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  • Author or Editor: Zhou Yu x
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The appropriate timing of bolting and flowering is one of the keys to the reproductive success of Isatis indigotica. Several flowering regulatory pathways have been reported in plant species, but we know little about flowering regulatory in I. indigotica. In the present study, we performed RNA-seq and annotated I. indigotica transcriptome using RNA from five tissues (leaves, roots, flowers, fruit, and stems). Illumina sequencing generated 149,907,857 high-quality clean reads and 124,508 unigenes were assembled from the sequenced reads. Of these unigenes, 88,064 were functionally annotated by BLAST searches against the public protein databases. Functional classification and annotation assigned 55,991 and 23,072 unigenes to 52 gene ontology (GO) terms and 25 clusters of orthologous group (COG) categories, respectively. A total of 19,927 unigenes were assigned to 124 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways, and 80 candidate genes related to plant circadian rhythm were identified. We also identified a number of differentially expressed genes (DEG) and 91 potential bolting and flowering-related genes from the RNA-seq data. This study is the first to identify bolting and flowering-related genes based on transcriptome sequencing and assembly in I. indigotica. The results provide foundations for the exploration of flowering pathways in I. indigotica and investigations of the molecular mechanisms of bolting and flowering in Brassicaceae plants.

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Salt stress reduces the fresh weight, dry weight, and relative growth rate of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings and results in serious quality loss in cucumber production. Our previous study indicated that the netting-associated peroxidase (CsaNAPOD) protein in cucumber seedling roots was induced by salt stress. Here, we amplified the coding sequence of CsaNAPOD from a cDNA isolated from the roots of cucumber seedlings. Sequence analysis indicated that the coding sequence of CsaNAPOD is 1035 bp, encoding a deduced protein of 344 amino acids, with a predicated molecular weight of 37.2 kD and theoretical isoelectric point of 5.64. The deduced amino acid sequence of CsaNAPOD showed high sequence similarity to peroxidases (PODs) from other plant species. Moreover, CsaNAPOD possesses the typical sequence structures of class III PODs and indicated that CsaNAPOD belongs to this subfamily. CsaNAPOD was highly expressed in the roots and was weakly expressed in the stems and leaves of cucumber seedlings. Salt stress significantly increased the expression of CsaNAPOD in the leaves during the entire experimental period compared with the control, and the expression of CsaNAPOD in roots was reduced at 6 hours and induced at 48 and 72 hours by salt treatment. In stems, the expression of CsaNAPOD declined at 48 and 72 hours as a result of the salt treatment compared with the control. These results indicate that the expression of CsaNAPOD responded to salt stress in cucumber seedlings, and the expression patterns under salt stress in different tissues were not identical. Our research suggests that CsaNAPOD may have potential function during the plant response to salt stress.

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Big fruit size and nice red pigmentation combined with good flavor should be the major target for red-fleshed kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) breeding programs. Genetic diversity and plant characteristics were evaluated on a set of kiwifruit accessions with predominantly red flesh to identify the superior individuals for further breeding or study of commercial application. The leading phenotypic characters varied widely among the accessions. Accession R reached average fruit weight ≈100 g, whereas it ranged from 43.15 to 84.71 g for the other accessions. Fruits of L and Q were flatter in shape than the others. The core volume accounted for fruit proportions ranging from 2.33% to 11.42%. ‘Chuhong’, ‘Honghua’, and K exhibited a round fruit apex, whereas most others showed a depressed apex. R, L, and Q had the highest a* values in the inner pericarp and also the most appealing visual coloration. Results revealed significantly higher soluble solid content (SSC), total sugar, and sugar/acid ratio in Q, R, and L. The 12 pairs of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were successfully used to characterize the genetic variability and confirm true-to-type identity for four accessions. However, the limited number of markers had no ability to discriminate among the other 11 accessions. Based on additional 28 SSRs, six of the indistinguishable accessions were confirmed to be genetically different, and three seemed to belong to the same clone vine. The results demonstrated that application of SSR data could improve the efficiency of identifying red-fleshed kiwifruit germplasm.

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A randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique was used to identify and determine the phylogenetic relationships of 37 hosta accessions representing the major subgenera, sections and groups in the genus Hosta. Results of this study show that RAPD markers were able to differentiate not only the main groups, whose plants shared many genetic traits, but also cultivars within a species. Some accessions were identified by a single primer while others had high intercross linkage and required many markers for their separation. The phylogenetic clustering showed that H. plantaginea, the only night-blooming species, and H. ventricosa, the only known natural tetraploid, are unique and should be classified separately. The four species in the subgenus Bryocles, section Lamellatae H. venusta, H. minor, H. capitata, and H. nakaiana have very low genetic similarity since they do not share many amplified fragments. The other accessions were classified into four main clusters; cluster 1: H. venusta, H. tardiva, H. pycnophylla, H. tsushimensis `Ogon', H. montana, H. tibae, H. montana f. macrophylla, H. kikutii `Kikutii', H. longissima `Longifolia', H. rectifolia `Rectifolia', H. takahashii and H.`Undulata'; cluster 2: H. laevigata, H. sieboldiana, H. pycnophylla × H. longipes f. latifolia, H. longipes `Urajiro' and H. ibukiensis; cluster 3: H. capitata, H. kikutii `Polyneuron', H. nigrescens, H. kikutii `Yakusimensis', H. pachyscapa, H. kikutii `Caput-Avis', H. longipes f. latifolia, H. hypoleuca, H. okamotoi, H. densa and H. takiensis; and cluster 4: H. aequinoctiiantha, H. rupifraga, H. `Amanuma', H. minor and H. kikutii `Densa'.

