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  • Author or Editor: Ying Liu x
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Monoclonal anti-indole acetic acid antibodies were used to monitor the temporal and spatial pattern of auxin during staminate flower differentiation in walnut (Juglans regia) cultivars Liaoning 1 and Liaoning 3. The relationship between morphological characteristics and histological structure was established. Seven stages of differentiation were recognized based on the visibility and color of the squama, bract, perianth, and rachis as follows: Stage 1, several bract primordia were present in the squama with catkins protruding from the squama as the only externally visible portion of the floret (Stage 1); the bract became externally visible, and the floret, perianth, and stamen primordia formed basipetally (Stage 2); the length of catkins were elongated, only bracts visible and getting brown (Stage 3); the bracts were brown and wrapped tightly, cellular specialization occurred to form a central core containing reproductive cells and tapetal cells that differentiated (Stage 4); the perianth became visible externally, reproductive cells and tapetal cells separated from the exterior layers of the anther wall (Stage 5); the anther walls were reduced to two cell layers (epidermis and endothecium) as the anthers became visible and matured (Stage 6); and the anther turned black, dehisced, and released its pollen grains (Stage 7). The histological differentiation of the flowers was related to auxin. The auxin signal was strongest in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) during bract primordia differentiation; thus, the SAM may be a site of auxin production. When the floral organs began centralized differentiation, auxin was distributed mainly in the differentiating tissues. Our findings indicate that a high level of auxin may strongly affect morphogenesis. Additionally, the tapetal and reproductive cells that arise during cellular specialization may be important for auxin production. The distribution of auxin was centralized in germ pores at the pollen grain surface, indicating that a high level of auxin induces pollen germination.

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We used anti-indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) monoclonal antibodies to monitor the temporal and spatial pattern of IAA during pistillate flower bud differentiation in the walnut (Juglans regia) cultivar Liaoning 1. Based on morphological changes, the process of pistillate flower bud differentiation was divided into five stages. The flower induction stage, which includes the early phase, midphase, and late phase, persisted from 25 Apr. to the end of May. The pedicel differentiation stage began on 5 June. The bract primordium stage began on 25 June and persisted through mid-March of the next year. Both the perianth and pistil differentiation stages persisted for nearly 2 weeks. During the floral induction period, little IAA was present in the shoot apical meristem (SAM); hence, the SAM may not always be a site of IAA production. IAA was obviously concentrated in cells of the first several layers of the SAM during pedicel primordium formation. High levels of IAA were also noted in the phyllome, young leaf tips, and vascular bundle of leaves and gemmae. This direct evidence indicates that no close relationship exists between IAA and physiological differentiation; instead, IAA may strongly affect morphogenesis. These findings comprise a first step toward elucidating the walnut flowering mechanism.

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Chinese wild Vitis is a useful gene source for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, although there is little research on its genetic diversity and structure. In this study, nine simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to assess the genetic diversity and genetic structure among 100 Vitis materials. These materials included 77 indigenous accessions representing 23 of 38 wild Vitis species/cultivars in China, 18 V. vinifera cultivars, and the five North American species V. aestivalis, V. girdiana, V. monticola, V. acerifolia, and V. riparia. The SSR loci used in this study for establishing an international database (Vitis International Variety Catalogue) revealed a total of 186 alleles in 100 Vitis accessions. The mean values for the gene diversity (GD) and polymorphism information content (PIC) per locus were 0.91 and 0.90, respectively, which indicates that the discriminatory power of the markers is high. Based on the genetic distance data, the 100 Vitis accessions were divided into five primary clusters by cluster analysis, and five populations by structure analysis; these results indicate these Chinese wild grapes were more genetically close to European grapes than to North American species. In addition, the clustering patterns of most accessions correlated with the geographic distribution. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed that 3.28%, 3.27%, and 93.46% of the variance occurred between populations, between individuals within populations, and between individuals within the entire population, respectively. In addition, we identified three previously undescribed accessions (Wuzhi-1, MZL-5, and MZL-6) by cluster analysis. Our results reveal a high level of genetic diversity and variability in Vitis from China, which will be helpful in the use of genetic resources in future breeding programs. In addition, our study demonstrates that SSR markers are highly suitable for further genetic diversity analyses of Chinese wild grapes.

