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Chao Dong, Xue Li, Yue Xi, and Zong-Ming Cheng

Pyracantha coccinea is a thorny evergreen shrub native to southeast Europe to southeast Asia. It is a popular ornamental plant because of its showy bright red fruits and small white flowers. However, in vitro vegetative propagation of P. coccinea has not been studied. Nodal segments with one or two axillary buds (1 to 1.5 cm in length) were cut and disinfected in a solution of 0.1% (v/v) mercuric chloride (HgCl2) for 5 minutes, and proliferated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with various concentrations 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). After 4 weeks, newly formed shoots were transferred to proliferation and rooting media containing various concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). Establishment of axillary buds was significantly better with an establishing rate of 67% on basal MS medium augmented with 6.6 µm 6-BA. The best medium for proliferation of shoots was three-fourth basal MS supplemented with 1.5 µm IBA, with a proliferation rate of 3.4 axillary bud. The optimum rooting medium was one-fourth MS basal medium containing 93 µm IBA. Rooting of shoots was as much as 77%. Rooted plantlets were transferred to pots containing vermiculite:perlite:peat (6:1:2) and acclimatized to ambient greenhouse conditions with a 95% survival rate. This protocol can be used for in vitro propagation of P. coccinea.

Free access

Shi-Lin Tian, Li Li, Yue-Qin Tian, S.N.M. Shah, and Zhen-Hui Gong

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important plant hormone that plays an important role in stress responses. Previous studies have suggested that ABA can also accelerate ripening in climacteric and nonclimacteric fruit. Capsanthin is a carotenoid that confers red coloration to mature pepper (Capsicum annuum) fruit. However, the effect of ABA on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit has not been thoroughly studied. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effects of ABA treatment on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit and on the expression of key genes involved in the capsanthin biosynthetic pathway. For this purpose, we treated pepper fruit with ABA at green mature stage. Our results indicate that ABA treatment increased capsanthin content in pepper fruit, with the best result obtained with 150 mg·L−1 ABA solution. Application of exogenous ABA also increased the expression levels of the capsanthin synthesis genes phytoene synthase (Psy), lycopene β-cyclase (Lcyb), β-carotene hydroxylase (Crtz), and capsanthin/capsorubin synthase (Ccs), likely explaining the significant capsanthin content increase in pepper fruit.

Free access

Kai Zhao, Feng Zhang, Yi Yang, Yue Ma, Yuexue Liu, He Li, Hongyan Dai, and Zhihong Zhang

GA20-oxidase (GA20-ox) is a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of gibberellic acid (GA). To investigate its role in plant growth and development, we suppressed MdGA20-ox gene expression in apple (Malus domestica cv. Hanfu) plants by RNA interference (RNAi). After 20 weeks of growth in the greenhouse, significant phenotype differences were observed between transgenic lines and the nontransgenic control. Suppression of MdGA20-ox gene expression resulted in lower plant height, shorter internode length, and higher number of nodes compared with the nontransgenic control. The expression of MdGA20-ox in transgenic plants was significantly suppressed, and the active GA content in transgenic lines was lower than that in the nontransgenic control. These results demonstrated that the MdGA20-ox gene plays an important role in vegetative growth, and therefore it is possible to develop dwarfed or compact scion apple cultivars by MdGA20-ox gene silencing.

Free access

Xiaojuan Zong, Jiawei Wang, Li Xu, Hairong Wei, Xin Chen, Dongzi Zhu, Yue Tan, and Qingzhong Liu

Improving the poor resistance to environmental stress and the weak development of roots system in the cherry (Prunus) rootstock ‘Gisela 6’ (Prunus cerasus × Prunus canescens) is of great importance for sustainable sweet cherry (Prunus avium) production. Although a stable genetic transformation system has been developed for ‘Gisela 6’ rootstock, there is little information on the identification of genes involved in stress resistance. Using the cherry rootstock cultivar Gisela 6, we identified a total of 12 novel mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) genes, designated PcMPKs. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the PcMPKs could be divided into four groups, designated A, B, C, and D. In addition, an intron–exon structure analysis for the PcMPKs was conducted to help further understand the structure–function relationships within the cherry family. The expression profiles of PcMPKs in response to abiotic and biotic stresses were characterized using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Five PcMPKs (i.e., PcMPK4-1, PcMPK4-2, PcMPK3, PcMPK6, and PcMPK18) exhibited differential expression, and suggested their potential roles in plant responding to various stresses. This study provides the basis for further analysis on the physiological functions of PcMPKs in environmental tolerance in cherry rootstocks.

Open access

Jia Tian, Yue Wen, Feng Zhang, Jingyi Sai, Yan Zhang, and Wensheng Li

Large-fruit bud mutations are important factors in fruit tree breeding. However, little is known about the differences between varieties and bud mutations. The ploidy identification of Korla fragrant pear (Pyrus sinkiangensis Yu) and its large bud mutation Zaomeixiang pear showed that the large-fruit characteristic was not caused by chromosome doubling. By counting mesocarp cells at different stages, we found that the number of cells increased continuously after pollination, and the difference was the greatest at 28 days after full bloom (DAFB), and was about 9.4 × 106. After 28 days, the difference in cell volume became bigger and bigger, so both the cell volume and cell number caused the difference in fruit size between Korla fragrant pear and Zaomeixiang pear. To obtain more insights into the differences in fruit size driven by cell division, we analyzed the endogenous hormones [indole ascetic acid (IAA), zeatin riboside (ZR), gibberellic acid (GA), and abscisic acid (ABA)], and the main sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose, and sorbitol). The ZR content of Zaomeixiang pear was always greater than that of Korla fragrant pear at all stages. The ABA content was the opposite except for at 7 DAFB during cell division; the greatest difference was 30.87 ng/g, which appeared at 28 DAFB. ABA and ZR correlated negatively with cell number. After 7 DAFB, the ratio of IAA/ABA, ZR/ABA, and GA/ABA in Zaomeixiang pear was always greater than that for Korla fragrant pear at 28 DAFB. The difference in glucose content at 21 DAFB was the greatest, at 4.80 ng/g. Large amounts of sorbitol accumulated during whole-cell division. Glucose and sorbitol correlated positively with cell numbers. In summary, the data suggest that the different contents of glucose, sorbitol, ZR, and ABA, and the ratio of endogenous hormones might be related to cell division in Korla fragrant pear and Zaomeixiang pear. The result provides a theoretical basis for the large-size fruit’s high-quality production and genetic breeding of Korla fragrant pear and its bud mutation.

