lower reactive oxygen species accumulation. However, the protective effects of SNP are reversed by both NO scavenging and inhibition. Collectively, our results reveal that NO has the ability to ameliorate the harmful effects of chilling stress on melon seedlings by regulating carbohydrate metabolism and the antioxidant defense system.

Open Access

Root and foliar applications of 24-epibrassinolide (EBL), an immobile phytohormone with antistress activity, were evaluated for their effects on reducing fusarium wilt and their influence on antioxidant and phenolic metabolism in roots of cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Jinyan No. 4). EBL pretreatment significantly reduced disease severity together with improved plant growth and reduced losses in biomass regardless of application methods. EBL treatments significantly reduced pathogen-induced accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, activities of defense-related and ROS-scavenging enzymes. The enzymes included superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, guaiacol peroxidase, catalase as well as phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and polyphenoloxidase. There was no apparent difference between two application methods used. EBL applications triggered a slight increase in H2O2 concentration followed by increases in the transcript levels of WRKY transcription factor and defense-related genes. This study demonstrated that EBL enhanced resistance to fusarium wilt by a novel mechanism that was not related to its active transport or increase in antioxidant system.

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Paphiopedilum armeniacum S. C. Chen et F. Y. Liu is endemic to China and has great ornamental value. Little is known about its nutrient requirement for growth and reproduction after deflasking (transplantation of seedlings from culture vessels to pots). We studied the effects of adding nitrogen (N) (0, 105, 210, and 420 mg·L−1) on the vegetative growth and reproduction of P. armeniacum. N enrichment improved leaf area and lengthened the leaf lifespan during the vegetative stage. The effects of N application on flower size were minor. The intermediate N level of 210 mg·L−1 (MN) increased the seed capsule weight, seed germination rate, and improved the growth of seedlings that developed from seeds of MN-treated plants. N fertilizer exerted little influence on ramet emergence and ramet number per plant, but a low N concentration of 105 mg·L−1 promoted the leaf number and leaf area of ramets. Appropriate N levels for P. armeniacum in production and cultivation should be determined according to different production objectives.

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The rapid expansion of Asian populations in the United States presents significant requirements for Asian vegetables. Flowering chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. ssp. chinensis var. utilis Tsen et Lee) is one of the most popular vegetables in China. The main factors restricting the progress in its breeding and genetic studies is the time required in generating desired pure line populations. Doubled haploid (DH) populations of flowering chinese cabbage have not been established because of technical difficulties. An appropriate combined protocol for a fast generation cycling system could advance up to seven generations, allowing the production of pure line seeds within 336–420 days among four cultivars and one hybrid of flowering chinese cabbage. The previous six generation cycles were accelerated using the embryo culture plus soil method which bypassed seed maturation through in vitro culture of immature embryos and promoted plant reproduction under stressed conditions, then the seventh generation cycle was accomplished until mature seeds were harvested using the soil method. During the culture of immature embryos, 12-day-old embryos could germinate and develop successfully on a Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) medium () containing 10% young coconut juice. This combined protocol bypasses the current obstacles in constructing DH populations of flowering chinese cabbage and is a possible alternative for producing pure lines. Its wider adoption could facilitate the breeding and biological studies of other Brassicaceae vegetables.

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Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is a typical climacteric fruit, and its ripening is closely associated with ethylene. In this study, we present evidence that H2S alleviated ethylene-induced ripening and senescence of kiwifruit. Kiwifruit were fumigated with ethylene released from 0.4 g·L−1 ethephon solution or H2S with 1 mm sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) as the donor or in combination. Fumigation with ethylene was found to accelerate kiwifruit ripening and H2S treatment effectively alleviated ethylene-induced fruit softening in parallel with attenuated activity of polygalacturonase (PG) and amylase. Ethylene + H2S treatment also maintained higher levels of ascorbic acid, titratable acid, starch, soluble protein, and reducing sugar compared with ethylene group, whereas suppressed the increase in chlorophyll and carotenoid. Kiwifruit ripening and senescence under ethylene treatment was accompanied by elevation in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, including H2O2 and superoxide anion and malondialdehyde (MDA), but combined treatment of ethylene plus H2S alleviated oxidative stress in fruit. Furthermore, the activities of antioxidative enzymes catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) were increased by ethylene + H2S treatment in comparison with ethylene alone, whereas the activities of lipoxygenase (LOX) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) were attenuated by H2S treatment. Further investigations showed that H2S repressed the expression of ethylene synthesis-related genes AdSAM, AdACS1, AdACS2, AdACO2, and AdACO3 and cysteine protease genes, such as AdCP1 and AdCP3. Taken together, our findings suggest that H2S alleviates kiwifruit ripening and senescence by antagonizing the effect of ethylene through reduction of oxidative stress and inhibition of ethylene synthesis pathway.

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