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  • Author or Editor: Zhong Chen x
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Pear plants (Pyrus pyrifolia var. Hengshen) showing symptoms of chlorotic spots on leaves were observed in orchards in central Taiwan in 2004. The sap of diseased leaves reacted positively to Apple chlorotic leaf spot virus (ACLSV) antiserum. A purified virus isolate (LTS1) from pear was characterized by host range, electron microscopy, phylogenetic analyses, serological property, and back-inoculation experiments to pear. Fifteen of 28 species of tested plants were susceptible to this virus after mechanical inoculation. Pathogenicity of ACLSV isolate LTS1 was verified by back-inoculating to pear seedlings. Filamentous virions of ≈12 × 750 nm were observed in the preparations of purified virus. Virus particles accumulated in the cytoplasm were observed in the ultrathin sections of LTS1-infected pear leaf tissue. Sequence analyses of the coat protein (CP) gene of LTS1 and the CP gene of LTS2, which originated from a distinct symptomatic pear sample, shared 81.4% to 92.6% nucleotide and 87.6% to 98.4% amino acid identities with those of the CP of 35 ACLSV isolates available in GenBank. ACLSV isolates were grouped into four clusters, i.e., Asia I, II, III, and Europe, and isolates LTS1 and LTS2 were classified as members of cluster Asia II and Asia I, respectively, based on phylogenetic data. Moreover, the variability of amino acid sequences of the CP gene of 37 ACLSV isolates showed geographically associated clustering in the phylogenetic tree. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the characterization of ACLSV causing the leaf chlorotic spot disease of pear in Taiwan. This study also provides the phylogenetic relationships among ACLSV populations based on amino acid sequences of CPs, which are correlated with their geographic origins.

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Fruit abscission occurring severely in the early fruit development affects macadamia yield. Developing effective methods to improve fruit retention is a priority for macadamia cultivation and production. Girdling is an important horticultural practice that has been widely used to increase fruit yield. Previous studies have shown that girdling fails to increase macadamia yield despite enhancing the early fruit set, but few have examined the effect of girdling on its related physiological mechanism. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of main-branch girdling (MBG) on early fruit retention and also on the levels of carbohydrates and endogenous hormones in the leaves, bearing shoots and fruit of macadamia. Herein, MBG was performed at fruit set using a single-blade knife on 9-year-old macadamia trees (Macadamia integrifolia). Results showed that MBG significantly reduced young fruit drop, concurrent with significant increases in the contents of starch in both the leaves and the bearing shoots and in glucose, fructose, and sucrose levels in the husk and seed. It was suggested that the availability of carbohydrate for fruit retention was improved by MBG. Additionally, MBG increased indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), gibberellin (GA3), and zeatin-riboside (ZR, a type of cytokinin) concentrations and decreased abscisic acid (ABA) contents in the husk and the seed, indicating that MBG reduced the early fruit drop by modifying the balance of endogenous hormones. Therefore, a positive interplay between carbohydrates and endogenous hormones induced by MBG was involved in the reduction of early fruit abscission in macadamia.

Open Access

Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis Planchon) is an economically important fruit, and its flowering and production are affected by the chill accumulation in winter. In this study, the chilling requirements of nine kiwifruit cultivars with three ploidy levels (diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid) were analyzed by using the Dynamic Model, Utah Model, and chilling hours (CH) Model. The chilling requirements for vegetative budbreak of these kiwifruit cultivars were 24–55 chill portions (CP), 316–991 chill units (CU), and 222–853 CH, and the chilling requirements for floral emergence were 45–69 CP, 825–1336 CU, and 655–1138 CH. The chilling requirements for vegetative budbreak and floral emergence were significantly lower for diploid than hexaploid cultivars with tetraploid cultivars intermediate. Pearson correlation analysis indicated that ploidy levels were positively correlated with chilling requirement, with the cv of 0.74 and 0.82 for vegetative budbreak and floral emergence chilling requirements, respectively. In conclusion, these results provide some novel insights of kiwifruit varieties of various chilling requirements, which is beneficial for kiwifruit cultivar selection for different climates and environments.