Open Access

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is widely used for slope protection and water and soil conservation in southern China. The plants develop an extensive root system that plays a crucial role in the protection of both soil and water. However, little is currently known about the factors that influence early root growth in bahiagrass. Here, the effects of boron (B), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), salicylic acid (SA), and melatonin (MLT) on root growth characteristics were examined. Bahiagrass seedlings were grown in 1/25 strength modified Hoagland nutrient solution supplemented with boric acid, calcium chloride, ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (Fe-EDTA), lanthanum chloride, cerium chloride, SA, or MLT. Root lengths, root surface areas, and the number of root tips were analyzed using a root scanning system after 2, 4, and 6 days of treatment. We found significant effects on root growth after some treatments. Thus, 0.270 or 0.360 mm B for 2 days enhanced root tip number, whereas 0.15 mm Fe for 6 days increased root surface area. Although 3 or 5 mm Ca caused an increase in root tip numbers, the root length was reduced. The addition of La to the nutrient solution significantly increased root length and surface area, and addition of Ce increased root surface area and root tip numbers. Root growth characteristics were optimal after 0.3 μm La for 6 days or 1.0 μm La for 4 days. For Ce treatment, optimal root characteristics were observed at 0.5 μm Ce for 6 days. Root tip numbers increased after 0.1 or 1.0 μm MLT for 6 days, whereas SA treatment reduced the root length, surface area, and root tip numbers. Overall, the analyses indicate that treatment with B, Fe, La, Ce, and MLT benefited root growth in bahiagrass seedlings.

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Spine grape (Vitis davidii Foëx), an important wild grape species in South China, has gained attention because of its health-promoting effects and use in the wine industry. Fruit quality plays an important role in determining the quality of wine; however, a suitable evaluation system to monitor its fruit quality has not been established. The fruit quality characteristics (phenolics and aromas) of 15 spine grapes grown in China were evaluated using a combination of principal component and cluster analyses. The total sugar, organic acid, and phenolic content ranged from 81.80 to 154.89 mg·g−1, 8.02 to 15.48 mg·g−1, and 5.58 to 20.12 mg·g−1, respectively. The comprehensive assessment by principal component analysis revealed that ‘Red xiangzhenzhu’ had the highest quality and ‘Hongjiangci10’ and ‘Ziluolan’ the lowest quality. Cluster analysis using k-means grouped the cultivars into three clusters based on their quality: Cluster 1 grouped those with inferior quality (‘Hongjiangci09’, ‘Hongjiangci10’, ‘Hongjiangci11’, and ‘Hongjiangci07’, etc.), Cluster2 grouped those with average quality (‘Ciputao3#,’ ‘Ziluolan’, and ‘Xiangci4#’), and Cluster3 grouped those with superior quality (‘Red xiangzhenzhu’ and ‘Green xiangzhenzhu’). A combination of principal component analysis and cluster analysis provides a comprehensive and objective evaluation system for determining the quality of grape cultivars. This study is important for the systematic evaluation and utilization of spine grape resources.

Open Access

The banana, a typical climacteric fruit, undergoes a postharvest ripening process followed by a burst in ethylene production that signals the beginning of the climacteric period. Postharvest ripening plays an important role in improving the quality of the fruit as well as limiting its shelf life. To investigate the role of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) in climacteric ethylene biosynthesis and fruit ripening in postharvest banana, a GAD gene was isolated from banana, designated MuGAD. Coincidently with climacteric ethylene production, MuGAD expression as well as the expression of the genes encoding the Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (MaACS1) and Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase (MaACO1) greatly increased during natural ripening and in ethylene-treated banana. Moreover, ethylene biosynthesis, ripening progress, and MuGAD, MaACS1, and MaACO1 expression were enhanced by exogenous ethylene application and inhibited by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Taken together, our results suggested that MuGAD is involved in the fruit ripening process in postharvest banana.

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In this study, we present the molecular characterization of 61 Chinese grape landraces and 33 foreign cultivars by using nine microsatellite DNA markers. A total of 115 distinct alleles were amplified, and the average allele number was 12.78. The average observed and expected heterozygosity values were 0.797 and 0.839, respectively. The effective allele numbers ranged from 5.011 to 8.575. The average polymorphism information content (PIC) was 0.816. Eighty distinct genotypes were detected, and new synonyms and homonyms were found. The clustering dendrogram indicated that 94 Vitis materials could be divided into five major groups, and the cluster analysis showed that part of the Chinese grape landraces had a close relationship with the foreign cultivars. Assessment of the true cultivar identity, and the identification of synonyms and homonyms will be a contribution to improve the grape germplasm management and protect breeders’ intellectual rights.