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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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We quantitatively assessed the effects of a six-session edible horticultural therapy (EHT) program on long-term-hospitalized (LTH) female patients with schizophrenia. A total of 60 patients were enrolled in the project and randomly divided into an experimental group (30 patients, received EHT) and a control group (30 patients, did not receive EHT). The two groups were evaluated before and after EHT using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Chinese version Scale of Social Functioning for Psychotic Inpatients (SSFPI), and the Life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA). The clinical symptoms of patients with schizophrenia improved significantly and they recovered social function, but there was no significant change in life satisfaction. In the control group, clinical symptoms recovered but there was no improvement in social function and life satisfaction significantly decreased. In addition, patients in the EHT group expressed satisfaction with the program. In conclusion, EHT can improve the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia and promote recovery of social function; however, its impact on life satisfaction remains unclear.

Open Access

Changes in leaf length, width, area, weight, chlorophyll and carotenoids contents, and photosynthetic variables with different leaf positions were investigated in fruit cucumber. Plants were grown on rockwool slabs in an environmentally controlled greenhouse and irrigated by drip fertigation. Leaf measurements were conducted from the first to the 15th leaf (the oldest to the youngest). The results showed that fresh weight per unit leaf area decreased from the second to the 15th leaf. Changes in cucumber leaf length, width, and area followed quadratic models from the first to the 15th leaf. The quadratic models of leaf length, width, and area fit the measurements well, with R 2 values of 0.925, 0.951, and 0.955, respectively. The leaf chlorophyll a and b and carotenoid contents increased from the oldest leaf (first leaf) to the youngest leaf and decreased after reaching the highest values. Changes in the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) also followed the quadratic model from the first to the 15th leaf, with R 2 values of 0.975. The leaf transpiration rate (Tr) increased from the first to the 14th leaf. Our results revealed patterns in leaf growth and photosynthetic changes at different leaf positions in fruit cucumber and improved our understanding of the growth and development of fruit cucumber in the greenhouse production system.

Open Access

The omission of second division gene (OSD1) gene plays a fundamental role in meiosis and is associated with 2n gamete formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. The objective of this work was to unravel the mechanisms leading to 2n pollen production, and isolate and analyze the expression patterns of OSD-like (OSDL) genes in carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus). We found an absence of the second meiotic division caused the formation of 2n pollen. Three homoeologous genes were cloned and labeled as OSDLa, OSDLb, and OSDLc in a diploid carnation. The cDNAs were 1180 bp for OSDLa, 1288 bp for OSDLb, and 971 bp for OSDLc. A strong similarity was found between the amino sequences of OSDLb and OSDLc. An evident feature of OSDLs proteins is the presence of D-box and MR-tail domains; however, the GxEN/KEN-box domain, which is distinct among the other plant proteins was absent. Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that OSDL genes maintain continuous expression in buds and other tissues. OSDLa has the highest expression in buds of 1.1–1.2 cm long (stage 2), and OSDLb has a high level of expression in buds of 0.9–1.0 cm long (stage 1) and stage 2 buds and ovary tissues in three carnation cultivars. The expression level of OSDLc was highest in ovaries. These expression patterns strongly suggest that OSDLs in carnation involve male meiosis and ovary development. These findings can have potential applications in fundamental polyploidization research and plant breeding programs in carnation.

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Adequate greenhouse environmental management is very important for improving resource use efficiency and increasing vegetable yield. The objective of this study was to explore suitable climate and cultivation management for cucumber to achieve high yield and build optimal yield models in semi-closed greenhouses. A fruit cucumber cultivar Deltastar was grown over 4 years in greenhouse and weekly data of yields (mean, highest and lowest) and environmental variables, including total radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration were collected. Regression analyses were applied to develop the relationships and build best regression models of yields with environmental variables using the first 2 years of data. Data collected in years 3 and 4 were used for model validation. Results showed that total radiation, nutrient, temperature, CO2 concentration, and average nighttime relative humidity had significant correlations with cucumber yields. The best regression models fit the mean, lowest, and highest yields very well with R 2 values of 0.67, 0.66, and 0.64, respectively. Total radiation and air temperature had the most significant contributions to the variations of the yields. Our results of this study provide useful information for improving greenhouse climate management and yield forecast in semi-closed greenhouses.

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To reveal the genetic diversity and genetic relationships of China’s Bergenia germplasm, 28 Bergenia accessions from different regions in China were analyzed by 24 intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. The results showed that 318 sites were amplified in all germplasm, including 307 polymorphic sites, and the percentage of polymorphic sites was 96.54%. Cluster analysis showed that the 28 accessions were divided into three categories, with a similarity coefficient of 0.5475. Bergenia purpurascens was clustered into one category; B. scopulosa was clustered into one category; and B. tianquaninsis, B. emeiensis, B. stracheyi, and B. crassifolia were clustered into one category. The results of the cluster analysis indicated that the 28 accessions were not completely classified by origin. Using the ISSR marker technique to analyze the phylogenetic relationship of Bergenia germplasm is helpful for identifying valuable resources and providing a theoretical basis for the selection of breeding parents.

Open Access