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In eukaryotic systems, messenger RNA regulations, including splicing, 3′-end formation, editing, localization, and translation, are achieved by different RNA-binding proteins and noncoding RNAs. The YTH domain is a newly identified RNA-binding domain that was identified by comparing its sequence with that of splicing factor YT521-B. Previous study showed that the YTH gene plays an important role in plant resistance to abiotic and biotic stress. In this study, 211 YTH genes were identified in 26 species that represent four major plant lineages. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these genes could be divided into eight subgroups. All of the YTH genes contain a YT521 domain and have different structures. Ten YTH genes were identified in navel orange (Citrus sinensis). The expression profiles of these CitYTH genes were analyzed in different tissues and at different fruit developmental stages, and CitYTH genes displayed distinct expression patterns under heat, cold, salt, and drought stress. Furthermore, expression of the CitYTH genes in response to exogenous hormones was measured. Nuclear localization was also confirmed for five of the proteins encoded by these genes after transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana cells. This study provides valuable information on the role of CitYTHs in the signaling pathways involved in environmental stress responses in Citrus.

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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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To select resistant germplasm resources and understand the growth and physiological responses of kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.) to drought stress, five species, Actinidia macrosperma (Acma), Actinidia longicarpa (Aclo), Actinidia deliciosa (Acde), Actinidia hemsleyana (Ache), and Actinidia valvata (Acva), were assessed under tissue culture conditions. Rootless seedlings of five species were cultured in a medium containing polyethylene glycol [PEG (formula weight 8000)] to induce drought stress (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%). After a 30-day culture, three growth indices [fresh weight (FW), plant height (PLH), and leaf number (LN)] and six physiological indices were determined, and the drought damage index (DDI) was determined. The DDIs of five species increased, and three growth indices decreased with increasing PEG concentrations. The following changes were observed under 20% PEG treatment conditions: superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities increased significantly in Acma, Aclo, and Ache specimens; peroxidase (POX) activities remained stable in Acde, Ache, and Acva specimens; and catalase (CAT) activities increased sharply in Acma and Acva. Furthermore, the results indicated that soluble sugar (SS) content increased slightly in Acma, Aclo, Acde, and Ache but it decreased in Acva specimens. Proline (PRO) content increased significantly in Acma and Acva, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents tended to increase under drought stress in all five species. Principal component analysis (PCA) results indicated that the order of drought tolerance in the five genotypes examined in this study under tissue culture conditions was as follows: Acma > Acva > Acde > Aclo > Ache. Therefore, we concluded that Acma and Acva are more resilient germplasm resources that represent promising kiwifruit-breeding materials. Furthermore, tolerance to drought stress in these species should be further investigated under orchard conditions.

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Fresh fruit of longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) are susceptible to pericarp browning and aril breakdown. Aril breakdown in longan fruit is regarded as one of the most important factors reducing quality and shortening storage life of the fruit. To better understand the molecular mechanism of aril breakdown, the expression patterns of three expansin (EXP) and three xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) genes in relation to the aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at room temperature (25 °C) or low temperature (4 °C) were investigated. The results showed that aril breakdown index increased progressively during storage at 25 and at 4 °C. Northern blotting analysis revealed that the accumulations of three EXP and three XET genes exhibited differential characteristics with the occurrence of aril breakdown. During storage at 25 °C, the accumulations of Dl-XET3 increased after 1 day, suggesting that Dl-XET3 correlated well with the early aril breakdown, while Dl-EXP3 together with Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 was involved in later aril breakdown. However, expression of Dl-XET1 and Dl-XET2 could be mainly involved in aril breakdown of longan fruit stored at 4 °C. In addition, Dl-EXP2, whose accumulation increased sharply when longan fruit were transferred from low temperature to room temperature within 12 hours, was related to the aril breakdown in this storage period. These data indicated that Dl-EXPs and Dl-XETs were closely related to aril breakdown in longan fruit.

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