Post-transcriptional regulation of methionine content in maize kernels.
Molecular & general genetics : MGG. 225:331-9. Abstract
Message levels for a methionine-rich 10 kDa zein were determined in three inbred lines of maize and their reciprocal crosses at various stages during endosperm development. Inbred line BSSS-53, which overexpresses the 10 kDa protein in mature kernels, was shown to have higher mRNA levels in developing endosperm, as compared to inbred lines W23 and W64A. Differences in mRNA levels could not be explained by differences in transcription rate of the 10 kDa zein gene, indicating differential post-transcriptional regulation of this storage protein in the different inbred lines analyzed. Among progeny segregating for the BSSS-53 allele of the 10 kDa zein structural gene Zps10/(22), mRNA levels are independent of Zps10/(22) segregation, indicating that post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA levels takes place via a trans-acting mechanism. In the same progeny, mRNA levels are also independent of allelic segregation of the regulatory locus Zpr10/(22). Thus, the trans-acting factor encoded by Zpr10/(22) determines accumulation of 10 kDa zein at a translational or post-translational step. Multiple trans-acting factors are therefore involved in post-transcriptional regulation of the methionine-rich 10 kDa zein.
Pattern of diversity in the genomic region near the maize domestication gene tb1.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101:700-7. Abstract
Domesticated maize and its wild ancestor (teosinte) differ strikingly in morphology and afford an opportunity to examine the connection between strong selection and diversity in a major crop species. The tb1 gene largely controls the increase in apical dominance in maize relative to teosinte, and a region of the tb1 locus 5' to the transcript sequence was a target of selection during maize domestication. To better characterize the impact of selection at a major "domestication" locus, we have sequenced the upstream tb1 genomic region and systematically sampled nucleotide diversity for sites located as far as 163 kb upstream to tb1. Our analyses define a selective sweep of approximately 60-90 kb 5' to the tb1 transcribed sequence. The selected region harbors a mixture of unique sequences and large repetitive elements, but it contains no predicted genes. Diversity at the nearest 5' gene to tb1 is typical of that for neutral maize loci, indicating that selection at tb1 has had a minimal impact on the surrounding chromosomal region. Our data also show low intergenic linkage disequilibrium in the region and suggest that selection has had a minor role in shaping the pattern of linkage disequilibrium that is observed. Finally, our data raise the possibility that maize-like tb1 haplotypes are present in extant teosinte populations, and our findings also suggest a model of tb1 gene regulation that differs from traditional views of how plant gene expression is controlled.
Allele-specific parental imprinting of dzr1, a posttranscriptional regulator of zein accumulation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 91:4867-71. Abstract
Parental imprinting describes the phenomenon of unequivalent gene function based on transmission from the female or male parent. We have discovered parental imprinting of an allele of the dzr1 locus that posttranscriptionally regulates the accumulation of 10-kDa zein in the maize endosperm. The imprinted allele of MO17 inbred origin, dzr1 + MO17, conditions low accumulation of the 10-kDa zein and is dominant when transmitted through the female but recessive when transmitted through the male. Analyzing endosperms with equal parental contributions of dzr1 + MO17 ruled out the possibility that the unequivalent phenotype of dzr1 + MO17 was due to parental dosage imbalance in the triploid endosperm. Second-generation studies show that the dominant or recessive phenotype of dzr1 + MO17 is determined at every generation based on immediate parental origin with no grandparental effect.
Screen of Genes Linked to High-Sugar Content in Stems by Comparative Genomics.
Rice. 1:166-176. Abstract
One of the great advantages of the fully sequenced rice genome is to serve as a reference for other cereal genomes in particular for identifying genes linked to unique traits. A trait of great interest is reduced lignocellulose in the stem of related species in favor of fermentable sugars as a source of biofuels. While sugarcane is one of the most efficient biofuel crops, little is known about the underlying gene repertoire involved in it. Here, we take advantage of the natural variation of sweet and grain sorghum to uncover genes that are conserved in rice, sorghum, and sugarcane but differently expressed in sweet versus grain sorghum by using a microarray platform and the syntenous alignment of rice and sorghum genomic regions containing these genes. Indeed, enzymes involved in carbohydrate accumulation and those that reduce lignocellulose can be identified.
Molecular Markers for Sweet Sorghum Based on Microarray Expression Data.
Rice. 2:129-142. Abstract
Using an Affymetrix sugarcane genechip, we previously identified 154 genes differentially expressed between grain and sweet sorghum. Although many of these genes have functions related to sugar and cell wall metabolism, dissection of the trait requires genetic analysis. Therefore, it would be advantageous to use microarray data for generation of genetic markers, shown in other species as single-feature polymorphisms (SFPs). As a test case, we used the GeSNP software to screen for SFPs between grain and sweet sorghum. Based on this screen, out of 58 candidate genes, 30 had single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from which 19 had validated SFPs. The degree of nucleotide polymorphism found between grain and sweet sorghum was in the order of one SNP per 248 base pairs, with chromosome 8 being highly polymorphic. Indeed, molecular markers could be developed for a third of the candidate genes, giving us a high rate of return by this method.
Sweet sorghum as a model system for bioenergy crops..
Current opinion in biotechnology. 23(3):323-9. Abstract
Bioenergy is the reduction of carbon via photosynthesis. Currently, this energy is harvested as liquid fuel through fermentation. A major concern, however, is input cost, in particular use of excess water and nitrogen, derived from an energy-negative process, the Haber-Bosch method. Furthermore, the shortage of arable land creates competition between uses for food and fuel, resulting in increased living expenses. This review seeks to summarize recent knowledge in genetics, genomics, and gene expression of a rising model species for bioenergy applications, sorghum. Its diploid genome has been sequenced, it has favorable low-input cost traits, and genetic crosses between different cultivars can be used to study allelic variations of genes involved in stem sugar metabolism and incremental biomass.
Characterization of the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems.
BMC Genomics. 12:356. Abstract
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sorghum belongs to the tribe of the Andropogoneae that includes potential biofuel crops like switchgrass, Miscanthus and successful biofuel crops like corn and sugarcane. However, from a genomics point of view sorghum has compared to these other species a simpler genome because it lacks the additional rounds of whole genome duplication events. Therefore, it has become possible to generate a high-quality genome sequence. Furthermore, cultivars exists that rival sugarcane in levels of stem sugar so that a genetic approach can be used to investigate which genes are differentially expressed to achieve high levels of stem sugar. RESULTS: Here, we characterized the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems, and from F2 plants derived from their cross that segregated for sugar content and flowering time. We found that variation in miR172 and miR395 expression correlated with flowering time whereas variation in miR169 expression correlated with sugar content in stems. Interestingly, genotypic differences in the ratio of miR395 to miR395* were identified, with miR395* species expressed as abundantly as miR395 in sweet sorghum but not in grain sorghum. Finally, we provided experimental evidence for previously annotated miRNAs detecting the expression of 25 miRNA families from the 27 known and discovered 9 new miRNAs candidates in the sorghum genome. CONCLUSIONS: Sequencing the small RNA component of sorghum stem tissue provides us with experimental evidence for previously predicted microRNAs in the sorghum genome and microRNAs with a potential role in stem sugar accumulation and flowering time.