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Bearded iris (Iris ×hybrida Hort.) is a large horticultural hybrid complex in the Iris genus, and the lack of understanding about its inheritance laws has seriously hindered the breeding process. From parental bearded iris ‘Indian Chief’ and ‘Sugar Blues’, four hybrid populations—including F1, F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2—were generated through hybridization. Fifteen key phenotypic traits, including plant height (PH), scape height (SH), length of fall (LF), width of fall (WF), length of standard (LS), width of standard (WS), and so on, were measured, and several genetic parameters (e.g., trait variation, heritability, trait correlation, distribution of flower color) were analyzed. The variation of phenotypic traits indicated that the F1 generation could produce larger flowers and a greater number of blooming stems than other generations, whereas backcrossing was beneficial at producing more flowers on one scape in the offspring of ‘Indian Chief’ and ‘Sugar Blues’. WF had the greatest broad-sense heritability (73.91%) among the 15 phenotypic traits, whereas the broad-sense heritability of SH was the lowest (2.06%). The correlation between a vegetative trait (PH) and a reproductive trait (WS) provided a path to early selection of germplasm. Furthermore, four important floral traits (LF, WF, LS, and WS) also correlated significantly to each other, thus simplifying the selection of larger flowers. Genes regulating fuchsia flower color were dominant over those for bluish purple flowers. Genetic effects of flower color in recurrent parents could be reinforced by backcrossing, thereby providing a potential way to modify flower color through hybridization.

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Amorphophallus species are one of the main economic crops in the mountainous areas of southwest China. However, soft rot disease (Pectobacterium carotovorum ssp. carotovorum) is devastating for this crop. This study explored the Amorphophallus resistance mechanism against soft rot disease by analyzing transcriptome data using a weighted gene coexpression network analysis. The RNA sequencing of plants infected for 0, 12, 24, and 48 hours produced a total of 52.25 Gb of clean reads. A total of 29,096 genes were divided into 34 modules. Six modules of interest with the highest correlation with the target traits were selected to elucidate the resistance genes and pathways. The selected modules were enriched in the α-linolenic acid metabolism, phenylpropane biosynthesis, plant hormone signal transduction, and plant pathogen interaction pathways. Ultimately, AmBGLU, AmCAML, AmCDPK, AmLOX, and AmRBOHD were identified as genes of interest in the four significantly related metabolic pathways for real-time fluorescence quantitative polymerase chain reaction verification. The determination of salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) in Amorphophallus muelleri and Amorphophallus konjac that suffered from soft rot disease showed that SA and JA were involved in the A. muelleri and A. konjac defense response against soft rot disease. Methyl jasmonate treatment delayed the onset of A. konjac soft rot disease. This study provides a reference for the interaction between Amorphophallus species and soft rot disease and the breeding of broad-spectrum and specific Amorphophallus cultivars that are resistant to soft rot disease.

Open Access

To assess the genetic diversity among lotus (Nelumbo) accessions and evaluate the correlation between genetic variation and morphological classification, we sampled 138 accessions: two of N. lutea, 112 of N. nucifera, 17 of hybrids between N. nucifera and N. lutea, and seven Japanese cultivars. The 11 selected combinations of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) primers produced 138 polymorphic loci, and the percentage of polymorphism was 28.7%. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) dendrogram clustered all the accessions into two groups: Group I comprised N. lutea and its hybrids with N. nucifera; Group II included N. nucifera and its hybrids with N. lutea and Japanese cultivars. Population structure analysis identified four main clusters: N. lutea clustered mainly in C1, whereas N. nucifera clustered in C2, C3, and C4, which was consistent with the UPGMA and principal coordinate analysis results. The Japanese cultivars were related more closely to N. nucifera (genetic similarity coefficient = 0.74) than to N. lutea (0.46); hence, the Japanese cultivars can be classified as N. nucifera. Moreover, rhizome lotuses formed a separate subclade, whereas seed lotuses were interspersed among flower lotuses, which demonstrated that rhizome lotuses were distinct from flower and seed lotuses. Plant size, flower color, and other morphological criteria used commonly to classify lotuses were correlated with genetic variation to a certain extent but not sufficiently for accurate classification. It appears that it is necessary to use both DNA markers and morphological characteristics to classify lotus species and cultivars.

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