Free access

Ying Chen, Xinlu Chen, Fei Hu, Hua Yang, Li Yue, Robert N. Trigiano, and Zong-Ming (Max) Cheng

Agave species are economically important plants in tropical and subtropical desert ecosystems as ornamentals as well as potential bioenergy crops. However, their relatively long life cycles and the current lack of biotechnology tools hinder their breeding. In this study, an efficient system for micropropagation was developed for Agave americana L. by using basal stems as explants and grown on a modified Murashige and Skoog medium (MSI) or a 1/2 MSI medium supplemented with various concentrations of 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) for shoot proliferation. The highest number of shoots (18.5 shoots/explant) from basal stems was obtained on MSI supplemented with 13.32 μM BA. An efficient shoot regeneration system was also developed from leaf tissues. Combinations of auxin with cytokinin, basal media, and leaf regions were optimized for shoot induction. Adventitious shoot formation from leaf segments was induced and proliferated with combination ranging of 0.54 to 2.68 μM [α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA)] with 8.88 to 13.32 μM (BA), and the maximum frequency (≈69%) was obtained with 2.68 μM NAA plus 13.32 μM BA. MSI medium and the basal segment of leaf affected shoot induction. The highest rooting frequency and mean number of shoots occurred in 1/2 MSI containing with 4.92 μM indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) alone (90%, 3.4) or 1.48 μM IBA plus 1.61 μM NAA (92%, 5.2). Survival of in vitro plantlets after transfer and acclimatization to ex vitro conditions was 87%. This is the first complete protocol for micropropagation of A. americana.

Open access

Ying Yang, Xian-Ge Hu, Bingsong Zheng, Yue Li, Tongli Wang, Anket Sharma, Huwei Yuan, and Jian-Feng Mao

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.

Free access

Xiao-Juan Wei, Jinlin Ma, Kun Wang, Xiao-Jing Liang, Jin-Xuan Lan, Yue-Juan Li, Kai-Xiang Li, and Haiying Liang

Camellia chrysantha flowers are in great market demand as a result of their high ornamental and medicinal values. To induce early flowering in 4-year-old juvenile C. chrysantha seedlings, three levels of paclobutrazol (PBZ) concentration (100, 200, and 300 ppm) were applied to the roots. PBZ is a triazole-type cytochrome P450 inhibitor that was found successful in inducing flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants in a prior report. The current study shows that all three PBZ concentrations were equally effective in induction of floral buds, resulting in an average of 20 floral buds per treated plant. In comparison, none of the untreated plants flowered. Although the induced flowers were smaller than the ones from mature trees, PBZ treatment did not affect C. chrysantha flowers’ medical values, because there was no significant change in the content of pharmacologically active compounds (polysaccharide, polyphenols, flavonoids, and saponins). None of the PBZ treatments had a negative effect on the current year’s growth in height and basal diameter, photosynthesis, and levels of water-soluble sugars and nutrients [phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and carbon (C)]. It is concluded that PBZ is an effective flowering inducer for juvenile C. chrysantha plants. It was also found that PBZ-treated plants experienced defoliation, and there existed a strong correlation between severity of defoliation and PBZ concentration. This might be attributed by the stress induced by PBZ, as demonstrated by the increased activities of some of the stress-related enzymes [ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD)], and the level of malondialdehyde (MAD). Considering that severe defoliation can cause stunted or malformed plants and reduce aesthetic value, 100 ppm is the optimal PBZ concentration for flowering induction in C. chrysantha seedlings.

Free access

Young-Hwan Shin, Rui Yang, Yun-Long Shi, Xu-Min Li, Qiu-Yue Fu, Jian-Liang Lu, Jian-Hui Ye, Kai-Rong Wang, Shi-Cheng Ma, Xin-Qiang Zheng, and Yue-Rong Liang

Albino tea plants are mutants that grow albino young leaves owing to lack of chlorophylls under certain environmental conditions. There are two types of albino tea plants grown in production, i.e., light- and temperature-sensitive albino tea cultivars. The former grows albino leaves in yellow color under intensive sunlight conditions and the later grows albino leaves with white mesophyll and greenish vein as the environmental temperature is below 20 °C. Both albino teas attract great attention because of their high levels of amino acids and the “umami” taste. There have been many studies focusing on the temperature-sensitive albino tea plants, whereas little attention has been given to the light-sensitive albino tea cultivars. The characteristics of the albino tea cultivars and the mechanism underlying them were reviewed in the present article based on the published literatures, including chemical compositions, morphological characteristics, and molecular genetic mechanism.

Full access

Ling Wang, Yu-jia Liu, Nai-xin Liu, Yue Gong, Ya-nan Li, and Jing-hong Wang